Starting the New Year Off with a Bang

Greg Hetson (guitar, Circle Jerks/Bad Religion): Keith eventually invited them all to form a line and bend over, point their heads toward the stage, get a good running start and smash their heads into the stage.

Alex Franklin (patron): The next thing you know Keith Morris jumps off the damn stage! He jumped off the stage and that’s when everybody had a problem with it. Once you jump off that stage and you get into people’s faces and you start calling people out, it becomes a personal problem. When you are up on the stage it’s fine: we can have our moral differences or whatever and it’s all fine. But he jumped down and was trying to get physical with other people. He was right in front of me and he starts yelling at people and calling them assholes and tough guys and getting in their faces. He jumps off the stage and he’s only like five feet tall! The dudes he was confronting were these skinheads who were six-foot-tall meatheads, kill-you-for-ten-cents kind of people. They were rough dudes.

Greg Hetson (guitar, Circle Jerks/Bad Religion): It was pretty gnarly; there were some big guys there.

Keith Morris (vocals, Circle Jerks): Maybe I was hoping when it first started to look like it was going to get ugly that I was going to be backed up by  some of the people who were just there to see the show. My ass was basically pulled out of the fire by the bouncers.

Carl Humenik (bouncer): But as this wall was forming , Keith made it obvious that he wasn’t going to let it happen, it was weird.  He’s a small guy, but he jumps down and takes on this wall of skinheads, we were all like, “Oh shit!” It was our job as security [to step in] and so all the bouncers came running from everywhere.

Steven Dilodovico (patron): I couldn’t believe this little dude was confronting the biggest, scariest skinheads I had ever seen. I was amazed at the size of balls he had on him.

Keith Morris (vocals, Circle Jerks): So I’m in a confrontation with these skinheads and I’m obviously going to get pummeled. The security guys, all of them, within seconds, were standing along side me. So there wasn’t going to be a confrontation because the bouncers were pretty big guys. Even the biggest of the skinhead guys knew that something was going to happen. Maybe this was the time when the bouncers had finally had enough: maybe they’d seen enough of the stupidity to say to themselves; “Here’s this little guy getting in front of all of these scary skinheads…” I wasn’t really thinking about the outcome. I was just not going to allow them to do their wall of death, at whatever expense.

Steven DiLodovico (patron): Amazingly the skins never touched him. He was right up in their faces and they didn’t do anything. Of course, he had a pretty decent amount of bouncers crowding around him…

Carl Humenik (bouncer): Me? I knew and could talk to most of the kids who did the Wall of Death.  If I told them to stop, they would stop.  But the skinheads, if you antagonize them, then no one can talk to them.  So, we just started by pushing the people we knew out of the way, and we knew they would just go away.  But Keith wasn’t going to stop – he was going to let them know what he thought and I admire him for that.  So we just waited and when Keith was done, it was over. He said his peace, actually stopped the Wall of Death from happening, and then went back onstage.

Alex Franklin (patron): It was gonna’ get ugly but Big Ed and a few of the other bouncers all got in the middle of it and diffused any problems right there.

Greg Hetson (guitar, Circle Jerks/Bad Religion): The crowd all cheered and the next thing you know the crowd turned on the skinheads and security promptly threw them out of the club.

Randy now (promoter): I had to get on the mic and I said “Hey, this isn’t Geraldo Rivera; let’s play some music.”

Stephen Brown (The Family): He told a story about confronting skins trying to do a wall of death? It wasn’t us, it sure as hell wasn’t The Family. No way. We would have kicked his ass and broken his arms.

Amy Yates Wuelfing has been a music journalist since 1985 when she helped publish the punk ‘zine Hard Times. Since that time she has written for other music publications including B-Side and HITS. She is a graduate of Temple University and is currently Vice President of Marketing at business consulting firm. Steven DiLodovico spent his formative years going to punk and heavy metal shows, as well as booking show, in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and is an experienced music journalist who grew up in the underground scene of the 1980s. Steven has worked for several indie and major labels in various positions and has been a freelance writer for 15 years writing liner notes and bios for groups such as Jedi Mind Tricks. He has freelanced for CMJ, Subversive and Elemental, among others. More from this author →