Adrienne Droogas
buffypugs(a)hotmail.com

Adrienne #67

    I wasn't hitting my head into the kitchen wall hard enough to do any serious brain damage, but hard and loud enough to draw the attention of my Mother who came walking in and stopped me before I did cause some trauma to my forehead and my brain that was getting rudely knocked around in my skull.  I had just gotten off the phone with my boss at the local Valley Card And Gift, the store I was working at in the local mall.  I had asked for a particular weekend off from work and my boss hadn't been able to find anyone to cover for me.  Even though I was a senior in high school, my work ethic was already fairly strong and so I was in a panic.  I couldn't find coverage at my job which in my mind meant I wasn't going to be able to go down to Los Angeles to see the band Conflict play at the Olympic Auditorium which in my mind meant that my life had come crashing to an end.  Thus, the only natural reaction to this horrifying news was to start methodically pounding my head against the kitchen wall. I had seen Conflict play a few nights ago at The Farm in San Francisco and it had been a world shaking experience.  You haven't seen
intensity until you've seen Conflict play in 1985.  The animal rights banners in the background, Colin standing proudly and screaming passionately into the microphone, the music fast and furious like a hundred stingers piercing into your skin all at once.  I was on stage while Conflict was playing and I was getting completely beaten, stepped on, and mauled by the other fifty punks who were struggling to stay on the stage, but it was perfect.  I was furiously kicking and punching and shoving just to keep my place on stage cuz the whole place had exploded into flying arms and legs and mohawks and it seemed as if every single person in the place new the lyrics, new the music and had completely lost their minds all at once.  I know that I felt that way.  It was like being transported by the music and the lyrics and the energy of it all to a place of pure anger and rage and righteous indignation over the crimes committed by the government and slaughterhouses and the ignorant masses. It was as if Conflict were able to put their finger right on exactly what was driving and fueling punk rock at that time.  As I struggled to stay on stage, I watched as Colin dropped to his hands and knees singing one of the songs from Increase The Pressure.  I began to dig my way out onto stage, climbing over a few people and getting a couple of good kicks in the ribs by people who were stage diving off of me into the pit.  I crawled out on the stage on my hands and knees, heading straight towards Colin.  He looked up, sweat pouring down his contorted face, and he held the microphone out to me.  I got to sing along, both of us getting damaged by the people going nuts on the stage, until I felt a pair of hands grab me around the waist and literally throw me off of the stage.  It was the stage security and why he picked on me when there were 49 other people who were doing serious damage to equipment and to the sound system is completely unknown, but as I was carried away on top of a sea of punks I didn't even fucking care because I had just gotten to sing along with Conflict.  It was a dream come true.  Now you understand why I had to get down to Los Angeles to see them play.  I needed to feel that life affirming
intensity again.  I needed to justify my anger and my rage.  I needed to have a release for the hormonal emotions that raged inside of me.  Watching Conflict play had given me that release.  Not being able to go down to L.A. meant pounding my head into the kitchen wall. My Mom came into the room and gently led me away from the kitchen wall.  As I explained to her the situation between hysterical sobs and deep, shaky breaths, she came up with the absolute best idea in the whole world:  quit my job.  I was so shocked that I actually stopped crying and just stared at her with my mouth hanging open.  My Mother is the person who instilled a strong work ethic in me and to hear her say I should just quit a job with no kind of notice was like hearing her say she decided to get a mohawk and pierce her eyebrow.  Completely unheard of.  But she stood firm and made me call my job back up and quit.  She even drove with me down to Los Angeles so's she could get a chance to visit with her best friend and I would have a safe ride there and back. What a mom! I met up with my friend Julie down in L.A. and off to The Olympic Auditorium we went.  I had never in my life seen this many punks at one show.  If I remember correctly, The Olympic Auditorium held a few thousand people and the show was sold out.  Julie and I got into the show and began to fight our way up to the very front of the stage.  At some point, I lost her in the crowd and so I kept pushing forward until I was up against the metal guard that stood up around the stage.  Inside the metal guard were a bunch of skinheads hired by The Olympic to do security during the show.  I got up on the metal guard and for the rest of the show, I hung on for dear life.  Once Conflict started, it was like a bomb went off inside the place and thousands of punks were jumping, throwing, swinging, kicking, punching and once again completely losing their minds.  This guy with a purple mohawk decided that I wasn't a human, but actually a ladder that he could use to climb up to teeter on the very top of the metal guard and then jump backwards over my head (his boots hitting me in the face)back into the pit.  After his sixth or seventh climb up and over me, I finally grabbed one of the skinheads inside the metal guard and screamed "GET THIS FUCKING GUY OFF OF ME!" and the skinhead grabbed the kids mohawk and punched him in the face so hard that I swear I heard bones crunch even though the music was pounding at high volume.  I had a moment of feeling bad for the guy with the purple mohawk, but the taste of blood in my mouth from the cut on my lip I'd gotten from his boot quickly dissolved my sympathy.  I remember looking behind me at one point and seeing three separate pits going at once with at least a hundred people in each one.  It was a beautiful sight.  It was a beautiful show. A couple of weekends ago, sixteen years after seeing Conflict play in San Francisco and Los Angeles, they played again at CBGB's in New York City. There is so much I could say, but all I'm going to say is that my cherished
memories from sixteen years ago is going to stand as my only experience of seeing Conflict play.  A word of advice to bands that are considering getting back together for some kind of reunion tour...don't do it.  Let your band stay  exactly as it should...as a cherished memory.  Start a new band and go on tour with something completely different, but leave
the past where it belongs.  In the past. peace/equality,
Adrienne