This is the first in a weekly series all taken from Hope 2. The fanzine sees a collection of 70 contributors from the punk rock world. All asked the same question
My Favourite Gig by Mike Schulman, Slumberland Records (also in Hard Left)
The Jesus & Mary Chain
Washington, DC in October 1985
“I’d have to say my favourite gig was seeing The Jesus & Mary Chain in Washington, DC in October 1985. I had been picking up the singles as they came out and had an import of the LP, as it hadn’t come out in the US yet. Those singles made a huge impression on me, to say the least. I was at university at the time and even cut classes for 3 or 4 days to just sit home and listen to “You Trip Me Up” on repeat when it came out. I had been a fan of punk, post-punk and pop music and by that point was also into no wave and noisier stuff ranging from Fire Engines to The Birthday Party. But I’d never heard anything quite those singles to blend it all into one, and I couldn’t get enough.
The sound was amazing, but the look was too – there were no American bands even remotely that cool. So when they came to DC I was ready. I had been playing the singles a lot of my best mate Rob and he was a fan too. We got to the venue when the doors opened and staked out a spot stage front and centre. it seemed to take forever for the band to come on and I had little patience for the openers. I only remember one of them: noise band Peach of Immortality, who blew my left ear out that night. It’s never been the same. Finally the Mary Chain came on and it was everything I had hoped for. Not even all that loud, but driving and chaotic. They looked incredible – all black leather trousers, turtlenecks, leather jackets. I’d never seen anything like them. They were slightly older than me but infinitely cooler. The songs all sounded terrific, the Spector/VU/racket amalgam we all know so well now. The set was short and to the point, and I don’t remember any interaction with the crowd at all.
I went home that night changed somehow. As much as I had loved punk and it’s “have a go” ethic, I had never heard any music that I thought that I could make. And this was it. My mate Rob and I started a band the next day, which eventually grew into one of the original bands on my Slumberland label, which I still run to this day. I’ve been in a bunch of bands since, and it’s no exaggeration to say that I wouldn’t have done any of it without that one gig.”
Mike is also in Political Punk Mod band Hard Left, a hard mod band from members of Lunchbox, Fire Party, Boyracer and Black Tambourine. Hard Left wear their politics on their sleeves. Hard Left hearken back to the early days of punk to tell stories about NOW and to motivate the listeners. Hard Left is about action — lift every voice and chant, join arms and resist.