Best Defense (and the Greensburg Garden Civic Center gig)


Above: Best Defense 1987

In an attempt to make this blog more inclusive, and not just a Direct Action (and related bands) website, I thought I would do a post on another band that was playing back in the day, Best Defense. Forgive me if up to this point I have only posted items related to the bands I was in, but these are the items I have immediate access to so I hope you all understand. I would love to do future posts on Deep Six, Rug-Burn, Potholder, The Murr, The Fuse, etc. so if you are reading this and you have items for me to post on the blog, PLEASE send them to me!

Okay, so I mentioned in a previous post that the White Eagle show was Direct Action’s first show, but I really can’t remember if that was our first show or if our show with Best Defense at the Greensburg Garden Civic Center in Greensburg PA was the first. I do know that both shows were close together time-wise. Probably in the same year of 1987. Anyway, both of these shows had Direct Action and Best Defense on the bill.

Best Defense was a band that started around the same time as DA. Greg Olson, the singer of BD, was Tom Jagger’s next door neighbor and they both got into punk at the same time. Greg and I had many art classes together at Hempfield High school. He was a grade ahead of me and it was very cool for a wimpy skate-rat kid like me to be friends with a former football player who could crush someone’s skull with this one tattooed arm (Greg was the very first guy that I knew who had a tattoo in high school. I think it was an Eagle with the words “American Skin”). We would both talk about music in class and he mentioned that he and our friend Dave Baier (who player guitar) wanted to start a band but they needed a bass player and drummer. I think I was the one who mentioned that he should call Tom Wakinsha and Jim “Pojab” Rogers because I knew that they played guitar and drums (In fact, I jammed with them once in my parent’s basement prior to joining Direct Action). So Greg called Tom and they started writing songs. They then ask Shawn Moyer to play bass and Best Defense was born.

Shawn was a guy that lived in my neighborhood and I got a lot of my first tapes of great punk rock from him. I also went to my first show with Shawn and Greg. It was Government Issue, Half Life (Under the Knife line-up…My favorite era of the band) and the first incarnation of the Heretics at City Limits (which was an old roller rink in a strip mall. We went on to see many other shows there including the infamous Slayer, Motorhead show!).

Both the White Eagles and Garden Civic Center shows were completely organized by us. We rented the halls, got the pa, made flyers, collected the money at the door, etc. This blows my mind now because I can not believe that these two halls (The Greensburg Garden Civic Center was an especially “fancy” place) would allow a bunch of high school aged punks and skins to rent a hall and invite all their friends to hear loud punk rock music (The powers that be eventually caught on and would not allow us to book any more shows at either hall).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Best Defense was Greensburg’s one and only (at least to my knowledge) Oi band. And even though I never agreed with their politics, I thought they were rockin’. Greg’s vocals were especially good and took a less “screamy” approch. He had more of a Glen Danzig style of singing.

BD went on to do a four track demo and then a studio album call Six Gun Justice. You can download the album from several websites doing a simple Google search.

Here are two of my favorite songs from BD. I have not spoken to the guys in BD in years but I don’t think they will mind if I post them. So if any of the guys in BD are reading this and don’t want me to post these songs, please drop me a line and I will remove them.

  1. We’ll Smash You
  2. American Skin

Below are some photos of Best Defense from the Greensburg Garden Civic Center show with Direct Action in 1987:






So I think Greg O created a flyer for this show but I do not have a copy of it. If anyone has one please e-mail me a scan or digital pic of it so I can post it.

Here are a ton of Direct Action photos from the same gig:


To the right, Mr. John Doran


Rob in his Jesus and Marychain pose


Rocky Speno to the left







Kind of how we did the backup vocals on the first DV demo



Right to Left: Dave Roman, Joe, and Tom W.



I think Rob blew out his knee here




The pit!









Dave Baier of Best Defense to the left




6 Responses to “Best Defense (and the Greensburg Garden Civic Center gig)”

  1. rob says:

    just to add: i did really blow my knee out in that photo!!!happen seconds before.poor jump onto flimsy tables,bad move.never saw the bd fotos before,holy shit…jim walkinshaw w/white jeans and a clean discharge shirt!!!!keep up the great work dave!!!

  2. rob says:

    also, the civic center gig was 87 or early 88, i believe

  3. lisa e. says:

    was there not a direct action show @ the latrobe VFW with wolfpack?

  4. DKaspare says:

    That Wolfpack show was at the White Eagles

  5. lisa e. says:

    i remember hanging on to my wolfpack tshirt until it was nothing but strings. it’s hard to keep track of these things. i’m glad you are!

  6. Mike says:

    I have the old Best Defense flyer from Danceland with the London Calling looking guy on it that Greg drew. Nov. 29. 1988? If you want a copy. It’s beat to the street though.

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