Token Entry Show (Direct Action’s “Live 88″ tape)

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For all of you who were part of ‘the scene’ back in the day, and have been reading the posts on this blog, you may have noticed that so far, I have been doing the posts in a loose chronological order. This is intentional in that I think it is the best way to organize and remember what happen back then, but of course there will be times when I break this linear historical sequence to cover different bands, venues, etc. In some cases, like in this particular post, I simply forgot how and when things happened.

The show with New York’s Token Entry was on July 10th 1988 and was a month before the Fang show at Danceland. I don’t remember exactly how this show materialized but I think Tom may have called the Electric Banana to see if we could play there (which was usually how bands got to play there…you just called and asked), Judy Banana told him that Token Entry would be playing on July 10 and Tom asked if we could also play that show. If that’s how it happened, Judy obviously said yes.

I think this was the third time we played the Banana. We played with Half Life and Battered Citizens (our very first show with them) and I think we did a “thrashathon” with a bunch of other bands like Hand of Doom and, I believe, Necropolis (I am not sure about that). These shows were earlier in the Winter and Spring of 87 and 88. As usual, there is no video and no photos of any of our Banana shows. This is a total bummer since the Banana doesn’t exist any longer (it is now a restaurant) and I would love to have photos or video of us playing in the wonderful dive of a place.

Anyway, we were totally excited to play this particular show at the Banana. Not to sound elitist, but I would bet that our group of friends were probably the only people in West PA to even know about Token Entry. There was hardly anyone at this show. Maybe thirty, tops. But we absolutely did not care. We were so happy to play this show and get to see Token Entry live.

I have always been fascinated with how a particular subculture ‘spreads’ or grows. Especial before the internet age. The stories are so much more interesting than, “I was on the internet last night and I found a link to this cool new band on Pitchfork.” In contrast, we all knew about Token Entry through Aaron Pagdon’s summer trips to NYC. Padgon was and still is a great friend of Direct Action and he went on to play drums in several West PA bands, and later, many NYC bands (more on these bands in later posts). There are endless ‘stories’ related to Pagdon and another one of our friends at the time, Doug Evancho, that still blow my mind or crack me up till this day (I hope many of these stories will be retold in one form or another on this blog). Anyway, I think Pagdon would go to visit his Dad, or Aunt and Uncle (or other family members) in NYC every summer. He would be gone for a month or two. While he is up there, he sees a ton of amazing hardcore matinees at the infamous CBGB’s (RIP), discovers a ton of amazing NY bands, and buys a ton of their records. So when Pagdon returns home to Greensburg PA we all knew that he would have a lot of new stuff for us to check out. I would always give him a bunch of blank tapes so he could dub me all the new stuff he got in New York. One of those records Pagdon brought back in the summer of 87 was Token Entry’s first LP. We thought it was great! He also saw them at CB’s with, I think, 7 Seconds (Pagdon, is that correct?). I remember being very jealous of him for seeing that gig because 7 Seconds was my favorite band at the time and they just started to move into their “proto-emo” period and did not play any of their old hardcore songs when I saw them in later years (well, that is not totally true. They played “Young Until I Die” once).

I don’t think Token Entry was a “straight edge” band but I thought they were at the time. So in my mind this was the first straight edge show I ever saw in Da Berg. This ‘idea,’ on my part (correct or incorrect), is pretty obvious when you look at the flyer I made for this show, which I think I kind of ripped off from some artwork I saw for a band called American Standard (Later called ‘AM Standard’ after the American Standard toilet company sued the band. I think that was the story).

On the day of the show, a bunch of us went down early to hang outside the Banana. I had on my Token Entry painters cap that Pagdon gave me. The guys from Token Entry were sitting in their van outside the club and the singer sees me wearing the hat and says in his thick Queens accent: “Hey man where did you get that hat?”, And proceeds to tell me that the hat is very rare and there are none around anymore. I think he was very happy to see people who knew of his band in the area because I believe Pittsburgh was the first date on this particular tour for them. He asked if we were going to the gig and we told him that our band was opening for them. They were incredibly cool to us. We then left to look for something to eat in the area and ran into a guy with a Descendents shirt walking around in a daze. I guess he noticed us and came over to ask us if there was a deli in the area. We found out later that the guy was in Token Entry (I think the bass player) and I guess he was a little out of his NY element in Pittsburgh were there is not a Deli on every block.

ID Under was another band that was on the bill. We never heard of them but I think they were from Chicago and on tour promoting their LP, which a bunch of us bought after hearing their set. These were the days when you would give any band that would remotely play anything punk or hardcore a listen. People would go see bands they never heard of and then buy their record or t-shirt after the gig. It was fun to discover new bands and since there was no radio stations playing this stuff you had to actually go and hear bands live to discover new them. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet but now I think it makes things a little too easy and in the process “demystifies” new found culture. Plus there are simply too many bands playing this type of music to keep track of anymore. Back in the day, these bands were rare and a little easier to keep up with.

Anyway, back to the gig. We played our set and Tom had the foresight to get the sound guy to record it for us from the sound board. We eventually put this recording out as a follow up to our first demo tape. This live tape had some songs from the first demo on it but it also had some new songs that would eventually end up on our first studio recording, which I will post soon. I do not have this entire live tape digitized to post on the blog, but I do have two songs from this tape to post. So download them to your Ipod.

Life’s a Fight
Pain of The Past

These two songs were never recorded (other than crappy practice tapes and other live recordings). “Life’s a Fight” was dropped from our set (probably for good reason :) ) shortly after this recording but we continued to play “Pain of the Past” from time to time. I think Pain of the Past is one of my favorite songs we played. You can tell I was listening to a lot of Blast and Black Flag at the time I wrote it (bands I still love till this day).

Here are some photos of the “Live 88″ tape. I think Tom’s Mom had access to a copy machine that printed in red at her work. Thanks Mrs. Jagger.

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After our set, I remember the guys in Token Entry being very cool to us and they really seemed to like our band. I think Tom ended up giving the singer of Token Entry one of our first T-shirts (which I will eventually post a picture of). He dug it and said that he would wear it on tour. He also gave Tom an unreleased copy of their upcoming “Jaybird” LP on cassette (he begged Tom not to dub it for anyone before it was officially released later that summer). All of this really blew our minds at the time. This “big” NYC band that we respected and loved actually admiring our little band!

So ID Under played after us and were really good but we were very excited to see Token Entry play. They were great! It was a fun show because we all knew the songs, thanks to Pagdon dubbing us the first LP. Even though there were very few people at the gig, it seemed like most of us were really singing along to the songs and the pit was fun because we were all friends and it was not crazy violent. However, there was a time during Token Entry’s set when this skinhead started to get very violent and totally freaked me out but I think he left mid set. I think he was the singer of a local band, Circus of Death, who I unfortunately never heard or got to see (every one I know who ever saw them told me they were amazing).

It was a great night. I wonder what those Token Entry guys are doing now?

Here is some quality video of Token Entry playing at CB’s in 1986 (Maybe Pagdon was at this gig?). They are a five piece here but I am pretty sure they were a four piece when we played with them.


4 Responses to “Token Entry Show (Direct Action’s “Live 88″ tape)”

  1. Burn Unit says:

    I think there were more like 10 people at this show, definitely nowhere near thirty. A couple of us hung out in the Token Entry van after the show and they played us some of “Jaybird” before giving the tape to Tom. I got to know Ernie from Token Entry in the past 10 years or so here in New York, as our bands play together now and again. As sick a drummer as he is, he is just as good a guitar player and a good singer, too. He is a great guy and funny as hell….I once told him about that Pittsburgh show and that I had actually met him when I was a kid….Interesting note about ID Under: a couple of them went on to be in a good Chicago band called “The V Reverse”. I was on tour in Toronto with The Judas Iscariot and we played with them and I kept thinking how familiar the singer looked…When they said they were from Chicago, I remembered ID Under and knew it was the same dude. We talked about the Banana show, which he remembered well, almost ten years later…..Punk rock is about community, kids!
    The sound quality of this live tape recording is simliar to holding up a microphone to a snake’s mouth when it hisses and then looping it for 45 minutes.

  2. DKaspare says:

    “The sound quality of this live tape recording is simliar to holding up a microphone to a snake’s mouth when it hisses and then looping it for 45 minutes.”

    Hilarious. “Hissing” seems to be a reoccurring element in direct action’s sound :)

    I would say there were about 30 people if you include the bands that played.

  3. AmberD says:

    I think I still have my live 88 tape somewhere. Better Off Without Her was always my favorite DA song.

  4. GinoM says:

    last i heard tim chunks was doing roadie work for the beastie boys.i still have that tape somewhere also.

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