Selections from The Punk Vault [Pariah]

Selections from The Punk Vault [Pariah]

Pariah – Not Satisfied 7″ (1981 Disc Print Records)

My first exposure to Pariah came from the Rodney on the ROQ Volume 3 compilation on Posh Boy Records. It was the third and final in the series of great compilations. That song, and my habit of collecting labels as a whole led me to their album (which by the way, is excellent and has recently been reissued on vinyl on Get Back Records) as well as a pair of 7″s that came out around 1990 containing old material.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I discovered that before they recorded for Posh Boy, Pariah had put out a 7″ on their own. I was unsuccessful in obtaining a copy for quite awhile until coming into contact with Mike from Pariah, who generously donated a spare copy of this record to the punk vault! Truly a selfless act on his part, and now I get to share this punk artifact with the visitors of this site.

I asked Mike for a little history and here is what he wrote…

Hi all,

MXV asked me to write a little history regarding the first Pariah 7” record which he so graciously accepted into the vault. I thought I’d also try and give you all a glimpse into the history of the band at the same time, so here it goes.

Tony (singer, bass player) and I had known each other since junior high school. Knew of each other I should say. We were both motocross rats (and skate rats and surf rats) and would see each other wearing our moto-jerseys to school. Also, the word around school was that Tony had a bitchin track in front of his house out in the valley (Alhambra valley in Martinez, CA). Some things never change and we are both still moto-rats and ride regularly to this day (Tony has switched to 4-stroke with the new Honda CR450F and I ride a 2-stroke Honda CR250). However, we traveled in different circles and never formally met until high school. In our junior year, we both ended up in a photography class. We became fast friends immediately and have remained friends ever since. Talking in the back of the class, we eventually got around to music and discovered that we each played an instrument – Tony played bass and I played guitar. How convenient, eh? By the way, how many times have you heard of a band formed by high school friends? Must be something in the water! Anyway, Tony and I eventually got together out at his place for a jam. His house had a really cool basement that had a concrete shelf that was perfect to use as a drum riser. It even had a PA. Cool stuff for a 17 year old kid, let me tell you. I soon found out that Tony was really into Punk. I was a total metalhead and had never even heard of punk at that time (this was only 1981, remember), but as soon as I heard those crankin’ guitars on the Dead Kennedys and Ramones records (yep, vinyl) Tony played for me I was hooked. I had been jamming for fun with this other kid from school who played drums and we soon had him out at Tony’s basement for a jam. With Greg Travers on drums, the earliest incarnation of Pariah had been formed. The first songs we attempted were all covers. I clearly remember struggling to play “California Uber Alles” and “Rockaway Beach”. Greg and I both had trouble at first getting our chops up to punk tempo, but when you’re 17 it doesn’t take long and soon we were cranking ‘em out.

Now, at this time the San Francisco Bay Area punk scene was exploding. Clubs like the On Broadway, the Mabuhay Gardens and even The Stone were putting on amazing shows with bands like Black Flag, The Circle Jerks, Dead Kennedys, TSOL and other great bands. What an amazing time it was and what amazing shows those were. We were salivating to get on some of those bills and decided our best shot was to start writing our own songs. I still remember a couple of the early songs with titles like “Hostage and Drivin’”. Greg even attempted to sing backup on “Drivin’”, but soon decided that he needed all his faculties to pound the skins. Ah, what could have been. Keep in mind that we were all 17 and these early songs reflected our youth. Undaunted, we kept at it and eventually had a few songs that we thought were pretty darn good at the time. In order to get booked at the clubs in the city, you needed to send in a tape so we decided to head to the local studio and record a few of the songs. Setting an early precedent, we went a little overboard and booked time at a studio in Concord, CA that was owned and operated by a former guitar player for the Steve Miller band. It was here that we recorded the first Pariah 7” single. This rare single had three songs including “Our Voice”, “Not Satisfied” and “Dying in the Suburbs”. I still remember recording that single. I remember how intimidated and uncomfortable I felt standing out in the studio with headphones on trying to stay in time with Greg without being able to see him very well through the glass of the drum iso-booth. Somehow, we pulled it off and for all it’s faults, the EP sounds really tight. As I listen to it now, it sounds really strange. I’m such a different person and different player now that it seems like someone else must have been playing on that EP. Time is a strange game indeed. Back to the story, after finishing the recording we had it mastered at the famed Fantasy Records Studios and did a small pressing. Tony did the artwork and a friend of his did the photography. I don’t remember if we even tried to distribute the thing. It was mainly used as a booking tool, which worked very well, by the way. After a few miserable gigs we were soon getting some respectable billings playing with the Dead Kennedys, TSOL, The Circle Jerks, UK Subs, Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Brains, Fear, etc. We even played with the Ramones in Sacramento. So, no matter how we feel listening to the EP now, we cannot deny its important place in the bands history. I hope you enjoyed this self-indulgent reminiscence. If you have any questions send me an email at mdsmith64[at]pariah-now[dot]com. Oh, and check out our new Posh Boy Records release and website at http://www.pariah-now.com. Thanks everyone and thanks MXV!

There where are they now is obvious if you just read the above, the band reformed and put out a new album. I believe Posh Boy might still be selling the 7″s from 1990 as well (which contain old recordings) through their website.

Listen to “Not Satisfied” from the record (right click and “save target as…”)






1 comment

  • Pariah was one of the first punk bands I ever heard on a tape a friend made for me. It included the song “Up to Us” and probably was made up of songs from Rodney on the Roq. Mitzi McMahan and that tape changed my life forever to say the very least. Over the last two decades the tape is lost… would kill to hear that song again for sentimental and nostalgic reasons (yes, even old punks can be sensitive). Can you post it here? How about anything from a band called Kent State? It’s good to hear Pariah is still playing!

    Rick
    Rick@mouthfulofmoonlight.com

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