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Government Issue – Live 1985 DVD

Government Issue DVD - Click me to order

Government Issue – Live 1985 DVD
Music Video Distributors

I think anyone who knows even only a little about me knows what a huge Government Issue fan I am. I put out one of their records even! I am also a huge fan of Flipside fanzine, and all things associated with it, including their videos, which this was once a part of. So in one fell swoop, I hold in my hands a document of not one, but two things of my punk rock past, GI and Flipside Video.

In 1985 Government Issue flew out to California on Mystic Records’ tab and played a handful of shows out there while recording some studio tracks at Mystic Studios for what became the Give Us Stabb or Give Us Death EP. Flipside filmed a couple of the shows they played out there and compiled it together which has now been preserved on DVD.

The first show was from June 3, 1985 at Fender’s. While the quality certainly isn’t up to today’s standards, back in 1985 Flipside put out some nice amateurish videos that were certainly well above the quality of a guy taking his mom’s video camera to a show. There is a couple of glitches in the video likely due to the age of the source tape but it is pretty minor. The sound is rather vocal heavy, but it still sounds pretty good and is certainly enjoyable. The show itself was your standard GI fare, which if you never got a chance to see them, was always top notch. Stabb is a charismatic front man and also one of the nicest guys in punk rock and would keep the crowd entertained with his between song banter. There is 10 songs in the set they played, mostly from Joyride and The Fun Just Never Ends.

The second show was recorded a couple months later at the Olympic Auditorium on August 9, 1985. For those who may not know, the Olympic was/is a 10,000 seat venue that used to do large concerts and wrestling shows for years. The place is still there, though I’m not sure they are still doing concerts anymore, or wrestling for that matter. Back in the mid 80’s, Goldenvoice Productions, then led by Gary Tovar, used to book these huge hardcore shows with a ton of bands and they’d pack the place. This show was one of those affairs and was the biggest size show GI ever played. Stabb mentions in the liner notes feeling a bit out of place on such a huge stage but you’d be hard pressed to notice watching this video. It didn’t stop them from delivering the goods. The video and sound quality are a bit better for this show, especially in the sound department where it is a much more even mix. They also played a longer set at this show as well.

Sadly there are no extras on the disc, but I chalk that up to the lack of material available as there must not have been many videos and video interviews shot back in those days, or if there was it wasn’t made available. A modern-day interview would have been cool with the ex-members. It is no deterrent from owning this however as this is really all about a document of a great band whose time is long over and I for one am ecstatic to see this not only being preserved on a format that won’t rot or fall apart, but made available to people like me who want another souvenir of those days, or for someone who wasn’t there at the time and wants to see what he/she missed.

Want one for yourself? Get it here.


  • Hey, do you think that Flipside will do a DVD treatment of the old Minutemen concert? They printed it on VHS before, and it was killer.

  • Thanks for the in-depth review.

    Someone used my photo on the cover of this DVD. I wish they’d have at least sent me a copy of it.

  • Back in the 80’s I was into a lot of punk and hardcore. My mother used to clean houses and she came home with a record and a little letter from a guitarist telling me to keep going(I was in a band myself) The album was non other than GI. I knew and heard and was a fan of GI but didn’t know what a small world it is. It was a great experience for a young musician like myself. Till this day they are a band that not only had great lyrics but a great sound. They were a big influence on my style of play.

  • always admired this band that would let you walk right up, grab the mic, and sing so far out of tune, it was criminal. jesus, those were some heady nights. the kind you can only read about nowadays.

    john truly was and continues to be the elder statesman of punk rock and roll.


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