The Punk Vault

Negative Approach DVD

Negative Approach DVD

Negative Approach – Fair Warning Vol. 1 – DVD
Motor City Rock ‘n’ Roll

Negative Approach were an early hardcore band from Detroit, MI who put out one 7″ and one LP in the short time they were together. They were part of that “Touch and Go” scene that spawned so many great Midwestern punk bands in the very early 1980s. Since their demise, as the years have passed, NA have become legendary in the eyes of hardcore fans too young to have been there to see them while they were active, as well as being looked back fondly upon by the old guard who were there at the time.

This DVD collects footage from 4 different shows, one in 1981, two in 1982, and one song recorded in 1983. The footage is all shot on one camera and the quality varies depending on the show. It is all fan-shot footage so you pretty much know what to expect. It is obvious however, that this is all low or first generation recordings. Video cameras weren’t very cheap or accessible back in the early 1980s, so it is no small miracle that footage of some little hardcore band even exists.

The first show on the DVD has the best quality and was recorded at the City Club in Detroit, MI. This is the longest segment of the DVD as well and contains 14 songs. The sound, considering the source, is actually quite good and it was obviously shot on a tripod. The camera barely moves so it is mostly fixed on John Brannon, and the bass and drums. Occasionally it pans over to show the guitar player.

The second show was from 1982 at Traxx, which was a regular venue for hardcore shows back then. The footage isn’t nearly as clear and neither is the sound, but the performance is a lot more energetic. It was obvious that time having passed since the first show on this disc resulted in a tighter and more powerful Negative Approach. Despite it being the worst of the video/audio quality I found it to be my favorite of the shows presented here.

A show from Paychecks Lounge in Hamtramck, MI in 1982 follows and it is a similar set to the above one and likely happened around the same time. The set is a bit shorter, but the video and audio quality were better than the above.

Last but not least is a clip of “Can’t Tell No One” that John Brannon (now sporting hair) played on stage with The Misfits at The Graystone in Detroit in 1983. The footage is a bit shaky as it was shot on a hand-held camera but it certainly is a pretty cool bit of hardcore history. The total running time of the disc is 39 minutes long. It obviously goes by rather quickly.

If you’ve never heard Negative Approach before, you’d likely want to pick up the CD on Touch and Go records to satisfy your curiosity as the short running time, amateur quality and 20 dollar price tag doesn’t lend itself as a vehicle to win over new fans but that was never the intention of this DVD. If you are a die hard NA fan and are among the growing number of rabid fans who view them as one of the best and most important hardcore bands in history, then you won’t care about the short running time and low-fi quality, you’ll just be happy to have some sort of additional documentation of a time and place long gone. For someone like me who never got to see Negative Approach while they were still active, it was neat to see what I missed two states over from where I grew up and I for one certainly appreciate the DVD’s historical merit.

Related links:

Motor City Rock ‘n’ Roll Video website

Negative Approach official myspace page


  • I’m sure you’ve heard that Brannon and OP Moore are reuniting to play as NA at the T&G 25h anniversary party. Haven’t heard why the McCulloch brothers were excluded, though.

  • The McCulloch brothers we’re given the opportunity to play, but they have both been out of the music business for many years and they did not know if they could pull it together in the short time that they would have to rehearse. John and OP have played together resently along with members of Easy Action, and they know that they can give the audience the experience that they will be expecting. John and OP were also the main song writers of NA.

  • I know Rob McCulloch hasn’t played in ages, but I thought that Graham was still involved in music. Oh well. I guess its better knowing that they felt that they weren’t up to the task rather than hearing they just weren’t invited.

  • Graham and I wanted to play the show. I offered to fly to NY and DC when Easy Action were ther to practice. Grahm would have traveled up several times to Detroit to practice too.
    We (Grahma and I) felt more than comfortable that we would pull it off and give the fans a really great show. We wouldn’t do anything to hurt the NA name (unlike John who doesn’t mind putting out jam box live material on CD).
    I haven’t played out in ages, but I record constantly at home. Graham has never stopped being involved in music.
    It would be one thing if Graham and I didn’t want to do it. But we do want to do the show. We thought it would be a really good reason to get together to play. But John won’t us be involved.

  • so johnB is just putting crap out right?!
    and youve been recording?!!
    but its taken twenty years so put anything out?

    you quit.left him holding the bag and now you cant get what you want so youre slandering the guy that actually kept the shit going.

    what’s NA about that?!!

    I don’t like you anymore and you have changed the way I look at the old records. Thanks.

  • Thad,
    You are obviously very passionate about NA, that is great, but you are missing a couple of details. Rob “Quit.Left him holding the bag” both Rob & Chris(O.P.Moore) quit the band at the same time, they gave plenty of notice, they started a Band together that was going in a different musical direction. When you feel it is time to move on, you must or you are not being true to your band or to Punk Rock, I stayed in NA for an additional 6-9 months, I got a call to start a Band w/ Brian & Lyle from Minor Threat & Glen Danzig. I decided
    to try that band. All splits were under good terms. We were first invited to play this reunion then 2 days later disinvited by John with no explanation. Both Rob & I are very proud of NA but no one was left “Holding the bag”. My point is this, if John believes that what he is doing is right then why release disinformation about why we are not playing the show? I still think it would have been cooler if the whole band could have played. That’s all.
    I hope they have a great show, it is still some powerful music.

  • yes, I get a little too pissed about things, but its because no one gives a shit about the good detroit bands and when they finally get off their asses and put something out they get all this hating. sure there are old scores to settle and I’m glad I got to hear another side to the story but in the end you have to at least consider two salient points.
    1) though not a punk “law” it is usually the case that singers keep the band name unless other members are still playing out.
    2) intraband acrimony can change a legacy when it is brought back up after a re-release. this is about the dvd first and the tng show second. no one else did ANYTHING with the old stuff and getting picky about its quality and style was a laughable, opportunistic and obvious disservice to the fan base/band legacy.

    that’s really it in a nutshell. I see it from a fans perspective first and as imperfect as any of it is, its still something. What would you rather see, as a fan: harold and ron with opie and jb? or rob and graham with all the drama included?
    Personally I would rather see the original lineup, but I live on earth and know that its really a tribute show more than anything else.

    besides, all this sets up the real reunion anyway!!;)

    Rob pissed me off, that justin dork from boston pissed me off and I just had to put in my two cents because I’ve had the legacy’s back for what 20 plus years. How many thousands of times have I or the beast or many many others begged jb to get all those tapes out on a dvd? and when it finally comes out its met with derision?
    NA was the real deal and whoever plays it (I have seen more than ten different bands play “tied down”..) knows that. I see the adolescents and all those other bands that couldnt hold a candle to NA getting all this hype but when Detroit finally gets something out its all hate this hate that. Thats what the real problem I have with all of this is.
    Jack whitey is supposed to be the face of Detroit? Brenden Benson? whoever..

    We owe it to the kids to not shit on each other like that so that they can hear and see the shit done right, but I guess that’s too much to ask.

    When NA2 plays in London this winter they will be SHOCKED that there was this kind of power just laying around in Detroit. As fucked up and disappointing as jb has ever been, you and anyone else that digs that music owe him a begrudging beer at least for not just dropping it and leaving it on the side of the road.

    I know I’m 42 and shouldnt take myself so seriously, but this matters to me and underneath all the crap I know it does to you two also so cheers to that.

  • Thad,
    It’s funny, one of the things I was looking forward to (as we were straight edge back then) was having a Beer or two with jb & op. I guess it is in line with all things Detroit, they make great powerful things that don’t last.
    Maybe, in time, that beer can happen.
    Cheers to you Thad,

  • Personally, having been at many NA shows at such gone places as The Freestyle Club, the 1st Unitarian Church, etc. I’m just happy to see that at least the old members have the energy to still get up and make some noise. NA was one of the most under appreciated bands of its time and I miss them. Kids cite them now as influences, but those kids weren’t around to support the shows while they were happening. Hell, my old band, Frank My Uncle’s Band, actually recorded ‘Nothing’ for our first e.p. ‘Little Karen’. John, OP, more power to you. And Graham, you are still the gentleman that you have always been. Kudos to you.

  • Looks like another DVD is coming out soon. Can’t Tell No One will include reunion footage, rehearsals and more. Early 2008 is the planned release date.


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