The Punk Vault
Selections from The Punk Vault [Subculture]

Selections from The Punk Vault [Subculture]

Subculture LP

Subculture – I Heard a Scream LP (1985 Fartblossom Records)

I can’t remember where I heard of Subculture from, it was either a fanzine or I simply bought their record because it was on Fartblossom Records (same label that Justice League were on). I actually had nearly forgotten I even owned this record until someone on the daghouse asked me if I planned on doing a feature on this record. It was through the luck of one of them playing in a band currently with one of the members of the band that I was able to get in touch with Kevin Collins (singer) and get the story of Subculture. It was co-written by Kevin and Matt Smart Ass (guitar).

Subculture was invented in 1983 by Chris Phillips and Matt Smith. They didn’t know any other punk rock people in Winston-Salem at that time so needless to say they were a duo. Matt already had a guitar and could play a few Chuck Berry songs. Chris became the drummer because he couldn’t get the words to “Johnny B Goode” right. They called the band Two Average White Guys With Big Gonads, or T.A.W.G.W.B.G for short.

Matt Started writing songs because it was easier than learning other people’s. He didn’t know anything about politics and felt that it would be obnoxious for a 14 year-old to sing about Reagan era America so he chose the only topic he thought he new anything about: girls. This was a bit unusual for a punk band at the time but they didn’t know any better. Chris met Bill Huthchins in early 1984. Bill had a bass guitar and could play pretty well so he became the bass player. It was Bill who came up the name Subculture. He saw it spray-painted on a wall in The Who’s movie, The Kids are Alright. In late 1984, Matt met a punk rock guy named Clint Buss at school. Clint played guitar and dressed real punk. Clint joined the band.

They played at some parties in Winston-Salem and even played in Simon Bob Sinister’s house in Durham. Simon Bob later sang in The Ugly Americans and much later in C.O.C. Clint’s dad drove them to the party. The punk people in Durham thought it was neat. Matt was singing and playing guitar at the same time. He found this to be challenging so they decided to get a singer who could jump around and scream. Matt’s voice was lazy and nasally sounding. They thought girls would like them better if they had a real singer. Kevin Collins was perfect. He had red hair like Chris, and he wore glasses. It turned out that his voice sounded really good when he screamed. He could jump pretty high too.

Clint left the band after a few months but they continued as a four piece. They recorded a demo in Kevin’s basement and called it We Like Girls because that’s what the songs were about. They played a lot of shows in Raleigh and sold their tapes to people. They sold the most at a show in Durham at a place called the St. Joseph’s Cultural Center. It was in the ghetto and after the show Mike Dean and Reed Mullin got stabbed. Don’t worry, they were OK.

They all got girlfriends like they had originally set out to. Bill spent too much time with his. This was unacceptable to the band so they kicked him out. Clint joined up again on bass. In the Summer of 1985 they recorded their first record, I Heard a Scream. Reed Mullin of No Core records and C.O.C. was highly instrumental in the project. He arranged for the record to be released in conjunction with Bob Durkee of Fartblossom Records in Pomona CA.

In 1986 Ed Marshall and Clint Buss were replaced by Fred Hutchinson on guitar and Jeff Floyd on bass. Phil Swisher, a future C.O.C bassist, was originally going to fill the guitar spot, but he was unexpectedly dropped on his head in a fight with a 300 pound homosexual at the Brewery in Raleigh. It’s not that I’m being homophobic, it’s a simple fact, it was a 300 pound homosexual. His name was Larry Lube. Since Phil was bald-headed it gave him a concussion. When Phil recovered he decided that Subculture wasn’t really the thing for him at the time, even though they had nothing to do with him being dropped on his head. Phil recommended Fred to do the gig instead. Fred suggested his friend Jeff to take Clint’s place.

They did their first tour of the Midwest and East Coast that summer with the horrible NOFX. They’re not really that horrible now, but at the time Subculture were the greatest punk rock band in the world. Everyone else was pretty horrible in comparison. They recorded a second record in 1987 but it never came out. The concept of shopping around for a label eluded the band at that time.
They toured the US and Canada in 1987 with NOFX. This was the last tour Subculture did. Matt quit the band in Green Bay after a show at a boxing ring, The band finished the tour without him.

In 1988 Fat Mike called Matt to see if Subculture wanted to go to Europe that summer. Matt told him he was out of his fucking mind and that there was no future in it. Fat Mike thought there was a future in it. One of them was right.

To which I will add a few memories that stand out …

Many fun days of skateboarding around W-S wherever we could find, mostly at an abandoned skate park that I remember my dad taking me to as a little kid, but closed and was left to rot. This was as close to heaven as we could imagine. Eventually filled in with sand.

Getting huge air on Chris Phillips’s rope swing. This thing was on the side of a steep hill and we’d swing in a big circle around the tree, first one way then the other. At the point where the hill dropped off you’d be ten or twelve feet up. Chris would do all these amazing tricks, hanging upside down and spinning.

Woody and Reed of C.O.C. joining all of us on backing vox when we recorded the LP and changing the lyric from “sadness” to “Sabbath”.

In Detroit this guy I only ever knew as “Scary Carey” put us up, made us a nice dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, which we attempted to eat while his friends made us watch a scatological porn video.
Dave Scott of Adrenalin O.D. put us up once, got us high and made us watch The Breakfast Club.

Where are they now? Most of us are married and have kids. Matt played in the cow punk band The Johnsons and now runs the county animal shelter. Chris played in the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Grover, Rubbermaid, and Rid of Dailys. Kevin played in Days Of…, Erectus Monotone, and currently sings for Double Negative. I heard that Ed Marshall is a farmer and graphic artist. Fred played in Boil, Husbians, Pigfucker, and currently Fran Hammer. Jeff Floyd played in Kudzu Ganja and currently in Semi-Pro.

Many Thanks to Kevin and Matt for taking the time to put that together! For record nerds, it should be noted that this album came on both green and black vinyls.

UPDATE: Fred from Subculture chimed in with the following…

As for Subculture, you guys kidnapped me from bumfuck wake forest and took me to winston for band practice. I was washing dishes at the time, and I’m not sure that they ever got finished. There are lots of tour stories, like the motorcyclist with a bone sticking out of his leg and “yo muthafucka i got your momma wrapped up in a bag, boy. We disbanded because we hated each other that week and I was too metal or D [Chris] wasn’t metal enough and because punks can’t stay punks for long and get along. Or something. Maybe we weren’t making enough money.

Listen to “Sadness” from the record (right click it and save!)

As an added bonus, Kevin sent me the unreleased second demo!

Listen to “Triangle” from the demo.






24 comments

  • I still love this record.
    the “metal” demo wasnt bad, either.
    Someone should re-issue all of this stuff.

  • from Sam Smole of Aftermath – When I saw this band with COC in Durham NC, COC guys got stabbed, but It made me want to play punk, real punk harder than ever, thats when I got Abe Quinn and so, on… I still have the first Subculture tape ” I like Girls” really, I do original tape and original crappy copy insert. That was cool email me at [email protected] Hey everyone!!

  • Bill Hutchins chiming in here some 20 years later from Boone, NC. A few missing peices- Chris, Matt and Kevin were great guys. Matt and i had dinner a year or so ago and Chris and I have exchanged a few emails. We had so much fun. We became Taco Bell bean burritto fiends. I was playin bass on the I like girls cassette a 4 track done at kevins house. My only alteration would be that I was kicked out. I was drifting into hippie/reggae stuff and the hardcore anger was turning me off. I was becoming a practice slacker though-I won’t deny that but I wasn’t kicked out. I’ll never forget all the parties we played in my basement or going to Statesville and playing at Ed’s (or was it some chicks?) house. Fartblossom was the ‘perfect’ label because matt and chris were obsessed with teenage boy antics.

  • bill- my email is

    [email protected]

    for any old winston-salem mid eighties subculture friends who stumble on this. Many thanks to Reed Mullin from COC for all the support he gave the band in the early days(i just wish he hadn’t called at 11:30 on a school night all the time when I needed my sleep).

  • Glad to see that Subculture is finally getting some well deserved notice. I saw most of the Raleigh, Chapel Hill and Winston Salem shows and many points inbetween. Hell, I even sing back ups on the LP. These guys kicked ass. I believe I saw them before Kevin sung for em. I recently saw Matt when he came to town to check out mine and Kevin’s new band, DOUBLE NEGATIVE, very nice to see him again. Glad to see that Bill is doing ok and we stayed with Fred in charlotte a month or so ago when DN played there and Jeff floyd was there too, he got my ass lost in charlotte at 3am. I think their 2nd demo is probably coming out this year. And……super nice to see that Smole is still around. Anybody wanting to get intouch with me, contact me at … [email protected]

  • Have been looking everywhere for something about this band. My ex husband had the record, but I never got anything from the collection after we split. I kind of like “Long Ago”, but then again, I’m a girl. Where can I get this album?

  • Amazing music, amazing people…has it really been 20 years? I feel old.

    The shows in Bill’s basement and at the Brewery were so rockin’!!

    Hope you are all happy and healthy!

    Would love to be in touch with you guys…[email protected]

  • I can’t believe I stumbled onto this. Don’t ask why. I remember Bill coming over to Chris Ong’s garage to watch two future Ill Gottin Gains guys “practice.” We eventually played with Subculture at that dump in Chapel Hill. Winston-Salem Hardcore… funny. Hey Renea! It’s been a long time.

  • Wow…so good to know that you guys are still getting props for this album! I went to Reynolds with you guys and, by the way, had a HUGE crush on Clint (as did many a punk chick). My husband grew up in Raleigh at the same time and remembers shows at the Brewery. You weren’t just a flash-in-the-pan high school punk band…we KNEW you guys were talented! Right on!!

    Susan Bolash in Boone, NC
    [email protected]

  • hi guys, i can’t believe i found this. was looking for simon bob online, and came across this, the most recent info i seem to see online about any of you guys, not that you/we are all the same guys, but so much crossover that blends now its been so long! Bill!!! i would like to be in touch, how are you?? you were my best friend back then. anyone know how to get in touch with bob mcelwee? or clint buss? any of you guys on myspace or facebook? there are alot of us 80s WS folks on fb now, which is nice.
    love love love,
    Lee

  • Wow guys, now this IS a blast from the past! But I don’t see anything about all hte “Pockets” or “Ritz” shows mentioned anywhere. Those were the best! And I’m with Susan in going gaga over Clint Buss :)- who I think is still in Winston. My boyfriend had him as his college professor a few years ago so I’ll see if he has his email and get this link sent along.

    Subculture rocked my world and this page just made my day!

    Best memories: The DK’s Raleigh Skate-World and NC Food Bank shows with that guy playing the rake, anyone remember that? Later, and thanks for the good times!

    Katie

  • Thanks to Lee for helping some of us find this. Yeah, I remember the “Skank for the Bank,” Eugene Chadbourne and about fifteen other bands, including Snuzz’s old outfit Resist whom I always dug. Subculture was great. I feel like I remember them as a five-piece at the Turning Point in Chapel Hill too. Could that be right? Right on to the old-school honkies and even, ha ha, Fred…Boil is something I have mixed feelings about due to a Ruebarb show in Greensboro and an incident in Boone but that’s a long story so forget I brought it up. Cool guy, all kidding aside.
    Been wanting to see -/- but spent a good part of this year trapped in Asheville. Lots of hippies there. I never could manage to tie-dye the cattle prod I wanted to fry them with, whilst chasing them down the street hollering “Che Guevara is an overrated t-shirt icon douchebag and, no, I never heard that awesome 1973 bootleg of ‘Uncle John’s Box of Magnolia Frogs’ from Red Rocks, you dumb bastards!!!”

  • I picked up this album in 85. Love it!! I wish I could have seen them play, but never got the chance (I grew up in the San Fransisco bay area). What I would really love though would be a compilation cd of all the recorded songs they did. I would especially love to hear that second LP. I looked around all the time hoping for a second release. At least I can finally get my record on digital(http://pissangelsextrememusic.blogspot.com/2008/03/subculture-i-heard-scream-vinyl-rip-mp3.html). Well a digital copy anyway. I would prefer to buy a cd that the band gets paid for though. Someone poke these guys in the butt with a sharp stick until they get it done ok??

  • That Statesville show was a birthday party for this chic – she was the girlfriend of Bud Long, drummer for my band Macabre Smile – we took control, celebrated a bit too much, and her parent’s ended up calling the cops to make us leave…I remember her dad screaming until red in the face while we kept turning up the volume and vaulting off a table until it collapsed. Geez, what honest pricks we were – but that was the night I met those Subculture boys.
    I joined up, wrote some songs (“The Last Time” – and two more), played some shows & recorded, then got the exit boot.
    More bands, art schools, a solid go at organic farming, kids, and now film/video editing in LA.
    I’m preparing for another round of all of the above, because 1985 was really just yesterday.

  • i found the 2nd record on soulseek a while back. it’s ripped from a cassette, sounds kinda rough. kevin knows where the master reel is though. i’d like to hear it again. i thought it was cool at the time.
    take care,
    matt

  • The first hardcore show I ever attended was Subculture and Corrosion of Conformity with a local band called Disarm at a cruddy teen dance club called Starz in Virginia Beach. My parents showed up right as COC went on stage and dragged me out. Still one of the best shows I have ever had.

  • So funny that (s)Carey is mentioned above (Detroit show). The venue was the Graystone. I was there and had the pleasure of hanging out with SC afterwards (not for the scat porn, ew, heh! ..but know that the ‘friend’ reference HAD to have been Bob). I kept in touch with Fred for a while. Glad to see he’s still doing something musically.

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