12 August 2007

Halloween 1981, NYC: FEAR PLAYS SNL

For those who don't know FEAR, they were Hollywood’s most notorious punk band in the early ‘80s.

FEAR was lead by charismatic soon-to-be actor Lee Ving, who often taunted the audience with homophobic and racist taunts (all in "good fun," ya understand). These guys were brilliant, sketchy and unpredictable. They defined true punk rock.

John Belushi was a huge punk rock fan and his favourite bands were The Dead Boys and FEAR. At the time Belushi was pushing for FEAR to do the music for his misguided feature film "Neighbors."

Naturally there are a few different versions of the story...

One legend has it that some band canceled at the very last minute. FEAR was in town and Belushi convinced Lorne Michaels to let them play.

Another story goes that Belushi had to agree to a cameo on a future SNL episode to get FEAR on. Lorne had no idea who they were or what they were all about and booked the band at the eleventh hour on Belushi's word.

Their appearance, though somewhat forgotten today, was one of the most outlandish in the show's history.

FEAR came on and did two things that made their seldom rerun performance defy all SNL logic:

After performing a rather tame version of “I Don’t Care About You” for their first song, they returned later with an unheard-of-for-a-punk-band medley of their hits, the unholy trilogy of terror that is “Beef Bologna/New York's Alright If You Like Saxophones/Let's Have A War.”

For this second set, the band invited their friends to come slam in front of the stage... and they took over.

Included in this now legendary crowd was Henry Rollins, Ian MacKaye (you can hear him yell "New York Sucks!" before "Lets Have A War"), John Brannon from Negative Approach, and Belushi himself among others.

With the nation watching in awe, the crowd stormed the stage with such ferocity they immediately trampled the band’s gear and unplugged several instruments. Within seconds, it was chaos… pure, unplanned, history-making chaos.

Punk went public that day.

Fearing a riot and their entire set getting trashed, SNL finally pulled the plug halfway through the end of the hits-medley. During "Let's Have a War" the network cut to a short film and then directly into commercials. When they came back from commercials FEAR had left the building.


Fenn said...

Hi... This is a little late, but what can I say? I just now came across your blog entry.

Although the rumor mill claims he was there, Henry Rollins was actually in LA recording the Black Flag 'Damaged' album when this episode aired.

In addition to the DC group that Ian MacKaye brought up to NYC, Harley Flanagan (Cro-Mags) was also in the pit.

Chris Garbage said...

Henry Garfield/Rollins wasnt there....Ask Ian

Chris Garbage said...

Henry Garfield / Rollins wasnt there.....Ask Ian