Band flyers and local music magazine ads were the social media tools of the 1980s – so unlike the intangible and infinitely fleeting images of today’s band sites, apps, and events. Back then, before the advent of the Mac Plus let alone the internet information age, band flyers and local rags were simply good advertising – you grabbed one and took it home and it was like a Facebook Event Notice sitting on your dresser all week.
Sometimes I like my nostalgia tangible, like concert ticket stubs. I always print out screen shot of digital tickets in order to have a stub (dangit). And before The Great Downsizing, I used to love to read lyrics and liner notes on vinyl, cassette, or CD packaging. Though those have been let go, I will still grab and keep a good band flyer.
While I didn’t keep a lot of flyers from this talented and fun-filled Tampa Bay Area music scene, some of the ones I do have deserve their place in internet posterity…
The earliest are from my high school years, ala 1981-1983. Never did we ever go to a high school dance nor football game nor any such thing. One of my besties had an older sister who would sneak us into the new wave clubs, a scene that was thriving in the Tampa Bay Area at the time – the Fanatics, the Headlights, A New Personality, Marcel Nouveau, Real Cameras, Red Tape, Rocky Ruckman and the Beat Heathens, Delores Telescope – at clubs like the ACL Club, Club Detroit and Big Apple West in St. Pete, the Cheshire Cat and the Swamp Club in Gulfport, El Gordo’s in St. Pete Beach, and Ms. Lucky’s (later Ruby’s) in Tampa.
I thoroughly enjoyed my new wave days, and I can never, ever thank my life-long friends enough for introducing me to local live music. I couldn’t get into the rock scene bars at that age, but I saw a lot of those bands at roller rinks (Stranger, now the Greg Billings Band) and in K-Mart parking lots (Savatage when they were called Avatar)(that show is actually on YouTube somewhere). The legal drinking age was in the process of gradually shifting from 18 to 21, and I was grandfathered in at age 19.
I went to the 49th Street Mining Company on that 1983 birthday night I turned legal. Off the top of my head, the main local rock clubs we frequented were 49th Street Mining Company in Pinellas Park, Mark Twain’s in Tampa – later known as the Tampa Bay Power Club, Crown Lounge in PP, ABC Lounge (aka ABSleaze) in St. Pete, Mr. T’s Club 19 in Clearwater, and Ruby’s in Tampa, with a lot of other great dive bars here and there and in between – and stretching out to beach bars in Daytona and The Treehouse or The Button South in the Fort Lauderdale area. The Rock-It Club in Tampa, which eventually became the end-all-be-all of Tampa Bay Area rock clubs, wasn’t around in those early years, and I was in Los Angeles for most of 1984 and 1986-1989.
The local rock bands that come to mind were Argus, Bobby Friss Band, Buster Brown, Brat, Dorian Gray (who eventually morphed into Warrant), Four-In-Legion, Intice, Jeteye, Lefty, New York, Nova Rex, Stormbringer, Stranger, Roxx Gang, Secret Service, Tangent…the memory banks fail me further than that.
Given the above, these flyers start off in the local new wave scene and morph into the local rock scene. Talk about the good ‘ole days…wouldn’t trade them for anything ;o).
For more information on the local Tampa Bay Area music scene, check out the Tampa Bay Music Scene Historical Society (update: link removed as it got weird). You can also find some great stuff on Encyclopaedia Mettalum: The Metal Archives. And if you’re looking for venue information, try Setlist.fm. They archive show venues, dates, and setlists for a lot of local rock bars from around the country.
Update: Check out the comments below for updates to some of the bands and band members mentioned in this post, as well as people searching for certain band flyers and events. Do you have old band flyers hanging around somewhere?
I’m not sure of the name of this local band ala 1982-ish, but it featured a guy that I went to high school with, Donnie Brown (far left, later of the band Jeteye), and Randy Ferguson (second from left), who owns and operates Sound Coast Studio/The Rehearsal Venue nowadays. I believe another guy is from the local music store, Seminole Music, as I saw a similar picture hanging in their shop where I used to take guitar lessons (fun but I’m hopeless ;o)). I also seem to recall this was one of the high school bands we used to watch practice in someone’s garage – I vaguely recall egg carton sound-proofing all over the walls.
I believe I picked up this contest form when I saw The Who with Joan Jett and the B-52s at the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida on 11-27-1982. I remember mailing in the detachable entry form! See my 1982 Concert Ticket Stubs. Gotta love these flyer directions. Rock Superbowl XIX in Orlando, Florida on 10-29-1983 featured The Police (imagine Sting in the feathery jacket), The Fixx, and the Animals. See my 1983 Concert Ticket Stubs.
Keeper was my friend Blackie’s band. Still one of my bestest besties…she is the source of a lot of the information on the musicians and clubs mentioned in this post. She is a databank of the people and places of this era (kind of like the Eddie Trunk of the Tampa Bay area lol). That’s mainly because, as well as being a local musician in the bands Keeper and Juvenile, she’s guested with a lot of other bands, including one memorable evening signing For Shame with Kix at Killian’s in Ybor City. She could also be found writing and hosting for local music magazines (Thrust, etc.) and cable tv shows (Metal Masters). Based out of Nashville these days, Blackie sings backups with Southern Accents – A Tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and is currently working on several other recording and radio/club hosting projects.
Ah, Maas Brothers, the local department store that became Burdines that became Macy’s. Luckily Coachman Park is still around (albeit smack dab in the Land of Scientology) – I saw Sammy Hagar there last year. I notice that the band Visigoth is in this flyer, the Prisoner flyer, and the Savatage/Nasty Savage flyer below, yet I have no recollection of them, nor can I find anything online. Blackie seems to remember a guy named Martin who sang and played bass. The Encyclopaedie Metallum only mentions a Visigoth based in Salt Lake City, Utah.I don’t actually remember going to the London Victory Club in downtown Tampa until the ’90s – I know I saw Girlschool there, and I have a vague recollection of seeing Kevin DuBrow of Quiet Riot sing with the local band Juliet at this club. Blackie recalls that it was mainly a dance club in the 1980s (which explains why I didn’t go there) that occasionally booked rock acts.
Only thing I can tell you about this band is that it featured Kevin Steele (second from right), the future singer of Roxx Gang (of the ’80s hit song Red Rose. He’s been with the Mojo Gurus for a while now. I don’t remember much about the Lonesome Coyote club, but according to the map it was somewhere around 82nd Ave. and 34th St.(U.S. 19) – looks like it was in Pinellas Park. Secret Service was one of the top Bay Area bands and actually had a record deal. The band did not move forward with the death of highly regarded singer Steve Gruden.
Now there’s some graphic design for you. I don’t remember much about this band Moxy Roxx, but Blackie correctly recalled it included Teddy Mueller, former member of the band Axe. Like some of the bands I’ve mentioned, Moxy Roxx was not a local-based band but one that toured a wider rock club circuit.
Savatage, probably Tampa’s most famous metal band, and Nasty Savage – both integral forces behind the epic Brandon Death Metal Scene. It wasn’t a scene I frequented, but I crossed over into it (as well as into the new wave and punk scenes) once in awhile.
Mark Twain’s, on Hillsborough Ave. near Dale Mabry in Tampa, changed their name to Tampa Bay Power Club at some point. I actually remember this King Kobra show – specifically getting there and seeing that Blackie and the entire band, including Carmine Appice and Johnny Rod, had some type of pink hair color food fight. As you can imagine, it was a mighty bright pink in those 80’s-bleach-blondedness coifs…
Mr. T’s Club 19 was another great local club – good times, good times. It was right next to the old Peaches Records & Tapes on the corner of U.S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay in Clearwater, which, if I recall, had Pat Travers‘ handprints in its little sidewalk of fame area. Not sure why the box is blank – I’m guessing it was where contestants could write in their name and hand them out. I think this was from 1985.This mangled but awesome Kix flyer actually had a pink souvenir balloon on top of it in my scrapbook that appeared to have disintegrated. We ALL loooooooooooved (and still love) us some Kix. Imagine that, $3 at the door.I recently came across this 1986 magazine ad (I think it was from a local rag called MUSIC – same as the Brat article above) while working on a post about the band Nova Rex (see my post Nova Rex, Nostalgia, and Neurology). This is a great find in that BOTH Nova Rex and Stormbringer still play out and about locally these days. This ad also brought back a fleeting memory of the club called Rock City at the Rocky Point Beach Resort in Tampa circa 1985-86 – I do remember going there. I tried to google the club and the only interesting thing I found was a 1986 YouTube video of the local death metal band Morbid Angel playing there…a related but very different scene(!). And because I actually have a picture of me and some pals from an outdoor concert at the Rocky Point Beach Resort around then….Blackie posing, unknown girl, Brigette, Me blabbing about something, and Cathy and the side of Randee in deep conversation, at an outdoor show at Rocky Point Beach Resort in Tampa around 1985. We tried to remember who was playing at this event but only remember it might have been Lefty. I thought it might be the show in the concert ticket stub below, but by scraping together our collective memory banks (people and places – I was already living in L.A. by June of 1986) we concluded that it had to be a earlier show. Thank you Kenny Wilkerson of Nova Rex for keeping this great ticket stub featuring some of the most popular Tampa Bay Area bands of that era – 4NLegion (sp?)(side note: I just found a YouTube video of There’s a Party in My Pants), Lefty (which featured Kenny McGee, later of Juliet, and Johnny Lee Middleton, later of Trans-Siberian Orchestra), and Nova Rex, who can still be seen playing around these days.
I simply don’t remember what this flyer was all about, but we think it was a listening party for the 1985 Motley Crue Theatre of Pain record release…and speaking of Peaches Records & Tapes and Motley Crue…I’m just going to apologize for my cut and paste approach to making things fit better in my scrapbook back in the day. But this was from a Motley Crue album signing party at Peaches Records & Tapes, sponsored by Q105 – which if I recall, was more of a pop station. I think this was 1984. It turned into record store mayhem…they did not expect the massive crowds. Check out the practically tattoo-less arms.
I don’t really remember anything about this band Suite 16 but I learned it included local guitarist Vinnie Granese (later of Mojo Gurus).
We had such fun with this band New York and the singer’s wife Marlene, all over the Tampa Bay area and beyond – wherever you guys are, thanks for the memories! I remember going over to Daytona Beach to see them once in awhile. Gawds, we stayed at the dive-iest of motels…when things like that didn’t matter ;o).Warren Wyatt was the Tampa Bay Area band manager extraordinaire back in the day. He took on the best bands in the upper booking echelons. Just because I still happen to have this bumper sticker. We had two great rock radio stations back when radio ruled – 95YNF and 98 Rock.This WSHE bumper sticker above and the flyer below are from the Fort Lauderdale area…we’d sometimes take the 4-hour drive over to The Treehouse or The Button South if there was a band we wanted to see. I do remember an amazingly fun jaunt over to the east coast of Florida for spring break (not that we were in college!) to the Button South in Hallandale Beach. I think I kept this front-and-back flyer because we were amused by it.
And lastly, a shout out to the Tampa Bay Area punk scene. I won the 2015 book The Tampa Scene: Images from the Eighties, which reproduces a crazy big collection of local show flyers and photos, at a memorial benefit for a scene member. Compiled by author and director Tony Patino, who is described as a “scholar of Tampa punk,” it contains many, many flyers representing the bands and clubs from that thriving scene: Bad Brains, Black Flag, Butthole Surfers, Circle Jerks, The Cramps, Dead Kennedys, Husker Du, Iggy Pop, Jehovah’s Sicknesses, No Fraud, Pink Lincolns, The Ramones, Rat Cafeteria, Roach Motel, Souxie & the Banshees, Suicidal Tendencies…at clubs like Janus Landing in St. Petersburg, The Ritz and The Cuban Club in Ybor City, the Lonesome Coyote in Pinellas Park, and interestingly, at various all-ages community centers around the Tampa Bay Area. And let me tell you, it is priceless enjoyment to peruse these old-school pasted-up, hand-printed, hand-drawn pieces of art. The intro to the book says it all about the punk life and legacy: “If someone ever tells me that they used to be a punk rocker, then they weren’t a punk rocker as far as I’m concerned.” – Samytown-Fang. RIP, Stiff and Dreb.