You’ve already heard of bands like The Clash, The Sex Pistols, and Joy Division giving punk rock the rise it needed in the U.K. Then, of course, there were bands like The Ramones, The New York Dolls, and Iggy Pop who made punk rock unavoidable in the Big Apple.
Sorry to say it, but don’t feel special for knowing all those guys—everyone knows about the punk scenes in the U.K., NYC, and even L.A. What would make you cool is if you knew the bands from more underground punk scenes of that time, like the one that erupted in the ’70s and ’80s in the steel city of Pittsburgh, Pa.! Bands like The Cynics, The Cardboards, Carsickness, The Five, and The Shakes were so punk rock that there are even stories of bands like Black Flag, who are known for their chaos, calling these Pittsburgh bands too crazy for even them; Carsickness was even once described as music that punches holes in your brain.
This past Friday, April 7, The Cultural Trust put on a show in downtown Pittsburgh, at Space Gallery, that was entitled “Non-Punk Pittsburgh.” Why was it called “Non-Punk” when it was all about punk? Well, curator and punk rock pioneer Dennis Childers (Carsickness drummer), explains, “it wasn’t a punk scene like the rest of the world was having ,it was more of an explosion of creativity—it was the beginning of Pittsburgh’s transition from smoky old town, to the renaissance city we live and work in today.”
The scene not only brought a new wave of musicians and artists, but it also actually helped morph the city into the cultural hub it is today. This art show portrayed photography of live shows, portraits of old school punks being unapologetically self-expressive, videos of what punk rock culture was like during that time, art projects from then, and even live performances were put on by some of the pioneer punkers themselves—the entire thing was a memorial to this unique punk scene and a tribute to the people that helped turn Pittsburgh cool.
Check out the photos from the opening reception below!
Steve Sciulli and Dennis Childers (curator), members of Carsickness, speak with gallery goers.
Punk photographer, Stacy Weiss, stands next to a photo she took of a band from way back in the day.
Weiss standing next to a picture of a young self with daughter, Maura.
Lorraine Vullo re-creating the pose she did in her own old-school selfie photo with doll.
A young Gregg Kostelich from The Cynics plays guitar–Kostelich is now owner of Get Hip! Records.
Re-mastered Carsickness vinyl on display, being re-released on Get Hip! Records and release show on April 21st!
Punkette pioneer, Bea Luna, posing next to young photo of self.
Non-Punk drums painted to re-create Carsickness drummer’s original set from the 1980s. (Original now owned by Justin Sane of Anti-Flag.)
Close up of Non-Punk logo on the drum set.
Curator of Non-Punk Pittsburgh and drummer for Carsickness jams out.
Childers poses with old friend William Von Hagen, drummer of The Cardboards.
Picture from back in the day of curator Dennis Childers smoking a cigarette.
Old school photo of Carsickness members posing with drum set.
Inclusive section where gallery goers can create their own collages like the old-school punkers used to make their flyers.
The following are photos of the show’s overall layout and people enjoying the opening reception:
The following photos are a taste of what’s currently on display at Non-Punk Pittsburgh:
Photos below by Stacy Weiss
Photos below by Dennis Childers
Photos by the artists are on display at Pittsburgh’s Space Gallery until June 18!