Friday, December 16, 2011

THE SHAFFERS - "Live At Collin's" - Tape - 1994

   THE SHAFFERS were one of the first punk bands from the Chattanooga / Dalton,GA area that I ever heard. Their bass player, Mike Pack hitchhiked down to Birmingham (where I lived....or very close to the time) in 1994 to see PROPAGANDHI at Tuxedo Junction and he gave one of my friends a tape of his band. They were great. They were playing a style of fucking fast DIY hardcore that was still tuneful and upbeat. I wanted to play music like this. I wanted to know these people. I wanted them to be my friends. I couldn't believe that they lived only a couple of short hours away from me. Less than a year later, I was living in Huntsville,AL and I went to see a bad horror-punk / ska band called THE INDEPENDENTS (yep, still the same band) play an insanely boring show downtown. There was a little skinny guy wearing a leather jacket at that show that I had never seen around town. He looked to be a few years older than me and  wasn't talking to anyone, but looked wholly approachable and gave off a certain unexplainable charm. I introduced myself to him and he told me his name was Eric Nelson. He had hitchhiked here from Chattanooga for this show. "THIS show?!" I asked incredulously. He explained that THE INDEPENDENTS were old friends that he hadn't seen in a while. I ended up hanging out with him all night and I picked his brain about bands from his town. He let it slip that he played guitar in THE SHAFFERS and learning that was like finding a missing piece of a puzzle that you didn't even realize that you were working on.
    After that, I kept trying to get THE SHAFFERS to come to Huntsville to play a show, since they were only 2 hours away. I learned early on that the Chattanooga punks, while playing brilliant punk rock and being some of the finest people I have ever met in my life, were highly unorganized. If you set up a show for them, there was a 50% chance they wouldn't show up, either because the vehicle broke down or someone got drunk and disappeared or they forgot. When any of their bands did show up, it was highly likely that they would have brought 2 other bands crammed into a minivan and they would insist that the other bands had to play too...which was fine since everyone's set only lasted 15 minutes or less and they all used the same equipment. Long story short: I never got THE SHAFFERS to come to Alabama, so I went to them.
    Going to Chattanooga for the first time really opened my eyes to a whole new world of punk and I really feel like I found what I had been looking for for years. I got to see THE SHAFFERS, Eric and Mike's other band THE JACK PALANCE BANDTHE DRILLER KILLERS, THE ACCIDENTAL HONKIES and many, many more. I liked it so much that I moved there a few years later and THE SHAFFERS are directly responsible for that.
SHAFFERS live...maybe in Georgia. Photo by Josie.
   This tape was recorded live at Collin's (a bar? a house? I don't know!) and shows THE SHAFFERS at their fastest and tightest. It sounds like four people who grew up on a steady diet of early DRI, COC, SCREECHING WEASEL'S "Punk House" 7" and THE MISFITS. Michelle's rapid fire vocals are completely on-point and fierce. Each song blazes by in a fury and they manage to blast out 16 songs in about the same amount of minutes. So fucking good. This is the band that cemented Eric and Mike's musical marriage and they continue to play music together today in HIDDEN SPOTS. They're like my generation's Mike Watt and D Boon. Also, let us not forget their drummer, Nathan (a.k.a. the sensual wizard) who looked like a haze of long hair, weed smoke and big smiles behind the set. His drumming inspires me to this day.

Updated 2013

The quality, of course, has always been sub-par on this recording, but I tried to fuck with it a little bit and I think it has improved. Just act like you're sitting around a Chattanooga punk house with dog shit on the floor and this is blasting out of the worst quality stereo that you just scored from the dumpster behind the thrift store.
Also, there are no song titles because there is no list with the tape, but just act like some of them are called "Tommy is a Weirdo" and "I Need You Now", because that is true.


Rurnt said...

They were one of the two bands to get me into punk during 9th grade.

Harvester said...

That fucking rules.

Rurnt said...

I went to school with Nathans little brother and he had a live tape (not this one) he let me copy. I still have it somewhere.

Blair Menace said...

Oh god, those cornrows...

Anonymous said...

back then,those cornrows kept my hair ouuta my face...michele shaffer alive and well in new hampshire :) I have a facebook these days...michelelynn great job greg this was truly a blast from the past..:)