Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Fangtastic: Murder, Mayhem and Fang
California '80s punk band Fang recently came to town and played a series of shows. I caught them live at the Funhouse, where these photos were taken. It was a great energetic show... but I still had reservations seeing them and shooting them.
For those not in the know, Fang was a pretty decent punk rock band during the '80s. Their "hit song" in punk terms was "The Money Will Roll Right In," which locals Nirvana used to cover live a fair amount. They also did the song "I Want to Be on TV" which Green Day played live and recorded for a b-side. Fang's singer Sam McBride murdered his girlfriend and went to prison in 1989. Just six years later McBride was released, causing a fair amount of drama in the punk scene. McBride, probably trying to escape his past a little, changed his name to Sammytown, but he still reformed Fang. For the past decade the band has had a revolving door of members, a bunch of releases and re-releases, and toured.
There is a documentary called "Welcome to Sammytown" about the murder that played the Seattle International Film Festival a few years ago, somewhat surprisingly it's on YouTube and linked from Fang's website. You can watch it here. And read the comments, you can see the controversy about McBride, if he should be free now, how he got such a light sentence (people think he was a snitch), and read and hear all about his drug abuse and craziness. I'm writing all this to say by publishing these photos I don't support the singer or band, I didn't pay to get in the show, but still had fun rocking out to them. They put on a pretty damn good live show, even if they have a fucked up past. McBride doesn't shy away from what he did and proudly wears a California Department of Corrections patch on his jacket, which I find totally bizarre.