“AL POE–ART” it says, a gig flyer by George Davison, 1979. His band on here was the Live Ones…I think it was his first ever show. (Mine too, I was drumming with Keene White.) What a wild night that was. George’s Cafe was a little dive on Lower State in Santa Barbara. It was supposed to be a jazz club but jazz was nowhere in 1979 and George the proprietor (a conga player from New York City, I got the impression he’d had to skip town and wound up in Santa Barbara) was reduced to booking punk bands. He wasn’t happy. We didn’t care. I’ll write more about that some other time. But I found an account of that night I wrote back then, a handwritten letter to someone I never sent. (You can see the part about George’s band here
.) I had described everything that night in the long letter, and went on and on about the Live Ones and George, he’d made such an impression. I never finished the letter, stopped before writing about my own first time on a stage. So what I remember about that night is mostly George.
Creative design in the pre-digital days. Dig the label gun art. Label guns were high tech in 1979.
This next is one of my favorites, a flyer “by Al Poe from items discovered in Ron E Supro’s car”…looks like it’s dated Dec 5, 1979. Ron E Supro was Ron E Phast, the guitar player in Keene White and chief instigator of all the punk rock madness from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara. He had an organized talent for sheer anarchy, always putting on these crazed shows. He and George went way back, apparently, though I can’t recall the details. I do remember Ron E and George (Al Poe then) stoned out of their minds showing me the new flyer. They were both very proud of it. Al Poe because he created a flyer out of trash, and Ron E because the trash was from the floor of his car.
Al Poe’s legendary flyer made from litter, 1979
And here’s another flyer for the December 5th show, which I’m quite sure was done by Al Poe tho’ his name isn’t on it. It took hours of work, obviously, and some very good hash or acid. Maybe both. I don’t recall George working back then, like the rest of us, some shitty nothing office gig or a gas pump jockey (“There’s nothing in my head/and I’m wishing I was dead/I’m a gas station attendant/Fill it up!/Fill it up!/Fill it up!” went a Keene White song). I envied him. He had the expanses of time needed to get properly high all day and make elaborate flyers for fly by night punk rock shows. This seemed very important at the time. And this one even has the date clearly visible, you’ll notice, an important thing on a flyer:
Keene White Rugby Party flyer by Al Poe. I didn’t write about it so I can’t remember the show, but it would have been as demented as usual, maybe more so, and the rugby players never showed up.
And there’s one more, this one also for the November 11, 1979 show:
Create your own future.
Looking at the handwriting, it appears this was made by several very stoned people. I can recognize Al Poe’s, Edwin’s, Chuck’s, Ron E’s…I doubt people recognize handwriting anymore. And I just noticed that George called his band the Livewires on this one, as opposed to the Lives Ones that appeared on the other flyer….must have been a last minute name change, Livewires to Live Ones, easy to do when you only had only practiced once or twice, barely, and had only just started playing your instruments.* Those were the days. It was expected. We liked it raw. It seemed more real that way, less plastic, less what the seventies had turned into. George eventually became a solid and inspired guitar player, a natural, but these flyers take me back to that first gig. And yeah, the flyer’s not pretty but that “Create Your Own Future” line they found somewhere and pasted on onto the edge is perfect, as that was what it was all about. We did, too. Didn’t realize it at the time, but we were, inventing it as we went along, having a blast, never ever giving in. I think maybe George never ever gave in a little more than most.
Anyway, here’s to our Al Poe aka George Davison who was such a blast to be around but damn if he didn’t break our hearts in the end. You just can’t trust anybody. RIP, George, or maybe raise hell in peace, whichever groove moves you. Just don’t be normal, and never ever grow up.
Brick & Fyl……
* Actually, when you think about it a far more likely explanation is that George had nothing to do with this flyer and Ron E just got the band name wrong….