Friday, September 22, 2017

Cuckoo's Nest Club Punk Shows 1977-1979 (Part 1)


Cuckoo's Nest Club Punk Shows
1977-1979 (Part 1)


by Hanson Meyer

Understand that this is a work in progress as there is so much to add. So bear with me and check back regularly as I'm constantly adding to this blog. (Last revision 5/22/2018) 

The Cuckoo's Nest, 1714 Placentia Ave., Costa Mesa, CA, (714)645-0390, 1976-1981





First, let me begin by stating that this is not a club biography or historical recount of the journey the club made from its inception to its demise, but rather this is a chronological timeline of the shows that happened at the Cuckoo's Nest leading up to its closure in December 1981. Many photos and flyers come and go circulating around the internet, but there is no single repository where one can go to quickly find information about the shows at Cuckoo's Nest.  My goal is to create a permanent, complete, chronologically accurate historical archive of all the shows that happened there. When possible, I have posted flyers and posters as well as any additional information or photos that I have found relating to the shows. Ultimately, I hope that others will send me stories, photos and flyers so this framework will fill out. For articles relating to the biographical history, please see this link: Cuckoo's Nest History

I recently met with club owner, Jerry Roach, and we chatted about many of the concerts, special events, crazy shenanigans and confrontations he faced during the time period that the club was open. He allowed me to take photos of his booking calendar for 1981 (which will show up in a later blog) and each month of the calendar has the bands he booked, the amount they were paid and phone numbers and contacts for each band. Other notes can be found as well with ideas for upcoming shows, etc. So for the year 1981, I have preceded each month with a calendar page and then the flyers for the shows in order for each respective month.

If anyone has flyers I am missing, or stories to add about any of the shows either listed or not listed, please feel free to email me at hansonmeyer@yahoo.com and I will add the information and give credit for the addition.


1977

The Cuckoo's Nest was open but was not actively booking bands prior to 1978 and when Jerry Roach originally purchased the property it was called "Finnigan's Rainbow" and was known as a psychedelic hippie club that had a history of putting on light shows that would rival the Fillmore. Jerry decided to change the name and at that time the Jack Nicholson movie "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" was extremely popular and had even won an academy award. He figured no one would forget the name, so that was the name that went up on the building. He left the rainbow portion of the previous sign as a homage to the club that existed before.



1978

In 1978, the iconic "cloud" wallpaper wasn't up yet. Jerry Roach told me that the original walls were made of a burlap material to help with the acoustics and absorb the sound. The fire marshal came in for an inspection and told Jerry that it didn't pass fire code and he had to rip it all down. It wasn't until early 1979 that Jerry happened across the clouds at Environmental Graphics and figured the design fit with the name of the club. From that point on, seeing the blue sky and clouds in the photos, you always knew that the moment that was captured took place at the Cuckoo's Nest.


February 16, 1978. According to Jerry Roach, the first punk rock show at the Cuckoo's Nest happened on this date. It was a benefit for the Masque in Los Angeles and Brendan Mullen brought the bands down to play at the Nest. On the bill were The Skulls, the Bags, the Controllers and Steamin' Freeman. More information about this show can be found at: Suburban Punk





Abt June 1978: The Cramps played at the Cuckoo's Nest. 
 
Although the exact date isn't currently known, this show is an important one... Jerry booked the Cramps to play although he had no idea who they were. He thought they were a band from down the coast in San Diego and had no idea how influential they were to become carving out their segment of the post rock and roll scene. Note:  setlist.fm has this show listed as happening on April 26, 1977, but there are no sources provided. Jerry said that date was impossible as the first show he booked was the benefit show shown above on February 16, 1978. Besides, the Cramps were in New York during April 1977 playing a number of shows at CBGBs and other clubs in the area. The Cramps were on the west coast and played three nights at The Whisky in Hollywood June 2-4, 1978. Jerry said he often booked bands within a couple days of them playing the Whisky and so he guessed that the photo below was taken from a show he booked sometime in early June of 1978.

The Cramps played the Cuckoo's Nest in about June of 1978.
  

December 18, 1978. The Ramones. This was perhaps the first show with a nationally recognized group performing. Note that the walls are stark and plain with no blue sky and clouds yet... That iconic wallpaper would go up within a few months of this show.

December 18, 1978. The Ramones at the Cuckoo's Nest.
December 18, 1978. The Ramones at the Cuckoo's Nest.
December 18, 1978. The Ramones at the Cuckoo's Nest before "The Clouds"...
December 18, 1978. A shot across the stage of Johnny Ramone at the Cuckoo's Nest

December 18, 1978. Johnny and Joey Ramone on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest

December 18, 1979. Joey Ramone at the Cuckoo's Nest.




1979


In 1979, Jerry Roach started booking acts who had a little more national and international acclaim and appeal. It was an opportunity for concert-goers to see bands like the Ramones, 999, The Damned, Iggy Pop and X at a smaller venue with a maximum occupancy of just over 350 people.

February 16-17, 1979. The Minutemen, Anxiety Society and Circus. This is a peculiar flyer as the dates Feb 16th and 17th, if this is actually a flyer from 1979, fall on a Friday and Saturday which make sense. The only issue is that the Minutemen didn't officially form until 11 months later in January 1980 and claim their first show was in May 1980... Also an interesting note: It appears that Circus was a disco band?

Feb 16-17, 1979. Minutemen, Anxiety Society and Circus.
 

March 19, 1979. Ultravox played a show. No Flyer or Poster.

April 9, 1979. 999 played with no opening band. No Flyer or Poster... only this ticket.

April 9, 1979. 999 - Ticket for Show
Nick Cash of 999

April 9, 1979. 999 at the Cuckoo's Nest. 
Original poster print... Signed by Jon Watson. (Photo by Kip)

April 16, 1979. The Dickies played. No Flyer or Poster.

May 14, 1979. Daily Planet and The Flyboys played. No Flyer or Poster. Only Photos of the Flyboys...
The Flyboys on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest.

June 4, 1979. Fear with the Voyeurs.

June 4, 1979. Fear Ticket for entry into the Cuckoo's Nest.
June 4, 1979. Fear, The Voyers - Flyer
The Voyeurs on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest with new wallpaper behind them

June 18, 1979. The band Penetration played. No flyer or Poster

June 24, 1979. The Meteors, Suburban Lawns, Eddie & the Subtitles. No Flyer or Poster

Abt July 1979. Rhino 39, The Press, The Bank. The ticket for this show cost $3.00. Punk blogger, Weirdotronix, wrote this review of the show. "A completely forgettable show except for Rhino 39. The Press and The Bank were lame 'Power-Pop' new wave. Rhino 39 was one of the first of SoCal's 'Beach/Surf Punk' bands; contemporaries included The Crowd and other HB (Huntington Beach) bands like TSOL. Rhino 39 played a short furious set. I think their lead singer died not too long after this gig." This and other reviews about shows in the southland around this time period can be found at 1979 Punk Show Reviews.

July 2, 1979. The Silencers.
July 2, 1979. The Silencers - Flyer


July 7th, 1979 (Saturday). The Damned played with opening groups The Great Buildings and John Doe. And although a flyer or poster hasn't been found, there is photographic proof that the show happened... Dave Vanian on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest.

July 7, 1979. Iconic photo of Dave Vanian of the Damned (photo by Kip).
July 7, 1979. Dave Vanian of the Damned.


July 7, 1979. Dave Vanian of the Damned.























July 7, 1979. Captain Sensible of the Damned.
July 7, 1979. Rat Scabies wearing a Cuckoo's Nest Shirt.
























July 7, 1979. Dave Vanian of the Damned. (Photo by Jerry Roach)
July 7, 1979. Captain Sensible on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest
July 7, 1979. Dave Vanian of the Damned.
Newspaper Article about the Damned playing the Cuckoo's Nest July 7, 1979


July 8-9, 1979. 999 played two nights. The Kingbees and John Q. Public opened on at least one of the nights. Punk blogger, Weirdotronix, wrote this review of the show: "Slow start but great finish. John Q. Public were an annoying bunch of jazzbo's trying to be punk. The Kingbees were technically proficient, but I had come to see punk, not rockabilly godamit. 999 delivered the goods. 999's intense live show was surprising. They played a lengthy set of three minute pop / punk songs, that sounded a lot wilder than their FM radio hit 'Homicide'. They jumped, they sweated, they posed, they dodged great gobs of loogey from the audience. Punks on the dance floor actually pogo-danced." This and other reviews about shows in the Southland around this time period can be found at 1979 Punk Show Reviews.



July 11, 1979: Squeeze played. There is no Flyer or Poster but there is a photo. This information was supplied by setlist.fm and they have a number of other shows at the Cuckoo's Nest listed. There are no sources provided however on their site.


July 11, 1979. Squeeze performing at the Cuckoo's Nest.


July 22, 1979. The Gumbies, The Press and Rhino 39. No Flyer or Poster for this show only this ticket.

July 22, 1979. Ticket for the Press (courtesy of Greg Artifix)


From the flyers below, it appears that the band "The Crowd" was performing at the Nest on a regular basis and it was during this time period that "Slam Dancing" was first observed at a show. According to those who were a part of the scene at the time, The Crowd played at a house party and a number of the party-goers started slamming into each other. Those same people went to see The Crowd play at the Cuckoo's Nest and decided to reenact the moves they did at the party. It quickly escalated as everyone started joining in, and as a result, the first slam pit was created. It rapidly spread from there to other shows in Southern California and eventually beyond to other states.

July 30, 1979. The Crowd
Flyer for the Crowd show at the Cuckoo's Nest on July 30, 1979.
The Crowd on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest.


July 31, 1979. Flyboys, Snapp, John Q Public. No Flyer or Poster for this show. Only photos.
The Flyboys on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest
The Flyboys at the Cuckoo's Nest
The Flyboys at the Cuckoo's Nest.

August 4, 1979: Popsicles, with 'Bob Forrest' infamously of Thelonious Monster, The Bicycle Thief and from Dr. Drew Celeb Rehab show & The Red Hot Chili Peppers connections and antics.


August 4, 1979. Flyer for Popsicles at the Cuckoo's Nest
August 4, 1979. Kim Fowley with the Popsicles. Note the Cuckoo's Nest sign above.


August 6, 1979. Pere Ubu, Falcon. No Flyer or Poster. Here is a photo of Pere Ubu lead singer, David Thomas, from the show.




August 13, 1979: The Voyeurs. Tickets $1.00 with discount ticket.

August 13, 1979. Flyer for Voyeurs at the Cuckoo's Nest


August 26, 1979: The Stepmothers, The Furys, Suburban Lawns. No Flyer or Poster.

September 2, 1979: Magazine. No Flyer or Poster only the Newspaper ad below.

September 2, 1979 Newspaper ad for Cuckoo's Nest
September 7-8, 1979. Levi and the Rockats. No Flyer or Poster, see Ad above.

September 16, 1979. Gang of Four. No Flyer or Poster, see Ad above.

September 17, 1979. Suburban Lawns


September 1979. The David Johansen Group. Exact date is not known for this show but he only performed in California briefly during this time period in 1979. The only other show he did was at the Whisky A Go-Go on September 24, 1979 so he would have performed at the Cuckoo's Nest within a couple days of the Whisky date. Jerry did mention that David performed another time at the Nest on Jerry's birthday, June 21st. He couldn't remember which year however...

September 1979. David Johansen at the Cuckoo's Nest

David Johansen at the Cuckoo's Nest
David Johansen with fans at the Cuckoo's Nest.

 
September 23, 1979. The Reds. No Flyer or Poster, see Ad above.

September 25, 1979. X, Big Wow, Pressure. Ticket cost $2.00. No Flyer or Poster. Punk blogger, Weirdotronix, wrote this review of the show: "Great Show for two bucks! Pressure was an experimental punk band from somewhere in northern Cal; the lead singer "played" this home-made percussion instrument constructed from old brake pads that made a horrible clanking sound and shot sparks all over the audience. Big Wow was a Fullerton new-wave band; great guys with lots of song-writing talent, but not much stage presence. X had released a single on Dangerhouse ("We're Desperate") but didn't have an album yet. I had heard them on the radio, but had never seen a picture of them. Before the show, Exene was hanging out near the bar wearing a worn out old thrift store dress. When I saw her, I truly thought that she must be a bag-lady, who had just come in for a beer. I was amazed to see her get up on the stage, and blast away with her great singing / screaming talents. Billy Zoom wore a silver-spray-painted leather jacket and played a silver Les Paul guitar, ripping twisted rockabilly lead patterns up and down the neck." This and other reviews about shows in the Southland around this time period can be found at 1979 Punk Show Reviews.


September 28, 1979. Robbie Krieger of the DOORS. No Flyer or Poster, see Ad above.

October 17, 1979. The Weirdos, The Crowd and The Go-Go's. That's what the flyer says... but other sources suggest that Geza X played instead of the Go-Go's. Ticket cost $4.00. Punk blogger, Weirdotronix, wrote this review of the show: "Another landmark show. Geza X was an alumni of L.A.'s pioneering Deadbeats ("Kill the Hippies"); kind of a punk, poor man's Frank Zappa with flair for the truly weird and disturbing. The Crowd were the young cutting edge of the (then) new "HB / Surf Punk" contingent. In the early days of slam dancing, not everyone got the joke. One bull necked jock punk didn't understand all the pushing and shoving, so he started throwing serious punches. The whole dance floor jumped on him and pinned him to the concrete. Twelve to fifteen angry punks were kicking at and spitting on the punch swinging jock, while the lead singer of The Crowd was yelling "Kill the F**ker! Rip His Head Off!". Somehow the punchy punk escaped the audience's wrath, and spent the rest of the show standing by the bar looking hurt and dejected. Even after this show stopping near riot, the Weirdos still managed to grab the audience by the ears and put on a great show. True to the era, they wore inside-out thrift store clothes with loads of safety pins and electrical tape." This and other reviews about shows in the Southland around this time period can be found at 1979 Punk Show Reviews.



October 21, 1979. Eddie and the Hotrods. No Flyer or Poster

November 2, 1979. The Ramones and Naughty Sweeties. A ticket cost $9.00. According to Jerry, Johnny Ramone claimed that someone stole his leather jacket that night and he wanted $300 for it but Jerry talked him down to $50. The next night he claimed the same thing and convinced one of Jerry's employees to pay him $300. No flyer or poster for this show, just a ticket and a photo of the Cuckoo's Nest marquee and other photos of the show inside.
 
November 2, 1979 Ramones Ticket. The date printed on the ticket is Wrong... Nov 1st never fell on a Friday...
A RAMONES Banner covering the Cuckoo's Nest sign above the front doors
November 2, 1979. Joey Ramone
November 2, 1979. Johnny, Joey, Marky and Dee Dee Ramone with the Cuckoo's Nest Cloud Backdrop.
November 2, 1979. Ramones at the Cuckoo's Nest
November 2, 1979. Johnny Ramone on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest
November 2, 1979. Dee Dee Ramone on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest
November 2, 1979. Jerry Roach with the Ramones


November 4, 1979. The Dickies, The Crowd, Berlin. This flyer showing The Crowd's November schedule looks to be the "cut and paste" original that photocopies were made from.

Original "master" flyer showing the November 1979 schedule for The Crowd
November 4, 1979. Berlin on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest. They played with the Dickies and The Crowd.


Sunday, November 11, 1979 Newspaper ad for Cuckoo's Nest


 November 12, 1979. The Dead Kennedys, The Stingers, The Digits.




November 14, 1979. The Shirts (from New York) and Bad Moon played. No Flyer or Poster for this show. Only the above ad.

November 18, 1979. Fashion (from England), The Flyboys. No Flyer or Poster for this show. Only the above ad.

December 1, 1979. Iggy Pop at the Cuckoo's Nest.

December 1, 1979 Poster for Iggy Pop show

December 1, 1979. Iggy Pop on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest.


December 1, 1979. Iggy Pop on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest. (Photo: Jerry Roach)
Iggy on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest. Dec 1, 1979
Iggy on stage at the Cuckoo's Nest. Dec 1, 1979






















December 1, 1979 at the Cuckoo's Nest. Iggy Pop and Glen Matlock
December 1, 1979 Iggy Pop at the Cuckoo's Nest. (Photo by Andrea King)
December 1, 1979 Iggy Pop at the Cuckoo's Nest.
December 1, 1979 Iggy Pop at the Cuckoo's Nest.


December 2, 1979. Sunday newspaper ad for shows coming in December 1979.
December 1979 Ad for Cuckoo's Nest

December 7, 1979 (Friday). Holland Justus. No Flyer or Poster.

December 8, 1979 (Saturday). Naughty Sweeties. No Flyer or Poster.

December 9, 1979 (Sunday). X, the Gears, Black Flag and the Go-Go's. Conflicting info where the advertisement above shows the Gears opening the show, X's monthly schedule shows Black Flag and the Go-Go's playing with them on this date and then Black Flag's flyer shows them and X playing together with no mention of any other bands. It's also been recalled by both Jerry Roach and Kevin King, that whoever the opening band was had cancelled and the Mnemonic Devices filled in at the last minute. Jerry also recounted that there were only 50 paying customers for this show.


Flyer with all the "X" shows in December 1979. Cuckoo's Nest Dec 9th.
December 9, 1979. Exene Cervenka on stage at The Cuckoo's Nest.
December 9, 1979. Black Flag flyer for the Cuckoo's Nest


December 16, 1979. Middle Class

December 16, 1979. Ticket for Middle Class. Minimum Wage was about $3.00/hr... 
So with the discount, about 45 minutes of work as a kid would buy a ticket.
The Middle Class performing at the Cuckoo's Nest


December 27, 1979. Ultravox. No Flyer or Poster for this show only the ad shown above.


December 30, 1979. The Crowd, 391, Suburban Lawns. No Flyer or Poster for this show.








Thank you in advance for any comments, stories or additions for this historical archive of the shows at the Cuckoo's Nest. If you have any flyers, photos or other types of attachments to add to this archive, please email them to me directly at hansonmeyer@yahoo.com.


The following years of the Cuckoo's Nest shows can be found at these links:


History of Shows at the Cuckoo's Nest in 1980 (Part 2) 

History of Shows at the Cuckoo's Nest in 1981 (Part 3)








2 comments:

  1. Hansen. Great stuff. Can't wait for the next section. Also, looking for a China White, CH3, Saigon flyer from late 81. Kazen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Greg! It's been a real long time! I looked through all the flyers I have and checked against all the Cuckoo's Nest booking calendars for those months and couldn't find that line up... I'll be posting all those calendars soon so you will be able to check as well. Hope to talk to you soon!

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