When Punk Rock Hit Vancouver

Vancouver, 1978. So I am over at Glen Ward’s place and he puts an album on for me that he had ordered from Europe and we both were killing ourselves laughing through the whole thing, shaking our heads and pumping our fists, and just so damn high on this horrible, awful, ugly “new” stuff called Punk. It was awesome, simply awesome, to hear some rock music that was positively radical!

The 70’s were already done, Disco was everywhere. The Stones took a whack at it, Bowie was trying to own it, a terribly depressing time for a young fellow who believed in the true power of roots rock and roll.

I was all of 23 and soon I was going to the Smiling Buddha on East Hastings to check out what was happening with this new scene only to find out that the people there considered me some hippie old fart and I had some arguments and heard a few bands who were not so hot and some with great potential.

But too many negatives, such as not having a hope in hell of getting laid with the Punk crowd, put me on the road to California, where, ultimately, two Canadians with a dog and a van, couldn’t find work as “migrant farm workers” or anything else, ran out of money, and ended up on the railroad in Roger’s Pass, BC, for the next year and a half on a crew of hippies who were okay in every way, such as dropping acid before work, but who hated punk music. I used to be the only one who stayed in camp on the weekends. I would make my breakfast, fill up a bag with a 6 pack, a few joints, and spend a couple of hours walking around a mining ghost town with gigantic mountains all around me, then hitchhike into Revelstoke wishing I was on my way to Vancouver again.

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