black market baby

black market baby at the psychedelly, june 1980

Black Market Baby are DC's oldest surviving punk band. They were formed in early 1980 but their roots lie in first generation bands like the UK SUBS, SLAUGHTER AND THE DOGS, and most importantly SHAM 69.

With the demise of his first band, SNITCH singer Boyd Farrell founded Black Market Baby, gathering the band members from DC punk bads that were disbanding or falling apart. Guitarist Keith Campbell left D.CEATS, drummer Tommy Carr joined after leaving the truly great, but largely ignored, PENETRATORS, and Boyd's longtime friend Paul Cleary became bassist after his earlier band, TRENCHMOUTH, split.

BMB played their first gig at Madame's Organ in early 1980 when the climbed up on the stage at a Tru Fax concert and played six of Boyd's songs (the sloppy six). The crowd reaction was, not surprisingly, very good, and the band decided to stick together.

Despite their great talent things have not always gone their way. Because they don't play HC punk many of the younger punks pass them over for whatever reasons they may have. Club owners are often unwilling to touch them because of the punks and skins they do attract.

In the spring of 1981 bassist Paul Cleary was asked to leave for personal reasons. His replacement was Myk Dolphi from the Resistors, the present bassist. Ill-feelings ran throughout the scene because of this and more kids turned their backs on them. It was around this time that another group of teenagers, the DC SKINS, were making their presences known and put their allegiance behind the BMB banner, showing up at every gig and supporting them.

Lately they have been playing out of town, playing Charlotte, NC, Richmond, and NY. But last Saturday they returned home after a three month absence from playing gigs in DC. It was one of their best shows ever. Live BMB are unstoppable. But what is most important is the basic honesty and loyalty to their fans that makes them great. To them you have as much right dancing or singing along on stage as they do playing on it. As long as bands like Black Market Baby are around, punk will never die.

black market baby with mike

an interview with boyd farrell of bmb done by me, sab at his house a couplea weeks ago sometime.

black market baby with paul

Me - What's been going on with BMB lately? You haven't been playing around here. How do you feel about what's been going on around here?

The Boyd - I don't feel that the kids are getting behind the bands they way they should, like a lot of them have turned into these elitist cliques. Everybody is too cool to move around or show any kind of response or anything. There's certain bands that are in and certain bands that aren't, and if you're not in that little circle, no matter how fucking good you are, you get nothing... What everyone used to criticize NY crowds of being like, that's what they're getting to be like. Everybody's got their own guidelines of what hardcore or punk should be and if anybody steps out of bounds they don't want noting to do with them.

The whole idea of punk was being different and thinking for yourself, and like, everybody's got these regimented and it's fucked up... Not that I'm pissed off at any individuals, I'm pissed off at attitudes, attitudes have really gone down hill.

Me - Where have you been playing lately?

B - Well, we did the Mudd Club in NY, that was real fun. Actually, I thought we did real good at the time, but any newspaper you read from NY or London, you wouldn't know it (laughs).

Me - What do you think was the best place out side DC, or better than DC?

B - Uh, Norfolk. Richmond was the worst. Richmond was weird, they were expecting us to sound like SOA or MINOR THREAT or GI, which is fine coz I think you're all very good bands, but it's not our style, and we started playing our thing and they were like, "What's wrong with you guys? Why don't you play real fast loud, loud fast?" and we don't play that way. And the two bands that opened for us were even covering Black Flag songs, pathetic, they're not even thinking for themselves, they're doing other people's songs and they're giving us a hard time coz we don't play that way! So I said fuck 'em. But N Carolina was good. There wasn't a whole lot of kids, but the kids were very familiar with the DC scene. They knew about Minor Threat and SOA and Iron Cross through the album, like I said, it's kinda weird to see kids walking around the boonies of N Carolina with mohicans and talking about DC hardcore.

Me - What about your album? When's it coming out?

B - First of all, we have no money as a band. It's just a totally independent project. We have a thousand dollars that two people are gonna put up that'll just cover pressings. And what little money we make, which believe me is little, we're gonna have to like do the songs one at a time. Which is a long process, but is the only way we can do it right now unless we get some more backers, which we could do but we want to keep it a limited about of people involved and we want to put an album out and we want to do it at CAB studios. It's gonna be Black Market, Skip Groff, and Ian MacKaye, and I think with these two great minds we can come across. And then I'm content to sit on my ass and see what the album does and if it happens it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. (laughs) Kay serah serah. (I don't know how the fuck to spell that -Ed.)

Me - What direction do you see yourselves going in in the future?

B - Well, 1977 is gone and that was a major influence behind the band. A lot of punk bands today sound like Bauhaus or Theatre of Hate (?-Ed.), don't sound like the way we tend to be. I think we're coming closer to more of a punk-metal sound along the same lines as the Damned and Motorhead. And a lot of Keith's influences are old metal guitarist. And I think we'd like to make a little bridge there between punk and metal, which CAN be done. It's kind of obvious with bands like Motorhead and the Damned.

We just wanna keep it fast and loud and powerful. Of course, that's as long as the band stays together. Like I've been telling you, I've been listening to a lot of different things... I don't pin myself to that particular sound but as far as the band as a whole, that's a direction I think we're moving in.

Me - Do you have any final words before we wrap this up?

B - I would just like to see everyone getting involved in things, this scene has always fluctuated. Like what we call it in the band—it's a roller coaster effect, you know, one minute you're up and the next minute you're down, that's how it's always been around here. Luckily we've had some very loyal fans like you and DC Skins and the girls who come to our shows, the regulars. But there's certain cliques that you should tell 'em to get off their ass and start supporting these people before they lose 'em, like we were talking about Trenchmouth and the Penetrators and how many other good bands have gone down the tubes coz they don't give 'em support. But that's about it. I don't want to get on anybody's case or preach, you know?

black market baby

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© Dementlieu or respective authors 2005