black market baby

When I decided to do a fanzine, I knew I wanted to do in-depth interviews to try to get as much information as possible out of my subjects. I also knew that I wanted to interview people who WEREN'T band members, who put out records by the bands, or produced their recordings, or were just real big fans—I wanted to know how people who were ouside the bands saw things. I figgered that John "Stabb" Schroeder, the biggest BMB fan I could think of off the top of my head and all-around friendly guy, would be a good place to start.

This interview, complete with pictures, flyers, and a different introduction, will appear in issue 1 of Dementlieu.

You're a pretty big Black Market Baby fan, even naming Government Issue after a lyric in one of their songs. Where'd you first run into them? I've got a review you wrote that says BMB were the first hardcore band you saw. What kind of impact did finding this wild-ass rock n roll band have on you?

Stabb: You're right about BMB.  I do like me some Black Market Baby!  And I'm sure glad that I saw the group one hot summer evening in 1980 at a little club in Bethesda, MD called the Psychedelly (the night I almost lost my virginity!  But you'll have to buy my book to read about that one—ha!).

BMB were playing under an assumed name, the Allied that night.  You see BMB's friends were a bit on the destructive side and unlike their peeps/girlfriends/groupies, I never thought it was a cool thing to destroy the venue you might possibly play in the future.  So, BMB had quite the "bad rep" of being banned around town.  Sure, the group's own drunken brawls didn't help matters much but it was mostly their redneck punk following that got the band tossed out of clubs.

Okay, with that said, I'll continue.  A perpetually horny (aren't all young males easy to read?) friend of mine and I went to the club in hopes of scoring chicks.  We had no idea who was playing that night.  It was a huge experience for me... seeing a real live honest to god punk rock band onstage!   How f'n cool was that?!

BMB's set blew me away.  and I got to slamdancing with this black punk (a bit older than me) named HR.  I had never heard of the Bad Brains yet so I had no clue who this guy was.  But the crazy front-man of the Bad Brains was a genuinely nice dude.  After this intense show, I was hooked on Black Market Baby.

Boyd actually mentioned you when I interviewed him, describing how he dressed in the Snitch (green bowling shirts, bright red pants, and white loafers) then qualified it with a "way before Stabb!" Were you ever treated to Boyd's equally unique fashion sense?

Stabb: That's cool.  I can imagine Boyd being that styling but unlike Mr. Farrell, I never donned bowling shirts or white loafers.  And the bright red pants were either my bondage clown pants or some obnoxious 80's spandex I wore to annoy the "too cool to smile" punks.  I prefer my Boyd clad in black.  They all wore it well.

How'd you feel about the way Black Market Baby were treated in DC? The harDCore crowd seemed a little two-faced, lots of 'em being fans, but few of them sticking up for the band.

Stabb: Hmmm... BMB were actually well-accepted within the hardcore kids scene.  They were the true "Godfathers of Punk" to us and we respected the guys.  BMB helped start the WDC (they were from Southern MD, though) punk scene.  Who didn't like Black Market Baby back then?  I'd like to meet them.  If anything, once the hardcore thing really started to take off, I guess it was harder for BMB to get gigs.

But it wasn't like Ian (always helping to get punk/hardcore groups into our local 9:30 club or WDC church halls such as the Wilson Center) was dissing Boyd and his boys from being booked anywhere.  A lot of us loved BMB to the very end so I didn't notice any little two-faced punks blowing off a BMB gig.

What's your favorite Black Market Baby song and why?

Stabb: There are so many to choose through but World at War I guess.  Not only is it a great song but it helped change my band's name from the Stab to G.I.  I'm sure glad we didn't decide to keep the name the Mohawks—ha !

What's your least favorite?

Stabb: Perhaps one of their much-later tunes.  BMB kind of got into this cliche-metal (not like Iron Maiden or anything.  I could never see Boyd belting out the HM-mating call-ha!) licks.  To me, BMB were at their best when they came across as a combo of the Damned meet the Heartbreakers in a good punch-up!

Do you have any Black Market Baby stories you'd like to share? Boyd's got a great one about Jello Biafra (Jello says, "So, you're the singer with the glass eye." Boyd responds, "Don't you think if it was glass, it would match the other one?" Jello, for once, is left speechless.).

Stabb: Leaving Jello speechless would be the best Boyd story anyone could tell!  Ha!  That's fookin' brilliant, mate!  You know, I actually never saw (or was privy to) any of Boyd's drunken brawls but I'm sure one of them would make a hell of a story.  Boyd was just an all-around likable fella.  And the fact that GI's song Brand New Cataracts was his favorite song, the guy had a great sense of humor.  I always worried that it would bum him out being that he had cataracts in the one eye.  Boyd is one of my punk rock heroes.

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© Dementlieu 2005