I spotted the above photo by Victor George Macarol on the Facebook group, Manhattan Before 1990. This is, of course, the old storefront of Tish & Snooky’s fabled Manic Panic shop on St. Marks Place, with an unnamed man in a comfy chair out front, arguably in a meditative state. The photo description cites it as being taken in 1975, but that didn’t quite click with me. Firstly, I don’t believe Manic Panic had opened that early. But beyond that, look at that wall.
It’s somewhat hard to make out, but about halfway down, there are two flyers affixed to the bricks that boast an image that, at first glance, I immediately thought looked like the old “Blue By Day/White By Night” logo of Austin, TX hardcore band, MDC (a.k.a. Millions of Dead Cops, and many provocative variations thereof). Here’s that logo now….
If that’s indeed the case, MDC (who had previously gone by the significantly less pugnacious moniker, Stains) didn’t really get their act together until 1981 or so, and their first album (with the above illustration on the back) wasn’t released until 1982.
This all said, under closer scrutiny, I’m not entirely sure it’s the same image … looks like it’s missing the pistol.
Today, Manic Panic is long gone (although I think their brand of hair products is still a going concern, and Tish & Snooky still occasionally perform as the Sic F*cks). The address above is now Markburger, where I’ve never been.
MDC, meanwhile, originally broke up in 1995, but re-formed in 2000. Not sure who’s still in the band, but lead singer Dave Dictor is still on the microphone.
I bought their first album in 1982, based on the jokey strength of the track, “John Wayne was a Nazi,” and it quickly revealed itself to be one of the most crucial hardcore albums of its era. Whipsmart, brutal, stealthy, rigorously angry and SUPER lefty, the message of MDC’s first record — best condensed on the chant that kicks off “Born to Die” — NO WAR — NO K.K.K. — NO FASCIST U.S.A. is as timely in 2016 as it was in 1982 … if not more so, thanks to this fuckin’ guy.
I remember buying an MDC t-shirt at Rocks in Your Head in SoHo of the “Blue By Day...” logo. It did not exactly endear me to the local constabulary.
PLAY IT LOUD