Saturday, September 17, 2011

Necropolis Café (1989) - - with photos by Ed Cottrill

The Necropolis Café

During the early 80s I was heavily involved in the practice of “…tape trading…”. It almost seems funny now when I look back at it. However one must remember that this was before the internet was invented. We couldn’t just download music from torrents or rapidshare like the kids can today. Our peer-to-peer networks involved pen, paper and those antiques called compact cassettes. Collecting demos being passed through the networks, I managed to hear tons of amazing underground punk and metal music coming from all over Ontario, and the rest of Canada. Then later the world. Occasionally I would take the bus to Toronto to catch all ages shows at clubs like Larry’s Hideaway, The Bridge / Ildiko’s, Siboney, or the Apocalypse Club. This took a lot of money. I hated living in such a backwards small town like Peterborough where nothing ever happened

When Sean More [The Rusty Snail] renovated and opened up Necropolis Café it finally gave the youth of Peterborough something to do. Sean deserves to be given a star on the local walk of fame for being one of the first to bring punk to Peterborough. I believe he opened a lot of doors for places like The Union, Grassroots, The Spill, and Ossia. For a very short time The Necropolis Café was one of the coolest local hangouts.

Even before the space was called the Necropolis it was called The Aloha Club. Before that it was the Aloha Club, I think it might have been the original Artspace. I don’t know how true this is, but I think it might have also been a coffin factory originally. It might have been a bar called the Coffin House. I was too young [to know]. The Aloha Club was just a coffeehouse. I don’t know who owned it. I was just in high school at the time. I’d go down there and hangout. They didn’t sell beer as far as I know? We’d come in at seven or eight and maybe get some coffee and just hang out. We felt like adults... For us, this was cool. They would have live acoustic music playing. shortly after that Sean More took it over.

It was a place that we kinda felt was our own...

Sean had the space for perhaps a year or two. He was in a band called The Kidz. If you go to, The Kidz are on there. One of the guys from The Kidz ended up moving to Toronto. I think he joined Creative Zero. I could be wrong. Before the Necropolis there was an all ages hang out called the Pigpen? or The Playpen?, which I don’t know anything about. But I have herd rumours that Sebastian Bach from Skid Row used to hang out there when he was really young. There is a bit of Peterborough prehistory as far as the punk and metal thing goes.
He [Sean Moore] lived in it. Illegally I guess? Sean Kept his head shaved so he could clean up in the sinks in the bathroom. When you walked in, to the left of the door he had this cubby hole where he had a bed. Which is where the stage would have been for The Union days. It was mostly an all ages hang out and coffee shop. I think sometimes it might have been like a speak easy. After hours he’d lock the door, and sometimes have Purple Jesus parties. [Vodka & Kool-aid]. There was occasionally live music. Sometimes we would just chill and watch Clockwork Orange or Suburbia.

Feb 2nd, 1989 Sean Moore brought in a band from Lindsay, called The Invasion. They were hardcore punk. The Necropolis was mostly a punk club. Punk, Goth, Ska and New Wave. The walls were all spray painted. I remember there was a picture of former president Ronald Reagan making out with Margerat Thatcher on the wall. A couple of video games. A mannequin with a bullet belt. Lots of tables and chairs. It was a hangout. And it was his [Sean More’s] house at the same time.

The Peterborough scene grew out of Necropolis. Sean is responsible for a lot of people meeting for the first time. Or a least that’s my experience. He was part of the Peterborough hardcore scene going way back. The early bands and the early history of Peterborough. Creative Zero and Illegal Aliens. They used to do shows out of Peter Robinson dining hall and Orange Hall. Just before my time. I came in after that. There were also two bands from Lindsay named The Invasion and The Slam. I never saw got a chance to see the The Slam. That was the Early eighties.

The first live show I remember seeing in that spot was Feb 02 / 1989 The Invasion [Lindsay] played and both the Lindsay and Peterborough kids mixed.

{Before the show I videotaped a quick interview with the band in the bathroom of the club. It’s been transferred to DVD-R if anyone is interested. Has some footage of the inside of the Necropolis Café}

Exactly one month later I got a couple of local high school metal bands The Moshed Potatoes, and Between The Lines [Peterborough] to open for Last Generation [Lindsay] I don’t remember much else about this show… besides the fact that it was well received by many of the local high school students.

{vocalist for The Moshed Potatoes Jason Kurz later project's include Burnt To A Crisp concert Promotions and his band Heaps Of Dead [Peterborough] }

For the next show I decided to bring a Toronto band to town. I remember going through fanzine after fanzine [No myspace] trying to find bands still together and willing to play Peterborough. The guys from M.S.I. - More Stupid Initials were the first to return my phone call. They were a fun and entertaining pop-punk Dag Nasty, Doughboys sounding band. This was during the whole Revered Ken poster debates so using Concentrated milk I plastered the town with flyers. Some stayed up on the street poles for years after… Again I asked local high school band The Moshed Potatoes to open. The show was such a great success. Although M.S.I. would have been an average if not boring opening act in the Toronto Clubs they impressed the hell out of most of the local kids that evening. Some who were venturing out of the house, and coming to the Necro for the first time.

...More Stupid Initials were a hardcore band from Toronto. They formed from the ashes of punk rock group DOG (Death of Gods), another abbreviated name, which might explain their name. Truth be told, punk bands have a thing for initials: MDC, SNFU, DOA, etc. It must be a part of the punk rock code: thou shalt play at least once in a band with initials. But I digress...

Enough people showed up that the band got paid for their gas. Everybody was happy. I would always tell them in advance. Look, I’m just a young kid. I haven’t done this before. If you’re expecting a lot of cash... I always said that I would guarantee them their gas money to Toronto. They’d drive back to Toronto the same night. And this was the first time that these bands had ever played Peterborough. They were mainly just playing Toronto. And... they were lucky to get an opening gig in Toronto. This was their first headlining show out of town. Maybe twenty or thirty kids would come. I would just flyer the high schools. Everywhere.

{M.S.I. - More Stupid Initials were video taped that night (very dark) and at the following show in Belleville at an empty boat store (daytime with lights on). Both shows have been transferred to DVD-R if anyone is interested.}

The last show I did in the space before it became The Union was with a touring Winnipeg metal / core band called Corpus Vile who managed to get themselves a distribution deal with Ben Hoffman’s Fringe Product label. At the time they were getting a lot of shows out west with bands like the Cro-mags and GBH. They did a small mini tour of Canada. It was a very early Monday show, so the turn out was poor. Some local skinheads with Nazi tattoos showed up at the club which completely pissed the band off to the point they didn’t want to play at all. In the end they played, and everyone was basically respectful of each other.

Corpus Vile 'What Does It Take' From the album, 'What Does It Take'

{video of the Bellville show at a house party the following day is said to exist????}

Ed Cottrill who worked at the Necro managed to document many of the happenings at the space. Here are more photos from his amazing collection that he has entrusted to me. Until I get a moment to put them into a book format they will remain here. Please Enjoy