Friday, July 17, 2009

We Don't Play, We Riot

Negative Trend played at Gilman with the Zeros about a month ago, and it wasn’t so good in my book. Hopefully that’s been enough time for anyone else who felt the same way at that show to forget about it and enjoy this upload of their awesome We Don’t Play, We Riot EP.

I first read about Negative Trend in Noel Monk’s Sex Pistols tour biography 12 Days on the Road. Apparently feeling that the Pistols had already become a commercial act like Rod Stewart, Malcolm McLaren decided to find a local San Francisco band to open for them at their ill-fated Winterland Ballroom show. According to the book, McLaren had asked then-KSAN DJ Howie Klein who the worst punk band in San Francisco was. Klein was of the opinion that Negative Trend took that title without question, and was told to find them immediately.

Negative Trend met up with McLaren, who went to bat with Graham to have them play as an unadvertised band before the Sex Pistols. Graham wasn’t going for it, but offered to have them play directly afterwards. Unbeknownst to Malcolm McLaren, Graham had a standing tradition at his clubs to play a tape of “Greensleeves” to let the audience know that the show was over. Instead of having Negative Trend play, Graham played the tape after the Pistols’ set and all but a fraction of the crowd took off.

I came across a twelve-inch version of We Don’t Play, We Riot a couple years after reading that book, and was certainly interested in hearing the supposed “worst punk band in San Francisco.” Of course, they were anything but the worst…more like one of my favorite early San Francisco punk bands. I think I also picked up a repress of Crime’s “Hot Wire My Heart” single that same day, but I liked Negative Trend more. I think most people know about the bands that spawned from here—the Sleepers, Flipper, Toiling Midgets, among a bunch others—and the record came with a neat family tree-style diagram that mapped out virtually all of them.

None of this really matters much, but it’s how I’d rather remember Negative Trend than what I saw on the Gilman stage a month ago. If you’re with me, then this one’s for you.

They package all our heroes here.

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