Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cliff Green remembers...The Suspects!

Cliff Green Remembers...starting Tucson's First Punk Band!

The Pedestrians and The Suspects back in the day

Editor's Note: To those of you who wondered who those old guys were, who jumped onstage after Naked Preys set (at the Club Congress 3-day fest) to play the Sex Pistols' "Pretty Vacant", well, that was...The Suspects! Back then, in the late-'70's and early '80's, every band stayed together for only a few months breaking before breaking up and forming a new band, often with their friends from other bands in the scene.  Now, 30 years later, The Suspects had the chance to recapture lost youth with their impromptu set at Club Congress! This article is by Cliff Green, guitar player for The Suspects, describing his photos and what it was like back then...

"The photo of us shoulder to shoulder is outside of "Pearl's Hurricane Bar" downtown
on Broadway. Long since destroyed in the name of urban progress. Pearl's was a real
dive. Hell all the bars were and that's what everyone loved. Pearl's was unique as
she had "Packaged Goods To Go". Always appreciated just before closing time. And no
one can ever forget the life-sized wall painting of the hula-skirted dancing woman
near the booths.

That night we had played with The Pedestrians and it was a great show! The first (I
believe) to have been played there. We sorta dressed up that night but we could
never compete with the fashions of the crowd. Most of the outfits were fantastique!
As usual we all had neckties except for Penn, but drummers always dress for comfort.
I still don't know how he played in that jumpsuit as he was so energetic. The best
drummer, and closest to Keith Moon, that I ever played with. Brian was dressed as
usual : tight pants, tennis shoes and something flashy to barely cover his chest.
Lee was always "casual cool" but had his dog collar necklace to make sure there was
no mistake where he was coming from. I, being the guitarist and old man of the band,
usually tried to dress sharp. (Notice my Joe Jackson Look Sharp button.) Believe it
or not at the time I had a perm. Not exactly de rigeur for a punk band. Brian and I,
and sometimes Lee, usually wore just a bit of eye

Just for a gag before David Noriega took the photo I rolled up a pair of socks and
stuck them down my pants. Look closely at the inside of my right thigh...Hell, I was
a Rocker! And for that matter still am but these days I rarely wear socks much less
stick them down me trousers. I still don't know who the girl is on the right but she
was a regular. I really love this photo. It's truly a classic shot of a rock'n'roll

The photo of us on stage is at The Backstage on 4th Avenue. Just down the street
from The Record Room where it could be argued was the "maternity ward" of many a
band. The Backstage, renamed Tumble Weeds at some point, was a neighborhood pub
during the week until the "punks" started strolling in on the weekend around 7pm. A
gritty bar with two pool tables and the stench of stale beer and cigarette butts.
More than a couple of fights broke out there and I remember one night taking cover
with my girlfriend Barb Levison (who took this photo) when the pool balls started
flying through the air like brightly colored projectiles.

Many big name, out of town band splayed there including "X", The Weirdos, Husker Du,
The Alleycats, The Plugz and plenty of others that I can't recall.
We were blatantly into self advertising as seen by Penn's spray-painted Suspects
banner, The Suspects' logo on his tom and my official Suspects pin. Not to mention
the logo I taped over a Bad Company backstage pass on my Strat!

For some strange reason this night Penn was the only one wearing a tie. Go figure!
Brian had his signature pants on, Lee was wearing jeans and a chain neclace and that
night I debuted my "Hefty Bag" pants. Big mistake! My legs were soaking wet from
sweat and I had ripped the crotch before midway through the set!
Just another night in the Old Pueblo making noise and having fun..."


Note: This article was originally published, in abbreviated form, in SLIT 2010

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