(Witness: Will S.)
If memory serves, this story takes place in 1980. I was in grade 8 at Magee high school (I know, I know). Anyway, the school had decided to put on a series of lunch hour concerts for the cultural benefit of its students, the first one was to be a band called the K-Tels.
I was lucky because the kids on my block were mostly a couple of years older than me and had pretty good taste in music, so as a result I was one of a couple people in my grade who actually knew who the K-Tels were and I was very excited about the show.
I arrived at the school auditorium as soon as I could and got a seat in the first row. I’m pretty sure the auditorium wasn’t full. There may have been about a hundred kids eating their bag lunches waiting for the band to come on.
When it did eventually come on the stage, the assault was full-on. I don’t think I had ever heard anything that loud in my life to that point. It was “Hawaii” and it was intense, fast, and furious. Art Bergmann was spitting and screaming and manic. I was loving it!
I’m not sure if it was the volume or the lyrics, but before that song was over, the school principal came running down the aisle from the back. You could literally see the steam shooting out of his ears as he gestured to the band to turn their amps down. Then Art did something I couldn’t believe, he gave the principal the finger!!! Oh my god it was awesome! What disrespect for authority! How perfectly punk! At this point the principal’s face turned completely purple just before his head exploded off of his shoulders. It only took him about a minute more to get the janitor to shut the power off to the auditorium and to put a permanent end to the lunch hour concert series.
A few other students and I left that day with a new understanding of how it could be fun to fuck with authority once in a while. Thanks to Art Bergmann, I’ll never forget that day, it probably caused me to get in trouble a few times more than I would have had I not seen that show, and in retrospect, that is probably a good thing.
(The following is a comment from a certain "Chris W." - whose identity may not be difficult to divine for the attentive. I've had to remove it from the comment section and repost it here, as I had to make a change to the initial post that required deleting and re-posting it. Blogger can be complicated...)
Chris W. adds:
The first rock band I saw was also in a school auditorium, and I still remember who great it was. Even though the band played "Smoke On the Water" and didn't give the principal the finger.