No Alternative: Live at Mabuhay Gardens November 7, 1980 View larger

No Alternative: Live at Mabuhay Gardens November 7, 1980

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What separated The Mabuhay, the Deaf Club, and others from the established rock clubs was a free for all, anything goes attitude. It was not too hard to sneak in if you were under age, and there was lots of liquor and drugs. 

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Track list:

  1. Damned To Hell
  2. The Good Die Young
  3. Right To Die
  4. Boy With A Needle
  5. Mary Sue Ellen’s Clique
  6. Folsom Prison Blues
  7. Be Bop A Lula
  8. Rockabilly Rumble
  9. Fucked Up
  10. Dying In the U.S.A.
  11. Life Of Suicide
  12. Witch Doctor*
  13. Working Class Boy*

*Bonus tracks.

No Alternative: A brief history

Bassist Jeff Rees and guitarist Ron Ramos join forces with Canadian drummer Zippy Pinhead (R.I.P.) and former Offs guitarist Johnny Genocide. (Hugh Patterson) on vocals. They named the group KGB. The group was instantly popular in the early San Francisco punk scene. The group played constantly, sharing the stages with Negative Trend, the Dils, Sleepers, U.X.A., Mutants, Seizure, Tuxedomoon, VS, D.O.A. the Germs, and countless others. Two songs appeared on the “Music from the Deaf Club” album. (Gammon Records). Future drummer Greg Langston can be heard drumming for Tuxedomoon on the same record.

Zippy Pinhead and Ron Ramos left the group. Johnny Genocide moved to guitar and vocals, and the band went through several drummers. The group became a three piece and changed the name to No Alternative.
The song “Johnny Got His Gun” appeared on The S.F. Underground compilation E.P., and still remains a crowd favorite to this day.

Drummer Greg Langston takes over the drum seat and still remains to this day. The E.P. “Backtracks” is released on Subterranean Records. Manager Mark Plummer quit to manage Chris Isaak, and Paul Rat took over managerial duties.
No Alternative gigged, recorded and traveled constantly, performing shows with Black Flag, The Lewd, Flipper, X, VKTMS, Zeros, Offs, Crime, The Nuns, The Cramps, The Plugz, Toiling Midgets, 7 Seconds, Dead Kennedys, Middle Class and many more.
“Dead men tell no lies” appears on the popular “Not so quiet on the Western Front” compilation L.P. Soon after, the band breaks up.

Patterson forms the rockabilly Swingin’ Possums, People’s Temple, and the Watchmen.
Jeff Rees joined the Renegades (Wire Train), The Matchheads, and Fade to Black.
Greg Langston drummed for ex-Cramps Bryan Gregory’s Beast, The Sea Hags, Hellbillys, and Fang.

No Alternative reunites and records the “Lifeline” E.P. and breaks up again.

No Alternative reunites again and released two retrospective albums, “Johnny got his Gun”, (Wingnut records), and S.F. Nights (Dionysus Records), as well as a few other recordings.
The band performs again, this time with a few different bass players.
The band presently is performing selected shows.

—Greg Langston

A night at the Mabuhay Gardens nightclub in the early days of punk rock was always a memorable experience. There were several established nightclubs around the San Francisco Bay Area that were presenting rock, blues, reggae, jazz and other genres of music. These clubs were seen by a new generation of punk rock fans as a part of the establishment with their rough bouncers and drink minimums. These clubs were not very quick to embrace punk rock.

The Mabuhay Gardens also had a variety of bands that were being booked. “Underground” local bands were being booked on a nightly basis. A wide variety of styles could be heard on any given night. As time passed the acceptance of local punk rock groups seemed to take precedence over the older style hard rockers. The “scene” in San Francisco was very exciting. Bands would form and disband and share members quite often. So many bands were experimenting with different ideas. There was such a burst of creativity at this time. I had performed at the Mabuhay Gardens with three other bands several times before joining No Alternative, already an established popular group.

What separated The Mabuhay, the Deaf Club, and others from the established rock clubs was a free for all, anything goes attitude. It was not too hard to sneak in if you were under age, and there was lots of liquor and drugs. You really had to blow it badly to get thrown out. The PA was often messed up, due to the destructive nature of the performance.
By the time of this No Alternative recording, supporting the Offs, I had spent many a wild night there and had performed with several groups at least a dozen times. No Alternative were perceived as one of the heavier punk bands, very loud, sometimes political, sometimes funny, often obnoxious. In fact, the band was regularly booked, and was a crowd favorite.

Local band Impatient youth opened the show. Good band; we played with them several times. By the time No Alternative took the stage, the crowd was warmed up, and inebriated as well! We performed a fiery, rip roaring set. There were new songs in the set, which were performed with fresh intensity. The stage banter between songs typifies the unruly nature of the band and crowd. A stellar set! The Offs headlined, and always put on a great set of punk rock with a little reggae thrown in.
No Alternative would return to the same stage several more times in the upcoming months. This recording documents one great show at the Mabuhay Gardens November 7th, 1980.