We Were Feared, the documentary that premiered at the 2010 Newport Beach Film Festival about the dearly departed Cuckoo's Nest punk rock club in Costa Mesa, is making a curtain call around the country.
None of the announced institutions are in California, but my family
claims some of my ancestors started one on the list in South Carolina: Coker
College (formerly known as Coker College for Women).
But enough with the self-serving transgression; we're here to cheer We Were Feared.
The most excellent doc chronicles the rise and fall of the club that used to share a Placentia Avenue parking lot in the late 1970s and early '80s with the dearly departed country-and-western joint Zubies. The mayhem that would ensue when both clubs emptied was immortalized in the Vandals' songs “Pat Brown” and “Urban Struggle.”
Original members of the Vandals were snot-nosed brats who picked up instruments, pounded on them a bit, and then carried their rage onstage at the Nest. Among the many, many others who played there were Fear, TSOL, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Iggy Pop, the Ramones and the Dead Kennedys.
There is some debate over whether the Cuckoo's Nest was the birthplace
of slam-dancing (now called moshing), but the surf, skate and extreme-sports culture of today certainly originated there (among other key
And there is absolutely no doubt who lorded over the Nest: its irascible owner, Jerry Roach.
We Were Feared and music-industry heavyweights interviewed on film set out to give Roach his historical due. As Roach will readily tell anyone, he deserves it. And he does. But controversy has always dogged him, whether it was from the bands who claimed he exploited them financially, cops and city officials who tried to shut him down, or the cameraman who shot footage for the Urban Struggle documentary of '83 he claims the club owner stole from him.
Roach admits onscreen and in interviews to his often-rocky relationships with bands and city leaders, but he is adamant that he owned Urban Struggle, which has now been rolled into the Endurance Pictures fold.
“We are moving forward with the development of our Urban Struggle feature,” Correa says–the other half of the “we” being his Endurance Pictures partner, skater/snowboarder-turned-actor/writer/director York Shackleton.
As for We Were Feared, here's what I wrote after seeing the cut of the film before it premiered at Edwards Fashion Island Cinemas last year.
“Jonathan W.C. Mills' documentary is like a metal boot to the head, jolting viewers back
to the birth of hardcore punk in Orange County.
“We Were Feared skillfully enhances the Urban Struggle
that was released in 1983 with new interviews. The soundtrack's hard
chords seem fresh considering the current American Idolization of
Mills and Correa say they have since added to We Were Feared more interview footage from Henry Rollins, Chuck Dukowski and Keith Morris.
have also made a DVD online-distribution deal with Tap Out Films and
will be offering it for sale soon,” Correa says.
Here is the new trailer:
Plans are in the works for a punk concert to celebrate the DVD release of We Were Feared. Sadly, it won't be at the Nest, which is a storage yard or some shit like that, or even in Orange County. Organizers are looking at the Key Club or Roxy in LA in April.
Meanwhile, in other Jonathan C. Mills' news, his new original graphic novel, Heavy Water, is to be published this month by Kickstart Comics.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.