We Were Feared, Film on '70s Costa Mesa Punk Club Cuckoo's Nest, Tours Colleges Before DVD Release
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 SoCal locations).
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.