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

Categories: Film
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.

Ivan Correa, the president of Endurance Pictures and co-producer of the film, says We Were Feared is currently touring 25 college campuses as part of the Farrelly Brothers' Project Indie Film Festival.

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.

Photo by John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Duane Peters of U.S. Bombs, Die Hunns, Gunfight, pro-skateboarding and flipping-off-cameras fame with Cuckoo's Nest owner Jerry Roach at last April's premiere of 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.

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I am old, not only feel old. For you young people out there you had to understand the youth culture at the time. The majority were into prep. Jerry Roach was the owner that provided not only provided entertainment but a place for this anti culture crowd from Fullerton, Costa Mesa, Newport Beach and Long Beach to hang out (Huntington Beach Punks were rolling around on glass). The bands that played there were not the big names they are today, they were our friends. For all the bad things people have to say about Roach, we can all thank him for he good times.

Art Ghecko
Art Ghecko

Jerry was just the most inventive Roach. Give a band 100 tickets, tell them they get 1/3 of the proceeds from their 100 tickets, and charge the band for any unsold tickets. Put three bands on the bill with the same deal; Jerry keeps 2/3 of all proceeds, the bands essentially had to pay to play. 300 tickets, the three bands split the proceeds from 100 tickets (33 1/3 each). No wonder live music is dying...!


OrAnGe CoUnTy HaRdCoRe 4 Life!




Boy do I feel old. I remember going here for my 18th b-day back in 1979 ... ah youth, where has it gone? :)


Boy do I feel old.

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