Reno’s thriving punk scene

Much like everything else it’s ever done, Reno, Nev., has something of a renegade legacy when it comes to punk rock. It was the early 1980s when the Biggest Little City’s earliest progenitors of the loose, subversive, nonconformist array of genres started playing in garage bands and throwing underground house parties.

Humaniterrorist Record Collective 13th Anniversary Party

Nov. 23 | All Day
Recycled Records | Reno, Nev.

Nov. 23 | 7 p.m.
The Holland Project | Reno, Nev.

Nov. 23 | 11 p.m.
40 Mile Saloon | Reno, Nev.

Nov. 24 | 7 p.m.
The Holland Project | Reno, Nev.

This so-called golden age of Reno punk was led by 7Seconds who were one of the first groups to successfully collaborate with other up-and-coming bands of the time such as Minor Threat, Black Flag, The Descendants and Dead Kennedys.

This month, the locally organized Humaniterrorist Record Collective celebrates its 13th anniversary with a two-day music festival at The Holland Project and the release of a compilation of 25 Reno bands covering 7Seconds songs entitled “Destroy All That Tradition.”

“Whether you like them or not, you can’t deny that DIY culture in Reno owes that band a debt of gratitude,” says local musician Clint Neuerburg. “They were one of the first ones to put their name of the map and bring Reno to people’s attentions, at least in the punk world. For better or worse, a lot of what we have now probably wouldn’t exist in Reno if not for 7Seconds.”

An inheritance that began with high-school delinquents scratching out hand-written letters to collectives in other cities in hopes of working together to plan tours and distribute records continues to flourish four decades later at venues such as The Holland Project, Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor, Shea’s Tavern and countless word-of-mouth Tuesday night-house and warehouse parties organized by those who keep the scene and spirit alive.

Humaniterrorist began in 2005 as a loose affiliate of musical friends and has since release 30 records by various groups both long- and short-lived. The latest compilation was recorded over the course of three intense days at The Sound Saloon in Reno with each band reserving a three-hour slot to lay down tracks.

“It was really a marathon and it went on without a hitch,” says Neuerburg. “Everyone took it seriously and showed up ready to work. I couldn’t have been more proud of the musicians in our local scene.”

As the sessions went on, a lot of people ended up sticking around and singing background on each other’s songs.

“It became like a big community handing out and having a good time with each other,” says Neuerburg. “Experiencing that sense of camaraderie is a testament to the spirit of punk rock.”

A Community of Misfits

Neuerburg was one of the first music program directors at The Holland Project when it opened in 2007. The creative vision for the all-ages music and arts initiative located on Vesta Street in midtown Reno is now curated by 23-year-old Brigdon Markward.

“It’s not music that is necessarily commercial or written with this goal of getting on the radio or playing huge festivals, even through many of the bands now do that,” says Markward. “It’s more about moving forward with your art, creating it on your own and marketing it on your own.”

As a small city in an isolated region, the Reno alternative music scene has a history of banding together to support each other in spite of any invisible lines. This has never been more evident than in the contemporary DIY scene where the tribal tendencies of the old-school punk scene have blurred into a society that thrives more on an unspoken code than any certain type of dress or musical taste.

“It’s more about that original hardcore ethos than any genre,” says Markward. “It’s about making a community that supports each other and opposed to getting violent and beating each other up and whatnot.”

Although the “Destroy All That Tradition” is a tribute of sorts to the pioneering band that officially broke up in May after a 38-year run, it more importantly provides the perfect 2018 snapshot of the artistic community they helped form in dark basements and abandoned warehouses all those years ago.

“I think Reno always was and will continue to be a great hotbed of creativity,” says Neuerburg. “I’ve been in touring bands since I was 17 years old and I think the bands here are as good or better than bands in most cities anywhere. I’m really proud of the artists who exist here and I think this project sort of shined a light on that fact for all of us.”

The Humaniterrorist Record Collective 13th Anniversary Party is on Nov. 23 and 24. On Nov. 23, bands will perform throughout the day at Recycled Records. On Nov. 23 and 24, The Holland Project will host shows for all ages at 7 p.m. each night; tickets are $10 and proceeds will benefit The Holland Project. On Nov. 23, 40 Mile Saloon will host a free show for ages 21 and older. |