Disclaimer: My knowledge of the entire scope of Louisville hardcore is admittedly very thin, as my exposure was limited to the years 1983-1986, and I only really knew a few mother fuckers. For a better overview of the complete history, I urge you to check out this very thorough site http://www.louisvillehardcore.com


In the hardcore days of my youth, just about every surrounding city of any size had some kind of a scene. Columbus. Dayton. Athens. Akron. Indianapolis. Lexington. Etc. Outside of Cincinnati, the scene I was most familiar with was Louisville, due to my relationships with a couple local bands.

Louisville has a rich history of punk starting in the late 70s, growing out of the Louisville School of Art scene and a local hangout called 1069 Bardstown Road. This scene spawned groups like The Babylon Dance Band, No Fun, The Endtables, Your Food, and The Dickbrains, among many others. Most of these bands had broken up by the time I was old enough to know about them, but my Louisville friends spoke of them all with great reverence.

Babylon Dance Band (L) and The Endtables (R)


The Dickbrains. Photos/flyers stolen from: myspace.com/boldbeginningslouisvillepunk7883


The grand daddies of Louisville Hardcore in 1983 were Malignant Growth. Starting in 1979, “The Growth” developed a loyal following throughout the underground punk scene of the entire midwest. Though they only recorded one demo tape to my knowledge, their live shows were nothing short of epic. I mostly caught them opening for national touring acts at the Jockey Club, where they always left a lasting impression. They only ever released a demo tape, which is considered quite rare.


Two other bands that The Growth had seemingly taken under their wing were Squirrel Bait and Maurice. My Sluggo crew fromCincinnati bonded with the Squirrel Bait and Maurice guys pretty much instantly. We were all the same age, from similar backgrounds, and shared strikingly similar tastes in music and zines and punk rock in general.



David Grubbs from Squirrel Bait was one of those kids who, the instant you met him, you knew he was the smartest guy in the room. Even at 17, he seemed wise beyond his years, and he was helping shape Squirrel Bait’s sound in to something that was already moving well beyond the narrow thashy confines of hardcore punk. Within the decade, the Squirrel Bait guys would go on to form a host of bands like Slint and Gastr Del Sol, who are now counted among foundation cornerstone bands of post rock/indie rock/math rock/etc. David is now a professor of music at Brooklyn College, as well as enjoying a solo career as a singer/songwriter. I really need to go look his ass up one of these days.

Squirrel Bait released two records and one posthumous 7″. The 1985 “Squirrel Bait EP” and the 1987 “Skag Heaven”, both on Homestead Records, and the 1989 “Motorola Cloudburst” on Ajax Records. Their records went largely unnoticed outside of our tri-state scene until people like Bob Mould from Husker Du and Evan Dando from the Lemonheads starting praising them in mainstream mags like Spin. They did manage to tour for a bit before breaking up in 1988. Their reputation has only grown since then.


Maurice were equally on their own planet, both musically and mentally. I remember that I used to think of them as the midwest version of the DC band Void. Heavy, confusing, and almost scary. Your reaction to a Maurice show would invariably be nothing short of “WTF?!”, because they were just that weird. I became very good friends with Sean “Rat” Garrison, the singer. He was a super intense person, screamingly funny, and totally fucking insane. We traded music and fanzines and drawings and spent hours on the phone talking bullshit about The Misfits and movies and cool looking skeletons.


Maurice never released any recordings other than a few home made cassettes, which are considered very rare. If anybody out there reading this has one, I would LOVE to hear it.

After Maurice broke up, Rat and Mike Bucayu went on to form Kinghorse, who got signed to Caroline and developed a heavy following until they disbanded in 1995. Drummer Britt Walford and guitarist David Pajo went on to form Slint and Tortoise, as well as playing with The Breeders and a bunch of other widley heralded bands of the post rock/math rock genre. David Pajo now has a solid solo career as a singer/songwriter. Last I heard he’s playing with a band called Watter.


Rat and I lost touch, sadly, but I have always counted him as one of my greatest childhood acquaintances, if for no other reason than I have never met anybody remotely like him since. Nor do I expect I ever will.

Rat & Glenn Danzig.


See my other blog post about the Louisville fanzines: David Grubbs’ HIT THE TRAIL and Rat’s BORN TO LOSE.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.