A reunion of punks!
Between the 1970’s and 1990’s eclectic crowds descended upon Chimes Street to revel in the burgeoning, underground punk music scene. Recently, a Chimes Street reunion took place at the Mid-City Ballroom celebrating one of the most exciting cultural phenomena Baton Rouge has ever seen.
“The magic of Chimes Street was the original, creative, brilliant people,” said Bennet Rhodes. Rhodes is part of a team working on a documentary project, Red Stick Punk, highlighting the origin of the city’s punk and underground music scene. Rhodes encountered Chimes Street in the nineties as a student at University High.
“What happened on Chimes Street was one of the most progressive movements that Baton Rouge has ever experienced,” said Rhodes. “The people attending this reunion are the pioneers. They defined the culture and it evolved, and my generation is experiencing the foundation of what they established.”
“Old Chimes Street was a hippie fest. If you have any memories of Chimes Street, then you weren’t really there.”
“The real source of the reunion is the love of music, punk music mainly. It was a real diverse, creative crowd. It was like no other place in town. The people were very open to any kind of creativity that you wanted to have.”
“Chimes Street was mostly a punk rock movement which was little bit anti-social, anti-society. We were a new protest, all out trying to preserve and protect our kind of people. It was a very smart group who were way ahead of their times. The music said what we wanted to say, just a little bit louder and a little bit clearer.”
Sam Boykin Short
“I remember seeing REM when they were first getting together playing at The Bayou. Jason and The Scorchers, and a bunch of bands just starting out. Carlotta Street would have this amazing Halloween party every year. The crowd was all types, professional, going to school or working nearby. It felt like a combined spirit.”
The only surviving member of the Shit Dogs
“We were one of the weirdest bands. The music we played was mostly punk. We did blues, old sixties songs, the Beatles and Stones. We also did Ramones and the Sex Pistols and we had a lot of stuff of our own. We were different, it wasn’t just the LSU area. We were the north end. It was a community thing as well as a musical thing.”
“I bought the first beer ever sold at The Bayou, bought the first T-shirt ever sold. I won the first pool tournament. My memories include The Dogs Concert, Demon’s art—Demon was an integral part of Chimes Street. Just the crowd and the comrade of the people, no matter who you were when you hit Chimes Street everybody just melded together. It was about a twenty-year window when the street was magical, and then it kind of faded out.”
“It was a very energetic, bohemian scene—a place where artists, and poets and weirdos would hang out.”
Mark “Demon” Johansen
“A bunch of guys were sitting around in a room drinking beer and one of the people said ‘the next person who walked through the door will be called Demon,’ and I opened the door. The name has stuck all these years. I showed up in 1977 from Chicago. I found Leisure Landing and Magoo’s and started hanging out on Chimes Street. When the Bayou went from being just a beer bar to having liquor, that changed things. [The old Chimes street] was a time when dinosaurs walked the Earth, when giants tread upon the terra, those times no longer exist.”