The Outhouse, as seen from the neighboring corn field.

The Outhouse, as seen from the neighboring corn field.


No freakin way? Yeah dude, it's been two years. Two years since lawrence.com as is has been. To celebrate, we'll revisit a few of our favorite stories from the years gone by...like, this, our very first one.

Remember the Outhouse.

Though their cry is quieted with each passing year, the soldiers who once turned a nondescript cinder-block shack on the edge of Lawrence into a punk rock icon still roam the earth. Always proud but never haughty, they'll gladly share their war stories with a little persuasion.

Just don't believe any of them.

"There's a lot of conflicting stories about what happened at the Outhouse," said Bill Rich, an Outhouse expatriate recognized by one former concertgoer as 'the man who started it all.' "Some people want to sound more important than they are. Everyone had their own opinions on what was happening then, and that still holds true."

What is certain is that - during a decade typically associated with Madonna, makeup and mullets - the Outhouse was Lawrence's torchbearer of alternative culture. And in the '80s, alternative meant punk -- Bad Brains, Descendents, 7 Seconds, Naked Raygun, Sonic Youth. Those bands played the Outhouse; Billy Idol didn't.

And for the teens and young adults -- from Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City and beyond -- who congregated in the mud-soaked parking lot every weekend, the Outhouse meant something more than music. It meant freedom - from parents, from authority and from the banality of attending high school and growing up.

"It opened my eyes as a 14-year-old walking out in that cornfield seeing things I never saw in school," said Matt Sullivan, manager of the Replay Lounge, a venue that's filled the void since the Outhouse closed for good in 1998. "It was definitely a bad influence -- I smoked my first cigarette, drank my first beer and almost lost my virginity."

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The Outhouse as it stands today, a BYOB strip joint at 1837 N. 1500 St., three miles east of Mass. St.

Humble beginnings

The Outhouse wasn't the first venue to bring alternative music to Lawrence. Between the years of 1979 and 1981, the Opera House (now Liberty Hall, 642 Mass. St.) played host to the Buzzcocks, Iggy Pop and Devo. Local bands -- like the Clean, Get Smart, and Wichita's The Embarrassment -- found a home at Off-the-Wall Hall (now The Bottleneck, 737 N.H. St.). These venues -- together with the support of Kansas University's student-run radio KJHK 90.7 FM and Exile Records -- had fostered a bona-fide rock scene.

But live alternative music took a big hit in 1982 when the Opera House and Off-the-Wall-Hall closed their doors. Off-the-Wall-Hall reopened briefly in 1983 as the Dynamo Ballroom, but closed again later that year. The Opera House also reopened to scattered shows but closed down in 1984 for renovation.

"It seemed like there was about a year and a half when there wasn't any place to see punk rock shows besides houses," said Bob Cutler, who later became a sound engineer at the Outhouse.

Without a proper venue, an artist's space called the Loft, 615 1/2 Mass. St., began doing shows. Word also got around about a building east of town that was available for parties.

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Bill Rich, one of the Outhouse's founding fathers, would later become a personal assistant for William S. Burroughs before the death of the author and Lawrence resident. Today Rich works with disabled adults at Community Living Opportunities.

In 1984, Phil Heying organized one of the first officially promoted shows at what would be called the Outhouse. The show was a benefit -- for himself.

"Phil put the show together after the police broke his camera at a party," said friend Bill Rich. "He had a lot of anger."

Phil rented the building from Donny Mellenbruch, a burley Harley-Davidson motorcycle enthusiast that bought the cinder-block shack as a place to work on his motorcycles and throw parties. Though he didn't identify himself with the punk rock crowd, Donny soon became a fixture at shows.

"Donny came out a lot in the beginning because he liked the crowds and he liked to party," Rich said. "He liked to ride his motorcycle around the building after shows. One day he sang some songs and -- in the middle of a song -- took out a pistol and shot a hole through the roof."

Later that year, (the Lawrence punk band) The Micronotz painted the building, built a stage and burned the brush around the building. With the skeleton of a venue intact, the only challenge left was getting bands to come out to a cinder-block building in the middle of a cornfield.

Bill Rich, a 25-year-old punk rock enthusiast who already had experience booking shows at the Opera House, stepped up to task. With the help of KJHK, Rich and his production company Redline Productions began doing shows at the Outhouse.

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Local band Sinn Fein performs at the Outhouse during the Lawrence venue's twilight years, circa 1995.

"When the punk rock movement hit we all got caught up in it," Rich said. "It was a relief from how tired music had been. My whole focus changed to punk rock."

"It was a whole new do-it-yourself world. We didn't need the support of the system in anything we did -- touring, selling records, getting on the radio."

"Provoking a reaction"

Brandt Nesbitt, the guitarist for Lawrence's Slurry, wore a five-inch blonde mohawk to the Outhouse.

"I wanted to provoke a reaction. That was the whole point," Nesbitt said. "We provoked a reaction to what people take for granted now -- tattoos, body piercing. We forced a different culture -- especially in Kansas."

Dave Simmons started going to shows in the summer between fifth and sixth grades with older friends. He said that punk rock was an identity that he carried with him, even as he raised his child.

"Punk rock was totally political," Simmons said. "It was about fighting for who you are, regardless."

But punk rock wasn't all about politics. It was also about slam dancing.

"That was the best environment for a mosh pit," said Kurt Nesbitt, a regular at the club in the '80s. "Except for the big broiler on the left that would singe you if you touched it. It felt like touching a hot iron."

"A cinder-block crapper"

Comfort and sanitation were never selling points for the Outhouse.

"The floor was freezing. Your feet would be in pain by the end of the show if it was winter," said Jimmy Troughton, an Outhouse regular known to his friends at the Replay Lounge simply as Jimmy T.

"The toilets worked 25 percent of the time, when they weren't smashed. When you had to shit you ran out in the cornfield."

"One of the first shows I saw there had a pig's head nailed to the wall with tempera paint next to it and 'Paint the Piggie' scrawled on the wall."

Despite the decadent condition of the building, the Outhouse drew a diverse and - depending on the show - often rowdy crowd of music-lovers and thrill-seekers. Just outside the jurisdiction of the city police, underage drinking in the parking lot was commonplace.

"I went there because guys never hit on me. I could just hang out in back with a 40-ounce and listen to the music," said Anne Tangeman, former editor of Micromag, a free Lawrence music zine that was a fixture around town in the mid-nineties.

Aaron Strelow, a bartender at the Replay said he had a hard time recalling specific shows or experiences.

"A lot of times it was a complete blur because we were so loaded," Strelow said. "I just happened to like speed. Speed and whiskey -- that's a pretty rowdy combination when you're listening to music."

But one memory stuck out in Loran Frazier's memory.

"I'm leery of skinheads to this day," said Frazier, 32. "I saw my friends get beat up just because they had short hair."

"But it was usually skinheads beating up each other."

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Inside the Outhouse, circa 1995

"Drunk, violent thugs"

It's difficult to have a conversation about the Outhouse without mentioning the skinheads. By the late '80s, they seemed to take over the club. So many kids were shaving off their mohawks that sound engineer Bob Cutler began keeping a "box of hawks" for all the mohawks he shaved off in the bathroom. Cutler said the majority of skinheads were not racist.

"It was just your typical identity crisis," Cutler told the Lawrence music 'zine Micomag in 1996. "They were just punk rockers who decided that being punk rock meant having to think too much about your own identity and it was easier to buy into this kind of Kmart skinhead identity because that was getting the popular press at the time -- and it would piss off your parents a little more."

Promoter Jeff Fortier identified himself as a skinhead, but said he became disenchanted with the violence associated with the tag.

"A lot of people that I thought were my friends were arrogant and took advantage of the power system and made it uncomfortable for a lot of people to go to the Outhouse," Fortier said. "I kind of felt like I brought that to the Outhouse, and I felt a little bad about that."

Promoter Dave Budin said he felt embarrassed and frustrated by the intimidating presence of the skinheads.

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Inside the Outhouse, circa 1995

"Frequently the people who were working security were the ones who would be involved with the fights," Budin said. "No one wanted to step up and deal with it. Most of the skinheads were true to the stereotype of drunk, violent thugs. If you weren't into the skinhead scene it could be really frightening."

Budin spearheaded an effort to clean up the image of the building. The chore began with a very unpopular decision -- painting over the graffiti that adorned the interior.

"It was a tough decision but I think it helped save the place," Budin said. "People looked at it less like a shithole."

All things must pass

By 1990, punk rock shows happened less frequently at the Outhouse. With bands like Green Day, Rollins Band and Helmet seeking to play bigger and better venues, Budin began to think the Outhouse was more trouble than it was worth.

"It became so much of a pain in the ass to do shows out there," Budin said. "The rent was going up for shows and we could pay less for a better PA at the Bottleneck."

"Move on with the bands or they'll move on without you."

Fortier also felt it was time for a change.

"The dilemma that I had was that there weren't as many punk rock bands touring and that scene had really shrunk," Fortier said. "Certain scenes didn't want to be in a concrete building in the middle of a cornfield. Especially in the motherfucking winter, with no heat."

The Replay, and The Hideaway, now the Dance Academy at 1117 Mass. St., also began doing rock shows in the early '90s.

"Once a couple cool places opened up here in town the prospect of driving out there didn't seem as great as it used to be," said Jimmy T. "I didn't want to risk the roads or the possibility of getting a DUI when I could just walk to the Replay."

The final nail in the coffin came in '93 when massive flooding made the road impassable and turned half the parking lot into a lake. It got so bad that "ferrying people over the moat" in four-wheel-drive pickup trucks became common practice. On the worst days, they used canoes.

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One of nearly 400 flyers featured on Mike Blur's flyer archive

Last gasp

From 1993 to 1995, frat parties outnumbered rock shows at the Outhouse. But the war-ravaged building still had enough breath for one last gasp.

"A new breed of younger punks who didn't get to go to the Outhouse in its heyday began putting on shows," said Jeremy Coffman, a Topeka teenager who came to his first show in 1991. "There definitely weren't as many kids that came out then. It was more relaxed, almost nostalgic."

But the second wind fell short. In 1998, Mellenbruch fell on hard financial times and lost the lease. Jeff Wallace picked up the building and turned it into a BYOB strip club. The Outhouse remained a cinder-block palace of sin -- only now it was profitable.

Legacy

The three-mile drive east on 15th Street hasn't changed since the Outhouse traded its drum kits for big tips. The road is still crappy and the horizon is still dotted with cows. The pavement still gives way to gravel and the Outhouse still sneaks up on you like a ghost in your rearview mirror.

For all that happened within its walls, the building looks surprisingly modest. The only trace of the past is graffiti on a little bathroom east of the building -- the Outhouse's outhouse -- that reads "SICKBOY PUNX" and "SOME SKINS."

"I don't think you could pull it off again," said Zippy, owner of Love Garden Sounds, 936 1/2 Mass. St.

"Now it's just me and the people I've known forever sitting around talking about how we were young, dumb and fucking stupid."

The Micronotz Volume #2, 1985-86

Past the Outhouse

But for a select few, the Outhouse marked the beginning of the unthinkable -- a career in the music biz. For Jeff Fortier, it was the rock and roll equivalent of boot camp.

"I was going to school full-time, I was working 40 hours a week and I was doing shows and running the Outhouse," said Fortier, who now runs Renegade Productions. "That was trial by fire. You were on the plank. You had to come up the money to pay the bills and if it didn't work you were out."

"No one really made any money."

But then the unthinkable happened. Punk rock caught on with the mainstream.

"All of a sudden radio was starting to have an effect," Fortier said. "Next thing you know, Green Day and the Offspring and Helmet -- bands who had played the Outhouse -- two years later they're playing small arenas."

Jeff Fortier, who booked for the Outhouse, talks about his favorite shows (White Zombie, 1 of 5)

Jeff Fortier, who booked for the Outhouse, talks about his favorite shows (Gwar, 2 of 5)

Jeff Fortier, who booked for the Outhouse, talks about his favorite shows (Melvins, 3 of 5)

Jeff Fortier, who booked for the Outhouse, talks about his favorite shows (Melvins, 4 of 5)

Jeff Fortier, who booked for the Outhouse, talks about his favorite shows (Melvins, 5 of 5)

Bob Cutler, sound man for 1000+ shows at the Outhouse, on how he set the skinheads straight (1 of 2)

Bob Cutler, sound man for 1000+ shows at the Outhouse, on cleaning out the toilets and picking up the drunks (2 of 2)

Aaron Strelow, bartender at the Replay Lounge, remembering things that caught fire

Wayne Coyne, frontman for the Flaming Lips, on why his band never played the Outhouse

And the promoters that booked them at the Outhouse went with them. Dave Budin, who booked the agent-less Green Day for $250 at the Outhouse, found himself promoting the fastest sellout in Memorial Hall history.

"Green Day put me though college and paid for my car," Budin said.

After a couple years of independently promoting shows at Liberty Hall and the Bottleneck, Budin set out for Portland to pursue an opportunity with Monqui Presents and Portland's hippest club -- La Luna.

"It was the alternative space when alternative meant something," Budin said. "If I did 10 important bands at the Outhouse, I probably did 200 at La Luna."

In 1998, Budin followed the job trail to Chicago and then to Philadelphia, where he took an assistant position with Electric Factory Concerts and SFX Entertainment. Then his career took a bizarre turn that even Budin couldn't have foreseen: Clear Channel bought out SFX.

"All of a sudden I went from working for this local mom and pop promoter to this giant global corporate thing," Budin said. "I was doing work for the Backstreet Boys, N' Sync and Christina Aguilera. It was bizarre."

"When you get into the big business, you realize that the bands you like don't usually make it. I saw of lot of my favorite bands from the early '90s fizzle away, which was a bummer. But the truth is that the indie rock community is nasty, elitist and unfriendly. I just wanted to get a job and get back in the mix."

Budin said that the fans - not the promoters -- dictate trends.

"I saw Styx come to town and draw 7,000 people. There is something really wrong with America if people pay $40 to see a band that doesn't even have the original lead singer and hasn't put out a new record in 10 years," he said.

"It seems like all the progress since Nirvana has been completely destroyed. It's depressing, but it's business."

Whereas Budin rode his experiences at the Outhouse all the way to Clear Channel, sound engineer and "house manager" Bob Cutler drove - as a roadie for Canadian punkers Dead on Arrival (DOA). In his seven years with the band, Cutler toured Europe five times. He estimates he did sound for more than 1,000 shows at the Outhouse.

"It taught me how to operate under stress," Cutler said. "The real challenge was to make a band sound good inside a cinder block box. And to get shitty, broken down equipment to work night after night."

Cutler travels from Topeka to the Replay Lounge, each weekend to collect donations for a youth center he's trying to open in downtown Topeka. He has collected $2,500 but said he'll need grants to make it a reality. He envisions the center as a coffee house that would also function as an all-ages music club.

"It's in my blood to support the music scene," Cutler said. "It's all I want to do and it's something I can do."

Cutler, who's lived his whole life in Topeka, still brags about bringing the legendary punk band Black Flag to Topeka when he was 17. He said that most of his early efforts to throw punk shows landed him in jail.

"Topeka was still burning rock records in 1986. Needless to say, the powers that be were not fond of me doing punk shows," he said.

Independent music promoter Jacki Becker started going to shows at the Outhouse when she lived in Hashinger Hall. Though she never booked a show for the Outhouse, she credits the Outhouse with helping get her involved in underground music.

"Back then, bands would show up and play for beer and a door deal, which doesn't happen anymore," Becker said. "It's a different business now. There's insurance and there's lawsuits and there's ad packs and ad campaigns. Back then you made a flyer. You took a marker and drew a picture."

"We all started somewhere. The Outhouse was sort of a stepping stone - along with KJHK - to having careers in music that we probably never dreamed we could have."

Comments

ruseriousdog 7 years, 5 months ago

Bob Cutler should be ashamed of himself for posting this hatred and racist comment on argumentmachine.com. You can read it from their website at: http://www.argumentmachine.com/threads/2006-Nov-22/103017/103022.html

In Reply to In Reply to Boring and redundant douchebag by Dr Kvetch by An Un-Colorblind Message of Love By: Dr High Potentate Of Hate @ 24.255.173.213 Date: 22/Nov/2006 at 11:12:35pm Subject: Don't you snarl at me diesle dyke, if you want hate, I'll give you ten-fold HATE! We are flattered and amused that you race-mixers over there at Billable Douchebags managed to stalk-back a link to this weird and obscure little internet forum.

And especially amused at your odd interpretation of things. No one here CARES about your multicultural greeding cards. There is no FISTING in the cards, so we hate you.

And just in case you dillitante militants want to bring it with your words, we will have you know that we are ALL a bunch of stupid niggers (And 2 Jews) on this forum.

The difference is...that the thing that probably makes a dumb mud-race like you think we are a bunch of white supremacists....is that we are all articulate and litterate niggers, rather then ebonic-bawlin' knuckle-dragging crack baby welfare warfare "Afro Americans" with that pathetic social paranoia feeding your sense of entitlement.

Yes, the use of Niggers offends me. Wetbacks end up being cheaper labor in the long run.

Baby was a black sheep. baby was a whore. Baby got big and baby get bigger. Baby get something. baby get more. Baby, baby, baby was a rock-and-roll nigger. Oh, look around you, all around you, Riding on a copper wave. Do you like the world around you? Are you ready to behave?

Outside of society, theyre waitin for me. Outside of society, thats where I want to be.

(lenny!)

Baby was a black sheep. baby was a whore. You know she got big. well, shes gonna get bigger. Baby got a hand; got a finger on the trigger. Baby, baby, baby is a rock-and-roll nigger.

Outside of society, thats where I want to be. Outside of society, theyre waitin for me.

(those who have suffered, understand suffering, And thereby extend their hand The storm that brings harm Also makes fertile Blessed is the grass And herb and the true thorn and light)

I was lost in a valley of pleasure. I was lost in the infinite sea. I was lost, and measure for measure, Love spewed from the heart of me. I was lost, and the cost, And the cost didnt matter to me. I was lost, and the cost Was to be outside society.

Jimi hendrix was a nigger. Jesus christ and grandma, too. Jackson pollock was a nigger. Nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, Nigger, nigger, nigger.

Outside of society, theyre waitin for me. Outside of society, if youre looking, Thats where youll find me. Outside of society, theyre waitin for me. Outside of society. (repeat)

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esad666 7 years, 6 months ago

Oh how I miss this classic venue my friends and I fuckin lived at the outhouse I turned so many people on to this place it's crazy simply crazy and they still to this day thank me for all the kegs I provided just to get them to attend and then they where hooked my alcoholic idea worked great....although my brother and I were hispanic listening to hardcore,punkrock,ska and metal color just didnt matter at the outhouse we were accepted by all It was funny watching all the people watching us singing all the songs I really think it shocked some people that Sam and I went to every show possible to check out any style of music and I'm so glad we did we seen and met all of our favs and still to this day I go to shows everywhere all over the US supporting music and I thank THE OUTHOUSE promoter Jeff Fortier for everything he's for me I love you Jeff.

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coattailrider 7 years, 9 months ago

Nirvana opened for 24-7 Spyz and hung out afterward bitching about their booking agent putting them in a Shithole! I promoted my only show there, a party for a couple buddies leaving for fun in Europe, "Spike" Keating(Now playing with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and Frank "Bone" Schudy. Sin Disciples, Rot Gut, and Mark Hennesy's pre-PAW band(Can't remember their fucking name!) performed. We spraypainted the names on the ceiling girders and pissed off Budin 'cause he had just painted over all the old graffitti. Lost my ass on it by throwing the show on Tues. instead of on Fri./Sat. night. SCD let me pay them $100 less than agreed and the other 2 played for free. Friends and free beer. Those were and still are the days. Worked the back door a few times for Fortier (Fear, The Selector,White Zombie, partied with Ice-T on the bus in the middle of Feb.), which entailed shitting on the roof and throwing things at people trying to come in the back onto stage. Fugazi, Fishbone, ect. were also some mindblowing shows I experienced at the Outhouse. Does anybody remember the Down and Under? The Missing Link between the Outhouse and Hideaway/Replay Lounge. Sorry if I fucked anybody over when I booked the place. Chip Walker, San Francisco, July 1st 2006

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allen 8 years, 3 months ago

So, who's gonna make the coffee table book?

Going to h.s in Denver sucked. And when Colorado crapped me out to Lawrence, Kansas, it was a fresh start. And what a great place for it. The autumn leaves, the fine old university buildings...the abundant black label beer ($2.89 / 12-pack in bottles!). And of course, the punk rock scene.

The outhouse was one of those special places that happen in a certain time and place, then disappear. I think someone calls it a "Temporary Autonomous Zone." You don't cry when it's gone. You're just glad you got to be a part of it, because it was magic.

That place was the worst shithole of all time. Low ceilings, grafitti, broken glass. Don't even think about the toilet unless its an emergency. But the Outhouse brought out the best in bands. The clauserphobic atmosphere when there were actually a lot of people in it must have something to do with it. That Fishbone show was my personal favorite. But there were so many great shows there: Descendents, SNFU, Fugazi, Rapeman, Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, Die Kreuzen, Gwar...

Looking back on it, what makes it so special for me was not just the bands that played there--those same bands toured around the country and played in lots of horrible venues--it was the people associated with it and the way that it was run. It was a community. People cared about the music and the fun they took care of each other. There was always lots of fear/hype about skins, but they never bothered me none. I remember skins who spent whole nights just making sure there wouldn't be fights.

There was no pretension. You didn't have to be cool. You didn't have to know anybody. You just had to be there.

I didn't romanticize the place much at the time, but I do wish I could go back and give a big hug to all the people who put on shows there. You did a labor of love, and it made a big difference in my life. Thank you.

(By the way, if you want to see some kool shots of Sonic Youth at the Outhouse, check their website. They've archived fucking everything, including 4 great photos taken by Susan Sanchez, nee Welling)

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gburchart 8 years, 5 months ago

I cant believe the Out House is gone! I saw some crazy shows there a long time ago: Kelly Girls, Agnostic Front, Sick of It All, DRI, Mind Over Four, Skeletal Ambitions, Fugazi, Paw, way too many to name. Just wanted to say goodbye to a piece of my youth and to say thanks for the memories and for letting me and my friends take our frustrations out. You will be soarley missed.

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BFC 9 years, 2 months ago

You know, it would be fitting in some ironic way if this was to be FINALLY the end of the yearly "Oooh, I'm a jschool hack and I'm gonna write the Outhouse story" articles.

Maybe Bill and I told the author the same thing: ""Some people want to sound more important than they are. Everyone had their own opinions on what was happening then, and that still holds true."" Or maybe that quote was mis-attributed to Bill Rich, which would also be ironicly appropriate.

You see, the REAL story is that after ME and MY buddies got done building stonehenge, I showed up in a cornfield in Kansas and decided that the place needed a fitting monument.

So I, me alone, by myself, started forming bricks by hand down by the river and hauling them one at a time through the corn to an empty lot where I singlehandedly built the Outhouse, all by myself.

Then I said "Let there be punk" and all the sudden, Bill Rich and Dave Budin grew legs and slithered out of the swamp and said "Oh boy! And how much can we commodify it and sell it for?". Macro-evolution is more then a theory. And truth-theory always seems to evolve.

Kurt Mangold (Who owes me and everyone else money) also claims to have "discovered" and put on the first show at the Outhouse. I think his band DID play that show, as well as at the party where Phil got his camera busted by the pigs...I saw that happen, me and Greg Nelson grabbed pencils and drew pictures of it, and when the pigs turned to us we said "Oh no! Their gonna break our pencils for drawing pictures of them breaking that guys camera for taking pictures of them being assholes and beating on kids for no reason!"

Well, I always liked the way that Kurt put it about the Outhouse: "It was another temporary solution to a permenent problem in Lawrence". It was a temporary solution that lasted about 10 years.

As far as Jimmy T's little tale about me pounding him: Yep, I did it. And if he (Or anyone) where to pull what he pulled, I would do it again, in a heartbeat. But the ommissions and distortions on his part certainly don't tell the whole story, as is typical with him. But that was what? 10 or so years ago?

But the Outhouse is long gone, and it won't be coming back. That was a time, an era, and peice of real estate with a grandfathered zoning variance that just can't and won't happen again.

I hope no one really feels the need or the void on their resume to write another yearly Outhouse article. The ink and webspace would be much better wasted on something current and relevent and happening.

Most are content to sit on the same barstool that theyve sat on for ten years talking to people that already know the story.

BTW: for whoever was asking, my email addy is: bobc(at)topekadiy.com

Cheers bob c

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wiggy 9 years, 2 months ago

Bryan Hutcheson here...I used to book shows at the Outhouse as 1008 Productions (lived at 1008 Mississippi), Soyanara (with Scott Bourne) and later as Wiggy Productions. Most of the shows I booked there were in the mid- 80s. The last show I put on there was Fireparty,Fidelity Jones and Soulside, all Dischord Bands. I took a picture of one of the women in Fireparty and it ended up on the cover of one of their CDs

1991, I moved to Boston and started up my label, Wiggy records, putting out Grind/ Crust records with bands from all over the world. On the many tours I went on in Europe & US, I learned that the Outhouse had a legendary status in the punk scene. That was kind of odd. I always thought that place was a mud-pit with an owner who always tried to stick it to me when it was time to pay for the nights rent. To later find out it had an almost mythical quality atttached to it was comical.

It was a great place to see a band.

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john_green 9 years, 2 months ago

Hey All, Aaaaah. Wonderful. Great article. ...Though a little bleak. For my part, I think we've all done pretty well for ourselves! The Outhouse really let me "express my anger" and all that, but it's where I made some great friends, and had a sense of community. I still know --and love-- my friends from that time! The people mentioned in the article Ann (author, photographer) Aaron (father, philosopher) Jeff (businessman extrordinaire). And a few others, not mentioned...John Harrison, who is still putting out great music, is still one of the nicest people in Lawrence. Bret Dillingham (owns a consulting firm, and is a therapist) Tom Peschio, William Burroughs assistant. It's been almost 20 years, and we're old, fat, and bald, but hey! I think we've "succeeded". We're all pretty happy! And the skinheads? Ken now owns Pachamamas, Jeff is a long hair now... and John Noonan... now my brother-in-law! I married his sister Pattie (who just became Dr. Noonan), and see him often! There were some awful times... two suicides, countless beatings... and that combined with post-punk popularity, made it time to leave... but for my part, I say, "Hats Off!" to everyone that was part of that 'scene'. Punk rock saved my life! (...I'm not totally sure I'm kidding about that) -John

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simpletrim 9 years, 2 months ago

i met mike watt in texas on their ball bust tour a week after they played lawrence. he was still talking about the great time they had at the outhouse.

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MSCOLO 9 years, 2 months ago

Agent Orange. Great show. The band was real cool to hang out with in the parking lot. They were back together supporting that fairly weak follow up to 'Living In Darkness', can't remember that album name but I bought it, probably have it somewhere. Anyway, they played tight as a drum skin. Small crowd. We were drunk and starving after the show and I pulled a couple ears of corn and took them home and boiled them. That's when I learned the concept of 'feed corn'. City boy, obviously.

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rikkiends 9 years, 2 months ago

The first time I went to the Outhouse was to see SNFU in 1986. It was my first trip to Lawrence, too. I have many fond memories of the Outhouse...but I've probably forgotten more trips there than I'm able to actually remember.

Government Issue came into Pennylane Records one afternoon (1987?). Their gig in K.C. or some place had been canceled. John Henderson organized a show for them at the Outhouse for the same night. All publicity was word of mouth that day. I remember another time at a GWAR show when Kim Czarnopys was freaking out because she thought they'd splattered real blood all over her shirt when they were swinging around the giant tampon. Ahhh, the good ol' days -- the stories I probably won't tell my daughter any time soon.

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astromoe 9 years, 2 months ago

Outhouse... Salad Days... Punk Rock... Blah... Blah...

Who knows an email for Cutler, that mothertrucker owes me $2,500! Ok he doesn't really, but I would like to email him.

Thanks.

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oldehipeye 9 years, 2 months ago

Just on the chance that some of you might be interested in some the ancient history of the building called "The Outhouse": In the late sixties fraternities used to rent the place out for parties and hire bands to play there. A cover band made up of jr. high school students who were friends of mine played one such gig sometime between 1966 and 1969 - the dates are fuzzy in memory - calling themselves "The Lost Soul". The drummer for this band, one Stuart Doores, still plays drums for local groups, notably "Billy Spears and the Beer Bellies" and "Swing Canyon". The bass player, one Bruce Lacey, now does sound recording for feature films in California and (if my memory isn't playing tricks on me) I believe he has won an academy award for some of his work. The guitar player, Jody Spotts, went on to become the road manager and guitar player in Neil Sedaka's band before dying tragically in an automobile accident that also took the life of a local bass player - whose last name was Jaimez - several decades ago. The place was exactly the same kind of hole then that it was in the eighties when I saw a band that was called something like "The Swinging Sirens" there.

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Rob Gillaspie 9 years, 2 months ago

...and thanks to these SWEET implants, I'm a whole dollar richer now-- Thanks, Moose!

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spym00se 9 years, 2 months ago

First show I saw there was Murderama's Sinn Fein, the last show I've seen there has involved me putting a dollar bill in my mouth...

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liz 9 years, 2 months ago

This story was a good idea. There's nothing that people in Lawrence like to do more than talk about the good old days and the Outhouse always seems to be part of that conversation. Although my older brother and many of my friends spent a lot of time out there, my own Outhouse history is pretty wimpy. Someone dragged me to a Mighty Mighty Bosstones show there in about 1989 and I got my cotton, china slipper covered foot stomped on by a combat boot. It's strange to me that this is basically a historical piece, I guess because it puts into perspective how much we've all aged.

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Rob Gillaspie 9 years, 2 months ago

The first show I ever went to was Elvis Hitler and Cocknoose, and it was at The Outhouse. Needless to say, I'v ebeen fucked up ever since.

I like how Jacki Becker says, "Back then, bands would show up and play for beer and a door deal, which doesn't happen anymore.." Because in HER universe, local bands play for NOTHING these days, whether they're aware of it or not...

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Fowler 9 years, 2 months ago

I saw a few shows at the outhouse, some fantastic shows: Meat Puppets, Fishbone, Sonic Youth, Orange Donuts, Tupelo Chain Sex, and Rank and File.

Sonic Youth and fIREHOSE in November of '86 was my favorite. There was only about 25 people there and I stood right in front of the stage. Contrast that with the Bad Brains show in 1989, where I couldn't even get in the parking lot, it was beyond packed.

Someone told me Nirvana played there too, but if they did I missed it.

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kepley 9 years, 2 months ago

whatever. i assume this was a few years ago, but still, that's no excuse.

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