The Filistines

by The Filistines

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The Filistines (San Francisco, ca. 1979-1981)

The Filistines were my first band, started in late 1979 when I moved out of my parents' house in Palo Alto, CA, to San Francisco. Among the first people I met in SF were members of a loose collective dating from the arch hippy days, known as the Zany Emanators, and centered on a warehouse space where one of the "Zanies" had built an optical printer for film animation work. If I remember correctly, our first rehearsals were held at that place, and our first gig was at a party there.

We've got to talk about something here.
We've got to talk about punk, and hippies, and the climate in California back in the late 70's, when I got involved in the whole question. Nowadays, my punk friends say, hey, WTF? You call that punk? Well, no, I don't, and I didn't back then. either. I guess I called it New Wave, and I guess New Wave was the shit for me back then.

We'll have to take a look at how things were in those days:

In '76 or '77, as a suburban kid in California, you were either a jock or a hippie. I was a hippie. It was the Sex Pistols who made us hippies obsolete, and of course we resented it. I know people who to this day can't get over that.
Look. We believed in peace and love. The alternative was testosterone and stupidity. We also believed in revolution, but as sheltered rich kids, we had no idea that revolution meant bad smelling linens and less-than-polite ideas about things like peace and love. Suddenly there were these PEOPLE, you know, these people who shit on everything we believed, but were somehow much more honest than we were. And what were they selling? Testosterone and stupidity!

We panicked.

But help was on the way. First it was the Sex Pistols, who were the Monkees of punk. C'mon, after hearing songs like Pretty Vacant, how could you deny that punk was not only worth paying attention to, but even that it had appeal?
Then came X-Ray Spex, and the game was over. Nothing, but nothing serves as an argument against punk after one has heard X-Ray Spex.
And it seems to me that two more albums paved the way for punk to enter the mainstream, of which I, as a member of a certain California elite, had been until that moment a privileged part. They were Go2 By XTC, and "The Scream" by Souxsie and the Banshees.

I cut my hair.


Howie, the drummer, took the initiative to put the band together, and talked me into joining as well as Bruce, a childhood friend from Cleveland and sometimes collaborator with Howie on jazz projects. Our first singer was Jack, a friend of my cousin's, but he got canned at some point in favor of Gloria, who was Howie's girlfriend. I was recruited because I was so young, and for my interest in punk and new wave.
We played only a handful of shows, and completed just a couple of four-track demos. The band ended badly; Howie and I didn't speak for years. Now both he and Jack are investment bankers or something like that.


released December 30, 1981




Phil Freeborn Missouri

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