|This photo shows some of the people in the Fresno punk scene in 1984. Man, what a
fun time we had! There was a lot of partying, but there was a lot of hard work, too.
And no one worked harder than Vence Barela promoting punk gigs in Fresno.
Vence was the main man in promoting punk gigs in the Fresno area for several years.
From 1982 to 1986 he put on punk gigs in the Fresno area with integrity. Well-liked
and trusted, Vence had a lot of friends, myself included. And it was a great time to be
his friend in those days.
He was getting into promoting right when Joceylin and I were getting out of it. A
turning point for us was one of those early gigs where we not only put on the show
but, we played it as well. While we were on stage playing I could see at the back of
the hall some jerks laughing as they punched and kicked holes in the sheetrock wall.
It was just too much. I couldn't leave the stage in the middle of a song and stop them.
And there always was some sort of similar crowd management at these sometimes
Sometimes the violence was between the punks but usually it was
jocks/rednecks/thugs from outside the scene beating up on the punks. It was way
hard to be promoter, doorman, security, musician, financial backer, all at the same
The scene was expanding and other people were coming forth to help out. Vence
was cool, responsible and available. His girlfriend at the time, Carol helped out a lot,
too. Vence understood the concept of the punk movement and was perfect for the
role as promoter. He truly loved alternative lifestyle, art and music in general and
punk rock in particular. A pacifist and fair to everyone in the scene, giving each band
a chance at playing. Fair with the money. He put on gigs for all the right reasons. He
was into having fun and he put on some of the best punk shows ever right here in
podunk city, Fresno. Many bands came from all over the world to play at Vence's
all-ages shows at several different venues in Fresno. Most were at the Knights of
Columbus hall at Floradora and Fresno streets but some were at the Wilson Theater,
Eagle's Hall and other venues. Although he put on a few shows here and there he
pretty much stopped putting on punk shows in '86 and others came to take his place.
Link to Vence's gigs list
Next to him is Rick Struhar, bass player for HARSH REALITY and a smoke jumper for
many years. And Mike Branum, drummer for CAPITOL PUNISHMENT from '82-'87.
Then there's Mike Waldhart, guitarist for DEATH CAMP and THINK TANK ,bands that
appeared on the Fresno Compilation-Hardcore 84. He also played in CP for a few gigs
as second guitarist.
Next to him is Mojo who would go on to sing lead in the S.A.D. BOYZ. Next is Todd
Sharp lead singer of HARSH REALITY. And last but not least is Ralph Lotspeich lead
singer for CP trying to give Todd a little tongue in the ear. How nice.
Have you ever laughed so hard you cried? It truly was a wild and fun time.
To make sure all these colorful people and memorable events were not forgotten, I've
been documenting the Fresno punk scene with gig flyers, records, demos and photos
since 1979. But, by the mid-90's I had lost some interest in the local scene. Although, I
still collect some punk stuff to this day it's not with the purpose of completeness I had
back in the 80's. So, my main focus is from '79 to '86.
Dale Stewart 2001 punksnax at hot mail daught com
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|Last Update 9MAY18
|Fresno punk scenesters at the Clovis warehouse 1984 L to R , Sandy, Vence, Sam, Rick, Kim, Mike,
Pokey, Stephanie, Mike W, Girlfriend, Mojo, Rokie,Todd & Ralph.