I remember the first time I saw Public Enemy. It was in Chicago
at the Nation of Islam
's Temple Number One
on the South Side
. Me and Kevin
went down there with our last $$$ and a handful of Revolutionary Worker
s to try and turn some of the brothers heads towards making a revolution.
We get to the show and the band sanz Flavor Flav
are set up on the back of a truck in the parking lot. We're the only white people there. We have a good time, nobody hassels us other than this one guy selling The Final Call
, the NOI newspaper
. We tried to trade with him but he didn't want to trade he wanted $$$, and when we said we didn't have any, he didn't believe us, because we were white! He kept on hassling us to buy a newspaper
and we had no money
and he kept following us around giving us the evil eye
The sound sucked and without Flavor Flav... it wasn't the best.
The next time I saw PE
it was also in Chicago on a double bill with Sonic Youth
at the Aragon Ballroom
, and a year or two latter. It was December 1990
and the troops were in the Persian Gulf
. WE (a whole bunch of friends: Kevin, Anika, Sam, Jethro (what a brother know), Heidi, AK, Juliete, Karyn...) went down to the show and hung a huge banner from the balcony that said, " Stop The US War Machine: By Any Means Necessary
or something like that. We were so psyched when Chuck D
got on the mic and said how stupid it would be for any black man to go and fight in the desert for Bush
and for cheap oil.
After the show we exited quickly and set up across the street with the banner and a megaphone from the trunk of the car. AK was on the mic and within seconds of him begining his oratory the plainclothes cops
swooped on him syaing, "you better get off the mic
, or we'll arrest your ass."
AK says, "no way, I got free speech
They say, "no you don't
." and bum rush
him sending him sprawling into a doorway the mic goes skidding out into the stret and before we know it he's in cuffs being led back across the street into the Aragon.
So we start shouting and pointing this out to the crowd, which is spilling out of the show and they notice and aren't too happy and start to push and shove the cops... and well one thing led to another and there was a mini riot.
About a dozen people get arrested including Kevin
and many more get whacked by the cops
... In the end
they call in a squad of horses, plust 8
or so paddy wagons
One guy is filming the whole meley and the cops see him and start to come after him, so he hands the camera off to his girlfriend and takes off running... she heads to the indoor garage next door to put the camera in the car... two cops charge after her, knock her to the ground from behind, arrest her and confiscate the viddeycamera. The videotape was latter destroyed.
In the end there was a small editorial
in the Chicago Sun Times
the next day by John Cusack
. He happened to be at the show and he too recieved his 2 cents worth of police abuse and was more than a little pissed about it.