Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Funhouse Show Post #1 - Monday 10/28/1985

There are two things that I can point to from my youth that are responsible for me getting into punk rock:

1.) In the early/mid 80's, my older brother went away on a school debate trip, and came back with a bunch of LP's dubbed to cassettes that he had copied from a friend. This is how I first heard any punk/hardcore.


2.) The Funhouse Show - Houston's weekly long running and much beloved punk rock radio show on the user supported Pacifica radio station 90.1 KPFT. I would listen to the Funhouse show every week, often on my Sony Walkman while laying in bed late at night when my mom thought I was sleeping since the show was on from midnight - 2am. Before I knew where to go to buy punk rock records, and before I was old enough to go to ANY shows, I had a weekly dose of punk and other weirdness delivered to me. I would often tape the show onto 90 minute tapes, usually not starting to tape until about 15 minutes in because the host of the show, Chuck Roast, would inevitably play some weird industrial crap to start the show which I (at the time) wouldn't like anyways. I knew that I couldn't fit the full 2 hours of the show on my 90 minute tape, so I would make sure that I stayed awake long enough that I could flip the tape over, listening to whatever I missed the following morning on the school bus on the way to school. The following afternoon I would compile all the good punk songs from the tape onto a second tape, making my own "Best Of Funhouse" tapes... some of which I still have to this day (the "Tape #7" pictured above is actually one of them). I would then tape over that weeks show the following week, and get a bunch of new stuff for my "Best of..." tape, and repeat.

The above process was great for getting into all these bands that I would have no way to hear otherwise, but in retrospect I wish I had the unadulterated tapes of these broadcasts. Luckily, I wasn't the only one taping the Funhouse show. And even more luckily, other people were smarter than me in that they sometimes taped the entire show and wouldn't tape over it later. I have collected about 10 different digitized funhouse broadcasts from various sources over the years, but most of them came from the "Houston Punk Archives" site 5 years or so ago. The HPA site has come and gone in recent months, and although it's not up as I type this, a message from the site dated 10 days ago says that it's coming back soon.

Anyways, this is the first of many installments of the Funhouse Show which i'll be putting up on the Texas Punk Treasure Chest. A little history of Chuck Roast and the Funhouse Show can be read HERE for those unfamiliar, a 1999 Houston Press article/interview with Chuck.

The Funhouse Show would eventually go off the air around 1989 or so, and I would remain a loyal customer of Chuck's record store and would later end up working there from 1990-1996. Vinal Edge Records still exists, continuing to offer the Houston northside punk, hardcore, and weirdo industrial noise records. Buy things from their web store HERE.

This episode of Funhouse, from Monday 10/28/1985, has plenty of the non-hits while having a "creepy" theme running throughout because it was just before Halloween. Even the most well rounded old punk/hardcore fan will here something on here that they're into, including but not limited to Misfits, Spastic Rats, Peter & The Test Tube Babies, Social Distortion, Controlled Bleeding, Tales Of Terror, Fang, No Trend, and Condemned to Death. With these old broadcasts, some of the most interesting parts (to me anyways) are the times when Chuck or the other DJ's speak, and this episode is no different. The concert calendar includes lots of talk about legendary Houston venue Cabaret Voltaire, mentions that Stark Raving Mad has an upcoming gig at Pik-N-Pak (!!!!!), shows from S.N.O.T., Bark Hard, Contortion Session, Fearless Iranians From Hell, and mentions the Party Owls Halloween bash that just happened the weekend before.

As this was originally broadcast over the radio and taped to a cassette that probably sat in a cardboard box for 20 years before someone digitized it, the sound quality isn't great. This shouldn't keep you from checking this out, though, as it's really like ripping a page out of the Texas Punk history books.

If people enjoy this, let me know in the comments and i'll post other episodes. And if anyone out there happens to have a box of old Funhouse tapes sitting in their closet, let me know! I would love to digitize them for you (and me!)



  2. i have 45 minutes of one i could actually digitize myself. from like 89 or 90. i used to be able to pick it up in galveston every monday night. amazing.

    - LSW

  3. Wow! Please post more of these Mark! Just for Chuck's voice alone *swoon*

  4. I believe I heard this very tape in Miss LaPlants class in 1985 when you brought it in.


  5. Thanks for posting this. My history with Funhouse was much like yours... I played my cassettes into the ground and eventually I tossed them all. Too bad…I'd love to hear them again. RIP Houston Punk Archives!

    Feel free to check out my blog and help identify a bunch of 1980's mystery music from the same period. It's mostly alternative weirdness captured from KTRU (Rice Radio), but if you are reading this post, chances are you'll dig it. I'd kill to know who the artists were! Thanks again!

  6. Funhouse was a window into a much larger world for me as a teen in the mid 80s living in Rural Brenham, 90 miles East of Houston. I taped many of the shows but they are long gone. Great memories. Thanks for posting this!

  7. for whatever reason real cool time by real cool time(?) was playing in my head a while ago. so i plop my ass in front of the google machines enter "kpft recordings 1985" and BAM! i'm 15 again!


    i had a few tapes of my own. favorite being from the night the us bombed libya and chuck played that 'i love qaddafi (cause i refuse to hate)' spoken word piece. whatever. i soooo loved this show. thank you again for posting this and please post more.

  8. "Anyways, this is the first of many installments of the Funhouse Show..."

    I hate to bitch but it's been almost two years. More pls.

  9. Oh and thank you so much for this, good memories.


  10. Wow! Memory lane! Thanks sooooo much! Please upload more!

  11. A small detail but the FUNHOUSE Show on KPFT was started by myself and the late William Steen. I did the show for about 3+ years as PERRY COMA., from 10PM to midnight on Sunday nights. Chuck had a very cool show on at the time but it was on at 2 or 3 AM on a week day. When I quit doing the Funhouse Show I asked Chuck if he wanted to take it over. The rest is history. - U-Ron

    1. Hey U-Ron, thanks for visiting the blog. I know the history of your involvement in the Houston scene as well as Funhouse since I grew up in Houston and worked for Chuck for many years. The intent here wasn't to slight you or write you out of the history books - it's instead just the facts about when I personally started listening to the show. As a young kid in the suburbs, it changed my life, no doubt. You had a part in that too, and for that, I thank you. -mark

    2. Hell, I can say the same thing...We can all agree though whether it was Perry Coma (1st) or Chuck Roast they presented H-town with great music that influenced a generation of Punk/HC/Industrial in the 80s and further... I left for 30 years, but hearing either's voice on tape or mp3 takes me back to a time when things were simpler. Charle BC

  12. I remember listening to the Funhouse in a drafting class I was in at North Harris County College in 85' when it was a new show. Chuck said call the station if you want tickets to a concert at the new club called "Axiom". I used the phone on the wall in the class to call and scored 2 tickets. Myself and a friend from the same class who was also into punk went to the show after class. The Axiom was bare bones. It had a broken surfboard over the front door with Axiom spray painted on it. Inside the bar consisted of what looked like a big wooden farm box. Next to the bar was a aquarium with a coral snake in it. As ask the bartender for a drink and he said they just had beer. I asked for some type of beer, can't remember what and he said all he had was Budweiser. The beer was in the wooden crate in twelve packs. I remember taping the show with a portable cassette player I put in the back corner. Can't for the life of me remember the name of the band but it was a notable up and coming act and it was kick ass. Good times! After that I listened to the funhouse regularly. I

  13. I have quite a few tapes of the old Funhouse show from 1985-1986 before I graduated high school and headed to college.
    Living in a small country town (Livingston) it was not the music of choice for most of the locals, but me and a few friends lived for it during our skateboarding days, and I'd mount speakers on top of my t-top bar while cruising town with hardcore punk blasting away.
    It certainly provoked some of my redneck classmates but we didn't care. This stuff was revolutionary to our small skater click.

    I'm really glad I got a wild hair and decided to do a search on the Funhouse Show. It's great to find some fellow enthusiasts from those fond days of fun.