The Twisted Image Benefit Concert


This issue of Twisted Image from 1982 (I was 26 years old at the time) was one of the first things I did that generated a bit of attention within “the scene” (as we used to call it back then).

After the issue came out this guy contacted me about putting together a Twisted Image benefit concert at a local rock club. The guy was all fired up about the idea of becoming a big-time local rock promoter and thought this would be a good vehicle to launch his career as impresario. So he rented out this large lesbian club on Telegraph Ave (Ollie’s) for a Saturday night. And I used my contacts within the “punk rock community (so-called) to get The Lewd, who were pretty popular back then, to headline the gig.

But then a couple days before the show, disaster struck. I get a phone call from the lead singer of The Lewd telling me the band had just broken up (welcome to Spinal Tap). And to add to the disaster, Iggy Pop was playing in Berkeley the same night as our show. So that would pretty much siphon off most of the audience that would’ve went to our show.

So the night of the show — the big, big Twisted Image Benefit Concert — the would-be rock promoter, undaunted, has signed up 7 bands that nobody has ever heard of to play the gig. So there’s 20 or 30 musicians milling around in the club, and maybe 3 paying customers. A bad performer-to-audience ratio.

But we’re still cautiously optimistic at that point. But would get less and less so as the evening wore on.

Then about an hour into the show, FINALLY some good news. This guy comes rushing up to me and says:

“Hey are you Ace Backwords?”

“Yes I am,” I admitted.

“Well I just want to tell you I LOVED the cover of your latest issue of Twisted Image! Loved it so much. I work in a print shop and I blew it up to poster size and printed up a bunch of them. So I wanted to give you 3 of the posters as a token of my esteem!”

“Well thank you much,” I said. “We’ll hang one of them up on a stage as a backdrop.”

And I had a sudden surge of optimism about the prospects for our big show.

“Cool,” he said. “OK I gotta go. I just wanted to drop these off before I went to the Iggy Pop show.”

And I realized even HE — our big fan — wasn’t going to stick around for our show. So at that point I knew we were doomed.

So the show grinded onwards grimly for several more hours. After the bands finished their songs there would be a “smattering of applause.” If that. But it was mostly very quiet in that club. The main sound I remember was the anguished cries of the would-be rock promoter, exclaiming with hand on forehead: “I’M GOING TO LOSE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS ON THIS SHOW!!”

But what the hell, the poster was very nice. And it hung on the wall of my studio apartment in Berkeley for 10 years.



7 thoughts on “The Twisted Image Benefit Concert

  1. Hey Ace, if you wanna sell this let me know. I’d give it to Exene. Showed it to her and she got quite the laugh.

    1. All my stuff is packed away in storage and hard to get at. But if I happen to come across an issue I’d be happy to send one to Exene. All of the people in X were very gracious when i interviewed them. It’s a pretty long and interesting interview.

    2. They probably don’t remember. X did zillions of interviews back then. But it was backstage after a show at the On Broadway in late 1982. There’s also an interview I did with Johnny Rotten in that issue. He was in town (San Francisco) doing a press conference to promote his PIL show. Needless to say, Johnny wasn’t nearly as gracious as X. But that was part of his charm.

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