Before such repugnant punk luminaries of the 1st wave San Francisco Bay Area scene, Flipper and Toiling Midgets were born into this ugly world, the darkest corners of the 70s west coast produced Grand Mal, the template for the insidious down tempo madness that was about to unfurl. Fronted by Don Vinil (later of the Offs) and enlisting Will Shatter after Vale from Search & Destroy departed early on, the Grand Mal was constantly in limbo with members until the end of 1977, when Vinil left to form The Offs, setting the stage for Negative Trend to fall into place.
The first lineup enlisted new singer Rozz Rezabek from Portland, and is the version depicted in the two-part video below from Mabuhay Gardens, and then after his departure, enlisted Mikal Waters and then Rik L. Rik joined in, all before the close of 1978. As the months whizzed by, band members came and went with blinding speed, until Will Shatter broke off to form Flipper and Craig Gray began the Toiling Midgets.
Hard drugs had entered the scene and it all contributed to an ugly sound that brought out the ugliness everyone was so desperate to show. And with the comments posted on the YouTube page such as "I did not do a damn thing it was Mary who broke the bottles in the bathroom. I was in the living room talking to someone and playing the stereo." and "Jerk. Dumbass. I should have left you to OD," you can tell it's still a point of contention with this divisive music.
Check out a couple great live clips with interviews from 1978 right HERE, filmed on super 8 by Vance Piper: