By '83 MANIAX broke up and Gregg
formed THINK TANK. They
continued on with the same
thoughtful lyrics but with a new
direction in the music. I thought
some of the material sounded
post-punk ala JOY DIVISION but still
with a similar political/social
From nice families from the nice
side of town these bands seemed
a little out of place with the
thuggish bands from the poor side
of town. But it showed the
validity of punk through the wide
variety of class represented in the
Throughout my travels I saw a lot
of other punk scenes like Fresno.
Mostly poor kids trying to better
themselves by learning to play an
instrument. But, there were some
rich kids, too. And some older
folks as well. Sometimes it was the
rich kids and the older ones who
provided the leadership to make
the scene happen.
Making contacts, renting halls,
putting out fanzines and forming
record labels. Through punk rock a
door of opportunity opened for a
lot of disadvantaged people to get
up on a stage. To at least have a
chance at a job as a
musician/performer or a writer or
Off to war
Off to war I'm gonna die
Off to war your gonna cry
Off to war in a rut
Off to war kick your butt
Off to war blood and gore
Off to war more and more
Off to war on the floor
Off to war out the door
|The doors opened quickly for these young guys. They were invited to go on tour with
FLIPPER and BLACK FLAG but were unable as they were just too young.
There actually was some pre-MANIAX activity. When Gregg was 12 and 13 he worked with
Nick and Eric on the INSANEZ. It didn't quite get out of the garage but they did write
some of the songs ('Dead Puppy' and 'Barbie Doll') that were used just a few months later
in the MANIAX.
The MANIAX were the first Fresno punk band to get played on Maximumrocknroll. I had listened to the
program and had been playing in some bands but never really thought about sending a demo. Gregg and
Rob made that connection first and after that we other Fresno punk bands began to send in our
homemade tapes. To our surprise we got airplay! Contacts were made and Tim Yohannon kept in touch
with us. Some months later Tim put on a show at the Mabuhay Gardens nightclub in San Francisco
featuring the Fresno punk bands including the MANIAX. It was a fantastic start for the budding Fresno
punk scene in 1982!
|The Mab back in the day and the alley next to the club. It is officially the Dirk Dirksen Alley.
|The intrepid Eric Dansby on Drums
|The boys with their bandanas,
trying to look tough. They did a
pretty good job of it considering
how young they were.
|Tim Yohannan of Maximumrocknroll
|Great story about the Maniax in Thrasher magazine
|It is such an honor to have played at one of the coolest nightclubs in California..
|The boys in the alley next to the Mab the night of the show
|Started in 1980 by the Mitchell twins, Gregg and Rob,
MANIAX caught the attention of Maximumrocknroll radio
after sending in their homemade tapes. Even though
they were recorded on just small handheld recorders a
lot of people liked their pure punk spirit . And they
weren't afraid to voice their opinions. Here's a quote
from '82, "The boring, rock, mainstream society in which
we live in is what I hate most! Punk is hot! I love to
thrash and my idol is Joe Strummer." It didn't matter
they had no bass player. They made up for it with an
all-out rat-a-tat-tat, dual-vocalist lyrical delivery.
Only 14 years old it was so cool and charming to see such
young kids playing such good and furious punk rock.
They were a welcome change from the bloated, old
rockstars of the day. But, it wasn't just their
youthfulness that was so refreshing. They were
unusually bright and wrote some good social commentary
and anti-war punk lyrics. Along with the three other
Fresno punk bands, MANIAX got a song on the
MRR Not so quiet compilation in '82.
Here's Off to war from that album:
|Maniax at the Mabuhay San Francisco 1982