Nig-Heist: The Genius of Mugger

So I’m enjoying the down time between the new issue going to the printer and the insanity that ensues once it arrives. Catching up on email, walking the dogs and walking down memory lane.

In 1985, I got to see Black Flag in Colorado. I was so single-minded in my excitement to see them, I totally didn’t pay attention to the opener. As I recollect, Black Flag were kinda metal. They were good, but I remember being very scared that I’d be killed at the show. Hey, remember, I was 15. Oh well, move on.

Years later, I put on a show with the VSS. Seeing as how they’re around my age and also from Colorado, they immediately started comparing notes with me as to what shows we were at together. Black Flag stood out.

from Forced Exposure (the magazine)…

"Do you remember who opened for them?," asked one of them. I couldn’t remember.

"Nig Heist."

Whoa!? I saw Nig Heist open for Black Flag? Well, here’s the thing, providing I did see Nig Heist, you’d think I’d remember them. Why? Most succinctly, they were the most provocation-inducing punk band in a sea of already-inducing-provocation style bands.

Nig Heist were a joke band to beat all joke bands. Helmed by Black Flag’s all-round-go-to-guy Mugger, the band thrived on confrontation and were hated and loved by the crowds that would see them. Obviously, a majority of their shows were opening for Black Flag and were the stuff of legend. They had a rotating line-up that would feature anybody that was there, but is more like a who’s who of the SST roster. Davo. Tom Troccoli. Spot. Chuck Biscuits. Bill Stevenson. Dez Cadena. D Boon. Oh yeah, and Ian MacKaye is credited as a former member. I dare you to top it!

…a brilliant flyer

Other than Black Randy and the Metrosquad, I can’t really think of a band that took the irreverence of punk rock to such high levels. Utter performance art genius. And yes, they were totally reviled. Hilarious.

So in their wisdom, Drag City reissued Nig Heist’s single and LP back in the late 90’s with profits from the Pavement back catalog to little fanfare. Of course, I bought it and I cherish it more than I really should.

The second bonus disc with the reissue was a collection of live recordings compiled by none other than Henry Rollins who, presumably, was in attendance at all of the shows featured.

So how did I go so long on without mentioning Nig Heist? Hell if I know! However, you can thank iTunes for pulling the live Nig Heist disc up amidst a sea of 800GB of mp3s on my drive.

Enjoy the crudeness. Enjoy the hatred. And yes, go find Nig Heist’s record. If you’re a purveyor of either comedy or punk rock, you’ll find it immediately worthwhile. Trust me.

Oh! And while I was searching youtube for clips of NH, I found this tremendous (yet unembed-able) video of this promoter from the Greystone in Detroit. I wonder if Corey Rusk’s got any interesting stories about him….

also from Forced Exposure…

Nig Heist – live