Well......one version of it...
by Barry Kooda


The Nervebreakers history is convoluted , at best . (See Mike's Remembrances) Mike Haskins and I (then Barry Huebner) met at school in Irving Texas in the late sixties . Mike became my music guru and introduced me to styles of music that would bend my tastes irrevocable. Bands like The MC5 , The Stooges , Mott The Hoople , The Chocolate Watchband , The Move ,Family , etc. were not , exactly , a staple for teenage musical appetites at that time and an educated , diverse musical palette was definitely not the norm . Mike and I played in bands together in various garages until I quit school in 1971 to join the Army . Mike met drummer Carl Giesecke soon after and formed a band with David Clark on bass called Sagebrush Boogie , playing many of the same , aforementioned garages ,high school dances and Irving hot spots .
(Like there were any)

After the inevitable breakup of that band , Mike went looking for fresh talent and met Thom Edwards working in a record store Mike frequented. Together , Thom and Mike formed The Idiots with Phillip Rubierre on drums and David Faulkner on bass. Sometime during this period , The End was formed and disbanded , consisting of Mike , Thom , David , Carl and me , freshly discharged from the Army and back on the scene after three years. While continuing their search for as yet undiscovered local interesting and / or eccentric potential band mates , Mike and Thom teamed up with Walter Brock on keyboards and Jean Pierre Thompson on bass , recruiting Carl as the percussionist and started Mr. Nervous Breakdown and a side band called The Bandoleros.

I was a theater major at a local junior college and played in the band VZ with fellow classmates Randy Clower on vocals, Michael VanZandt on guitar, James Hutton on bass and Mike Weatherly on drums and formed an extremely short lived theatrical band called A-Bomb. About the time A-Bomb came and went , Walter became increasingly interested in public radio and left Mr.Nervous Breakdown to pursue his new interest full time. The remaining band members , not without much internal debate , decided to approach me as the replacement and , at the Taco Inn on the corner of Pioneer and O'Connor Road in Irving Texas , the die was cast as I accepted the offer , not without reservations of my own.


The punk movement was just beginning in Europe when Thom offered me a delivery job at the beauty supply house where Thom worked . While out delivering , I ripped the crotch out of my jeans and , in lieu of a sewing kit , I bought a pack of safety pins and closed the offending gap and stuck the rest on my jeans. When Thom saw it , he said " Hey. That's what they're doing in England." and proceeded to enlighten me about punk rock. Pierre Thompson was becoming more involved in his day job and left the band , to be replaced by Clarke Blacker , an acquaintance of Mike's . Although Clarke didn't seem to fit , visually with the Nervebreakers , he did share their obscure musical tastes and hosted a local public radio show . With his shoulder length hair , a moustache and ever present white bell bottoms , white sports jacket and white "Bitch,Bitch,Bitch" T-shirt , he looked more like someone's dad than a punk rock bass player. He was ,however , single-handedly responsible for some of the most influential events in the bands career. He landed the band the opening spot for the Ramones first Texas show and , when it was learned that the largely unknown English punk band The Sex Pistols were to include a Dallas show in their six city , whirlwind U.S. tour , Clarke simply called through the red tape to the tour promoters and offered up the Nervebreakers as the perfect opening act .The promoters , not knowing much about either band agreed and the show was set.

When the Nervebreakers arrived at the Longhorn Ballroom , the Pistols were already there along with a small road crew , body guards and a local news crew. Though the Dallas punk scene was only about 100 to 200 strong in toto , they were an enthusiastic bunch and wouldn't miss this . Sid Vicious and I had a minor altercation over Sid's desire to for my spiked wristband which I offered to trade for Sid's dog collar. Sid said "No , I stole this off a dog.....can't get much lower than that , eh? Stealin' from a dog?" To which I replied "Well was it pregnant? That would be REALLY low..." Sid indicated that he would like to have me kick his skinny British butt by throwing several mock punches in my face while saying "Come on...Come on..." I was about to eagerly oblige when Bob ,whispered to me something to the effect of " It's probably not a good idea to kick the crap out of the lead act before you play." Cooler heads prevailed and the Nervebreakers mounted the stage.
During the set , one of the Dot Vaeth Group , another of the great DFW area punk bands threw a freshly thawed fish onto the stage , which I slammed into my guitar for a while before successfully attempting to bite it in half . Photos were taken . The Nervebreakers did a rousing set , ending with Stooges classic" I Wanna Be Your Dog". After that , the other band played for a while.
Although the official attendance for the show estimated to be about 250 , subsequent , vividly detailed personal accounts from people claiming to have been there suggest that there must have been at least 5,000 , most of which were under the age of 16 at the time......
They carded at the door and it was a 21 or over show .
Now , let's do the math together , using the algebraic formula (X-Y)+Z=U shall we? With "X" being the current year ; "Y" being year of event ; "Z" being minimum legal age and "U" being your present age .
If X=2000.....and Y=1977....and Z=>21....then U=>44.....THEREFORE
If you're under the age of 44 as of today , you weren't there . O.K.?

O.K. I have to make a change in this formula. A friend of mine, Dale MacDonnald, who WAS at the show reminded me that the legal drinking age in the state of Texas at the time of the Sex Pistol's show was still 18, therefore I must subtract 3 years from the value of "U".
I stand corrected. Thanks, Dale.


As I'm sure you can already surmise, there is no obvious rhyme or reason to my choice of chapters , since I write what I can remember and that not only changes daily but the importance of the events , themselves changes in an interestingly random fashion. The Nervebreakers were very fortunate to hook up with a local promoter/club manager , Eddie Gatis , who had them open for any and all acts billed as punk or new wave at the Palladium , which changed it's name to the Agora Ballroom or vise versa. I can't remember and it doesn't mater enough for me to ask someone about. The Nervebreakers opened for the Ramones, the Police , Roky Erickson ( more about HIM later...)the Boom Town Rats , the Clash , John Cale , and a bunch of others. The point , here not being merely to drop names but to help explain what an incredible time it was. These were pretty much unknown acts at that time and we were given a unique opportunity to meet bands that would be tremendously influential on popular music and history before they got big heads and wallets. For instance , When we opened for the Police , Sting knew who I was and I had no idea who he was , due to the fact that I'd just had my picture in Rolling Stone and was receiving much unwarranted recognition, along with ANOTHER fact that , I'm what people well versed in music history like to refer to as well...NOT well versed... As I said , it was in incredible time. The Police opened and closed the show with a hot , new number called "Roxanne" and were traveling across the U.S. in an old station wagon pulling a U-Haul trailer. For the record, the nearest I've been to Sting since was when I was sweeping the stage before he played at Starplex . Who'da thunk it?

Nervebreakers Side Bands

Barry Kooda Combo:
Russell Flemming..........Drums

Tex And The Saddle Tramps:
Linda Shaw..........Bass/Vocals
Russell Flemming..........Drums

S.O.B.'s(Same Old Bastards):
Mike..........Lead Guitar/Vocals
Paul Orr..........Bass

Here's a list of historic dates in Nervebreaker history from
#1 Nervette and band bodyguard , Paula Brown.

Nervebreakers Gigs:

Oct. 15, '77 Showcase Theater in Balch Springs
Nov. 23 & 25, '77 Fannie Ann's
Halloween '77 American Legion (? wasn't it?) w/Toys
Dec. 2 & 3, '77 Manhattan Clearinghouse w/Toys
Dec. 9, '77 Old Plantation (not sure on year. Could be '78, '79)
Dec. 27, '77 Fannie Ann's
Dec. 31, '77 Manhattan Clearinghouse (not sure on year. If it was '77, Dot Vaeth and Hell's Kitchen were also there)
Jan. 1, '78 Fannie Ann's
Jan. 6 & 7, '78 Mother Blues
Jan. 10, '78 Longhorn Ballroom w/Sex Pistols
Jan. 9-12 '78 Fannie Ann's
Jan 29 & 30, '78 Fannie Ann's
Feb. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 26, 27, '78 Fannie Ann's (Nervettes debut probably the 20th)
Mar. 5, 6, 7, 13, 19, 20, 26, 28, '78 Fannie Ann's
July 8, '78 Sound Warehouse Lemmon for Release of EP promotion
Halloween '78 w/Toys
Dec. 4, '78 Dr. Ball's
Jan. ? '79 Zoo World
April 13 & 14, '79 Gerties
May ?, '79 Crazy Bob's in Austin
May (after Austin) '79 Palladium w/John Cale
July 6, '79 DJs (could be '80) w/ Barry Kooda Combo and Skuds (Brian Jones memorial)
July 22, '79 New Wave Battle of the Bands w/D-Day, Huns, Ft. Worth Cats, Obvious,Standing Waves
July 28, '79 DJs (or could be '80)
Aug. 1 & 2, '78 Square Garden (not sure on year. Could be '77 or '79)
Mar. 9, '79 Palladum w/Police
June 2, '79 Festival w/Vomit Pigs
June 23, '79 Palladium w/Roky Erikson
July ?, '79 DJs Roky Erikson sat in and Tom Ordon sat in with BKC
September (early) '79 NBs leave for California
Oct. 6, '79 Palladium w/Clash
Oct. ? '79 DJs w/Selector
Jan. 4 & 5 '80 DJs
Feb. 8 & 9, '80 DJs (could be '81)
Mar. 17, '80 Hot Klub
Mar. 28 & 29 '80 (could be '81)
April 4 & 5, '80 DJs (could be '81)
May 2 & 3, '80 DJs
May ? '80 Magnolia's
June 21 & 22, '80 LuAnn's (my first roadie experience!)
June 29, '80 Agora w/Jags
July ? '80 Zeros in Ft. Worth
August ? '80 played Austin
August ? '80 w/Rancid Scum (Thom got maced)
September (1st week) '80 Bleu Grotto, Tulsa, OK
September (late) Mike quits Nervebreakers
Dec. 18, '80 Hot Klub Barry's Birthday!!!

Tex & The Saddle Tramps
April 4 & 5, '80 DJs (could be '81) w/Joe King Carrasco
June 26 & 27, '80 LouAnn's w/NCM

Bag of Wire:
Feb. 5&6, '80 Hot Klub
Feb. 14, '80 Hot Klub

March '86 Twilight Room w/Johnny Thunders

Thanks Paula!


"When I was a kid, I always wanted to be in a band. I bought my first real guitar , a Bruno Conqueror from a friend, Pat Mcguire who was in a band I occasionally roadied for, The Southern Distributor. I'd turn off all the lights in my room and stand in front of the mirror, illuminated only by the power/standby light on my amp and play songs and envision myself in front of throngs of adoring fans. (I still do that...)
My entire repertoire consisted of about three songs; Love Is All Around (Troggs), Gloria (Them version) and
You're Gonna Miss Me (Roky Erikson)."
Barry Kooda

When Nervebreakers manager, Tom Ordon and Mike set up a show which would feature the Nervebreakers opening and the Nervebreakers as Roky Erikson's back up band headlining, We were stoked! Mike and I spent hours with a thirteen song demo of Roky songs figuring out parts and arrangements and the band practiced diligently.
We had it DOWN!
The night of the show at sound check was when the band met Roky for the first time. With matted hair, well past his shoulders and matching chest length beard , this emaciated, chain smoking man could have been anyone living in a refrigerator box under a highway overpass.
Tom strapped his guitar on Roky and we started to rehearse a bit. Roky asked what we'd like to play and the we suggested starting with Bermuda. Roky said O.K. and started playing. Then, he turned to me and said " What's the third chord?" I , looking puzzled, said "Roky......you WROTE it." To which Roky replied "I know."
So Mike and I showed Roky the chord changes and we made it through the song pretty well. We played one more song and Roky said that he was tired and would like to go lie down for a while. This was going to be SOME show!
When the show started, we (the Nervebreakers) were understandably, a bit worried.
It was amazing! Roky fed off of the energy of the small but enthusiastic crowd and , other than not noticing that his guitar had come unplugged and , at the end of Wind And More, suddenly adding a reprise ending , it was magic! The band caught the changes and followed Roky wherever he wanted to go.
If Roky was going off a cliff, he wasn't going alone.
But he didn't.
He danced on the precipice, never falling into the abyss.
There was another performance of Roky and the Nervebreakers at DJ's but he wasn't nearly as comfortable with a mostly rowdy, punk audience.
Roky stayed with Tom and Tom's wife Lorie for a couple of weeks and Tom taped hours of interviews long into the early morning hours, chronicling the workings of the mind of a mad genius.
We would, occasionally come into our dressing room and be surprised to find Roky sleeping on the sofa but, then alas, finally,the visit ended; Roky boarded a bus back to Austin and our brush with greatness was over.


Chapter Five

I got an email from Insane Dwayne from the Skuds the other day and it started me thinking.

There were a myriad of bands in the DFW area during the time of the Nervebreakers who came and went and left their mark, not only on the band but also on the lives of the people they touched. Punk Rock opened the door for a lot of talented and NOT so talented guys who needed to vent their frustration on an audience. If you could put a group of people together with some sort of instruments and talk someone into letting you play at their party, you were in.

The Skuds

The Skuds were Dallas' truest Punk band. When I first saw Platinum Paul, he was standing on his head in the theater seats at the Festival Theater at a Nervebreakers show. The sight of a heavy set, leather jacketed bald kid bouncing upside down in the third row isn't something easily ignored. He was at almost all of our shows and was ALWAYS enthusiastic and damned fun to be around. Paul had terminal Leukemia and not a lot of time left and the Make A Wish Foundation probably couldn't have gotten CLOSE to granting THIS kids wish. His family, however, could and did.

Paul wanted to be in a punk band.

So Jimi Zokar, Jr., Insane Dwayne, Klyde and Low Life joined Paul to become the Skuds. They never took themselves too seriously and just wanted to grant Paul's request but what this wacky combination of nephews and cousins produced was true, classic Texas-Style Punk Rock. Light hearted, fun, lewd and crude. THIS was the way punk should be!

We old guys will always remember the Skud hits like "Johnny Gay Cowboy" and the ever popular "Dead Dogs", a tribute to road kill.

"Tippy was a friend of mine
In the back yard; doin' time
He broke his chain and jumped the fence
I found him by the curb but his neck was bent..."

We all knew the words and we all sang along.

Delores once asked Paul and I to do some work on the DJ's mens room. We had to remove the toilet that had been yanked off the wall several days earlier but was still being used and was full to the brim. I had the tank side and Paul had the bowl side as I backed across Oram so we could chunk it in the dumpster. The contents were sloshing all over our shoes and I'll never forget Paul going "Oh God! I'm gonna be sick.....BLEAAAAAKKK! BRAAACH!!" and barfing in to the bowl. I was laughing to hard I nearly dropped it in the middle of the street and Jr. was rolling on the sidewalk.

Sometimes Punk Rock isn't pretty...

It was years later that I found out that Paul had passed away not long after those days. The popular rumor was of two. 1)He got married and moved off. 2)He had died. I didn't really want to think the latter so for a long time, I would imagine him living out in the country with a parcel of Bald Punk Rock kids chasing chickens.


The Vomit Pigs

Once, we got a call from a girl who wanted to interview us for a new magazine called Headbanger. We agreed on a meeting time and gathered at Mike's apartment to wait for Ace LaRue, the columnist. She showed up and proceeded to pass out a bunch of copies of a questionnaire she had prepared. That was the interview. We were pretty dumbfounded as to why it was necessary for us to get together at a pre determined time so we could fill out questionnaires. ANYhow, she mentioned that she was dating a singer of a punk band from Daingerfield Texas called the Vomit Pigs. He (Mike Brock AKA Mite Vomit) sounded like a bad rendition of old Iggy outtakes, from the description but in reality, turned out to be an incredibly interesting and accomplished writer and singer. Mikey could put things very succinctly. It would take me pages to say what he could in a few words. The VP's were much more interested in the darker side of life and their music reflected it.

"I'm in love with Karen Ann Quinlin
She doesn't even know I'm here.
Lyin' there in a fetal position
She's kinda quiet; but I don't care..."

Mikey passed away long after the hay day overweight and under appreciated from a combination of Placidils and hamburgers on Bobby Soxx's front porch under less than fully explained circumstances. I have my suspicions that I won't go in to here but idiocy, not malice was a major contributor.

Chapter SIX 

I recently had a guy sign my guest book at my website named Doug from Cedar Rapids. Here's his entry:

"Back in the early 80's while drinking a few beers in a friends basement, I heard one of the greatest comps I have ever heard. It was called "Are We Too Late For the Trend". It was so good I eventually swindled him out of it and it is an album I still play frequently (although now digitized on CD). The Nervebeakers track is especially great. It is one of the first songs I learned on guitar. Thanks Barry,"

It reminded me that I've been negligent in mentioning an integral part of not only the Nervebreakers history but also the Texas Punk scene in general.

Electric Slum Recording and the "Are We Too Late For The Trend" compilation LP. One of the most colorful, die-hard supporters of the Dallas Punk genre was the late Bryce Parker. You can argue his motives be it his lust for punk rock boys, his love of the underground scene, a true adoration of punk rock or some combination of factors but one fact cannot be ignored.

His support was invaluable to the sustained growth of punk in Dallas and Texas. I can still hear his voice shouting out "Miss Kooda!" from a million parking lots outside shows. It pissed me off at the time but I sure miss it now. If you wonder where the blood spot logo came from, ask one of the old timers. It's a well known story I won't go in to here.

Bryce hooked up with the Dot Vaeth Group (Which spawned Superman's Girlfriend, The Infants, Disgraceland and others) and was instrumental in helping them break into the Dallas music scene, along with their classic music video of "Shock Treatment" filmed at the old Irving Theater. Soon after, Bryce started his own recording studio/ record label, ESR (Electric Slum Records) on Laws street in what is now the West End in Dallas. Then it was an abandoned, dark, seedy, SCARY place. Perfect for ESR.

Here he produced the Dot Vaeth single ARMED ROBBERY/WHITE COLLAR WORKER (Actually recorded on a portable boom box)along with a compilation LP of primarily Dallas bands called "Are We Too Late For The Trend?" Although we poked a bit of fun at him at the time, he was definitely a catalyst for much of the Dallas music scene and there are many fond memories of wild times at ESR. History was made in that cold, damp little warehouse. We miss him too.


Chapter Seven

Outside of the ten members of the band( including replacements), there were forces at work behind the scenes. Managers, management companies, 
roadies and, of course, the infamous Nervettes.

The Nervettes:
The Nervettes were Pam Olsen, Karol Mayo Haskins and Paula Brown. There were other, "honorary" Nervettes but these three were the core group. They were band entourage, seat keepers, guitar watchers, poster makers, wardrobe girls, body guards, background singers, go-go dancers, door guards and numerous other jobs that were crucial to the band's success. I remember a long squabble when Bobette Riner, a local music writer, listed herself as a Nervette. Fine with the band; not so with the Nervettes. 

The Roadies: 
Steve Haskins, Mike's brother is responsible for most of the earlly photos of the band and also did door duty and equipment hauling. He was the first and most long lived of all the roadies. Rockabilly Robert Essrey (sp?) and Pope were the roadies who traveled with the band on tour and to most out of town gigs. I'm not sure if Pope had a last name or if Pope WAS his last name but he was always just Pope. The two of them were often mistaken for the band at gigs since they both looked a hell of a lot more punk than we did. I remember going into their hotel room at the American Inn in Austin and there were Little King beer bottles covering every horizontal surface. It was amazing. Once, on the West coast tour, I went to the bar to get a beer and was told that we had exceeded our limit. I hadn't had any and I knew that the band hadn't had but a few so I went to Pope who said "We only had 6 pitchers!" In one 45 minute set, our roadies had drunk the entire bands limit and then some. Gotta love 'em. 

Many people over the years attempted to "manage" the band with varying amounts of success but the real manager will always be Tom Ordon. Tom was a true believer in the band and wanted us to succeed without concern for his own personal gain. He was a great guy with a good heart and we made him pay for it every day. Tom booked the tours, furnished his own van for us to use and did everything in his power to help us get the attention that he felt we deserved. We finally wore him down and drove him to a life of more peaceful pursuits as a Jehovah's Witness.
God forgive us...or Bless us!  

Clarke Blacker managed the band for a short time after vacating the bass player position but we beat him down as well. Luckily, he was able to escape before we did too much emotional damage and became guitarist and co-collaborator for another local act, Bobby Sox.

The band had an actual management company for a time. Incorsel (sink-or-swim) management signed us to an exclusive contract, did nothing, and after Clark got us the Sex Pistols and Ramones shows, Incorsel reamed us in a mutually agreed upon buy out of our own contract.


The Prequel

While I was home on leave from the Army, Mike invited me to his band rehearsal. It was over on Cole Avenue at the Bass Player's house. At the time, Mike had hair well past his shoulders with a pink stripe through it.
This was much more unusual then than now, of course, but it prepared me a bit for what was to come.
David Faulkner, the Bass Player for the Idiots, (nice name!) made strippers costumes for a living and sewed most of his own clothes. He has a flair for fashion and the skills to create it.
As gay as that would seem, David definitely was not. He had a full time girlfriend at the time Wendy. David needed a ride to hit some clubs to sell some merchandise.
I had my motorcycle so I volunteered for an interesting evening of free access to all areas of any and all strip clubs.Since David's wares were tiny G strings and tops, he could put twenty or thirty full outfits into his briefcase.
We spent the evening in a flurry of titty dancers trying on his wares and buying us drinks. Amazing night but I digress. The IDIOTS were Mike Haskins, Jim Littleton,
David Faulkner, Phillip Ribierre and Thom (Tex) Edwards and were the weirdest group I had ever seen. It was, of course, 1974 and weird was about to have its limits pushed to the limit of limits.
I would see SPLIT ENZ, JOHN CALE, PRETTY THINGS, THE WEREWOLVES and THE NEW YORK DOLLS that year. Since I was still in the Army with the standard haircut, I was hard pressed to come up with a look that would work for the DOLLS at GERTIES.
Colored hairspray was available so I sprayed my hair, put in a three hoop ear ring in my one piercing, put on a brown corduroy short coat with matching pants with no shoes or shirt and hit the club.
I was doing my best to act like I was the coolest guy in the room and could feel the stares of the crowd. Suddenly I could feel their attention shift from me and someone punched me in the arm.
"Hey man..." said Thom(Tex) He was dressed normally for him in those days. Skin tight yellow pants, white Lycra music print shirt, scarf and platform shoes.There was one difference.
He had taken an Esquire magazine and cut out the ads he thought interesting like Lowery Organs, etc. and, in red Marks-a-lot, written "Blood" and "Dead" on them and had them pinned all over his clothes like scales of Post-it notes covering his body.
I was duly impressed. Great evening, Papageorge did his best Bowie ballet, Seab was really cool.
The Dolls made me look normal by comparison and a wonderful time was had by all.

The saga continues...