Hard Core Logo: Live is One Punk-ass Stage Show

Cult classic book-turned-film-turned-stage-production debuts at the Rickshaw, with peripheral live shows and photo and memorabilia exhibitions commemorating Vancouver's punk past.

Credit: Ian Jackson & Bev Davies (last)

Hard Core Logo Live Vancouver

Hard Core Logo Live Vancouver

Warning: this ain’t no Sound of Music. Expect spitting and swearing


Cult classic book-turned-film-turned-stage-production Hard Core Logo: Live debuts in Vancouver as part of the PuSh Festival at the Rickshaw Theatre, January 26 to February 6, 2011.


Based on a novel of the same name by Vancouver writer Michael Turner, Hard Core Logo gained notoriety in 1996 as a Canadian film that looks at the self-destruction of the punk music scene. The flick follows a washed-up, aged group of punk musicians trying to take another stab at the punk scene they were once at the top of. Bold and blind ambition combined with clashing egos culminate in the demise of their band, Hard Core Logo, but it’s also what keeps them returning for one last attempt at gutter punk glory.


Hard Core Logo Live Vancouver

Clinton Carew, Toby Berner, Telly James and Michael Scholar Jr. on tour in Hard Core Logo: Live. (Image: Ian Jackson) 


Hard Core Logo: Live stage show set to soundtrack by D.O.A.

In the live adaptation by Michael Scholar Jr., the now defunct Vancouver band Hard Core Logo is pieced back together for an ill-fated reunion tour featuring cast members Toby Berner, Clinton Carew, Telly James, Michael Scholar, Jr. and Rachael Johnston. But don’t go calling this a musical. Scholar Jr. considers it more of a punk-ass show.


“No one really breaks into song. We tell the story of a band on tour and as we hit each city, we perform a song. We take guitars and plug them in. It’s loud, so bring your earplugs.”


Hard Core Logo: Live

January 26–February 6, 2011

Show starts at 8 p.m.; run time 140 minutes


The Rickshaw Theatre

254 E. Hastings St, Vancouver (Map)



Web | Tickets

Scholar Jr. first saw the film when it came out in 1996 and was blown away by it. Not realizing that a book of the same name had inspired the film, he stumbled across the text version in a mall, where he says he began devouring it on the spot and ended up reading the entire thing in the mall parking lot.


The self-proclaimed punk nerd was mesmerized by all the material in the book—letters, vignettes, telephone answering machine messages, songs, inventories, food orders, faxes, dedications, interviews and notes—comparing it to the extras you find on DVDs, before DVDs existed.


“I realized that all the pieces of the book, the monologues and songs were perfect for theatre so I started scratching around to see if there was a stage script in development.”


There wasn’t, so he began putting his ideas down on paper. Two years later, and the show is now exploding on stage.

Breaking away from the original score, the musical soundtrack was written by Joe “Shithead” Keithley of local punk band D.O.A., who was brought in to inject a sound reminiscent of Vancouver’s original punk scene—fitting since Keithley is considered to be the Canadian godfather of punk, influencing notable bands like Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Offspring. Scholar Jr. gave Keithley the lyrics from the book and direction on musical styles—”this song should be ska, this one slower…” —and Keithley sat down and wrote the tunes for each song. Scholar Jr. says there were only one or two songs that had to be reworked.


“I had asked for Blue Tattoo to be rockabilly but then I decided that it needed to be slower and more emotional. Now it’s the most heart-breaking punk rock ballad and it’s so out of D.O.A.’s style. Keithley really pushed himself and it’s probably the best song of the show.”


D.O.A. led the wave of hardcore punk that began in the 1970s; a faster, heavier and thicker offshoot of mainstream punk. Their full-length debut Something Better Change was released in 1980, followed by Hardcore ’81 (thought to be the namesake of the hardcore movement).


Not unlike Hard Core Logo’s fictitious punk band, D.O.A. experienced a rocky trajectory caused by revolving band members, break-ups and the tragic death of drummer Ken Jensen in 1995.


Interesting fact: In 2003, Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell named December 21 the official D.O.A. Day in recognition of the band’s 25th anniversary.


Michael Scholar Jr. on stage during Hard Core Logo: Live at the Rickshaw Theatre. (Image: Ian Jackson)  


A Hard Core chat: Friday, January 28

The brains behind Hard Core Logo the film and Hard Core Logo: Live will be chatting about the origins of these pieces of work and their legacy in Canada. The panellists include Noel S. Baker, script writer of the 1996 film; Joe “Shithead” Keithley, leader of D.O.A.; and Michael Scholar Jr., musical creator and cast member.


Glen Schaefer, local punk expert, Province film writer and guitarist for the band Twisted Siskel, will be moderating the panel discussion, which will take place on Friday, January 28 at 2 p.m at the Firehall Arts Centre at 280 E Cordova. The chat is free to attend and will provide great insight into the film and musical, whether you have already seen them or plan to catch them in the coming days.


Hard Core punk master concerts: Saturday, January 29 & Friday, February 4

If you have tickets for Hard Core Logo: Live on either Saturday, January 29 or Friday, February 4, you’re in for a heavy night. Organizers have arranged for two post-show punk concerts on the stage of the Rickshaw Theatre—free of course with your ticket to that night’s musical production, otherwise by donation. The sets will kick-off at approximately 10:30 p.m.


On Saturday, January 29, Joe “Shithead” Keithley, will play a 30-minute acoustic set after the show, while on Friday, February 4, “DIY political punk pioneers” Mecca Normal, will play a 30-minute acid-voiced, guitar rock set.


Post No Bills: Vancouver punk memorabilia selections at the MOV, January 26–February 26

The Museum of Vancouver (MOV) and SFU Special Collections are displaying a joint exhibit of vintage Vancouver punk posters and paraphernalia at the MOV from January 26 to February 26. The Vancouver Punk Collection holds approximately 600 posters, 100 CDs/LPs/45s, periodicals, photos and other pieces of Vancouver punk genealogy. Gawk at the whole collection online or wander down to the MOV. Located in the public community exhibition space in the museum, the display is free during museum hours.



Play It Loud: Legendary punk photog Bev Davies exhibition, January 26–February 6

Vancouver’s premier punk photographer Bev Davies has been shooting music acts for more than 30 years. She will be displaying Play It Loud, a collection of Rock & Roll photographs taken between 1979 and 1984, in the lobby of the Rickshaw Theatre, January 26 to February 6.


Drawing on the ethos of the ‘80s punk scene, each photo has been printed on plastic and mounted on adapted metal shelving. The exhibit is free during show times and most nights Davies will be on hand to chat about her work.

Hard Core Logo Live Vancouver

Michael Scholar Jr. and Rachael Johnston crank out a song during the show. (Image: Bev Davies)