Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Take No Prisoners

Brotherman in 1993 (Photo via

Do you miss the downtown Flint punk and alternative scene from the '80s and '90s? Do you hanker for Ben Hamper's "Take No Prisoners" show on the old, non-commercial WFBE? Do bands like Political Silence, Dissonance and Bloody Coup mean more to you than the corporate monoliths like Foreigner and Styx that once dominated Live 105?

Don't worry. Aaron Stengel has done you a huge favor:

For years, downtown venues like Churchill's and Flint Local 432 have nurtured a strong local music scene, providing a haven for plenty of eclectic bands and their fans," writes Timothy Flynn in The Flint Journal. While most of those groups are just memories these days, some of their performances were captured on tape for posterity. And now they've all been gathered in one place.

The Flint Underground Music Archive Web site is a treasure trove for those who've spent any time in the downtown punk and alternative scenes, and serves as a good primer for those who haven't. The extensive site...houses a seemingly endless collection of vintage band recordings spanning more than 20 years, as well as some recent live shows filmed by site creator Aaron Stengel.

A longtime participant in the downtown scene, Stengel was inspired to create the site after reading some online conversations about local music. When he found a general lack of Internet information about Flint favorites like the Need or Medulla Oblongata, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

"Flint-related discussion groups began popping up, and they were filled with references to obscure local bands that no one seemed to have any recordings of," Stengel said. "With my background in Web development, music collecting, cultural research and a natural tendency over the years to document the scene by recording the shows, I decided to follow through on the archive site as a pet project."


  1. I am flint punk rock girl from the 80's!! thanks for this info!

  2. Hi Cara,

    Don't thank me, thank Aaron! Glad I could help you find his site. It's really great.

  3. It's great that there are sites like yours-I stumbled across it looking for info on our old punk scene. I was lucky enough to see the shows at Ukranian, Kishma, Sieferts, etc. Great scene back then!

    I miss the scene almost as much as I miss my best friend, Chuck Groulx ("Chucky McLaren").

    Thanks for the site-You are right about the joy/fear meeting ex-Flint residents. I've run into them everywhere from Nashville to Germany!

  4. ......(stunned).....(still stunned). i cannot believe it! this is amazing. i was part of the flint scene in the early/mid 90's but moved to pittsburgh in 95. i remember many of these bands but i thought i'd never ever hear red thread again. then i found this and downloaded the demo and i not only saw one of their shows but saw myself in the crowd. i was only 19 years young! i just wanted to tell you how much i appreciate you taking the time to do this. YOU ARE AWESOME!!!


    1. Red Thread are still one of my favorite bands. I have a bunch of material if you are interested (and a video tape of one of their shows but no VCR sadly). static at polish operative dot com.

  5. It's not me, it's Aaron Stengel. He created Take No Prisoners and he's responsible for preserving the music. Every time I listen in at Take No Prisoners, I'm amazed and grateful that he did it.

  6. Does anyone remember when JFA played at the veterans hall? There were other bands there (maybe dissonance? maybe some from Detroit)... anyone recall which other bands there were?

  7. wow remember listening to take no prisoners back in the day

  8. Oh how I miss Benny and Jimmy's Platter Party! Marty Natches, Captain Crunch, Chip Nipples! The good ol days!


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at