Nick Selm - Indianapolis Punk Posters
I think it is important for one to contribute as much as possible to the things they care about, and instead of merely consuming the work and ideas of others. It took me nearly a decade of being a bedroom punk rocker to realize that I could get out in the world and be a part of the music I loved. I realized that instead of complaining that the bands I wanted to see never came through Indianapolis, I could get them to come play here. After a few years of booking shows at various spots (including in the Underground here at the Harrison Center), I rented a grand old double in Midtown Indianapolis with a handful of my friends and turned it into my dream venue.
We rented both sides of the house and named the North half “The Halloween House” and the south side “Moria.” The basements were cavernous dungeons with 12 foot ceilings that could easily hold 100+ people on either side. From 2008-2010 we hosted around 300 different bands from every corner of the country (and a few foreign countries as well). While my roommate Pat Mitchell and I were mostly connected with the regional pop-punk scene, we opened our house to just about every genre of underground “punk” music. We had the honor of hosting such bands as Chain & the Gang (featuring Ian Svenonius of Nation of Ulysses fame), Calvin Johson (from Beat Happening), Frank Turner (who went on to open the 2012 Olympic Games in London), Kepi Ghouli (from the Groovy Ghoulies), and The Screaming Females, as well as regional favorites such as The Dopamines, Hellmouth, The Pinstripes, The Copyrights, and Off With Their Heads and local legends such as Grampall Jookabox (later just Jookabox), Green Room Rockers, Harley Poe, Be My Doppleganger, Prizzy Prizzy Please, Phoenix Bodies, Sump Pumps, Bolth, Sorely Trying Days and Everthus The Deadbeats.
Since we were poor, party punks, we didn’t have much in the way of modern amenities beyond microwaves, cell phones and PAs. Computers and photoshop were entirely out of the question when it came to creating the fliers for our shows. I enthusiastically took on the task of hand-drawing the fliers for about 90% of the shows at the house. Using a pile of scrap paper and the backs of old fliers and a precious set of Prismacolor markers, I lovingly tackled the task of making flier after flier. Illustrators and comic artists like Maurice Sendak and Bill Watterson have always been a huge influence on my art and it really shows in these fliers. And for whatever reason, most of my fliers include medieval warriors, monsters, dinosaurs or some reference to Leftist politics. Once the fliers were drawn, I colored them in, got a ride to Kinko’s to make copies and plastered them up around town.
After two wonderful years in the house, my roommates and I decided to move on and become in different aspects of the local scene. Pat and I continued booking shows at various venues around town, such as The Dojo and Vibes. I continued making fliers, even offering my “talents” to help other promoters. Eventually, with all-ages venues closing down for various reasons, we resorted to booking shows at bars. In 2012, Pat and I joined forces with good friend and Male Bondage drummer James Lyter to form Drink or Die Records. We continue to book shows around town at various bars and basements and we’ve released a handful of records. In my old age, I have become lazy and often succumb to whipping up low-grade fliers on Photoshop, but I am only truly happy when I’m making two-bit low-brow, hand-drawn punk rock fliers. Looking back at these fliers, I am humbled by how many awesome bands played in our basement and how many awesome people stopped by to enjoy them with us. I hope you like these fliers nearly as much as I do.