What Is The List

Before the days of the Internet and Facebook, punk rockers would make fliers for the shows they wanted to advertise. They would make photocopies of these fliers and pass them out at other shows, or staple them on to telephone polls or wheat-paste them around town. Rock stars had radio stations promoting their concerts. The punks had DIY fliers. Usually there was a single show being advertised on a single flier.

The San Francisco Bay Area was a little bit different, thanks to the hard work of a single guy named Steve Koepke AKA Steve List.

Way back in 1990 Steve began to make a list of shows that he was interested in attending. This was originally for his own use. A little calendar of sorts so he could figure out what his entertainment options were for a given night.

Soon he began to share the list with some of his friends. Steve had access to the computers at UC Berkeley and had an email account setup way back when he first started The List. Initially The List was sent out by email to other local computer users.

From there others began to notice this resource and started asking for copies. Soon enough, you could see Steve hanging out at shows giving away copies of The List to his fellow attendees in the same way that others would give away fliers to individual shows. He would come to shows with a burlap bag filled with photocopies of The List.

The List had a simple white background with plain computer font on it. The text was small enough to fit the whole list on a single sheet of paper. It was basically crammed with information. Each listed show included the date, the venue, the bands playing along with other information such as the cost, a mosh-pit warning, notation for an all-ages show and the amount of stars that Steve personally gave the show. Three stars was the best, no stars were the shows Steve was least interested in going to. There were no images or artwork on The List. Just a bunch of crammed information.

Punks in the Bay Area did not need to keep a whole stack of fliers to know what shows were coming up. They needed a single sheet of paper. The List became an invaluable resource for letting people know about “funk, punk, thrash, ska” events coming up in the area.

If you were new to the punk rock scene you could use The List to discover new venues, new bands and shows you may not have heard about otherwise. The List was an important resource in growing the Bay Area Punk Scene. Without it, shows would have probably had much smaller attendances.

Promoters and bands soon realized how valuable The List was in getting kids in the door for a show. They began to contact Steve on a regular basis letting him know of any concert they thought he should list. Every once in a while Steve would get free tickets to a show from a venue or band that was thankful for his work. But mostly Steve did not get anything for his effort other than the thanks and respect of his fellow punk rockers. He never charged for the list, not even to cover his photocopy fees.

These days, The List is largely only found online. Steve does not bother making print copies anymore as the punx now all have smart phones and Internet access. For old geezers like myself, The List is still the first place I look to when I am not sure what to do on a Friday night.