Civil Defense bio courtesy of Mike Reiter. It is also included in Civil Defense CD “Propaganda vs. Civil Defense” (buy it here).
In the early 80’s, Prince was beginning to make a dent nationally, but if you were a punk rocker in the Midwest, you had no reason to think of a “career” in music. So you played like you had nothing to lose. And at places such as The Longhorn, The Seventh Street Entry, and Goofy’s Upper Deck, plenty of young bands did. Those bands included: Husker Du, The Replacements, Loud Fast Rules (later Soul Asylum), Rifle Sport, and a young band from the East Side of Saint Paul, Civil Defense.
Civil Defense began in 1982 as a three-piece featuring Dale Schuster on guitar and vocals, Vinnie Karshnia on bass and vocals, and Mike Reiter on drums. After honing their sound for a few months in Mike’s basement, they played mostly parties and rented halls. They first appeared under the name “Propaganda.” Soon, they played the legendary “Upper Deck,” appearing with many of the local and touring punk bands of the time. Three songs from one of those performances (billed as Propaganda) appeared on the cassette-only release “Kitten Compilation.” It would later be re-issued on CD in 1999 by Reflex Records.
Later that year they would add Scott Grubich on guitar and vocals, and make their debut at The Seventh Street Entry as “Civil Defense.” The band’s sound was compared to The Buzzcocks and Radio Birdman. However, songwriter Dale’s prime influences were The Kinks and The Beatles.
In March of ‘83 they headed into Blackberry Way Studio in Minneapolis, the site of The Replacements early recordings, to produce what would become the “Gun Control EP.”
Due to the usual circumstances, the band would dissolve in ‘84. Dale and Vince would work together for a number of years. Dale still records under “The Throwbacks.” Scott would move to L.A. and join a band with skateboard legend Tony Alva, and then move to Australia for a time.
Mike would join The Dig with Ed Ackerson. He would go on to play in The Mighty Mofos, The 27 Various, and many others, including an appearance with Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker. Mike is still performing and recording, and is currently appearing with The Mood Swings on Susstones Records.
Thanx to my homeiz for allowing me to post this. Civil Defense were not only a favorite of mine, but they changed my life.