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Stevie Stiletto, Jacksonville Punk Icon. New Film

'Stevie Stiletto story' The documentary on Jacksonville's punk band is finally complete. "My Life is Great: The Stevie Stiletto Story" will premier Friday, Oct. 9, at the Five Points Theatre. Kevin Dunn, a Jacksonville native and professor at Hobart and William Smith colleges in New York, finished it up. It covers the band's full history, from 1983 till now, with plenty of vintage footage. For over 25 years, the legendary band Stevie Stiletto were punk rock stalwarts, yet never got the national recognition they deserved. After dozens of releases, thousands of shows, hundreds of brushes with the law, countless line-up changes and one terminally ill diagnosis, they finally get their due with this two hour documentary. For those punks that were around for Stiletto and the Switchblades shows at the Blighted Area and Post and King, this is about freakin' time.

Published October 5, 2009 in Culture      44 Comments    Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article


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5 Points Theatre
1028 Park St., Jacksonville, FL, 32204
(904) 359-0047

On Oct. 9, Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn's feature-length documentary "My Life is Great: The Stevie Stiletto Story," will premiere at the historic Five Points Theatre in Jacksonville, Fla. The documentary, set to be released on DVD with a 22-song retrospective CD, was produced, directed and edited by Dunn and tells the story of the 25-year career of the legendary punk band Stevie Stiletto.

"When I was growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, I listened to albums by bands like the Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones and so forth," recalls Dunn. "But in the early 1980s, when the first punk band in Jacksonville, 'Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades', was formed it was transformative."

For more than 25 years, the legendary band Stevie Stiletto, led by Ray McKelvey, were punk rock stalwarts, yet never got the national recognition they deserved. After dozens of releases, thousands of shows, hundreds of brushes with the law, countless line-up changes and one terminally ill diagnosis, Dunn hopes they finally get their due with his two-hour documentary.

Just five years ago, while Dunn was working on research into the global punk rock scene, lead-man McKelvey was rushed to the hospital and given a diagnosis of hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver as well as just three days to live. Today, the punk pioneer is still making music.

Dunn decided he needed to reconnect with Ray and Stiletto because of the influence they had had on his development dating back to the days in Jacksonville. "My initial plan was to just to see what I could use for my own academic research," says Dunn, "But I soon became captivated by the prospect of completing a documentary." Dunn's research that coincided with this project looks into the ability of punk rock to explore the exchange and circulation of goods, people and messages beyond the limitations of international relations.

"Every one of the thousands of bands out there living a do-it-yourself lifestyle has an important story to tell, and I saw the documentary as a way to connect with a non-academic audience and bring attention to some of the ideas of an anti-status quo attitudes and disalienation that that Ray and Stevie Stiletto embody in their everyday life."

In the film, Dunn captures the tumultuous decades that Stiletto lived what McKelvey calls "the rock star life," hanging in the best hotels, and opening for and touring with some of the biggest names in punk and metal: The Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, Motorhead, Megadeth, Iggy Pop, the Flaming Lips, and a host of others.

"It has definitely been a labor-of-love project. Stevie Stiletto was influential on me in so many ways. I feel I owe it to them (and my teenage self) to make this documentary," says Dunn. "Hopefully it will help give them the recognition that they deserve but that has always been just beyond their reach.

Limited theatric release begins in October, with the DVD/CD combo set available through and



October 05, 2009, 07:46:17 PM
I had so much freaking fun at Stevie Stiletto Shows.

First time I ever heard a Jacksonville Mayor's name used in a song.  It was Jake Godbold, and Im not going to repeat the lyrics.

I used to have a pair of Blaine Crews' drumsticks from a show at the beach.

Good to see some recognition!~


October 05, 2009, 07:57:03 PM


October 05, 2009, 08:10:39 PM
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October 05, 2009, 09:19:23 PM
Memories Stephen. I thought Ray had died to be honest. Had some serious liver issues if I recall. Hung out with those guys in the early 80's. Remember when they had band space in a shit hole warehouse space near Edison ave. I think.  Blaine Crews-wow a blast from the past. Think he and I had homeroom together in 10th or 11th grade at Ed White around 83.


October 05, 2009, 09:27:14 PM
Im just a couple of years younger than these guys, I was the under aged kid that got past the door at Blighted to see them.

My first time seeing a real slam dance was at one of their shows.  That was before there were any safe steps like skanking or the mom approved 'mosh pits' that they have today.  People lost teeth and went home covered with bruises.  lol.

I was writing for Sandalwood's high school newspaper that year (83?), Me and the co editor had just changed the format from newsprint to magazine style, and I wrote this huge article about one of their shows at the Blighted.

Naturally, it turned out being a bit of a scandal, as I was talking about teenagers being in the bar with me....didnt really think that one through I guess.   (and this was when the drinking age was still 17 here).

Later on, my elegant and petite little sister Nichole got into their music and started going to see them at post and king (which was like visiting a foreign country to beach kids)

Yeah lots of memories.


October 05, 2009, 09:30:19 PM
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October 05, 2009, 09:35:24 PM
Good stuff. Thanks again for the posts. They were very good and under-appreciated. It was just a cult following of punks back in the day. Imagine that, Jax had a punk rock scene in the 80's. How player is that?  :) 


October 05, 2009, 09:39:25 PM
we had a great punk scene back in the day, not just a punk scene!

Actually Jacksonville was also cutting edge skateboard culture as well.

You know how far back kona and the Rats of the Westside go back?

Our first skaters were already in their thirties when the rest of the country was just discovering how to ollie.

Never have gotten a satisfactory explanation as to how it got from Dogtown to Jacksonville so much quicker than the rest of the country.  Its like it just jumped over the entire southern portion of the country and caught on here.

heights unknown

October 05, 2009, 11:35:04 PM
Wow; Steve Stiletto.  I remember that name "back in the day" in the 80's around Jax.  Never attended any of their shows and if I remember correctly they were purely local back then.  Is his last name his real name?  Another good name for a band would be "5 INCH HEELS."

Heights Unknown


October 06, 2009, 07:59:53 AM
Wow; Steve Stiletto.   Another good name for a band would be "5 INCH HEELS."
Heights Unknown in Stevie Ray Stiletto and the Switchblades. I guess the rest of the band name got dropped.


October 06, 2009, 08:04:04 AM
Just a few weeks ago I met Stevie at a local restaurant and found out that we are living in the former "730 Club".  Stevie gave us great rundown of the past events in our home. Wowie, it must have been exciting. We can't wait to see the movie. Thanks, Stephen, for a great post.


October 06, 2009, 11:51:11 AM
No way, linda!  You live at the 730 club?

That place is pretty legendary!


October 06, 2009, 12:08:46 PM
Stevie Stiletto is going to be another one of those things that 30 years from now, people will be in disbelief that they were from here or lived in Jacksonville.  Like Ray Charles.


October 06, 2009, 05:13:30 PM
And don't forget, the premier is this weekend at Five Points Theater.

(who by the way, need to be congratulated and supported for their support of Jacksonville film and artists)


October 06, 2009, 08:10:39 PM
Just curious Stephen, what ever happened with Blaine and his various bands? Haven't heard his name in many years.


October 06, 2009, 10:24:53 PM
Wow. Never heard of him, really digging it though.

I wonder what the odds are of a local music or vinyl store carrying anything by him?


October 06, 2009, 10:26:35 PM
pretty damn good.


October 06, 2009, 10:27:06 PM
Just curious Stephen, what ever happened with Blaine and his various bands? Haven't heard his name in many years.

let me ask Thommy Berlin, David.


October 07, 2009, 11:48:10 AM
Hey David, just heard back!

via facebook:

Thommy Berlin
I saw Blaine not too long ago and he looked fine. He and Dianne are back together, and all seems well. He'll probably be at the show (this saturday) at Yesterdays....


October 07, 2009, 02:04:18 PM
I remember them back in the day playing at the beach.  I believe it was Pier 7 Lounge and that other s@*thole next door, which I can not remember the name.  Great times.


October 07, 2009, 02:16:56 PM
Pier 7?  lol.  Which place?  Blighted Area (that was upstairs) or Einstein a go go?


October 07, 2009, 02:40:11 PM
I seem to remember seeing shows at the building north of Pier 7.  It now has a glass atrium, used to be the Boardwalk Group.  But it was a real dump back then, looked like an abandon building covered in spray paint.  Early eighties I believe.

5 Points Theatre

October 07, 2009, 05:12:38 PM
Thanks for the plug Stephen!

We're pre-selling tickets - you can come by the theatre after 6:30 pm until closing, or call the business office at 358-0605.


October 07, 2009, 05:22:54 PM
lol, thanks for the support of local culture, guys.

Thats news, though, not actually a plug!

I hope everyone reading shows up to the film, its great to see Stevie Stiletto get some labra.

You guys are doing a hella lot out there at the theater these days.

It seems like you are becoming that moviehouse that everyone secretly wishes was in their hometown.

Good work


October 07, 2009, 06:33:30 PM
Thanks for the updates Stephen. As I mentioned before, hadn't heard the name Blaine Crews in about 20 years. I did find some old footage from a couple of shows they played around 1985. We had quite a scene going on in the day. And I think we still do according to my son.


October 07, 2009, 06:38:23 PM
I seem to remember seeing shows at the building north of Pier 7.  It now has a glass atrium, used to be the Boardwalk Group.  But it was a real dump back then, looked like an abandon building covered in spray paint.  Early eighties I believe.
That would have been The Blighted Area.  The Legendary first Punk Bar in Florida.

No problem David!  Your son is telling you right.  Jacksonville has a pretty vibrant scene that no one has every heard of until this day!


October 08, 2009, 10:05:41 AM
Matt Soergel from the Times Union weighed in on this today

Kevin Dunn is a professor of political science at a college in upstate New York, and his big research project is on "the global punk movement and the politics of resistance" (it's not a matter of right or left, he says, but of the time-honored punk ethos of Doing It Yourself).

Credit that project to his teenage years as a punk-rock fan on Jacksonville's Westside.

That's when he discovered a much-tattooed showman with a wicked sense of humor and a self-destructive streak wider than the St. Johns River: Ray McKelvey, known to many as Stevie Ray Stiletto.

For 26 years, McKelvey headed up an ever-changing lineup of Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades, leaning over a battered mike stand as he belted out two-minute punk anthems. He drank himself to the edge of death. He took heroin and crystal meth. He toured all over. He made heads turn in San Francisco and Europe.

But for most of the time, he kept three-chord, driving punk alive at dive clubs in Jacksonville, as well as in downtown Jacksonville Beach back when it was known - in a name irresistible to punks - as the Blighted Area.

Jacksonville needed Stevie Stiletto, says Dunn. And so did he, as a teenager buying cassettes at Edge City, catching shows at the Cedar Hills Armory and the 730 Club on Dellwood Avenue.

Now Dunn has returned the favor, finishing a documentary called "My Life is Great: The Stevie Stiletto Story," which will play at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday at the 5 Points Theatre.

Dunn, 42, is a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. He sports earrings and his hair is still upswept into a punkish 'do.

To make "My Life is Great," he started with many hours of interviews and concert footage amassed by Doug Milne, a Stiletto fan who now works on video productions for the PGA Tour. Dunn took it from there.

"I thought it was really important to Ray, and to my teenaged self, to get this finished," he said.

Stevie and the Switchblades never became national punk heroes, though they were good enough, flamboyant enough, said Dunn.

"They had their moments of possibility. But they were saddled with being in Jacksonville, out of the punk scene. When they lived in San Francisco, they were close, but they undermined themselves - Ray especially, with his heroin and drinking problems."

As "My Life is Great" makes clear, those problems were epic.

Throughout the film, his friends and family offer tale after tale of the dubious choices made by a man they call a "dysfunctional genius" and a "happy-go-lucky lunatic."

McKelvey, too, talks frankly about his addictions, which a few years ago took him right to the edge of death: His liver shut down, his body swelled his skin turned yellow. Doctors told him he had days left.

Yet he's still here, sober for years and, somehow, still alive.

Stevie Ray Stiletto is 51 years old now, with a gentle handshake and a soft voice - though it's likely you'll first notice the tattooed arms and the mop of tangled black hair hanging over a face that shows every one of those years of hard living.

"It's odd, 25 years on," said Dunn. "Ray has weathered, he's a lot older. But because he's not drinking and drugging, he's a lot softer. The nice Ray that you would see occasionally during the drinking-drugging days, that's what you see all the time now - that really nice, sweet guy who's always there."

McKelvey said he's in good health now. He rides his bike. Writes his songs. Plans another tour.

He said he never thought anyone would want to make a movie about him, about the band. But he does reckon, looking back on those old days, that there's plenty of material for a movie.

"I wouldn't change a thing," he said.

Then he gave a little laugh. "Well, I wouldn't have drunk myself into cirrhosis, but then half the people I know are dead from the same thing. But I try to help younger people now."

He paused, and offered his hard-earned wisdom to the punks of today: "You don't realize it when you're young, but it comes back to get you."

There you go - a public service announcement from Stevie Ray Stiletto. The man knows what he's talking about.

Dog Walker

October 08, 2009, 01:59:11 PM
In the early and middle '80's I had a business across the street from what is now the new Animal Care and Control Center.  There was a rundown warehouse there at the time.  Some nights when we had to work late, we would hear a band playing there.  It was loud enough to make paint flake off the exterior walls and seemed to be three chords repeated over explosive bass.  We used to joke that they were trying to learn a forth chord.

Could that have been Stevie Ray and the band?


October 09, 2009, 02:44:49 PM
The Film is tonight!

This is going to be awesome.


October 10, 2009, 12:42:57 AM
This was an amazing event and a wonderful experience. 

I lived in Seattle mid 90s as the kids there were beginning to realize that something important had happened in their local music scene.  In Seattle all the 90s music was considered 'local'.  And it congealed around events like the one that the Five Points Theater tonight.

Discovering the stories and the talent behind the things you take for granted.

Thats what was happening in Seattle, and it felt so good to be back in that vibe again.

Linda and Dogwalker, guys it was amazing to see you guys there!

There were so many people from the site who ended up showing for the event, it was very very cool.

Please support the Theater.  I think they have found their niche at last.  This kind of programming has the power to grow a city.

Dog Walker

October 10, 2009, 10:33:47 AM
The theater was full and the excitement level high for both showings.  It's fantastic to have a place where this sort of event (it wasn't just a film) can take place.  Thanks people!

Thanks, Ray!  Rock on!


October 10, 2009, 01:58:50 PM
Last night was like a reunion!!Saw many old faces and the show was awesome.Ray seems to be in good health and Blaine Crews was actually SOBER!!!!Back in the 730 club days me and my bud Mick Ripper used to hang out with Mike Butler (Bass).We hit all the shows.But the ones at the Post and King were our favorites!!I remember Ray used to do this thing about Skynyrd before they used to play the song "Bonehead Bop".I thought it was funny (it was art) but when I told some Skynyrd fans about it they weren't too amused.Matter of fact they (about 10 of them) showed up and were ready to jump onstage and kick the bands ass if it happened.Also there were the usual long haired hating skinheads!!Well,with the booze flowin and the moshpit rockin the rednecks were getting restless.Next thing I know a barroom brawl breaks out between us long hairs and the skinheads!!We were outnumbered and things didn't look good (or feel good)!!I guess the rednecks figured since they had hair they should be on our side  :D !Thank God they did!!I remember being out in the middle of King street facing 2 skinheads when one of the smaller rednecks said "let me have the big one" damn could that boy throw some punches!!!!Once things calmed down we hooked with them drank some beers and laughed about the whole thing!! 


October 10, 2009, 02:19:01 PM
Welcome to the forums bonecrusher.

Yeah last night was awesome.

I went with Lee Harvey, and the crowd was amazing to see.


October 10, 2009, 05:51:06 PM
Here is a great timeline of Stevie Stiletto from Folio:
McKelvey’s obsession with rock-and-roll — rock stardom, to be more precise — started early and never waned. Born in Chelsea, Mass., in 1956, he moved to Jacksonville with his family in 1959. In junior high school, under the influence of the Beatles, he and childhood pal Frank Phillips stole their sisters’ white go-go boots and painted them black to match those of their mop-topped heroes. They started a cover band called The Invaders, with McKelvey on drums and vocals, and performed songs by the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five and The Animals, along with some originals.

In his mid-teens, while attending Lee High School, McKelvey discovered the original goth-rocker, Alice Cooper, and his life changed. His vocation, he realized, was to be the showman, the ringleader. "I wanted to be Alice Cooper," recalls McKelvey.

After graduating in 1974, he kicked around in cover bands, playing local clubs, picking up groupies and, of course, imbibing.

By the end of the ’70s, punk and glam rock had emerged from the streets of London and New York — a stiff middle finger to both the arena rock of Led Zeppelin and the vapid disco movement. McKelvey was one step ahead of the game, a fan and admirer of Brit glam-punker Alex Harvey and his Sensational Alex Harvey Band years before the Sex Pistols hit the scene. "I think he was probably the original punk rocker," says McKelvey.

Tired of playing covers and craving recognition, McKelvey combined his love for theatrics with his passion for punk and, in 1983, formed Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades.

The chronology of Stevie Stiletto is convoluted, a series of closely related bands that changed members as often as they changed names. The common thread has always been McKelvey.

Stevie Stiletto originally came together in 1983 and released the album "13 Hits and More." The early years were important for McKelvey as he began to shape his stage persona, but it wasn’t until the mid-’80s that the band reached its stride.

By 1985, guitarist Thommy Berlin joined original members McKelvey, bassist Mike Butler and drummer Rob Akk, and the band hit the road in support of two EPs and a full-length album. They toured the country in a 1959 Ford schoolbus — painted flat-black and decorated with skulls and bat wings — playing packed club shows in the U.S and Canada. These were the band’s salad days.

Managed by Indianapolis promoter and former Zero Boys manager Bill Levin, Stevie Stiletto lived what McKelvey calls "the rock star life," hanging in the best hotels, and opening for and touring with some of the biggest names in punk and metal: The Ramones, the Dead Kennedys, Motorhead, Megadeth, Bad Brains, Iggy Pop, Circle Jerks, the Flaming Lips, G.G. Allin, the Descendents and a host of others.

In this company, McKelvey unleashed his dramatic inclinations, creating a stage show that included exploding shaving-cream cans, fire extinguishers full of ice water and fake speaker cabinets that he would throw into the crowd.

The music, a combination of Southern rock, punk and speed metal, complimented McKelvey’s on-stage antics. He carried himself like Patti Smith, strutted like Elvis and sounded like Black Flag-era Henry Rollins. All this, capped with clown masks and fueled by alcohol, meant anything could happen at a Stiletto show. "I’ve [chain]-sawed a surfboard in half," says McKelvey. "And I walked on stage in San Francisco [wearing only] gold-sparkle cowboy boots and a glow-in-the-dark Glowworm rubber."

But in the finest rock-and-roll tradition, just when things were looking up for the band, it all fell apart. After another Stevie Stiletto lineup change, Levin’s father died, taking him away from management duties. The band persevered, trying to book their own hotel rooms and battling club owners for payment, but they were scraping by. After a show at The Electric Banana in Pittsburgh, McKelvey recalls, Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon slipped him a fifty so the band could buy gas to drive to the next gig.

It was during a late-night drive from a gig at CBGB in New York City to a concert in New Brunswick, N.J., that the band’s luck failed completely. The vehicle carrying drummer Dan Limerick and stage tech Steve Pratt smashed into an unlit tractor-trailer stopped dead on the highway. Equipment was all over the road and the bodies of the band members were bloodied and broken when McKelvey and Butler arrived on the scene. Through no one was killed, it looked like it might be the end for Stevie Stiletto.

McKelvey pressed on. By 1988, after another lineup change and a move to Indianapolis, then San Francisco, the band angled for a fresh start. Stevie Stiletto released "Pin Ups," a cover album that mimicked David Bowie’s recording of the same name, and "Smell the Sock," a parody of Spinal Tap’s "Smell the Glove," which was recorded months before by engineer Jim DeVito at his studio in Crescent Beach. The band hired porn star Lotta Top to pose nude on all fours and sniff a sweat sock, the punk version of the Spinal Tap cover that never was.

But as the band moved closer to success, McKelvey’s heroin/crystal meth addiction complicated growing tension within the band. By 1992, McKelvey decided to leave the band, load up his dogs and his equipment, and try to kick his habit on a cross-country drive. After three days on the road with no dope, he ended up back in Jacksonville, where he continued to dry out — or at least stay off the horse. In town, McKelvey hooked up with bassist Pat Lally (now proprietor of Nicotine in Five Points), drummer Tim West and McKelvey’s childhood chum Frank Phillips on guitar. The band adopted the moniker Ray Ray, which morphed into Continental Ray Ray, Ray Ray Rocks and Hurricane Ray Ray. Throughout the early ’90s, the band played locally and released another record, but it wasn’t until McKelvey and Phillips reformed Stevie Stiletto with drummer Neal Karrer and Lorne Mays (the current configuration) that things picked up again. The band released "Back in Arms" (one of McKelvey’s favorites) and "An American Asshole" on Attitude Records. The albums sold well and were distributed internationally, and a European tour followed.

But the band never caught the momentum of earlier lineups, finding more success overseas than in America. The ever-manic McKelvey also formed other side projects, including El Kabongs, which performed punk and metal versions of classic rock tunes in Jacksonville and Orange Park. It was after a performance with El Kabongs that McKelvey first shook hands with the Reaper.

Frank Phillips looks more like a Jaguars season-ticket holder than a punk-rock guitarist. Heavyset, wearing a football jersey and backward baseball cap, Phillips readies his equipment for rehearsal.

Though attached to a respectable marshfront home near Jacksonville Beach, the rehearsal garage reeks of rock-and-roll. Holiday lights dangle from the ceiling, concert posters cover the walls and a window unit coughs out just enough air to keep a Florida July day at bay.

The P.A. speakers blast Primus as the members of Stevie Stiletto file in. Drummer Neal Karrer gets his kit squared away on a platform along one wall while Lorne Mays straps on his bass, then wraps a bandana around his right wrist. He smacks a pack of cigarettes against his palm, opens it and lights one up, the smoke mingling with the odor of sweaty men.

While fiddling with his guitar, Phillips accidentally knocks over what he believes to be a cup of spit. "I don’t know what it was," he says. "Something nasty." This leads to a conversation about Phillips’ saliva-covered microphone and its unpleasant aroma. Olfactory memory kicks in and the guys are soon discussing music, the road and Ray McKelvey.

"Ray’s really changed since he quit drinking," says Phillips with a sly grin. "He actually hits the notes now. Now he really sings good." Phillips adjusts his microphone, and his tone deepens. "It’s definitely a different Ray. When you’re gonna die, I guess it’s time to quit drinking."

If Phillips sounds flippant about McKelvey’s condition, it’s not out of insensitivity. Phillips and McKelvey have known each other since the sixth grade. They’ve shared the happiness and hell of full-time musicianhood, and have both matured beyond their reckless early years. Humor has always been a part of the Stiletto performance ethic, and the ribbing is a sign that everything is running as it should, just like the old days.


October 10, 2009, 11:43:19 PM
Glad to hear it went well. Hopefully Ray can continue on a path of sobriety and health.

Bill Ectric

November 26, 2009, 05:06:23 PM
I have video-taped about 100 bands over the years, but the overall best video I ever did, in my opinion, is Stevie Stiletto at the Post & King sometime in the 1980s. I've done some that have a clearer picture but don't sound as good, some that sound better, but the picture isn't so hot, and some that sound good AND look good, but the performance isn't as interesting. But that Post & King show balances out perfectly because (a) the band played so hard and fierce it was almost impossible not to sound good, and (b) Ray McKelvey knew what he was doing. Ray's voice and instincts are top-notch punk. He knows how to use limited budget stage effects to maximum result. He's has both a sense of humor and a sense of fatality that morphs into a glowing, grinning neon skull/neon Jesus - and, oh f**k, what a vivid trip that night was, I mean all night long. I'm happy some of my footage appears in the film. Thank you, Kevin Dunn. 


November 26, 2009, 07:12:05 PM
You know how far back kona and the Rats of the Westside go back?

Rats on the Westside. A lyric borrowed from the Stones; Shattered.

Post and King, during the Our Cocks are Huge tour. Even a few Jax Beach boys were there.

If I remember correctly, a few bottles were broken.

This is the last time I saw the band. IIRC Amy German was there. Hangin with Denise.


October 04, 2011, 01:52:14 AM
Hey, am I late to this party? Neil Smith here. I played guitar for the band for 5 years or so. It was fun. A couple of years in Jacksonville and a few in San Francisco. I was asked to submit some video for this doc but didn't have a good setup for it, had a baby on the way and quite honestly didn't believe it was going to actually be in anything. I've seen some clips, but not the whole thing. Good to see some familiar names on here and if anyone wants to say hi you can write me at . I live in Los Angeles these days.

Take care everyone,
Neil Smith


October 04, 2011, 07:44:33 AM
Pat Lolly is a punk rock god.

No band survives his departure.


March 24, 2013, 11:58:14 AM
"Stevie" Ray McKelvey has passed.  RIP

Dog Walker

March 24, 2013, 02:14:16 PM
"Stevie" Ray McKelvey has passed.  RIP

We were remarking the other day that we had not seen him around in quite some time and worried about his health.


March 24, 2013, 02:25:42 PM
Tommy Berlin is saying that hed died from Cancer.


March 24, 2013, 03:56:08 PM
I texted a friend who knew him and his daughter and she called his daughter who confirmed it was indeed cancer.


March 25, 2013, 10:39:35 AM
In the hospital, Ray McKelvey lamented to his friend, Frankie Phillips, that he could no longer play guitar or sing. Phillips, trying to cheer him up, told him there were plenty of things in life other than music.

Mr. McKelvey looked up at him and said: “Well, what else is there?”

Mr. McKelvey, the hard-living punk pioneer known to many as Stevie Ray Stiletto, died Sunday morning at his home on the Westside, which he shared much of his life with his mother, Dorothy.

He was 56 and had been ill with cancer.

Mr. McKelvey, with his tattoos, shock of black hair, sardonic lyrics and outsized stage presence, had been a fixture in the punk scene of Jacksonville since at least the early 1980s.

Music was his obsession, and friends say that as soon as one band broke up, he was organizing another.

Phillips, his musical accomplice since their days at Lake Shore Junior High, visited Mr. McKelvey in the hospital Tuesday, shortly before he went home for his final days.

“He said, ‘Frankie, man, I got a Telecaster, will you fix it up for me?’ Then he said, ‘You know, man, we could write some jingles together. There’s money in that,’ ” said Phillips.

Mr. McKelvey, the leader of Stevie Stiletto and the Switchblades, was at the heart of punk music in Jacksonville, known for his outrageous stage shows and two-minute punk anthems. In the mid-’80s, the band owned the 730 Club on Dellwood Avenue, bringing in acts such as Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys.

They toured the country in a black 1959 school bus, until the bus finally died. They lived for a while in New York. And Chicago and San Francisco and Indianapolis. They even toured Europe.

Several times, Mr. McKelvey almost broke through, but his explosive personality and extravagant consumption of booze and drugs scared music industry people away.

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