Police State

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Police State

Police State

Police State (october 1982) playing a block party.
Photo: Lynn Smith

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Police State was formed in 1982 and featured several lineups in its short career, all revolving around vocalist Jake Smith. The most stable one featured the rhythm section of Mike Bordin and Bill Gould, later of Faith. No More, and an "annoing German" named Sebastian. Their 3-song demo had Jake playing all the instruments himself. Police State folded in 1983 after Jake was asked to join the band Crucifix.

Jake Smith, who were all these band members of Police State?
David Velasquez was in the original lineup, he is the guy who turned med onto punk rock. We played in the Saucers, which morphed into the Allies. The two bands just did a split LP on Raveup Records of some never released studio and live tracks in 2011. Sebastian Fuchs played with DRI. David and Sebastian both played guitar in Police State. This Spanish Basque guy Esteban was the first bass player, but he was gone by the time we played shows. Mike Bordin was the only drummer. Bill Gould and Brad from Intensified Chaos also played bass. There was also one band member who got kicked out when it was revealed that his song contribution was actually a Varukers song. Faith. No Man was roughly the same time frame as Police State.

David Velasquez, you were in the first Police State lineup, what was it like being a punk rocker in San Francisco back then?
Basically, my time in Police State wasn't so long lived. I rehearsed for two or three months and helped write a couple of songs. Mike Bordin wasn't always present for the rehersals, so it was often me, Jake Smith and Esteban Martinez. To walk to our rehersals in El Cerrito was like walking a gauntlet. Punk was still not accepted in the burbs so we'd get shit from gas station attendants and people passing in cars, they would even stop and fight us. Which was fine for me. Then I went to San Diego for a month for a vacation and touch base with my family, and when I returned Jake had already replaced me with some german kid named Sebastian.

But maybe it wasn't such a bad move, the next band for me was quite different: it was an electronic art band named Necropolis Of Love (NOL): At our first gig we got to open up for Public Image Ltd at the Elite Club in San Fransisco. We created our own label in order to put our music there and we invited Faith. No Man to join our label on the idea that we would help each other distribution-wise by doing so. NOL was also recording at Matt Wallace's studio, the same as Faith. No Man at the time.

Police State - crowd

Pilice State - crowd

Police State (october 1982) - crowd.
Photo: Lynn Smith


Mike Bordin: We did do some shows. As the photo shows there were about 5 to 10 people there, and it was literally in the middle of the street by Jake's house. Afterward, his mom made tacos.

Jake, did your mom actually play the guitar at one of the shows?
Yes. My mom, Lynn Smith, played one show where I was on drums because Bordin wasn't around. And yes, she did make a mean taco.

The demo-tape

Jake, tell me about the 3-song demo tape. Do you still have it?
That Police State demo is probably lost. There was only a handful made - one went to MMR, one went to me and I can't find it. The only other song title I can remember was "Rich Punks". No covers, exept the inadverent Varukers cover. We must have had 8 songs or more.

Bill Gould: Jake insisted on playing all the instruments himself. The demo was mixed on my kitchen table at 5pm on a cassette machine.

Jake Smith: I did play all the instruments. Bill recorded it on his Tascam cassette 4 track. We did the basics at Recieving rehersal studios in Berkeley, and the rest at Bill's place in the Mission. I never did a Cover for the demo and only 3 copies were made. We were going to make more, but something happened to the master cassette. Even cassette duping was a hassle back then.

If Mike and Bill were to beg me, I might consent to a reunion show :-)


A big THANK YOU to the guys at Maximum Rock'n'Roll Radio for digging up the first song of the demo; Police State. Complete podcast here.


Police State: Police State