Philly will get the chance to have another beer with Fear as the foundational hardcore punk group performs Friday at the Theatre of Living Arts on South Street.
While the band is based in Los Angeles, Fear frontman Lee Ving was born and raised in the Philadelphia region.
“Always when we come to Philadelphia, it feels like a homecoming to me,” Ving told Billy Penn.
As a kid, he lived on Kensington and Allegheny before moving to Roslyn in Montco, and graduated from Abington High School before heading off to college.
“I was a springboard diver,” Ving said. “I swam for Villanova as well, and we went around doing the whole circuit at the U.S. Military Academy and Annapolis, Maryland, and many other notable institutions of higher learning.”
Before Fear, Ving played harmonica and sang in the blues band Sweet Stavin Chain, who opened for Cream in Philly at the Spectrum back in 1968. Soon after, he selected the “punk rock idiom” as his vehicle of expression.
“I wanted to do things with it that were my inspirations, not necessarily what was commonly being done,” Ving said.
Fear dropped their first single, “I Love Livin’ In The City,” in 1978. It was later re-recorded for their influential debut album, appropriately titled The Record, which was released in 1982. Ask Ving if he’d still be playing those songs all these years later, and there’s zero doubt.
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” Ving said.
The fun spread across the country following Fear’s infamous performance in 1981 on Saturday Night Live, which happened due in part to a cast member happening to be a fan.
“John Belushi, may he rest in peace, got us on to the show,” Ving said. “And I think that maybe they were unaware of what kind of band this was.”
According to Ving, Belushi’s invite to a bunch of punk rockers made for a night to remember.
“The people from other parts of the country who had come and gotten tickets for seats on Saturday Night Live in the theater where it was filmed were unaware of it and didn’t understand — and maybe felt in peril for their lives or something,” Ving said. “John was quite happy with the way that it turned out and the shock and surprise and all of that on everyone’s face.”
While that show may have been memorable for other reasons, Ving hopes to make Friday’s show at TLA a good one for his hometown.
“We’re looking forward to coming back to the City of Brotherly Love and looking forward to our performance for all the folks who are interested in that sort of thing, and want it to be a very happy occasion,” Ving said.
Tickets for the all-ages show start at $38. Negative Approach, Mourning Noise, and Voice of Doom will also perform.