R.I.P. Richard "Big Stiff" Konwinski, Founder of Stiff Pole Records, 1961 - 2010
One of the first Floridian punk rock bands that I grew to love was the Pink Lincolns. The snotty tirade that blasted over three separate Sumo Fumes seven-inch records defined my high school and early college years. Suck and Bloat, Back From the Pink Room, and Pure Swank solidified for me that Florida was at the forefront of the genre and anybody else be damned.
The Pink Lincolns were my entry drug, my weed, if you will. Everything else, from the Crumbs to AAA to Cavity to the Eat was my cocaine/heroin.
But the man who made it all happen was Richard "Big Stiff" Konwinski. I actually happened to be in Tampa/St. Pete on the day he passed and it wasn't until my friend Chuck Livid informed me a week later via text message that I found out a backbone of Florida punk had died.
Konwinski's label, Stiff Pole Records, defined an era for me. My personal favorite moment was hanging out backstage with the Crumbs and the Gotohells at the Edge many moons ago, . When the Gotohells' drummer, Hunter, found out who I was, he congratulated me on being the first person in the state of Florida, and the first person since the inception of the label, to get the postage and tax total right on an order. Why did he remember that? They had my hand-written order framed in their "office." I'd like to think that that was true and not him blowing smoke up ass, but it's a story I like to retell.
But what's done is done and Stiff has passed away, not long after re-energizing the idle label with some bands he felt necessitated a comeback. I hope that whoever's running it now will continue to do so and I hope to uphold my excellent mathematical skills in the future for them.
Floridian punk rock's had a bad year thus far. Thank you, Stiff, for putting out excellent music we citizens of this state, we citizens of punk rock can be proud of.
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