In the early to mid 80s in Rapid City, like many other places, punk rock music was one of the emerging cultural and musical movements. Enthusiasm for new bands and underground music, fueled in part by KTEQ, the local college radio station, was spreading and a loose collection of “punks'' started to take form. Aside from the energy of the music itself, punk rock embodied teenage angst, rebellion against authority, dissatisfaction with the status quo and mainstream culture, and united all manner of outcasts. It overlapped with New Wave, garage rock, skateboarding, anti-fashion, and DIY empowerment. There was no pre-existing template for the rapidly gathering eclectic musical tastes, sounds, energy, aesthetic, and lifestyles. Creativity flourished in the absence of conformity, and a new cultural presence started to take shape from the ground up.

By the summer of 1985, Social Joke had formed, and shortly after, Dissent formed. These two bands would set the stage for the launch of punk rock music and a thriving music scene in Rapid City. Dissent was the love child of Bob Baker and Todd Smith. Exposure to punk rock bands at the time, especially bands with socially conscious lyrics, had planted a seed, and they dreamed of starting a band. With some luck, some savings, and a lot of hard work, things started to take shape. By the fall of 1985, with Bob on guitar, Todd on drums, April Froschheuser on bass, and Troy Zoller on vocals, Dissent took shape. They learned to play their instruments by playing covers of prominent punk rock bands like Bad Religion, TSOL, Red Kross, The Ramones, and The Circle Jerks. In January of 1986, Dissent and Social Joke played the Amy Metzger benefit in the KC Hall, the first real punk rock show in Rapid, and punk rock in Rapid City changed forever. Kids came out of the woodwork for this show, and suddenly everyone knew 50 more like minded people.

From this point on, Dissent, Social Joke, and a burgeoning group of kids helped to establish a collective punk rock scene in Rapid City. For Dissent, original songs soon replaced covers, and they started to play more and more local shows. They started to venture out, playing shows in Sioux Falls, Billings, Minneapolis, Mankato, Ft. Collins, Boulder, Denver, and other regional spots. The Rapid City scene grew with more bands and more shows, now attracting
touring bands. Rapid City became a new, welcome spot on the map for touring bands, eventually earning a reputation as a great place to play and stay, with amazing people and great shows. Over the next 5 years Dissent played countless local shows, traveled for weekend shows to any other city within range, and toured across the country 4 times.

Dissent always embraced the DIY attitude prevalent in the punk rock scene. They were self financed, they scheduled and promoted many of their own shows and other local shows. They did much of their own artwork, made their own tshirts, and recorded their own demo tapes. They started their own record label, Amity Records, to release their own and other bands’ records, they built their own home studio and recorded themselves and other bands. They scheduled their own tours and ran their own mail order record business. But Dissent also existed and succeeded in partnership with the local punk rock community. They collaborated with other local promoters, bands, artists, musicians, fans, friends, and zinesters. These countless partnerships were critical in helping Dissent accomplish much more than they could have alone, and allowed Dissent to help others accomplish much as well. 

Dissent lyrics were always focused on social issues and personal growth, urging people to examine their lives and beliefs, and to take action to make the world a better place. Their hope was to improve themselves through self examination and to inspire others to do the same, all while playing infectious music that would keep your heart pounding. They believed that living as examples of the positive change they hoped to inspire and create was paramount, but always with the raw energy and gusto of punk rock music.

Dissent’s lineup changed a few times, with Bob and Todd as original and constant members. Troy Zoller, followed by Sean (Skip) Nagel both had a turn at vocals. Tanja Bjork followed April as bass player, who was then replaced by Tim Popa, who is the current and long running bass player. The most constant and prolific lineup was as a three piece, with Bob on vocals and guitar, Todd on drums and vocals, and Tim on Bass. Van Stevens (Painful Extremities) joined as the second guitar player before the last recording, and has remained the main guitar player to this day.

In June of 1990, Dissent relocated to Olympia, Washington, but soon disbanded late in 1990. Bob left Washington and went to rejoin his longtime girlfriend, Bobbie Pfeifer, in Colorado. Tragically, they were both killed by a drunk driver in March of 1992. Todd, Tim, and Van formed MothermayI after Dissent’s breakup, and played together for another 3 years. After many long years of hiatus, Dissent and MothermayI performed once again at a huge reunion show in Rapid City in the summer of 2016. This event saw many bands of different eras reunite, and was truly a family reunion. Similar reunions and performances followed in 2018 and 2022. The Rapid City scene had always been strong, with many people playing crucial roles over the years to keep shows happening, and to keep new generations of bands and activities alive. Amazingly, there are many people who were pivotal back in the 80s who are still pivotal today, and without this deeply strong musical family, Dissent’s second wave of activity might not have ever happened, and you might not be reading this right now. Dissent exists as part of Rapid City hardcore. RCHC 4 ever.