LOUDER THAN GOD: Blurt’s Concert Memories

TOP PHOTO GG Grave

When have you gotten your mind blown by a band? What’s the most outrageous thing you’ve ever witnessed at a concert? Did you ever get to see a group early on before anyone realized they would one day be superstars? Did you ever MISS seeing a group, even though you had the chance, before they became superstars? Herein read some of our collective concert memories, from Jimi Hendrix, White Stripes, U2, Nirvana, Joe Strummer and the Who to Jeff Buckley, El-P, Rocket From the Tombs, GWAR and, er, GG Allin (whose eternal memory is enshrined, above… fecal matter optional).

BY THE BLURT GANG

From the Editor: The inspiration for this article was a series of three decades’ worth of remembrances that veteran Austin-based journalist Michael Corcoran published at SXSW.com all last month, SXSW: 30 Years. Each day during September he posted a selection of musical memories and anecdotes, either his own or submitted from attendees, stretching back to the very first SXSW in 1987 (a month or so earlier he had solicited people’s comments), with the general framework being along the lines of “when did you get your mind totally blown?” Now, anyone who has ever gone to SXSW in Austin in March can attest to having been blown away at least once—typically, at least once each year. You can go to the SXSW Wikipedia page if you want to review the basic details of the festival’s storied background; suffice to say that in 30 years there’s been a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on. (It probably goes without saying that since South By Southwest about to turn 30, the long-running music industry confab—rumor has it that’s biz talk for “fabulous conference,” but let’s just translate it as “conference and festival” seeing as how “confest” connotes something entirely different, like an assembly of pickpockets, hackers and pyramid scheme aficionados—will no doubt mark the 2016 event with a slew of themed celebrations aimed at blowing minds.)

Corcoran wound up publishing one of yours truly’s musical memories, about the time at SXSW in 2007 when I walked into a venue to see a local Austin act, Future Clouds & Radar, which was Robert Harrison’s (of Cotton Mather fame) new orchestral pop project, and exited sufficiently shattered and gingerly holding my jaw from it scraping the floor during the set.

So— as I’ve never been loathe to steal a good idea when it comes to drumming up content for BLURT, I thought it might be fun to keep Corcoran’s party going just a little longer by publishing our own little variation—in this instance, elaborating upon while not specifically limiting the concert experiences to SXSW.

Ergo, what you about to read has as its basic parameters the following: What was your Biggest Mind Blower (self-explanatory); your Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God (say, you saw Nirvana pre-Nevermind, or, hell, Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees); your Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God (semi-self-explanatory); Biggest Regret, aka “Regrets, I Have a Few” (over missing a particular show or tour, such as having the chance—as I did, but declined—to see Nirvana pre-Nevermind and for whatever reason you blew it off; in my case it was because I was more of a Mudhoney kinda guy and didn’t feel like I needed to see every Sub Pop band that came through town); and Most Outrageous Event you witnessed (also self-explanatory—and I have to say that mine is, according to everyone I’ve ever related it to, a doozy, particularly if you treasure punk rock, public masturbation, and the tossing of shit, term used literally—so keep reading).

Several of our contributors combed their memory banks for some remarkably stand-out moments, while others stuck with the SXSW theme. Which makes sense because memories are truly made in Austin each March. To a large extent the festival is freeform, anarchic even, a place where schedules are made to be broken, itineraries inevitably dumped, and agendas pretty much pointless unless you’re an attractive young lady in hot pants and roller skates scooting around distributing handbills to horny drunk guys. While I along with many others have been guilty of occasionally muttering frustrated comments along the lines of “jumped the shark” and “not keeping Austin weird anymore” with the arrival of such non-Austinesque personalities as Perez Hilton and Rachael Ray aiming to put their own mainstream brand on what’s essentially un-brandable, in truth, SXSW has managed to keep its essential Lone Star weirdness intact alongside the inevitable blips of commercialization.

Speaking for myself, I have to confess that as I have been attending concerts since the Seventies—my very first show as a teenager was seeing Led Zeppelin at the Charlotte Coliseum in 1970—some of those memories are justifiably hazy, others are simply AWOL, and others cannot be disclosed in a public forum such as this because (cough) certain statutes of limitations have not yet expired. Once in awhile, though, the flashbacks come fast ‘n’ furious, and I have not above trying to capture that lightning in a bottle for BLURT, such as writing about this particular brush with a pre-deification God in which I saw the Replacements in 1985 just as they were starting to break nationally and I wound up being Bob Stinson’s appointed “babysitter” for the evening. Go figure. I know that many of my peers have had similar experiences. Maybe we all need to create and contribute to a “greatest roccrits moments” wiki or something? Get in touch, fellow journos.

Bottom line: it’s always a fun mental exercise, dredging up and holding forth on one’s own rock ‘n’ roll war stories. And I would even propose that if you, gentle readers, have some of your own that you would like to see published, feel free to post ‘em my way (BlurtEditor@gmail.com). If it turns out we get a decent-sized cache o’ comments, we just might do a Part Two. For the time being, though, enjoy.

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Bad Seeds

MICHAEL TOLAND, Austin, Texas

 Biggest Mind Blower: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Austin, TX, 2002. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have long been one of my favorites since I fell in love with the Henry’s Dream album back in the early ‘90s. So why was I so pensive about this show at outdoor venue Stubbs, for which I’d bought a ticket months prior? Because I foolishly allowed the press to fill my head with notions. Cave hated interviews, it was said, and hated talking to the American press. He hated touring America. He much preferred to spend his time in Europe, where he was a genuine rock star, then in the States, where he and the Bad Seeds were a cult act at best. (A cult act able to sell out the mid-sized Stubb’s, but still.) I bought into all that negativity and assumed that he and the Seeds were going to phone it in, delivering on their obligations but with as little effort as possible. That it was a makeup show, rescheduled after Sept. 11 discouraged some international acts from touring the States, and the second-to-last show of the tour, didn’t help – I figured the band had to be ready to go home. But I bought my ticket anyway, since I wasn’t going to miss a chance to see one of the artists who’d become one of my major musical totems.

It’ll come as no shock to anyone who’s seen the Bad Seeds play in the last decade or so that all of my expectations of a rote performance were happily dashed. Riding high on the (artistic) success of No More Shall We Part, Cave and the Seeds gave a magnificent performance, ripping through the rockers and dancing soulfully through the ballads. (Setlist here.) Cave inhabited his characters like a master actor, and the Seeds provided perfectly sympathetic backup. It was astonishing, easily one of my top 5 shows of all time, maybe at the top. I suspect the rest of the audience felt the same. Everybody left the venue with stunned, often ecstatic looks on their faces. Just goes to show that one should never believe the hype. (Note: according to Setlist.fm, this was Blixa Bargeld’s final show with the Seeds. I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, what a way to go.)

Closest Brush With a pre-Deification God : White Stripes, SXSW 2001. As I exited a club one night during SXSW 2001 in Austin, I ran into the BellRays, a band I’d discovered during South By a few years prior and had championed and kept in touch with ever since. “Are you coming tomorrow night?” they asked me in reference to their SXSW showcase. “Of course!” I said. “You should get there early,” they said. “This band we’ve been touring with called the White Stripes is playing right before us, and they’re great!”

Keep in mind that I tend to ignore the buzz bands during SX – those shows are always a hassle to get into, badge or no badge, and they’re rarely worth the time, trouble and hype. So I genuinely had no idea who the White Stripes were. But I trusted the ‘Rays, so I showed up about five minutes before the Stripes’ showtime at the Room 710 venue. Unsurprisingly, there was a line out the door, and the tiny club, which normally hosted punk and stoner metal bands, was enforcing a one-in/one-out policy. I got nervous, not because of the Stripes, but because I was afraid I’d be shut out of the ‘Rays’ performance. (I figured that most of the crowd would stick around for their show.) But I got in line anyway, and was the last person in just as the band started to play.

I have pretty mixed feelings about the White Stripes – some of their songs I really like, some I really loathe, and most of them I’m pretty indifferent to. But seeing them in that tiny, tiny club, when they had only two albums out on an indie label, well before they became superstars, was pretty amazing. When they tore into Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Jack White singing it like he was tearing his own heart out as he did, I completely understood why so many folks were crammed into that small room. I never saw the White Stripes play again, and I’ve never regretted it.

Closest Brush With a post-Deification God: Helmet, SXSW 2005. I was walking down 6th Street one afternoon, having just come from a daytime show and contemplating dinner before the evening showcases started, when I was accosted by a clean-cut young man who poked his head out of a dance club and said (and I’m quoting here): “Dude, free Helmet show!” I was skeptical of this, since the band was not scheduled to do any SXSW showcases, and at that time big name bands doing free daytime performances wasn’t as common as it is now. But I gamely followed the kid into through the door and around the corner to the stage, and sure enough: there was Helmet, blazing away at stunning volume in front of a rabid crowd of kids who’d apparently gotten a memo I never saw. I’d never seen them during their initial wave of early’ 90s popularity – odd, since I was definitely a fan – so I was happy to bang my head.

Then-guitarist Chris Traynor gave his guitar to a young lady up front; it was taken away by a roadie and given back to Traynor, but the moment said roadie disappeared back into the bowels of backstage, a smiling Traynor passed it on to her again, and this time urged her to scoot out the door right then, which she did. Then the show ended in a hail of feedback and I went back on my merry way, not sure if I’d actually seen what I just saw.

Most Outrageous Scene: Rocket From the Tombs Get Doused: Austin, 2003. Following a typically raucous set of roadhouse punk from the Riverboat Gamblers, Rocket From the Tombs – the edition featuring original members David Thomas, Cheetah Chrome and Craig Bell, plus Television guitarist Richard Lloyd and Pere Ubu drummer Steve Melman standing in for the late Peter Laughner and the absent Johnny Madansky – took the stage in the main room at Emo’s to thunderous applause. This was, after all, one of the Bands Who Started It All when it came to punk rock – almost more a legend than a reality, yet standing before us in the flesh.

So naturally some asshole had to go and nearly ruin it. The band had barely commenced “What Love Is” when a cup of liquid went flying onstage and struck Thomas right in the chest. The band stopped the show immediately and left the stage, ensuring us that we’d done this (lost out on a show we’d paid for) to ourselves. The audience stood restlessly for a few minutes, unsure what to do, when RTFF suddenly came back out. Chrome announced they’d continue the show if we behaved ourselves, as “we’re not gonna perform if we don’t feel safe.” Having thus put us on notice, they relaunched “What Love Is” and proceeded to play one of the most burningly intense rock & roll shows I’ve ever witnessed. Then some punter (the same guy?) tried to throw a cup of gunk at the band again. He was practically tackled by the crowd around him. No way were we gonna mess up the momentum of what we were experiencing, especially since RFTT seemed intent on mowing us down to bare earth. I guess anger and tension fuel the rock machine better than adulation.

I figured Thomas, in particular, would exit the stage as fast as possible once the show was over. Instead he sat down on the lip of the stage, the stain on his suit still clearly visible, and personally sold t-shirts and copies of The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From the Tombs and the then-tour only CD Rocket Redux (released nationally the next year). Despite his earlier antagonism, he was quite gracious to everyone. The legend was reality after all.

Regrets, I Have a Few: Paul Westerberg. For my birthday in 1993, a buddy of mine purchased me a ticket to an Eric Johnson show at a club called La Zona Rosa. While my ardor had cooled somewhat by then, I still considered myself a fan of the guitar slinger, as the two records he’d released by that time were still in regular rotation for me. That night, however, was also the night that Paul Westerberg was coming to town to play Liberty Lunch. I wasn’t a particularly big fan of 14 Songs, the solo LP he was supporting with the tour, but it had a few tracks I liked and I figured he’d lean heavily on the Replacements catalog. And it turned out that his show was going to start after the Johnson show concluded. Add in the fact that La Zona Rosa was just a couple of blocks away from the Lunch, and that the manager of the record store I worked at got me on the guest list, and it was clearly meant to be.

Except that I got lazy. After the Johnson show, I decided I was tired and that I’d blow the Westerberg show off. As I said, I wasn’t that into the new record, and I’d seen the ‘Mats, so it wasn’t like this would be my first chance to hear him do “Bastards of Young” live. The next day I spoke to co-workers who did go and found out that Bob Mould, one of my musical heroes and an Austin resident at the time, had jumped onstage with his old Minneapolis buddy and they’d done several songs together. If only I had been double-jointed – I would have spent the rest of the day kicking myself in the ass. Lazy fuck.

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Strummer

JOHN SCHACHT, Charlotte NC

Biggest Mind Blower: Joe Strummer, San Francisco 1989. On a crisp 1989 November night [11/17/89] in San Francisco, I went to go see Strummer at the I-Beam, a small (40×60 feet) room that doubled as a rock music and gay club in the Haight-Ashbury. This was post-Clash Strummer, not long after the 2/4-Clash’s Cut the Crap and Strummer’s solo debut, 1989’s Earthquake Weather, had both essentially fizzled. At the time, Big Audio Dynamite, the band Clash co-founder Mick Jones established after getting kicked out of the Clash in 1983, had a much higher profile, and frankly Clash faithful wondered what kind of future was left for the former front-man for what was once the world’s best rock band. I’d seen the Clash (post Topper Headon, sadly) opening for the Who in the early ‘80s, but an abbreviated set seen from distance in an oversized Los Angeles Coliseum wasn’t going to replicate seeing the Clash in their rock-club heyday.

So my expectations were not all that high when I staked out a patch of space on the side of the sound-board riser so that, at a non-NBA-like 5-foot-9, I could at least fucking see. After an opening act whose names and music were to be shortly rendered immaterial, Strummer and band—a crack outfit featuring Zander Schloss (ex-Circle Jerks and Thelonious Monster guitarist), Jack Irons (ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer) and bassist Lonnie Mitchell—came out to a rousing welcome. And as the setlist flashed back and forth between songs from Strummer’s solo record (goosed up and shorn of their shitty production) and a lengthening list of Clash favorites, something absolutely magical happened at the I-Beam that night.

Through the power of his charisma and total commitment to the music, Strummer transported us back to the Paladium and Bonds in New York or London’s Hammersmith Palais and the 100 Club in the ‘70s. Strummer and band went deep catalog that night, too, throwing down magnificent skanking versions of “Bankrobber,” “Armagideon Time” and “Pressure Drop.” When they rolled out the big guns from London Calling and The Clash, the place went into an ecstatic frenzy more typically associated with whirling dervishes and speaking-in-tongues revivals. We pogoed as one for hours, spurred furiously by Strummer’s jackhammer leg—at one point I briefly wondered whether the whole second floor venue would wind up at ground level, and then decided it would be just about the best possible way to slip this mortal coil.

After nearly three hours, the night ended in a suitably punk rock moment. From years of battling with its residential neighbors, the I-Beam had a strict 1 a.m. noise curfew—gleefully ignored by Strummer and band. Soon enough, though, the law arrived to make it official, and the last we saw of Strummer he was being firmly escorted from the stage, arguing until the last that the show wasn’t properly over because whatever he’d tapped into that night hadn’t yet run its energizing course. I walked out —or levitated, to be more accurate—into the cold night air and could muster up no coherent summation; the words proved inadequate and ultimately unnecessary; a series of muttered “Jesus Christs” and “Holy Fucks” that might as well have been the contended grunts of sated cavemen. It was primal and spiritual and above all goddamn good fun.

In 40 years of live music, I’ve attended dozens of gigs before and since then that left me joyously drained or emotionally stunned by what I’d witnessed. But what happened that night in that intimate venue was, for me, the ultimate validation of the collective power of rock & roll—in suitably brilliant hands, of course—to move us through time and place and tie us to this simple proposition the man himself once stated: “music exists to remind us of this one essential proposition: It is fun to be alive. It’s a hell of a lot better than being dead.”

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Beatles

JUD COST, Santa Clara CA

Regrets, I Have a Few: Beatles ’66. Believe it or not, in August of 1966, I entered the ticket office of a large hotel in San Jose to buy two tickets to see the Beatles later that month at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. When they told me the bottom line would be $11.00 for the pair of tickets, I suddenly realized I couldn’t afford such a large sum, and it was a large sum in those days. Not knowing that would be their last live show ever, I reckoned I’d see them sometime later, so I didn’t buy the tickets. I’ve been making up for that huge mistake and have missed very little since then.

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RH

RON HART, Lincoln Park NJ

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God: Radiohead, NYC 1997. The other night I was watching my old VHS copy of Meeting People Is Easy, and I had forgotten they had filmed the show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom I was at for the film. It’s strange watching the movie now, because for me Radiohead seem like a whole other band entirely. But to watch their dazed, confused and annoyed reactions to the parade of numbskull music journalists placed before them by our favorite PR firm, you can tell from the movie where they exactly began to go cold, which inadvertently led to a creative renaissance that established the band as perhaps the single most influential act of the 21st century in rock. And while many, in fact, cite OK Computer as the group’s breakthrough LP, the last 18 years have clearly indicated they didn’t even scratch the surface of their adventurous potential back in 1997.  However, seeing them perform that night at the Hammerstein, as I was reminded during my random viewing of Meeting People, the seeds that would eventually grow to become such masterpieces as Kid A, Amnesiac, Hail to the Thief, In Rainbows and The King of Limbs were successfully sown.

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Mc_Cartney_002.tif

LEE ZIMMERMAN, Maryville TN

Closest Brush With a Pre-Deification God: Jimi Hendrix Experience, 1968. I’d have to say the most historic concert I ever saw – and one before they gained fame — was the Jimi Hendrix concert I caught while attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas Texas in 1968. I still have vivid memories of that show, especially the moment when, in the midst of “Purple Haze” Hendrix pointed to a guy in the audience and sang, “’Scuse me, while I kiss this GUY.”

The opening act, Chicago – then known as Chicago Transit Authority — was still months away from releasing their debut album, but it was a fiery read of “I’m A Man” that they offered that night, leaving little doubt why it became one of their signature songs. The second band on the bill was Fat Mattress, a side project of Noel Redding’s, and indeed it offered The Experience bassist two slots on the bill that evening.

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TV

MIKE SHANLEY , Pittsburgh PA

 Biggest Mind Blower: Television, Pittsburgh 2015. Television’s September 25, 2015 appearance in Pittsburgh at Carnegie Music Hall could have gone either way, I figured. A friend who saw them a few years prior in San Francisco was disappointed. Tom Verlaine’s appearance at the 2006 Pittsburgh Arts Festival was good but not mindblowing. Add to that a mediocre email interview that Mr. Verlaine sent me prior to the show, and my expectations were wide open.

From the opening riff of “See No Evil,” I started wondering if my friend at the San Francisco show was gravely mistaken. Seven songs into the set, I realized that they were actually playing Marquee Moon in a different running order, until all that was left was the title track. Verlaine and guitarist Jimmy Rip retuned, and then that plinkety intro started. When it came time for the triumphant Verlaine guitar solo after the third verse, things got really insane. He started low, reaching across his guitar for the volume knobs with his left hand while plucking with the right. Then he started pulling out some wild harmonics. What happened next was a combination of beautiful fretwork and excitement, building on the dynamics of the original solo, touching me like nothing I’ve ever heard in 34 years of concert going. The tearducts started opening.

Normally I would never text during a moment like this. But my brother, who saw Television in New York during their initial run, had to know. “Television is playing ‘Marquee Moon.’ I think I’m seeing God. Or Coltrane.”

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 V Suns

BARRY ST. VITUS, Berkeley CA

Biggest Mind Blower: Oakley Hall, San Francisco 2006. I had been into Brooklyn band Oakley Hall for about a year and finally got to check them out live in Oct. of ‘06 at the Bottom of the Hill in San Fran. Their live show by far transcended their recordings. The brilliant musicianship of the players and the fantastic vocals provided by Rachel Cox made for an electrifying performance. I was so overwhelmed by the show that I recall telling my wife afterwards that I felt like I was going to melt through the floor. They were regarded as the best live act in the N.Y. area at that time.

Closest Brush With a pre-Deification God: Grateful Dead, Nov. 1968 in Columbus and Athens, OH. There were only a couple of hundred attendees, as not many were familiar with them at that point and their second album had just come out not long before. The concerts consisted of material from Anthem To the Sun and Live Dead songs like “Dark Star.” It was percussionist Tom Constanten’s first gigs with the band. Honorary mention: I saw a pre-Nevermind Nirvana when they opened for Dinosaur Jr. in San Fran.

Ravi

Most Outrageous Scene: Ravi Shankar’s Shoes Get Nicked. I remember attending a Ravi Shankar concert in Athens, OH in the mid ‘70’s and, like everyone, especially Shankar, was agog when a very stoned looking hippy went up the steps to the stage, approached him, picked up his shoes and walked away with them. The footwear absconder was quicker nabbed and the shoes returned.

Regrets, I Have a Few: Volcano Suns. Mid-’80s in San Fran. I loved Mission of Burma, Kustomized and Volcano Suns [pictured at top above] and had Volcano Sun leader, Peter Prescott on my radio show on KALX one afternoon, followed later by the Celibate Rifles. I don’t quite remember why I passed on the VS show, but it was probably because it was in the City. Also, the Rifles were buddies of ours, always hanging around Berkeley when in the area, and may have been playing on this side of the Bay. I regret missing the Suns because they were pretty amazing. One caveat, at least, I caught M.O.B. on their first reunion tour, a band I never thought I’d ever see live. (The same with the Soft Boys.)

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The band on the set of the Celebration video at Gardiner Street in Dublin. october album. Horses coming up from the rear.

STEVE KLINGE, Wilmington DE

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God: U2, Norwich England, 1981. I spent my junior college year at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, in 1980-81. It was a great time to be a music-obsessed young person in England: the heyday of post-punk, the dawn of new wave and of Scotland’s Postcard Records. The college brought bands to the student union building often. On one exceptional weekend, I saw Elvis Costello and the Attractions, the Fall and the Jam on successive nights—or maybe it was Madness and the Jam was some other time? The venue held maybe five hundred people. I also saw a young U2 there, not long after Boy came out. “I Will Follow” was a cool single then, and folks turned out to check them out, although among my crowd, Echo & the Bunnymen was a more exciting new band. U2 had a huge sound and presence from the start: the Edge’s guitar sound was cool and startling, and the band was confident and powerful. Maybe too confident: Bono seemed cocky. Who is this guy prancing around like he owns the world? It was a bit too much for us post-punks who were skeptical of the whole rock star thing. But he still sold it, and over the next few years, he would earn it.

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Buckley

STEPHEN JUDGE, Durham NC

Biggest Mind Blower: U2, Hampton VA, 1987. The Joshua Tree tour, in the 13th row, December 11th, 1987.  When the lights went off and you heard the organ of “Where The Streets Have No Name” come in, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, and you couldn’t hear the first minute and a half of the song because the crowd was going so crazy and so loud. Amazing experience seeing a band at the top. It was also almost two years to the day of my father’s death so it was a personal experience for me that I will never forget. Honorable Mention: I have to also say seeing Nirvana at the Cat’s Cradle, Oct 4th, 1991. They blew thru a vicious set, and destroyed their instruments at the end. Six weeks later they were the biggest band in the world. Incredible.

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God: Jeff Buckley, Raleigh NC, 1994. There were less than 50 people there, at the Brewery club, I would say. Almost the entire crowd was standing slack jawed in awe of Buckley’s band and vocals. You could hear a pin drop in the room and the only word I heard afterwards that described the experience we all had that night was “religious”.

Most Outrageous Event: Ministry at Lollapalooza ’91. It had been raining in Raleigh for days prior to the show, so the lawn was full of mud. During their set (right at dusk) the crowd was good and worked up/drunk/soggy to the point where no one cared anymore. They started to throw the beer cups full of mud at the reserved section, who in turn threw it back. An all out war started between the two sections—the cups flying through the air looked like missles over Iraq. Security was freaking out, tackling people who were so muddy you couldn’t even make out their faces. Three songs into the set Ministry was pulled from the stage as the security was worried about a riot breaking out.

Meanwhile, the night before Al Jourgensen had been arrested for getting into a fight with some staff people at the Fallout Shelter in Raleigh. So it was not a good 24 hour stay in town for the band. And as they were pulled off the Lollapalooza stage, with the huge effect vocals on, walking off the stage, guitars still ringing in everyone’s ears, Al says “Thanks a lot Raleigh, you guys fucking SUCK!” Brilliant.

Regrets, I Have a Few: There are a lot, but surprisingly I would say seeing Pearl Jam at the Cat’s Cradle shortly after seeing Nirvana in Oct 1991. They played a few days later, but I was not really a fan of their music so I blew it off. I really wish I had gone to see that show.  I will always regret not seeing The Clash or The Smiths. I have seen Johnny Marr three times though, but I never got to see Joe Strummer live in any fashion, that’s one of my biggest regrets, no doubt.

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Webb

STEVEN ROSEN, Cincinnati

Biggest Mind Blower: Karl Wallinger, SXSW 1997. I attended SXSW for three years in the mid-1990s, 1995-1997 (I think), as a sort of unofficial back-up reporter to the music critic at The Denver Post. One of my best memories is from 1997, when I attended an afternoon press party at a barbecue restaurant for Karl Wallinger of World Party, on the occasion of him releasing the then-new album Egyptology. Dallying by the food too long, I didn’t look around to get a seat soon enough and almost all were taken when the set was supposed to start. The hosts found me one seat at a table right in front of Wallinger, who played a fine, relaxed show. As I looked to the person sitting next to me to nod hello, I saw it was Woody Harrelson. He just sat there transfixed and smiling the whole time.

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God: Jimmy Webb, SXSW 1997. That same week there was a panel session at Austin Convention Center called “Well, How Did I Get Here? Artists Discuss Their Creative Development” that featured quite a line-up of talent — Wallinger, Jimmy Webb and Swamp Dogg among many others. Webb was just starting to reemerge into the public eye then — his Ten Easy Pieces had been released the previous fall — and I had been lucky enough to get into a ballroom at the Driskill Hotel and stand right by him as he played his hits on piano while people crowded around.  [Webb is pictured at the top, above]

But at the panel discussion, he was strangely, almost painfully dismissive of his early work like “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman.” Wallinger couldn’t believe Webb was being so hard of himself, telling him those songs were like postcards from America when he was growing up. It was a pretty compelling moment.

Postscript: Afterward, I went up to meet Swamp Dogg and I took his makeshift name plate from the panel-discussion table when he left it. Still have it somewhere. Should I get the chance, I’ll get it autographed.

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Haynes

KRISTA F. NORSTOG LEONARD, Raleigh NC

Regrets, I Have a Few: 2008 Warren Haynes Christmas Jam. To this day, I wish my friend Richie Mullins (formerly of Karma To Burn and Year Long Disaster, now of The Broken Harvest) would have bitch-slapped me ala Cher in “Moonstruck” and yelled “SNAP OUT OF IT!” in mid-December 2008. After his gig opening  for The Sword at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh I told him that I wouldn’t make it to see him play at the 20th Annual Warren Haynes Christmas Jam in Asheville, NC. I still remember the look of disappointment on his face. Maybe it was for him, maybe it for me. I think it was for both of us.

A bit frazzled and anxious after a recent fender-bender followed by a case of pink eye caused me to bow out of a trip where I would have met John Paul Jones.  John Paul Jones – my favorite member of Led Zeppelin. It was around the time that Dave Grohl was forming Them Crooked Vultures with Jones. It was also around the time that Richie’s band, Year Long Disaster, was up and coming and slated for a coveted spot at the Jam’s daytime events playing at Stella Blue. Not only did I miss Richie actually playing with Jones, I missed seeing the Friday night jam that lasted until 5:00 am or so. I missed Joan Osborne, Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Steve Earle, Dumpstaphunk, Johnny Winter, and local heroes Audley Freed and Robert Kearns (formerly of Cry of Love) and Jen Gunderman (formerly of Dag). [Setlist is HERE]

Winter, I’ll never see. Osborne, I’ve now met and seen perform twice. Harper, Earle, and Dumpstaphunk I hope to see within my lifetime. Jones – when will I ever have the chance to stand and talk with him, my friend Richie, AND Joan Osborne at the same time? When will I ever have the chance to even see Jones perform? To top it off, it snowed in Asheville for the Christmas Jam. Snow. And yes, I missed Them Crooked Vultures when they swung through Charlotte. Regrets, yes. One other that makes me particularly sad: missing Mother Love Bone in Seattle before Andy Wood’s death. Now don’t get me started on missing Frank Sinatra at the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, NC, in 1994.

***

A Fire

HAL BIENSTOCK, New York

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God: Arcade Fire, NYC, 2003. One memorable early brush with a soon to be famous band came in 2003 after I interviewed the great and sadly obscure New Jersey rock band The Wrens. One of the things we talked about was the band’s hard luck history. In the ‘90s, The Wrens famously turned down a big money contract with the label that would become Wind-up Records. That contract went to Creed instead. They also spent time talking with a high profile A&R team at a major label. That didn’t work out. Instead, the A&R team later signed The Strokes. So it was only fitting that when I went to The Wrens’ New York concert celebrating the release of their masterpiece The Meadowlands that the opening act would be a little known band from Montreal that blew everyone away. Yes, Arcade Fire.

Regrets, I Have a Few: Metallica, SXSW 2009. My biggest miss is Metallica’s not-so-secret “secret” show during SXSW in Austin in 2009. Not because I’m a huge Metallica fan (I think they’re fine, but they’re not a band I listen to regularly) but because it epitomized my cluelessness as a first time attendee. I knew they were playing a small venue show at Stubb’s, but had no idea how to go about getting in. It turns out the answer was simple. All I had to do was line up early instead of sitting in a Mexican restaurant directly across the street eating burritos and watching the NCAA tournament with a friend. Live and learn.

***

Killer Mike

DANIEL MATTI, Raleigh NC

Biggest Mind Blower: Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten on the SMV tour, 2008. Seeing three bass players of the stature on the same stage together was insane. I feel like that they will never get back together sadly.

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God: El-P, 2103-14. He handed me a glass of champagne on New Years Eve at midnight right before Run the Jewels blew up. He was already god in my opini0n.

Closest Brush with Post-Deification God: Killer Mike, Raleigh NC, 2014. Run The Jewels were playing in Chapel Hill Nov. 3 and we had an in-store signing event at Schoolkids Records in Raleigh [Mike is pictured above w/Matti on the right; we are not sure who the clown on the left is] where I work. So I picked him up and was driving to Schoolkids and back. I ran a red light. He called me out. We then went on to talk about the movie Belly:
Sincere: “Yo, did you not see that fucking red light, man?”
Buns: “Man, you think I give a fuck about a montherfucking red light?
Fucking cops can’t touch me. I’m out here smoking weed, speeding, all that, dawg. Fuck that. That’s me. Untouchable.”

Most Outrageous Event: Melt Banana with Daughters, Cambridge MA, 2005, Middle East Downstairs – mostly because of Daughters! The lead singer was drunk spitting vodka on himself while reaching down his pants and masturbating himself while the room was in total chaos. Standing next to the stage, I almost got hit by the bass players’ headstock throughout the whole show. Also Melt Banana played with a drummer that night so that was pretty special.

Regrets, I Have a Few: Not going to see Fantomas open for Tool in 2001.

***

Sonics

CARL HANNI, Tucson AZ

Biggest Mind Blower: Peelander-Z, SXSW 2009. The other was later that night (or maybe the night before, actually) when 1:30 a.m. suddenly rolled around, I was adrift and decided to walk into the first club I came to. That turned out to be Headhunters, and the band was the super-hero costumed Japanese trio Peelander-Z. I’d never heard of them, had zero expectations, and found my way into one of the most insanely fun shows I’ve ever seen (yea, I was probably a little boozy by then). The show had already started and the energy in the room was a completely elevated level of bedlam, with the tightly packed crowd slithering around on the floor and bouncing off the walls. Strange things ensued; the band moved from the corner of the room into the middle of the room in a slight-of-hand sort of way; all of a sudden there were three new/different band members (from the audience); this turned out to be a precursor to a round of human bowling by the band. This was a right time/right place energy convergence that musicians and audiences alike always seek but only occasionally find. You can see some of it HERE.

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God: The Sonics, SXSW 2009. I was fortunate to be able to attend SXSW 6-7 times between 2006 and 2013, courtesy of Tucson Weekly.  Two shows from 2009 stand out. The first was an early reunion show of 1960s garage rock kingpins and proto-punk pioneers The Sonics, playing a late afternoon set at Emo’s on March 20. Having no idea what to expect after several decades off the stage, and not wanting to be disappointed by a band I basically worshipped in their original time-frame, I dropped my expectations into the basement as I walked into Emo’s with BLURT editor Fred Mills. (Er, who? –Ed.) What erupted was 45 minutes of some of the most primal, back-to-basics garage rock I’ve ever witnessed. They weren’t fat, they weren’t bald, they looked great in black and not only did they not suck, they were stupendous! They sounded so much like the 1964-65 band that, eyes-closed, you could have been at one of their legendary Battle of the Bands with The Wailers or The Kingsmen back in the day. In the immortal words of Mr. Mills as we stumbled out, ’That was the most punk rock thing I’ve ever seen!’ (Check out video of the show HERE.]

***

Alex Harvey

FRED MILLS, Asheville NC (and yes, I do ramble on quite a bit below, but hey, I’m the doggone editor, so…)

Biggest Mind Blower (Pt. 1): (tie) Led Zeppelin, Charlotte NC, 1970; The Who, Charlotte NC, 1971. Who would deny that attending their first-ever concert as a kid or teen didn’t blow their mind—or, for that matter, set the mental stage for all that was to come? You can read my April 7, 1970 Zeppelin tale HERE at our site. I have to admit, though, that having no prior reference points at the time means that I probably didn’t process the experience as much as I could’ve. Ergo, it ties with one of my subsequent earliest concerts, The Who, touring the states in ’71 to support Who’s Next, and as documented at Setlist.fm, arriving Nov. 20 at the Charlotte Coliseum. By this point a massive Who fan, I’d never seen them before. A bunch of us carpooled from my hometown to Charlotte; pre-concert, we ingested the perfect amount of, er, “encouragement” so we were cocked and loaded, so to speak. My abiding memory is of cold: because the local hockey team also played at the Coliseum in the winter the ice was still on the floor and they had simply covered it up with thick black rubber matting, which I suppose protected the feet and ice but definitely didn’t block the chill. Everyone wound up pulling their feet up in their chairs, and of course by concert’s end we were all standing on the chairs. More than a few hippies were observed toppling over during the encores….

Biggest Mind Blower (Pt.2): Jethro Tull & Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Greensboro NC, 1975. As documented at the Tull concert archive, the second North American leg of the War Child tour was a genuine barn-stormer of a trek, the band arguably at the peak of its post-Aqualung U.S. popularity, a solid mix of eclectic musicality (Martin Barre was a brilliant hard rock guitarist) and Python-esque droll British humor (only Ian Anderson could get a laugh out of a schlocky joke involving two people dressed up in a zebra suit and popping tennis balls out the “ass”: at that point Anderson deadpanned, “Zebra shit”). I had already seen them earlier in the year, on January 17 for the actual tour-opener in Asheville, NC, where the group had rehearsed for a week prior. The Greensboro show took place Aug. 9, and it was every bit as good—even better, because the opening act was theatrical rocking Scotsmen The Sensational Alex Harvey Band [pictured above] and we had something like 4th row seats. This was when Alex was in his full Vambo/West Side Story-esque mode and the group was clearly aiming to win over Stateside audiences, although in truth I think much of the crowd, eager for Tull, regarded the stage show a bit inscrutably over-the-top for an opening act. But when Alex did his street rumble bit wherein he busted through a fake brick façade (anticipating Pink Floyd’s The Wall by a full seven years) and also stuffing hosiery in his mouth to give him a mush-mouthed “gangster” vocal effect, I was hooked. Guitarist Zal Cleminson’s garish harlequin/mime makeup didn’t hurt the group visually, either. I was so knocked out that I immediately bought tickets for the Aug. 16 show a week later in Charlotte which would feature SAHB again as openers.

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God (Pt.1): U2, Chapel Hill, 1983. The first date of the Irish band’s North American War tour took place April 23, 1983, as part of an annual spring outdoor multi-band concert at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Stadium, featuring headliner Todd Rundgren along with the Producers and—get this—Grandmaster Flash. (Full details can be found HERE at the U2 setlists archive.) What’s interesting is that U2 was booked relatively late, so late in fact that the listing did not make it onto the official U2 tour teeshirts, which meant that in certain quarters for a long time, fans thought that the War tour actually kicked off the following night in Norfolk, VA.

Indeed my gal and I were so blown away by U2’s performance—we didn’t even stick around for Todd’s set— that we jumped in the car early the next morning to drive to Norfolk. In Chapel Hill it started raining during the band’s set and a bunch of us, oblivious to the rain, ran down to the track that circled the football field in front of the stage to dance while Bono himself danced out on the catwalk extending from the stage to the track perimeter. He also climbed the lighting scaffolding for what would be the very first time in the States, en route to becoming a Bono tradition (see: the May 1983 US Festival videos of U2’s set). This was during the aforementioned rain, and as roadies very worriedly stood below him, he perched on the scaffolding warbling a few lines from “Singin’ In the Rain.”

Fun fact: I taped the show, and the subsequent bootlegs of it that have circulated come from my tape. You can identify it pretty easily: at one juncture a male voice next to the mic blurts out, “Unreal!” That’s yours truly, in the process of being blown away. The show would additionally spawn a fanzine called U2/USA which lasted through the end of the decade, ultimately allowing me to have a one-on-one summit with Bono in Atlanta several years later, interviewing the singer and passing a bottle of wine back and forth with him.

Closest Brush with a Pre-Deification God (Pt.2): Arcade Fire, Asheville NC, 2005. As detailed in my BLURT story “Before the Flood,” I had arranged to hook up with Arcade Fire at Asheville’s Orange Peel club on Jan. 27 in order to do a profile for Magnet magazine. Funeral was in the process of blowing up, Pitchfork-prompted style, and as this show had been booked some time earlier, attendees who’d already bought their tickets were feeling lucky while hundreds more were left stranded outside begging for tickets, digits aimed towards heaven, Grateful Dead-style. I met the band at soundcheck, helped them fold CD sleeves, sat in during a radio interview, and went next door to a Mexican restaurant with them to grab a quick supper. During the meal I spotted a number of kids outside peering in, noses pressed up against the window. As we left, Win Butler got buttonholed several times by folks wanting autographs. “That wasn’t happening before,” he remarked to me, softly, shaking his head in semi-disbelief, when I asked him if it happened a lot.

The next morning I went with them to find a place to get breakfast/brunch and do the official interview, which turned out to be a bit more logistically dicey than I had expected due to the number of people—at least a dozen of them, counting some crew members. In fact, the first place we went, a modest-sized downtown restaurant called Mayfels, actually refused service to the band, flatly stating that there were too many of us. Years later I would be dining with some friends at Mayfels and recounting the story to them when the waitress overheard me and called over the on-staff manager to have me repeat it for him. Both were absolutely mortified to learn that their restaurant had turned away a group of Grammy-winning artists.

Patti

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God (Pt. 1): Patti Smith, Chapel Hill, 1977. On January 21, 1977—I’m sure of the date, because I still have a poster, autographed, announcing the show—the Patti Smith Group came to the University Of North Carolina’s Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, NC. That afternoon I went down to the venue in order to sign on as a student free-roadie-for-the-day, which was fairly common for concerts on the campus. (I had done the same thing previously when the Kinks brought their “Soap Opera” tour to UNC; read about it HERE.) I got to hump cables and boxes, observe the soundcheck, talk with guitarist Lenny Kaye for 10 or 15 minutes about “Nuggets” and American garage rock, get autographs from the entire band, and observe Patti Smith letting in about 15 or 20 fans who had been clustered out by the stage door, bearing flowers and gifts. (“Don’t kick them out,” she firmly instructed the stagehands. “They can stay in here.” We all secured 1st and 2nd row seats.) And the concert was riveting, firming up my belief in Patti as one of America’s genuine treasures. Many years later, while interviewing her for a story about 1997’s Peace and Noise, I recalled the scene and she noted that taking care of the fans had always been paramount for her.

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God (Pt.2): John Cale, Chapel Hill, 1979. A couple of years later I was contributing to a fanzine called Biohazard Informae, which had been started by members of the Chapel Hill group The H-Bombs, which included a pre-dB’s Peter Holsapple and a pre-Let’s Active Mitch Easter. A friend, the pre-dB’s Will Rigby who also wrote for the zine, found out that John Cale was coming to the Chapel Hill club Mad Hatter and, as he was acquainted with Cale’s bassist George Scott (R.I.P.), he suggested that I conduct an interview with Cale for the zine. Scott could set it up for us, so I accepted the “assignment.” Only trouble was, I had never done an interview before… can you guess what’s coming?

Afternoon of the show: I meet Scott at the venue and he ushers me upstairs to the dressing room where Cale is ensconced. A rather large (not fat) and imposing chap, he is dressed in combat fatigues, smoking a big cigar, and has copies of “Soldier of Fortune” scattered around the table and floor. We settle in for the interview, I turn on the tape recorder, he scowls at me, and it’s all downhill from there. In my nervousness I stammered and fumbled through my lame questions (“So, John, Lou Reed’s career really took off after the Velvets broke up. How do you gauge YOUR career success?” [Cale, stiffly] “One day at a time.”). Then, after about 15 minutes, my batteries start to fail, and of course I did not bring extras.

The interview never saw formal publication—I was too embarrassed to even transcribe it until years later—but it did teach me some very important lessons about what one needs to be a journalist, namely, extra batteries. Oh, and perhaps a pint of whiskey to calm the nerves. I think I spent the next 10 years conducting interviews by phone, so gun-shy had I become.

Closest Brush with a Post-Deification God (Pt.3): Joe Strummer, NYC 2001. In October of 2001 I found myself sitting in the upstairs dressing room of Irving Plaza in New York, interviewing Joe Strummer (R.I.P.), who was touring with his band The Mescaleros. I had actually already talked to him once via phone from England, and ironically, this face to face conversation might never have taken place had it not been for 9/11: I was planning to head to NYC that week in September for the annual CMJ Convention, but it got postponed for a month because of the World Trade Center attacks, and Strummer’s tour itinerary wound up placing him in New York the same week as the adjusted CMJ schedule. Talking to him for “Magnet” magazine—and also having our interview filmed by Dick Rude for the Strummer documentary Let’s Rock Again!; yes, you can see me, or at least my knee, hand and notepad, in the film—I found him to be as gregarious, thoughtful and, yes, intermittently cranky as I’d heard him to be. We talked about heroes and role models and career highs and career lows and “the only band that matters,” Strummer consistently deflecting my comments any time he detected even a hint of fanboy praise, instead making sure that all his Mescaleros were singled out for their contributions while referring to himself as merely a “hack” who was lucky to work with talented people.

It was an incident prior to the interview, though, that sticks with me the most, and is emblematic of the man’s character and all around genuineness. Earlier, during the photoshoot for the article, we were downstairs, and in the main room the opening band, NYC rocksteady combo The Slackers, was soundchecking. Apparently the club soundman was growing impatient and informed the group it needed to finish the hell up. Strummer heard this and went out to inform the soundman in no uncertain terms that The Slackers were to be given as much time as they needed. As he told me after the show when I queried him about it, he remembered what it had been like when he had been in the opening band and had no truck with that sort of treatment.

GG 45

Most Outrageous (Pt. 1): G.G. Allin Masturbates, Shits and Dry-Humps Onstage. As documented on the subsequent 1990 4-song 7” EP Live… Carolina In My Ass and released by the gentlemen of Charlotte “destructo rockers” Antiseen, this June 13, 1987, Charlotte, NC, concert—term used loosely; it only lasted a couple of songs beyond the four on the EP—heralded the official return to the performing stage by self-styled scum-rock artist Allin. He’d only recently been released from prison and, invited by Antiseen’s Jeff Clayton and Joe Young to furlough in the Queen City, agreed to appear at the all-ages punk club The Church of Musical Awareness (the short-lived venue had been previously used as, per its moniker, an African-American storefront church), with his opening act and backing band being The Primates from Athens, GA.

The day arrived and I found myself positioned in the packed CoMA near the front and slightly to the left of the stage as GG and the gang started their set. Clad in naught but cowboy boots, mirror shades and a jockstrap, GG quickly began with the theatrics—if reaching inside one’s jockstrap and fondling one’s somewhat diminutive member could be called “theatrical”—and then proceeded to retreat to the rear of the stage and, as we shortly learned, gave himself an enema. One and a half songs later, the enema began taking effect, so GG moved to the edge of the stage, still clutching his mic, and proceeded to squat and take a big watery, greasy crap on it. The stench very rapidly spread through the (relatively small) former room of worship. Not content to merely tweak our olfactory senses, GG then reached over, scooped up a big handful of the runny poop, reared back like a Cy Young Award winner, and flung it in a long arcing motion across the room. I can honestly say I have never witnessed, before or after, people walking backwards up the walls of a room. They looked like characters in a cartoon, defying gravity. Me, I was generally out of firing range, but others were not so lucky. Chaos ensued.

GG smeared shit across his chest like Iggy smearing peanut butter, but that did not satisfy him. Hopping off the stage, the band still cranking away, GG decided to run through the shrieking crowd, eventually zeroing in on one young lady and grabbing her by her teeshirt to drag her over to the right-hand side of the stage. He pushed her onto the stage then mounted her and began mock-humping. This did not sit well at all with two of her male friends. They set upon GG, punching and kicking him until he rolled off, falling on the floor. At this point Young and Clayton smartly divined that the gig was probably done for, so one of them ran outside and fired up the car while the other grabbed GG and hustled him out the CoMA side door and onto the back seat of the automobile. Cue up the crunch of gravel, the screech of tires, the two white knights running behind it and shouting obscenities, and most of the concertgoers bolting outside to watch the parking lot action. The Primates, who apparently had not been informed what being GG Allin’s backing band might entail, simply stopped playing and stood there dumbly, holding their instruments and surveying the scene from the stage. Looking at one another, they shrugged, then casually began breaking down their gear.

As I knew what nearby motel GG was staying at, I decided to drive over there after a little while to see what was going on. When I arrived I spotted several people I knew standing around outside the room on the breezeway. I walked up and poked my head in the room, and eventually GG himself came out of the bathroom, his hair wet from a shower and wearing fresh jeans and a teeshirt. I introduced myself as a friend of the Antiseen guys (I had also written about him in the local weekly paper, Creative Loafing), shook his hand and tactfully declined his offer of a swig from the Jack Daniels bottle he was sucking on. (From a strictly hygienic point of view, I deemed it unwise to drink fluids after GG Allin.) We chatted a bit about mutual friends, I collected some autographs, and then I headed home.

Postscript: One afternoon not long afterwards, I walked over to Jeff Clayton’s house (he lived in my neighborhood) to talk about some records. He wasn’t home at the time. Babysitting his little 1-year old daughter, however, was none other than GG Allin, who had her with a bottle perched on his knee, and watching cartoons on TV, both of them laughing merrily. It was and still is one of the most incongruous sights I have ever witnessed.

Most Outrageous (Pt. 2): GWAR Busted for Obscenity. In September of 1990 GWAR came to Charlotte, NC, venue the 4808 Club. I was, naturally, going to cover the show for the Creative Loafing weekly newspaper, having already previewed it for the paper in my capacity as Music Editor. (I have written about this and related matters at BLURT in an article called “Kill the Music: ‘90s Censorship.”) It was the night that GWAR fell afoul of the prevailing Bible Belt mentality and the looming PMRC/parental warning stickers/war on metal & hip-hop era, at which vocalist Oderus Urungus was arrested for obscenity. (According to the charges he depicted “anal intercourse, masturbation, and excretory functions.”) The band would later turn the incident into a movie and an album, but meanwhile there was a near riot; the club owner was also arrested for being part of the melee; and I not only covered the scene for the paper but also wound up writing about it for Billboard magazine and being interviewed by MTV News and Rolling Stone as I was the only “journalist” to be at the club. [Photo below, taken by my friend Kerry McCaskill, from the actual show]

Gwar

Regrets, I Have a Few: (tie) The Byrds & Flamin’ Groovies. I’ve had the privilege to see almost all my favorite artists over the years (and in their salad days to boot), among them The Who, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, the Ramones, the Clash, R.E.M., Dream Syndicate and Neil Young (whom I almost wound up standing next to in a men’s bathroom in Vegas were it not for a fateful twist). But I’ve never seen the Byrds or the Groovies, both artists in my all-time Top 10. As I’ve interviewed both Cyril Jordan and Chris Wilson and the Groovies are actually still touring, I’m particularly ashamed over missing them—my all-time favorite song is “Shake Some Action”—and I even passed up a chance to go down to Atlanta a few months back to catch ‘em play. But there’s still hope. Not so for the Byrds, and it is particularly aggravating to me knowing that I could have seen them several times in North Carolina 1970-72 during the Clarence White era, as they regularly played the college circuit in those days, including both Duke and UNC (as detailed at the Byrds Flyght archival page listing all the concerts over the years). One particular show at that time is apparently so obscure that it doesn’t even show up on Byrds lists: it was at the homecoming party for Wingate College, probably in ’71. Wingate was only a 20 minute drive from my home, and I even had a friend attending Wingate then who did go and could have gotten me a ticket. “Man, you missed a great show,” he later informed me. “Clarence was on fuckin’ fire.” Thanks a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

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