Rancid’s 21st anniversary show was last week. This triggered many thoughts of “Another East Bay Night”…..
My friend Aaron didn’t have a date to the Berkeley High prom, and being a budding historian, felt that he would be missing out on an important phase of youth if he didn’t attend. While I disagreed with his motives, I offered to go with him to document the moment. We met up with his friend who had dragged Tim along as her date. He was pretty drunk by the time they arrived and didn’t want to dance. He gave me a Basic Radio tape, and kept saying we should go out to the limo and listen to it. That sounded like a lot more fun than being at the prom, but I didn’t want to let Aaron down. A few years later I went to see Death Angel at Nightbreak, and it was sold out, so I wound up hanging out with Tim (who couldn’t get in anyway because he was underage), sitting on the curb between cars and drinking beer. A few days later someone (Greg Foot?) told me that I’d been spotted making out with a young guy on Haight Street. Making out in public is not really my M.O. I figured someone must have seen me with Tim and gotten the wrong idea. Many years after that I ran into Tim when I was with Gary Indiana at the Bammies at the Warfield, and he told me that I have been present at the two weirdest moments of his life- the prom and being nominated for an award (both fairly non punk rock events). I thought, wait, what about the time when we made out at Death Angel????
I’ve never met Lars, but I stood next to him at the Parkside for a while. I was selling Psychology of Genocide t-shirts and he was selling Agnostic Front t-shirts. Well, I wasn’t really selling shirts because no one was buying any. He was incredibly busy. I’m not sure if everyone on the planet wanted an Agnostic Front shirt that night, or if everyone wanted to buy something from LARS FROM RANCID. A guy with many tattoos sat down next to me and started chatting. He asked if I wanted a beer and I said, no thanks, I don’t drink. He told me that he used to be sober but that he was experimenting with heroin again. I asked him how the experiment was going. “Not too well” he answered seriously. I mentioned that he might want to talk to Lars about that. He said he had, and Lars didn’t think too much of his experiment either.
I ran upstairs to the backstage room and when I opened the door 10 or so tatted out skinhead dudes stopped talking and looked at me. “I, uh, I’m just here to use the loo” I stammered. Roger Miret said, “What do we have here?” and I thought he was going to pull a knife on me or something. Then he said “Ah, a New York Doll” and smiled and nodded his head. I smiled back, confused, and edged towards the bathroom. When I got inside, I saw in the mirror that he had been acknowledging my NY Dolls t-shirt.
post prom run-in
I was taking BART home from Berkeley and Aaron (of the prom) got on my train. He smelled really, really bad and everyone was moving away from him. Except me. “Coming home from tour?” I asked. Only being homeless or being on tour with a punk rock band can make you smell that bad (I know from experience. When I came home from my first tour my boyfriend said I smelled like I’d been sleeping in a dumpster). Yes, he answered. He’d been out for a very long time with Green Day. He used to be their roadie, and I want to say he played drums with them for a while, but I could be wrong there.
Many years later I was at a Paul Westerberg show and I saw Billy Joe. People were asking for autographs and stuff and my friend got caught up in it and said, don’t you know him? Go say hi. I’d never me the dude, but I wound up standing next to him a bit later, so I turned and said “Is Aaron here?” He looked surprised and said ” I left him a ticket at the door, but you know how he is.” And then he said “You’re Carmela from Short Dogs Grow!”. I was shocked and told him he had a great memory. He said he remembered me from Gilman Street. And then some more fans came over (his, not mine :)), so I was able to make a quick escape.