I heard they suck live!

Ever get that “Did I really do anything with my life?” feeling?
Making lists can help.

I made a somewhat incomplete list of all the Short Dogs Grow live shows I did. Afterwards I felt a little …nutso…….so I shared it with Tom Pitts, who seemed to understand. And then I thought, what the hell, might as well put it on the internet for the mattt dillioninsominacs. So, take a look…. find your first gig, find your band, or find the show of the night you lost your virginity! And then tell me the story of the gig, cause I don’t sleep well either.

These are just the Short Dogs shows. I’ll get to all the other bands later.

1985

Aug 8th The Reign of Lee Kwan, and Erik Meade at the Sound of Musicmorally bankrupt

Aug 24th Adolph and the Gasser, the Reign of Lee Kwan at Hotel Utah

Aug 30th Black Flag, SWA at the Farm

Sept 3rd Morally Bankrupt, Tales of Terror and Drunk Injuns at the VIS Lounge

Sept 24th– The Afflicted, Our Lady of Pain and Test Subjects at the VIS Lounge

Oct 5th Adolph and the Gassers at Hotel Utah

Oct 12th Three Mouse Guitars and House of Wheels at the On Broadway

Oct 25th Social Unrest, Faith No More, Clown Alley and Frontline at New Method Warehouse

Nov 7th Rhythm Pigs, Afflicted and Soul Asylum at the VIS Lounge

Nov 8th Rhythm Pigs, Blood Sweat and Steeltoes, Soul Asylum at New Method Warehouse

Nov 12th Korphu, Rhythm Pigs at the Stone

Nov 15th Noize Boys  and Jackals at the Mabuhay

Nov 30th Crash and Burn, The Rhythm Pigs and Faith No More at the VIS Lounge

Dec 8th SNFU, Rhythm Pigs, Clown Alley at New Method Warehouse

Dec 31st Adolph and the Gassers, the Barking Spiders at the Hotel Utah

1986

Jan 10th New Method Warehouse With 7 Seconds, Youth of Today, Violent Coercion, Christ On Parade and Yochirst on paradeuth of Today

Jan 18th Hotcombs and Noise Boys at Hotel Utah

Jan 25th Helios Creed, Half Blind at Hotel Utah

Jan 31st Verbal Abuse at New Method

Feb 6th – Schrödinger’s Cat; 16th Note; 3160 16th St. San Francisco

Feb 8th Rhythm Pigs and Blood Sweat and Steeltoes at Hotel Utah

Feb 15th Rhythm Pigs, Spot 1019; Hotel Utah; 584 4th St. San Francisco

Feb 22nd Crockett gig with Bad Habit and Space Kats

Feb 26th Touch Me Hooker and Noise Boys at VIS Lounge

tuch me hooker

March 16th Tragic Mulatto, Noise Boys and Sluglords at the Farm

April 10th Mabuhay with ?

April 15th GASM, E-13, Schrodinger’s Cat at On Broadway

April 17th Tragic Mulatto at Mabuhay

April 20th Crash and Burn and RKL at Club Foot

April 27th Social Unrest, Doggy Style, RKL, Christ On Parade, Toxic Reasons, Desecendents at the Farm

May 11th  R.K.L., Test Subjects,  Giddy Up, MongrelvX10; The Farm; 1499 Potrero Ave.

May 23rd Mabuhay with Noize Boys

May 30th Owen’s Pizza with Miserable Sex, Rabid Lassie and Neurosis

June 6th ASF, Half Blind and Forethought at Club Foot

June 21st Santa Barbara, Dan Sites Show- Beyond Possession, Rat Pack, Vengeance of Snoopy, Fatal Vision

bakersfield

June 22nd, Bakersfield, Dan Sites Show with Scared Cattle, Rat Pack, RKL and Beyond Possession

June 28th  El Paso,  Sounds Seas with Wheaties

June 29th El Paso, Sound Seas with Hernia Briefs and Descendents

July 1st Austin,  The Beach with Airhead

July 2nd Austin,  The Beach with 2 new wave bands

July 3rd Houston,  Party Owls, Bark Hard and The Descendents at Café Mode

July 4th New Orleans,  The Descendents and Life Sentence at Café Brazil

fake ad

July 6th Gulf Port, MS, Elijah’ backyard with Vomit Spots

July 7th  Jackson Mississippi at WC Dons

July 9th Macon, Georgia, House Party with Bullwinkle

July 18th Romeo, Michigan at the Barn with The Offenders (not the Texas band)

July 19th Chicago with Fudge Tunnel, Ozzfish Experience, Dead Steelmill, The Gruesomes

July 22nd Madison Wi, Club DeWash

July 24th Greenbay Wi, Lefties with Jam Nation and Volume Unit

July 26th Des Moines, IA House Party at Beths with Sand in The Face (on acid)

July 27th Omaha,  the Ski Lodge with A Child’s Trust In God and Sand in The Face (no acid)

July 28th Lincoln, NE House party- Paul’s house

July 29th Denver Co, The Funhouse with the Leaving Trains and Psychodrama

Aug 3rd Club Foot with Forethought and Rhythm Pigs

Aug 22nd The Farm with Frightwig, Sister Double Happiness, Spot 1019 and Tunnel Creeps
frightwig farm

Aug 23rd The Farm with Descendents, Polkacide and Sea Hags

Oct 19th The Farm with Honeymooners, Unruly World, Sex Farm, Lot 13 and Dead Beats

Oct 25th Club Foot With Victim’s Family and the Mudwimmin

Oct 26th Reno,  with Verbal Assault and Seven Yobs

Nov 9th  Reno, at Daughter Judy’s with the Yobs and Agent Orange

Dec 26th SF Music Works with The Mentors and Brazos Balladeers

SDG the Mentors

(Missing some of 1986)

1987

Missing some of 1987

Jan 10th Feederz, Mr. T Experience and The Undesirables at Gilman St.

Feb 28th Witnesses and Victims Family and the Sound of Music

March 15th SNFU, Honor Role, Forethought, Jello Biafra at Gilman St.  (Jail Jello Benefit)

March 28th Skin Yard, Cancer Garden at the Sound of Music

April 3rd Rabid Lassie at Gilman St.

April 5th  Dagnasty, Sea Hags, Sister Double Happiness, The Proper Shoes at the Mabuhay

April 18th Witnesses, Forethought and NOFX at The Sound of Music (our 1st record release party)

April 22nd D.O.A. Verbal Abuse, MDC at the Mabuhay

April 26th Portland, The Satyricon with Oily Bloodmen, Badlands and the Fugs

April 29th Vancouver B.C., at  Love Club with The Scramblers

May 1st Vancouver B.C., The Arts Club

May 2nd Matinee show at ?

May 2nd Vancouver B.C., The Arts Club with Death Sentence

May 3rd Victoria B.C.

May 4th Vancouver B,C, The Savoy with DC3

vancouver

May 5th Vancouver B.C. The Savoy with the Boilermakers

May 9th The Sound of Music with No Means No

May 10th Rough Trade In Store

May 15th L.A. The Anti Club with The Leaving Trains, Divine Weeks and Lexington Devils

May 16th Las Vegas at ?

May 17th St George Utah with Fuck Shit Piss, System Rejex and The Deviants at the Cotton Mill

May 21st Tucson Club Nino’s with Ghost of Elvis

May 23rd El Paso Sound Seas with Suicidal Tendencies, Nightmare and Petty Tyrant

suicidal

(Joe quit so we cancelled Lubbock and went to New Orleans)

June 4th House party in New Orleans- 1st show with George

June 5th New Orleans at VFW Hall with Acid Bath

June 6th Pensacola at DMZ with Gruel

June 11th Gainesville FL with Psychic Violence

June 12th Miami, FL at Banal with The Roosters

June 13th Gainesville, Fl with Murphy’s Law, Cindy Brady’s Lisp and Mutley Chix

June 14th Daytona Beach at Penrod’s with Rollins Band, Descendents, Doughboys and MIA

rollins

June 16th Birmingham, AL

June 17th Atlanta, GA Metroplex w/ Electric Love Muffin

June 19th Raleigh, NC  The Fallout Shelter w/ DT and The Shakes

June 23rd Roanoke

June 25th New Jersey The Dirt Club

June 26th New Jersey JP Trolleys with Bedlam

June 27th Albany, NY with Soulside and Life Sentence

June 28th Washington D.C. The Hung Jury with Ignition

July 3rd Minneapolis 7th St. Entry with The Magnolias and Blind Lemon Pederson

July 4th Detroit

descendents chicago

July 5th, Chicago Medusa’s with Lost Cause, the Descendents and MIA

July 9th Des Moines

July 10th Lawrence KS The Outhouse

July 17th Chatterbox

July 18th Gilman St. with Half Life, Terminal Choice, FBI and Shattered Youth

July 29th Vancouver

July 30th The Luv Affair with Death Sentence and Gray Matter Bent

July 31st Vancouver

Aug 1 Vancouver

Aug 2 Victoria

Aug 4th Vancouver The Savoy with NG3

Sept 5th The Farm with Corrosion of Conformity, Capital Punishment, Frontline, Sacrilege

Oct 9th Gilman St. with Chrimpshrine, She Devils and Social Club

Oct 10th Gilman St with Capital Punishment, Sweet Baby Jesus, Sewer Trout and Poultry Magic

Nov 27th Mabuhay with The Brigade and Hell’s Kitchen

Dec 11th Chatterbox with Lazy Cowgirls and Crawlspace

Missing rest of 1987

1988

Jan 24th Music Works with Bad Religion and Tunnel Creeps

bad religion

Jan 30th Music Works with Witnessess and Watchmen

Feb 13th Kennel Club with Ophelias and Opal

March 4th Firehouse with Frightwig

April 6th  The Music Works with The Witnesses, MDC and Hellhound

April 28th Nightbreak with Osgood Slaughter and Pappa Wheelie

May 4th Berkeley Square with Mr. T Experience

May 16th IBeam with Soul Asylum

soul asylum

May 20th Covered Wagon with Scapegoat Lemonade and Noise Boys

May 28th L.A.,  Anti Club with Lazy Cowgirls

May 30th El Paso,  Mesa Inn

June 2nd New Orleans, Paradise Club

June 4th New York, CBGB’s with Tim Lee and Love Shack, Salem 66, Hetch Hetchy and Downey Mildew

June 5th Boston, The Ratt with Hetch Hetchy

June 7th Morgantown West Virginia, The Underground Railroad with MDC

June 8th Detroit, Blondies with MDC

June 9th Kent, Ohio, JB’s Lounge with MDC

June 10th Dayton, Ohio, The Wildside with MDC

June 11th Cincinnati, Ohio Bogarts with MDC

June 12th Chicago The Iron Rail with MDC

June 14th Madison WI The Co-op with MDC

June 15th Milwaukee the Odd Rock Café with MDC

flyer-flier-stlouis-1186911-o

June 16th St. Louis MO Bernard Pub with Ultraman and MDC

June 17th Lawrence Kansas The Outhouse with MDC

June 18th Denver with MDC

June 19th Salt Lake City with MDC

July 2nd The Chatterbox with Johnny’s Problem

July 7th Portland

July 9th Tacoma Washington, Community World Theater with Dayglo Abortions, Hester Pryne, The Subverts, Abolishment, The Conditions, Frontline

July 10th Vancouver Club Soda with the Groovaholics

July 12th Vancouver at the Waterfront Caberet

seattle

July 13th Seattle The Vogue with the F-Holes

July 15th Spokane at 123 Arts with the Happy Dead Juans

July 25th Chatterbox with the Phantom Creeps

July 27th Berkeley Square with the Leaving Trains

Aug 20th Chatterbox with Lazy Cowgirls

Aug 30th with Screaming Trees at ?

Sept 3rd Covered Wagon with Doughboys and Big Drill Car

Sept 13th Kennel Club with Screaming Trees

Sept 30th Nightbreak with Das Damen

(we toured Canada in Oct)

Oct Van

Oct 20th Calgary at The National Hotel

Oct Winnepeg

Oct Toronto

Dec 10th Chatterbox with Holly Rock

Dec 31st Chatterbox

1989

Jan 2nd IBeam with Catheads

Feb 4th Chatterbox

kennel club

Feb 7th Kennel Club with Sonic Brain Jam

Feb 18th  Hey Juan’s, Chico

Feb 24th Gilman St with Sweet Baby Jesus

Feb 25th Pleasanton, Veteran’s Hall with Field Trip

March 9th Covered Wagon with The Fluid, The Hidden and Necromancy

March 18th El Rio

March 24th Chatterbox with Jackson Saints

March 28th Santa Fe

March 30th Fort Worth

April 1st Des Moines

April 2nd Lawrence Kansas

April 3rd Kansas City, MO

April 5th Omaha

April 6th  Iowa City Gabe’s Oasis with Field Trip

April 7th  Columbus, MO

April 8th  Chicago

April 11th St Louis at Furst Rock with Field Trip

April 13th Minneapolis 7th St. Entry with Field Trip

minneapolis

April 21st Nightbreak

April 23rd Covered Wagon with Field Trip

June 9th Seattle Squid Row

June 10th Victoria

June 11th Vancouver Club Soda

June 13th Portland- Satricon

June 19th – Nightbreak with Electric Love Muffin

July 7th Chatterbox with Go Dog Go

Aug 7th IBeam with Celebrity Skin

1990

July 20th IBeam reunion show with Spot 1019 and Papa Wheelie

2008

Dec 19th, Chatterbox Video Release party, reunion gig at the Eagle, SF

2009

Oct 11th, Bottom of the Hill , Bike Messenger’s reunion gig with Mens Club, John Thaxton and the Street Lions

2012

June 17th Thee Parkside, Reunion gig for Mike and Carmela’s wedding , with Chain Breaker, Texas Thieves, Gang of 40, Meat Sluts and Spot 1019

 

reunion spot

postcard

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Sex (not so much), Drugs (not much of that either) and Rock and Roll (yes, lots)

Sex, drugs and rock and roll.  Such a cliché, probably because it’s true; the three go together like baseball, hot dogs and apple pie.  In rock and rock autobiographies, it’s practically required to recount your overdose and paternity lawsuit in the first chapter. But for me, well I’m not saying that in the past I was an angel, but Hammer of The Gods it was not.

Sure there were drugs around- mostly bad biker speed and lots of extra-strength pot. But at the start of Short Dogs Grow,we were mostly drinkers. The rock and roll was obvious- everyone I knew was in a band, used to be in a band, or was going to be in a band, man, that was gonna rock.

As for sex, well I’d love to say that I had throngs of groupies, but that wouldn’t exactly be the truth.  Actually, I was pretty shy and a bit of a prude (years of Catholic schooling).Before our first tour, Tom sat me down for a serious chat, something out of character at our tender ages of 19 and 20 years old.

“Now Mellie, it’s okay for us guys to sleep around on the road, that doesn’t raise an eyebrow. But you can’t. If you sleep with someone, everyone will know. Everyone will talk about it” I laughed.  He continued, “C’mon, you know how people are. You don’t want that to be what people remember about you.”

Ok, double standard aside, Tom did have a point. There were only a handful of women playing punk music then, and very few touring. Like it or not, I would stand out, and that was never my goal. I didn’t want to be singled out as female, or as the girl who slept with so-and-so. I didn’t wear sexy clothes or makeup on stage (or in day to day life either). I was (and still am) a feminist, who jumped around, played hard and wanted to be judged on my own merit. I was not a joiner and would never have been a Riot Grrl (way past my time anyway). Still I was often told “not bad for a girl”. Bleech.

But Tom didn’t need to worry. Besides being shy, and a bit of a prude, I kinda had a boyfriend: Greg Adams, the guitar player of The Rhythm Pigs. They had moved recently from El Paso to San Francisco to release their first record with Ruth Schwartz’ new label, Mordam Records. Ruth had great taste in music. Her first record was Faith No More’s We Care a Lot. I loved Faith No More, and even got Billy to give me a couple of bass lessons.  Rhythm Pigs were slated second, and her third was Victims Family’s Voltage and Violets. What a hat trick she played.

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Flyer from VIS lounge. What an awesome lineup.

I met Greg at the VIS Lounge- a former Fillmore blues bar on its dying legs. It’s now been remodeled into The Independent, but back then it was two floors- the upstairs was the backstage. I think it was near Valentine’s day so I was handing out sugar hearts to everyone. I gave one to Greg, and we chatted.  A few days later I found a package on my doorstep- it was a paper bag with a picture of Mickey Mouse on it, and inside was a little plastic motorcycle and some candy. Someone had written on the bag “from your secret admirer.”  I had no idea who it was from. I didn’t have a boyfriend, and not many people knew where I lived. Most people I knew lived in the Haight Ashbury, lots of people jammed into awkward Victorian flats. But I lived in a tiny studio in-law apt in the Castro, in a building my parents owned. It was an illegal unit, invisible to the outside of the building, although there was a door bell for me.  I found out later that Greg had somehow gotten my address, rang all the bells, got in, and left it on my doorstep.

I can’t remember Greg ever asking me out- we didn’t date in those days. You basically got drunk with a guy and if things went well, presto-now he was your boyfriend. Greg was the sweetest guy- always positive, never backstabbing, very supportive. He was an amazingly talented guitar player. The Rhythm Pigs’ album was released quickly and they planned a long tour to support it.

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Rhythm Pigs first record. You can see where they changed 1984 to 1985 underneath their name,as Steveocide had done the artwork the year before the release.

Although Short Dogs did not have a record, we booked a tour as well. Greg left about a month before I did. The morning he left was pretty sad as we didn’t know when we’d even be able to talk to each other again.  And we didn’t know if he’d actually be coming back to S.F., it would depend if they got optioned for another record. Imagine going on a cross country trip without a cell phone, without the internet, and without having an answering machine at your house. Imagine only being able to call from pay phones if your  “questionable” credit card number obtained from an Anarchist bookstore was working.  That’s what it was like. I had their tour itinerary and he had mine. All was subject to change.

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Greg and I, just before he got in the van. We smiled for the camera.

We decided we’d try to call at certain points and see if we could find each other- the Where’s Waldo of punk rock USA.  I did manage to catch Greg when I was in New Orleans. I called a club where he was playing and they were able to get him on the phone.  A few minutes later I heard Greg’s voice for the first time in almost two months.

“Hi Stacey!”

“WHO IS STACEY??!!!!”

“Hey, OMG is that you?  Where are you? How are you? How is your tour going” Greg was always pretty excitable.

“WHO IS STACEY???!!!” I could not be moved.

“Oh, she’s helping with the booking. She’s adding the shows on the end of the tour.”  He sounded pretty convinving. He was a bad liar,so I figured it must be true.

We made plans to meet in Washington D.C. the following week.

Short Dogs was staying for a few days with Tom’s brother, Bob,in D.C.  He was out of town when we arrived, but left keys with the neighbor and we settled in pretty quickly. Bob, a busy Georgetown law student, had an Apple computer. Being bike messengers, it was the first time any of us had seen a pc.  Tom turned it and sat down on the desk.

“Don’t touch it!!!” I yelled.

“Why?” Tom asked.

“You don’t know how to use it! You’ll break it! They are very expensive!” Tom brushed me off.

“My father paid for this. I’ll probably get it when Bob’s done with it. Hell, it’s practically mine already”

We all huddled behind him. There was a blue screen , empty except for a little garbage can at the bottom. Tom tried typing some stuff on the keyboard, but nothing happened. We all made suggestions. I offered “run computer,”  (I had seen an IBM computer in 8th grade and knew this one DOS command) and after no response we got frustrated and typed things like “Fuck off” , “You suck”, and “where is Bob?”, but all that happened was a few beeps and a blink of the garbage can. Obviously, we would not be retiring early as dot-com millionaires.

The next day the Rhythm Pigs picked me up and we headed  for Pittsburg. They were playing at the Electric Banana, the town’s punk club. They had played there before, and told me that the owner was a Mafioso. He carried a gun and would often threaten bands when they went to get paid. Ed said that this time they would count how many people came in and would demand the correct amount. It was a far cry from the punk DIY promoters that I was used to.  We made it on time to the show, and a lot of people showed up. I could relax and enjoy the music. And the end of the night, Ed went to get paid. An argument ensued about how much the band earned, and the promoter pulled his gun. He basically told Ed to take what he’d offered, or take nothing. Ed, being unarmed, took the money and returned to the van, pissed.

“I’m tired of this guy’s bullshit. We’re gonna wait here until everyone leaves, and then we’re going to get our revenge”

“What’s the plan? “ Greg asked.

Ed mulled it over. “We’ll pull the van up on the sidewalk, just under the neon sign. Then I’m gonna jump up there and clip the wires, and we’re taking the sign with us.”

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The famous neon banana, where the club took it’s name.

The Electric Banana had a huge neon banana above the front door. It was a landmark. Greg and Jay agreed that this was a good idea. I disagreed.

“Are you out of your mind? This guy is Mafia!!! He has a gun! He’ll have you killed.”

Ok, I’m only half Italian, but I had seen the Godfather.  I knew how long Italian people could hold a grudge. Oddly enough, Pittsburg was voted “the Most Livable City in the USA” that year, and here I was, not going to live to see my way out of it.

He pulled the van around the corner, and we waited. Finally the neon sign turned off, and the owner locked up, got into his car and left. Ed brought the van back around. There was no way I was getting out of the van, and told Greg to stay inside. Ed and Donnie(roadie) got on the roof and started cutting wires.  There was a huge POP POP and then a shower of sparks rained down the side of the van.  A light went on in the club. I was certain Ed was dead, either shot or electrocuted. Greg jumped out of the van, to survey the damage.  Ed and Donnie hit the ground and hurled themselves inside, while Greg scrambled into the front seat and drove off. Sirens wailed in the distance. We got on the freeway and after a few exits Greg pulled over.  Ed said that there must still have been juice running to the sign, and they shorted it out when cutting the wires.  Although he didn’t get the sign, he felt pretty good about his revenge. Ed took over driving and we headed back to D.C. to drop me off. It was about 4 in the morning.  We all fell asleep, and about twenty minutes later I woke up with a start. The van was weaving all over the road, and I could see Ed in the driver’s seat, passed out.  I yelled his name and jumped into the front passenger seat. Ed said “I’m awake, I’m awake”  and, now, so was I. I stayed up front, and talked his ear off till we got to Bob’s house. I had survived Pittsburg, dammnit, and I was going to survive the ride back.  Getting back to D.C. was bittersweet, as I didn’t know when I’d see Greg again, and we made our goodbyes. But I was so happy to be able to lie down on Bob’s couch,with no guns, no oncoming traffic, and no Mafiosos hiding in the corner.

We both made it back from tour alive, and were homeless (my in-law had to be gutted, as the building inspectors declared it was illegal). My friend Jeanie had found an apartment on Haight St with her boyfriend. It was a small 2 bedroom, and we all decided to move in together. I think we paid $800 month ($200 each), a lot for those days.  It was a fun house though, and Jessie would often stay on the couch in our tiny eat-in kitchen.  She and Greg loved Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and on Saturday morning I would be awakened at the ungodly hour of 9:30am to her gently knocking and whispering, “Greg, it’s time for Pee Wee.” Many times I would step over bands sleeping in our hallway on my way to school. I went through a phase where I wouldn’t wash my hair, and one day Greg dragged me to the bathroom and held my head under the sink while he shampoo’d my hair.Jeanie laughed in the hallway as she heard me protesting.  Jay, the Rhythm Pigs’ drummer, decided to leave the band, so they recruited Kenny Craun from Dischord Records’ band Beefeater to replace him. Kenny looked more like he belonged in Motley Crue, then Beefeater, a hardcore punk vegan band. Rhythm Pigs were a better fit for him. He spent most of his time in San Franciso napping in a tiny closet in our hallway. I don’t think he every even saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Greg in our bedroom on Haight St. I think that’s his gold top lying on top of the laundry basket, partially obscured by dirty laudry.

The band went to Austin to record their second record, Choke On This, with Spot (Lockett), the former SST house engineer and producer of the classic SST albums Jealous Again, Damaged, Metal Circus, Zen Arcade, My War, Family Man, Up On the Sun, New Day Rising etc etc etc. I flew out for the mix, a less hectic time of the recording session. It was the first time I’d been on a plane since age 11 and I was terrified. It was expensive to fly- we split the cost of the ticket. Back then you could smoke on airplanes! And they gave you free drinks! I took off and landed in Las Vegas, Phoenix, El Paso and finally Austin. As you can imagine I arrived pretty drunk, and very experienced in locking my tray table in the upright position. El Paso was a small airport, so they brought an external exit ramp up to the plane door. Greg was waiting at the bottom, and I practiced rolled down the ramp.

They had a song called Marlboro Man, and Ed wanted to have some “squaws” screaming in the background. He asked me to get into the vocal booth and start screaming. I didn’t want to, but Greg was excited that I would get to be on the record too. I got into the booth, opened my mouth, and…..nothing came out. I was not a singer and must have had “vocal booth fright”.  I finally managed to get some squeaks recorded, and Greg was happy, but I doubt you can actually hear me on there.  Spot was quiet, and like most engineer/producers, focused, patient and meticulous.

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The second album Choke On This.

The band planned their next tour and it looked like they would be gone for a year, maybe more. The stress brought about our only fight, and Greg slammed his fist into the wall and broke his hand. I thought that was the end of the tour and recording, but no, the show must go on.  We moved out of the Haight St. apartment- I went to take care of my grandmother’s house as she had just passed away, and Greg went to Amsterdam. We never said goodbye, never broke up, never talked about it. It was just “see ya later.” We talked once when he came back to San Francisco over a year later, and he then he moved back to El Paso.

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Hanging out at Haight St. shortly before we moved out. Note the Ace bandage on Greg’s hand. He would not let them cast it, so he could still play guitar.

In 2007 I went to El Paso for work. I got Greg’s cell phone number from Ed and called. I told him I was in El Paso for a day, and could he meet for lunch or coffee? We met at a local Mexican restaurant. He looked the same and was very happy- he has two kids, owns his own security business, and raises horses on his ranch. After lunch, I hugged him goodbye, and said I was glad he still remembered me after all this time. “Remember you?” he laughed, “of course I remember you. You were the first love of my life. The only one before I met my wife.” Aw…didn’t I tell you he’s the sweetest guy you’d ever meet?

postcard

Postcard from the road to Janis, Erik, Michael and Jeanie. I added a note at the end telling them to have Greg call me at Shane’s house (mutual friend) in Denver on the 29th, if they heard from him. It was a step above carrier pigeon. Courtesy of Erik Meade (thanks for saving it Erik).

The Decline Of Western Civilization: Black Flag

the decline of western civilization

Punk rock. I blame Todd Danielson.  In eighth grade, I liked him, and he liked the Ramones. To impress him, I bought the only Ramones album I could find- the soundtrack to Rock and Roll High School, which started me on the Road to Ruin.  We wound up going on two dates: the Ramones at the Henry J. Kaiser, and the Decline of Western Civilization. But that was it, I never talked to Todd again as we went off to different high schools.

The movie introduced me to Black Flag.  The next year I dragged my high school boyfriend, Maury, to the 10th St Hall to see them play- Black Flag, Flipper, the Minutemen and the Stains. I don’t really remember much about the music except that it was loud and fast. We were harassed about our hair and clothes, knowing nothing about the “uniforms” of punk rock. Maury was pretty appalled by the whole experience, and probably hates punk rock to this day. I think he got tired of being dragged to Ingmar Bergman and Andy Warhol films, and eventually we broke up. He later went out with the most normal, boring girl in our class. I don’t blame him for wanting to be with someone who liked romantic comedies and listened to Rick Springfield. You don’t get spit on in that crowd.

black flag at 10th st hall

Then Slip It In came out.  When I met Tom he was seriously into Damaged and the Six pack EP. He was more of a Dez fan; but I loved Henry. I didn’t come to appreciate Dez until years later.  Henry was good looking, he was angry, and his songs were about sexual frustration and hypocrisy, which at the time I responded to more than songs about depression and drugs.

slip it in

So, we loved Black Flag- the band who launched a unique sound, who toured when no one  else did, and who had their own record label.  Short Dogs Grow was just hatching- we had only played one abortive show at the Sound Of Music. Tom had set his height higher and he was a natural salesmen. I was at work when I got the call.

“Mellie, guess who’s playing at the Farm?”

“Who?”

“Black Flag!”

I was excited, I hadn’t seen them with Kira, their new bass player, who also happened to be female ( a phenomenon in the 80s).

“Guess who is opening for them ?”

It had to some other SST bands. “The Descendents? No,wait,  the Meat Puppets?”

“No, Short Dogs Grow is opening for them. We are opening for them. On the same stage. At the Farm.”

I was in shock. Tom had gotten us on the gig- we would not be paid, but WHO CARES WE WERE OPENING FOR BLACK FLAG!

Flag 001

(flyer for the gig, unfortunately we weren’t on it)

We only had about 10 songs at the time. At the gig, we got through about 8 of them by jumping around and making lots of noise. I took a few too many steps backyards and wound up falling down the back stairs of the stage. I was lying in a heap, bass on top of me, and discovered I had pulled all the electronics out. The only other person back there was Greg Ginn. He walked over towards me, looked down at the bass, and said one word.

“Bummer.”

Mortified, I ran back up the stairs. The band went on to play the last two songs without me. I was heartbroken, but later all our drunk friends (i.e. the only people who had been there to see us) said we were great. Needless to say, we didn’t get signed to SST that night.

We did get signed later to Rough Trade and did a few U.S. tours. By then Henry Rollins had left Black Flag and put together the Rollins band. We played with them a few times.  They guys in his band were fun and friendly when Rollins was not around. Greg Foot even managed to get them to drink a beer with him (not cool in the Rollins camp.) Rollins would sit in his van and do bicep curls, and kids would ask him for his autograph.  Apparently I once ran into the backstage while Rollins was completely naked, but I didn’t get to see who had the 9 and 1/2.

rool 001

We played a certain club in Florida which looked like the set of a Blues Brother’s movie. The stage was completely encased in chicken wire, spurring jokes about  “both kinds of music, Country and Western!” The promoter called for a meeting with all band members present. He told us that this was the last space in this town that would let him, or anyone else, put on shows. He understood the lameness of the chicken wire, but that was club policy, and he had put down a huge deposit.  Under no circumstances was anyone to fuck with the wire.  If anyone messed with the wire NO ONE, REPEAT NO ONE, WOULD BE PAID THAT NIGHT.  Most of us were starving on the road. It really was “36 dollars and a six pack to my name.” The promoter was cool- so we were cool.  The Dough Boys opened and they were cool. M.I.A were cool. The Descendents were cool.

Rolling gets on stage and about three notes in, he takes his fist and smashes it through the wire. My heart sank. As cool as it looked, I knew we would be leaving with no money that night, and we were broke. Most likely one of us would be calling home for cash.  By the end of his set, Rollins had pulled down the entire cage.

While I was packing up the remains of our stuff, Tom handed me an envelope with something like a $100 in it,  BIG MONEY in those days. The promoter had paid him, and one of the Dough Boys. He said we were cool, had nothing to do with Rollins’ actions and shouldn’t be punished for the Decline of “Country and Western!” Civilization. The rest of the money was going to the club to play for the chicken coop, and an attempt to save punk rock for the youth of Florida.