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Tag Archives: Kevin Preston

Frustrators in the Bay: Music, Punks, Love – 924 Gilman in Berkeley

Frustrators at Gilman - Pillow Stuffing? Where did that come from? - Photo by Kerry Harris

I’m sure you’ve been holding your breath wondering if I made it to the East Bay to see the Frustrators. As I wrote earlier, the trip wasn’t working out financially. However, luck and confluence happened and I was able to scrape together the funds from donations to go. If you were following my Green Day Mind Twitter feed, I shared some snaps and whatnot of the four Frustrators gigs from 2/18-2/24 at 924 Gilman in Berkeley, the Phoenix in Petaluma, the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco, and the Phenomenaut’s Command Center in Oakland. The Frustrators were joined by some amazing East Bay and Los Angeles-based bands as well as the legendary New York City-based crusty punks, Star Fucking Hipsters. I also got to see Prince in Oakland, too.

Extra Special Thanks to Christian!

Thank you, Shannon, Mel, Mary, David, Eileen, and most especially, Christian, for your help. I’ve got a couple of Frustrators buttons and one Jason Chandler-created show flyer for each of you who helped as a small token of my appreciation. Needless to say, it was one of those weeks filled with music and great people, as well as some hardcore injuries that I suffered, including a thrice-stomped on pinkie toe at Gilman (most likely targeted by vicious Gilman waifs, lol), a bum back, and a black eye. Yep… I got punched in the face at the Frustrators’ last East Bay show at the Command Center. All I can say is… what a wonderful time it was… oh and as usual, this post is long. Deal with it!

Get Me to the Gilman on Time

Frustrators at Gilman - 2/18/11 - Flyer by Jason Chandler

Getting to the East Bay could have been more stressful than it was. In fact, it was beginning to look that way as the Frustrators gigs were planned around the President’s Day holiday on 2/21, and that means a three-day weekend which means the ridership of airplanes goes up triple-fold and the stand-by seats that I fly on go down by as much. As the time to fly got nearer (2/18), the standby seats diminished, as would my hopes of going to the shows if something quite strange hadn’t happened. The Sunday before I was to leave, a friend sent me a message saying she dreamt about me hugging someone in greeting with sheer joy in seeing that person or persons again. She apparently often has such dreams, but usually they come with a more ominous nature to them, and she relayed that the dream was one of the happiest that she had ever had about people. I took it as a sign that I would get out to California, but exactly when was another story.

I was fifth of five on the standby list for the 6:50 AM flight out of Newark airport. The direct flight ended up being late, full, and re-directed from a direct flight to a refueling stop in Denver due to strong headwinds in the Southwest. I moved up to fourth on the standby list after the original fourth dude stormed off when told that the flight was full instead of waiting until the airplane doors closed, the real final say to not getting on the plane. This turned out to be the luckiest move of the day. Though there were chances of flights connecting through Houston to San Francisco, or waiting for the next direct flight, I didn’t want to think about that possibility, so I hoped for this flight. The gruff desk folks grumbled their way through the passenger list (they were having a rough morning due to the delays and such). They finally got to the standby list… and called the very last name… mine. I hopped up, got my boarding pass, talked with the other stand-byers on how lucky we were, stored my bag, sat in my pretty good seat, and promptly fell asleep.

The flight was non-eventful and smooth despite the weather and the stop in Denver. We got to San Francisco Airport a little than it was originally due, and being San Francisco, it was rainy and cold when we landed. I took the BART from the airport to the Alamo Car Rental place on Mission, where I rented a deposit-less car for 1/2 the price than at the airport. It was a cute little economy powerless steering Ford that got me around the Bay perfectly for $221 for six days with insurance. My R/T airfare was $210. I stayed with friends. I ate at Burger King. At lot.

I plugged my iPhone into the car’s audio system, blasted the Frustrators’ Griller, got my bearings and as I drove across the Bay Bridge, I started to cry a little bit. The tensions of the week, despite the happy and encouraging dream of my friend, overwhelmed me, as did the beauty of the Bay. The East Bay is where I want to die one day, so it’s always hard to visit knowing that I’ll have to eventually leave.

Nicole getting her Goth on at Gilman

Usual Suspects

I headed to my friend’s place where I crashed through Monday, took a shower, sat down for a spell, and texted with Michelle Lawlor of Lucky 17 Photography, who arrived the night before. Michelle and I had experienced two epic musical events together previously, Pinhead Gunpowder at Gilman in February 2009 as well as the Party! Party! Party! Tour with Honah Lee and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra… you know, that tour where Honah Lee and the Cobras opened for the Foxboro Hot Tubs at Don Hill’s in April 2009. Michelle came out to take photos of the Frustrators (whose pictures of the night’s festivities can be found at her website here), plus to hang out with friends in the Bay. She was staying with Nicole, my Montreal Green Day roadtrip buddy who I first met at that Don Hill’s show. Nicole is a massive Mike Dirnt fan, made moreso by his kindness to her son at Green Day’s show in Holmdel, his first ever concert. During the show, Nicole and her son spent some time sitting on the stage near Mike and Mike gave her son a pick. Mike made sure that he would get to keep it by putting it in his little hand, and closing his hand up around it to make sure no one snatched it out or that he didn’t drop it.

The Gang - Photo: Kerry Harris

I arranged to meet them around 4:00 at the Pyramid, the bar/restaurant across the street from 924 Gilman, that night’s show venue. It was still raining out but there were about 20 people standing in line for the 7:00 PM doors to open. I grabbed a table inside, ordered a quesadilla and a beer and waited for Michelle and Nicole. They finally arrived, along with Nicole’s friend, Elizabeth, a New Jersey transplant now living in the Bay area, and we talked about our trips, laughed and got drunk since you can’t get drunk in the no-alcohol Gilman venue. As time wore on, other people who I’ve met on my Green Day adventures came through to use the bathroom, including Jordan, Beth S. Hannah and Lulu, who all live in California. It was great to see them.

Part of the Gang

We eventually paid our bill and headed to line up about 6:30. There I saw Amber from Tennessee, ToniAnn, Fallyn and Mary from New York, Tony from England, Doc Kerry and the Aussies, and Justin, who now happily lives in the Bay after escaping the confines of Utah. It was freezing, but the doors finally opened, and the losers like me bought our monthly cards for Gilman while the cool kids already with cards lined up to pay for their tickets in another line. There was a short kid about the age of 12 helping sell member cards, who kept making snide remarks about the new people, in essence, snide remarks about Green Day. It got to the point where I just wanted to punch his little face in, but hey, the sign on the door does say something about no violence, so I made a few snide comments under my breath. He was showing his elitism and arrogance, two traits that I’ve found are way too prevalent at Gilman for me, and I was so tired that I had no patience for some child’s crap. I must remember that Gilman is stupid like that and move on. It’s a great place with a bad attitude.

The Show

Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

All of the Frustrators shows from the Bay to LA held a bevy of talented bands and acts. I was impressed with each night’s lineups and all of it was due to one incredible guy, Corbett Redford III, of Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits. He put together four nights of great bands at wonderful venues and he and Dan Abbott of Bobby Joe Ebola were MCs to each night’s show. The fantastic lineups were primarily local California bands from the Bay and Los Angeles with the exception of New York’s Star Fucking Hipsters. The bands ranged from young punks like Disabled Intent, the Pillowfights, and Emily’s Army to mid-known bands like the Bombpops, Mystic Knights of the Cobra and Bryan McPherson to more well-known names such as the Billybones, Kepi Ghoulie, and of course, the Phenomenauts and a special appearance by Jesse Michaels with Classics of Love. Major kudos to Corbett for his putting together the week’s lineups and herding a bunch of punks, both not easy tasks, by far, to do.

Disabled Intent - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

For this night’s show, the first band up, Disabled Intent, impressed me from the word “go” with their young chops. The lead singer/bassist was very engaging and they did an amazing cover of Cee-Lo Green’s “Fuck You” that completely worked and held the audience enthralled. I wish I had taped it as the song is one of my favorites from last year, and the band translated it well to the punk format.

Sometime after their set, I started to look around for one of my favorite all-time people, Jason Chandler, lead singer of the night’s headlining Frustrators. Chandler created the “Rocktober” logo for the giant meet-up of Green Day fans that happened in England during their tour leg through Europe. I had gotten my Rocktober (which technically doesn’t refer to that band but to “Godzilla Doesn’t Understand Korean,” uh…) hat to wear at the two O2 shows in London. I wore it the last time I went to Gilman to see PHGP, losing it in the crowd at one point only to find it bedraggled outside the venue, across the street and under a car. Once the Frustrators started talking about making a new record, I asked him if I could write about it, and have continued to write about them since. The irony and wit of Frustrator’s lyrics speaks volumes to me and I always get a good laugh on their Facebook page as well. I met up with him in San Francisco when I was there for an extended trip last September. We sat and talked and laughed for a little bit in a bar early in the morning and drank Irish coffee while watching some tourists’ illegally and just-parked car get towed by the police. Good times.

Frustrators - BillyBones Tour Shirt - Design by Otis Link

I didn’t see him as I made my way to the merch table, where I eyed not only the great merch created by Chandler for the Frustrators, but also the tour shirt that the Billybones band had made for their Frustrators/Billybones tour. I coveted it from the moment that I saw it on the Billybones’ Facebook page. Don’t get me wrong, I coveted a lot of the other merch, too, particularly Chandler’s t-shirt and hat designs, but there was something about “The Credibility of Stupid” shirt (if I heard correctly, the title of the Billybones’ upcoming album), that spoke volumes to me. There were only 96 of them made, too. I bought one and headed out the back door of Gilman to put it in my car.

Outside, people and band entourages were gathered under a tent to smoke and shoot the shit, but there was no sign of the Frustrators that I could see around. They had come earlier in the day to unload their stuff and weren’t back yet. I stored stuff in the car and then back into Gilman, stopping to warm up under the giant heater near the front door. I headed toward the merch table again when, I saw him! The J-Man Grilla Gorilla himself, Jason! He looked up and saw me, too, and the hug I got was probably one of the best hugs I’ve ever had in my life. Warm, friendly, funny, and full of love, particularly when I told him that our good friends from across the Big Pond in England who have known him through Frustrators forums and Facebook for many more years than I have, but have never gotten the chance to meet him, Netty, Lis, and Sharon, wanted me to give him a giant monkey hug from them, too. My friend’s dream from earlier in the week of greeting someone in sheer joy and happiness had completely come true.

Jason and the Aussies - Photo: Kerry Harris

Weird and wonderful. This tour was like that for everyone. The Frustrators, Mike, the giant “we worship you” rockstar, Terry, the crazy-eyed shredder guitarist, Art, the quiet power and not-feeling-well drummer and Jason, the reluctant-but-loving-it frontman, opened up their hearts and love for music, laughter, small venues, and people throughout the Bay tour. They were so damned happy to play together again after such a long hiatus that it was  infectious, like a disease. If I had to choose a name for the entire portion of the tour that I followed, it would have to be something like “Frustrators Love of Fun Disease Tour 2011” or some variation thereof.

We talked for a moment about how nervous he was. It had been a long time since he sang in front of an audience, and from previous conversations, he was concerned about whether his voice would hold up throughout the week. I felt a little awkward trying to avoid an impending fangirl moment, so I left him there as the next band, The Pillowfights, were about to start. They were cute and quirky, and as their name implies, they brought pillows to… uh… fight with. They threw them out into the audience, and it was funny, but I don’t know if they were prepared for what happened next: the waifs of Gilman tore their pillows apart, leaving them in shreds with pillow stuffing all over the place, on the stage, on the floor, even hanging from the ceiling. Oh Gilman, slay those pillows!

The Pillowfights – “Talk Shit Get Hit” – 924 Gilman 2/18/11 – Bring them new pillows at their next show – See request on their Facebook page.

Next up was Emily’s Army, whose drummer is some famous dude’s son, but really, every time I see this band play (it was my second time, the first being at The Bowery Electric in April 2009), I am impressed by how that doesn’t matter. These guys get tighter and tighter as a band and as performers, and as I’ve written before, I look forward to their potential long careers in the music industry.

Emily’s Army – 924 Gilman 2/18/11 – And the pillow stuffing keeps flying joined by toilet paper!

Emily's Army - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

Mike - Just Hangin' - Photo: Kerry Harris

Their set was vibrant and the Green Day fans and Gilman waifs alike were having a giant mosh fit, and yes, there was pillow stuffing still all over the place joined by toilet paper. Their set ended and folks milled around again and at some point Mike jumped behind the merch table to sell stuff and talk with the fans. Unlike back at Gilman when Billie Joe performed with PHGP, there was a much more relaxed atmosphere around him, a tentativeness at first from fans to go up and speak with him, but the longer he stayed there, the more people came up to talk with him. Like Billie Joe at Gilman, the vibe that he gave off was not a superstar’s vibe, but one of genuine down-homeyness, a mellowness that attracted even moreso than his newly dyed-hot pink hair, which shined like a beacon everywhere he went.

BillyBones - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

The Billybones were up next and I had never seen them perform. I met the lead singer, Steven William Fortuna, aka Billy Bones, very briefly when I ran into Kevin Preston of Prima Donna and him at Green Day’s show in Irvine. He certainly looked like the seasoned punk rock star who’s been around since the late-1970s when he was in one of Los Angeles’s first punk bands, The Skulls. Kevin not only was in a 2000 formation of the Skulls, but also produced the Billybones’ 2008 7″ We’re Selfish. I was sitting and talking with Elizabeth when Billy Bones and his band walked into Gilman before their set, and Billy, who was probably one of the oldest people at Gilman, really stood out in the crowd. He had the air of punk legend about him because, well, y’know, he is a legend, and still rocks out, giving a dynamic performance that stirred the crowd up to no end. Sadly, there’s no video footage that I can find of the band from Gilman. But Michelle Lawlor of Lucky 17 Photography captured them perfectly through her photos at her blog.

Eight Years is a Long Time…

Frustrators - 924 Gilman - 2/18/11 Photo by Michelle Lawlor

Mike

Terry

If the headlining band was nervous, they didn’t show it. As the Frustrators got ready to perform onstage together in front of an audience for the first time in eight years, what was there to be nervous about? Well, a lot, but the excitement in the room compensated for any nerves as a room full of Frustrators (and of course, Mike Dirnt) fans were excited as hell to hear songs from the band’s first two recordings, Achtung Jackass and Bored in the USA as well as the new Griller, for the first time in years.

Art

Jason

They ripped right into the set’s first song, “I Slept with Terry.” The Frustrators had warned on their Facebook page that anyone who dared to be at stage front better know the lyrics to the song, and the crowd huddled around Jason’s feet didn’t disappoint. And it was a good thing, because at times, Jason barely remembered the lyrics to some of the songs himself. Luckily, he got better as the week went by, ha!

Jason's Gilman Setlist - Not too practical, but it worked for him - Until the tea and sweat got in the way!

Jason announced the next song from the setlist written on his hand (YFrog photo here), “Trout,” recorded for an Adeline Records compilation “Might as Well, Can’t Dance” over a decade ago. I haven’t heard the song too many times played forward… it’s also on the band’s Achtung Jackass, but recorded backwards. “Tuort” is the one I’m used to. I asked Jason once why they recorded it backwards for Achtung Jackass and he said that they thought it “sounded as good backwards as it does forwards.” Well, I’m going to have to agree with that, so it was great to hear it in the forward position. Terry gave the first of many guitar thrashing moments at the foot of the stage, and it was fun to throw our hands up in the air and worship his guitar power chords. It was just about this time of the night that the Gilman crowd started to go completely wild in the moshpit, joined by Emily’s Army, the Pillowfights and Disabled Intent. I received the first of THREE TREMENDOUS STOMPS on the same pinkie toe… and while I winced in pain the first time, by the third time, I had to leave the dance floor as it felt like my toe had burst like a grape. I swear those Gilman waifs targeted my pinkie toe on purpose!

Might as Well, Can't Dance - Adeline Records Compilation 008

After “Trout,” the band asked for more drums and less snare in the monitor, and Jason said, “can we get more applause in the monitor, too,” and of course, the obliging crowd did as commanded. The next song up was “Stigma” from the new Griller, and Mike and Jason joked that the song was off their new “1/2 of an album” and that they only released four songs after eight years because “We love you that’s why we give you half of what we have” and that “We love you like a family, that’s why we give you half of what you deserve.” And all the while, Jason kept wiping the sweat off his brow thereby destroying the setlist written on his hand.

Mike Let's the Kids Play with Stanley - 924 Gilman - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

From there, Mike told the story of the song, “.25,” and of having to have someone put a bullet through the head of his 17-year old Japanese Akita dog after it got a bad case of mange, told with jazz interlude by the band. When the audience went “eeww,” Jason had to tell everyone that the “dog was fine,” but when you hear the song, well… you know, the dog wasn’t fine in the end. Heck, all good things must end, y’know? Afterwards, Stanley the Chicken made his stage entrance as Mike told the audience that they could play with Stan, so it was all good again as the band moved into “My Best Friend’s Girl.” I heard that later on in the tour, Mike realized that the story of his dog depressed people. I’m sure, though, that it wasn’t as depressing as having to actually put your dog down like that. And at least we get a great song out of it.

Don't let him fool ya! He's a rock star! - Jason Chandler - 924 Gilman - Photo by Michelle Lawlor

The next song, “Hide and Seek,” about working and not working at the same time, is pretty much the story of my life and it was followed by “Stupid,” with its refrain of “I feel stupid.” Yep. Both of ’em pretty much sum me up in a nutshell. The rest of the set went by in a blur since sometime between “Stupid” and “Pirate Song,” (an incredibly fun song to dance and scream the super-fast pirate lyrics to), I got my pinkie toe crushed for the second and third times. The third time, I had to leave the pit and I headed toward the backdoor of Gilman, standing between the door and the merch table and wincing in sheer pain. I’m pretty good in pits and I’m been known to throw down in the craziest of them, but having the same pinkie toe stomped by coincidence was weird. I was sure that if I looked at my toe at that point it would be a bloody burst of mess. So, instead, I didn’t look at it and pretended to be cool in the corner when all I wanted to do was scream in pain.

Mike's Gilman Setlist - Photo by ToniAnn Graffigna

The gig ended and the band had successfully gotten through their first live show in a thousand years, and they and the audience, were happy as clams. The bands hung out and talked with fans and sold merch, and eventually the night ended and we all said our goodbyes. Besides the music, the funny quips were what I loved the most about seeing the band, as Mike, Terry and Jason were full of one-liners throughout this and all of the shows. It’s kinda what I love about their music, the hint of intelligence, the whimsy of seriousness, the storytelling of odd situations, irony, laughter and a throbbing beat with a good sing-along melody. Having fun is the best disease of all.

The Frustrators recruited Greg Schneider to film the week’s shows and hopefully, one of these days, if we’re lucky, God willing and the crick don’t rise (heck, we’re still waiting on the new Frustrators website!), we’ll get to see the tour as well as back and front stage antics professionally filmed and edited. Though, if we have to wait eight years for it, we will all be awfully frustrated. Until such time comes, enjoy the HueyCam videos below of part of the show.

Frustrators at 924 Gilman – HueyCam – Pt. 1

Frustrators at 924 Gilman – HueyCam – Pt. 2

Stay Tuned for More Frustrators…

Stayed tuned for more about the shows… as soon as I get around to writing about them! Sorry that this is so long. I’ve said before how much I need an editor! Feel free to share your memories of this show if you were there in the comments!

I also have one copy of the Frustrators’ Griller that I’ll be giving away next week, so, brush up on your Frustrators history if you want to win it!

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Two Nights of Fuck Time with the Foxboro Hot Tubs, Night Two

Read about Night One here.

Party! Party! Party! Tour Last Stop: Trenton, 4/24/10

The Party's Over. Party! Tour Says Goodbye

Baby, Lady, Chinatown, Night Moves, Gryptron at Don Hill

The day after Friday’s Foxboro Hot Tubs, Honah Lee, and the Mystic Knights of the Cobra, gig at Don Hill’s in Manhattan, I scrambled to catch a train out to Trenton, to be picked up by Michelle. We headed to Honah Lee Tim’s backyard for a BBQ in the garage made into a bar (an awesome space for clandestine outdoor shows some day), and chilled out before heading to the MillHill Basement for the last stop on the Party! Tour. Honah Lee’s Jim, Dim, and Tony were there while most of the MKOTC had stayed in Manhattan except for Trell, who smartly went to Trenton after the Don Hill show to chill in “the country.” Everyone didn’t meet up again until we all arrived at the little basement venue in downtown Trenton, a room three times smaller than the Bowery Electric would turn out to be, with much lower ceilings.

Now That's a Low Ceiling! Millhill Basement, 4/24/10

Honah Lee's Tim Introduces the Cobras at Millhill. Photo by Rachel K.

It was bittersweet, this last show of two crazy “area” bands, Trenton, NJ and Crockett, CA. East Coast met West Coast and it was good.

As there was the wet of sweat everywhere from Friday’s show at Don Hill’s, Saturday brought the wet of rain from the miserable drizzle happening outside. Both bands were exhausted (four straight nights of playing and partying is hard to do, particularly when you open up for one of the biggest “secret” bands on the planet by the third night) and the smallness of the room, with a tighter, packed house of about 75, was suffocating. Honah Lee and the MKOTC took full advantage of the lack of room and air and the excess of wet, and were all up in the audience’s faces. Though both bands possess the ability to confront their audience, Friday’s extreme FBHT performance rubbed off on both of them. They threw themselves at the audience and the audience, a bit shocked, began throwing themselves back at ’em. The rain kinda made the fact that the party was over, a bit sadder. At bar closing time, the Cobras headed to their hotel, and I went off with Honah Lee. After all, I am of the East Coast, and as always, I had to break myself away from the pull of the East Bay. Plus, the van was full.

Party Squirrel

The next morning, Michelle, Jim, and I went to the Cobra hotel for one more goodbye. Tim, last seen distraught on the sidewalk outside of Millhill, was way too hung over to attempt a goodbye, and Dim and Tony… who the heck knew where they were? With Bryan behind the wheel (he was the engine for the MKOTC, driving the van and wrangling the instruments) and some of the MKOTC having left earlier, I hitched a ride back to the City with the Cobras, and gave my return train ticket to photographer and music buddy, Michelle, who I hoped would go home, change, catch the next train to Manhattan, and come to the FBHT show with us for one last fling with friends. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and it was the final parting of the Party! Party! Party! East Coast Tour.

Pre-Sunday Show – 4/25/10

I dropped my stuff off and went to the venue. I was 60th in line. There are two reasons why I wanted to go to this show. Of course, FBHT was one of them. The other? I wanted to be with friends. Folks who had made each other’s acquaintance, in many shapes and forms and of all political persuasions, over a band. Sometimes it feels like a wonderfully dysfunctional family. And it’s always a hella good time.

Tre and his Bike. Photo by unknown photographer

The line was made up of the usual suspects and many new folks that I had never seen or met. Beth from Missouri (so happy she came back!) and J’net from Oklahoma (who had had a great week all around); Dawn showed up with baked goods (and yummy they were) though she couldn’t stay for the show; crazy sexy Zoe from Oregon with her British dude; Jaime (who provided me with food as I was broke and hadn’t really eaten yet and was feeling faint; the shot of J.D. that I had in line didn’t help either); Cheryl and her husband, and the vivacious ToniAnn, the latter three from the Island of Staten. Andres from the Green Day Authority had stuck around and was holding Dawn’s baked goods to give to the crew. (I would see them eating the delicious brownies later after the show.)

Foxboro Hot Tubs Bowery Electric ticket with morning after sake.

I stood in line from about 3:30 and they gave out tickets at 6:00 or so. It was rainy and cold and miserable outside. By the time 6:00 came around, I was exhausted and barely had energy to stand. Once the tickets were distributed, I went back to the Cobra hotel to hang out, dry off and sit down for a few hours before the show, maybe take a nap. I was close to collapse. By the time we walked back to the venue, I was running on fumes and needed to find a second wind somewhere. Or maybe a fourth by this time. I walked up with the Cobras, but they were on a list, and I was determined not to, at the least, look like, a hanger-on. I had my ticket in my hand and parted from them, walking up to Bill Schneider who was handling the guest list and I sorta proudly flashed my ticket up to him. “See, I have my ticket, baby,” I thought only to myself. Of course he had no idea that my brain had melted from over the last week between the American Idiot opening on B’way and the Party! Tour or at least he probably thought that I was just crazy from the look on my face. I’ve never spoken to him, and he didn’t seem in too good a mood at the start of the show. Probably a lot of stress managing two Foxboro Hot Tubs shows in three days. I can only imagine the logistical nightmare of it all.

Sunday Show – Foxboro Hot Tubs and Emily’s Army – Bowery Electric – 4/25/10

Tiny Space, Big Band. Photo by Bob Gruen

Sunday’s show at the Bowery Electric had a different feel to it from Friday’s more laid-back Don Hill experience. Whereas Friday seemed more lighthearted and giddy, Sunday’s gig seemed darker, grittier, drunker, and slightly more raw. (Then again, I realize that I don’t remember that much about it, except in chunks of drunk.)

(Read a review of Sunday’s Bowery Electric show at Rolling Stone here, though note that RS reported that FBHT did only one GD cover, “St. Jimmy,” when they actually did two, including “Blood, Sex and Booze” as well as “Supermodel Robots” by that crazy German electro-pop-insane band, The Network.)

The Bowery Electric is a split two-level basement site with a high bar rail separating and overlooking the deeper pit area of a floor and stage about the size of my old studio apartment in Brooklyn. Ok, maybe a teeny bit bigger. Sunday’s Foxboro Hot Tubs show was a semi-private party for the cast of American Idiot and friends of the band. One hundred fans were lucky to get tickets to this show, and probably 80 or so friends and family of the band were in attendance. (Larry Livermore, in his blog post on this show, said that there were “100 or so fanatical fans” in attendance. I’d like to say for the record, that we are “focused” not fanatical, thank you very much.) I have no idea how many people the place actually holds, and I avoided looking at the occupancy sign on the wall.

Clicky!: Emily's Army Widget

Sunday night introduced the band, Emily’s Army, to New York. Emily’s Army consists of Cole, Travis, Max, and Joey. (The band has a pretty cool Widget here.). One of the four members is Billie Joe Armstrong’s eldest son. If you don’t know which one he is, it’s time for you to find out. You’ll hear his name, as well as the names of his bandmates, in musical circles for years to come. You can view some YouTube videos of Emily’s Army at Gilman from last year. I’m not that familiar with the band, so you might want to go and read Larry Livermore’s blog posting about this show, which talks a bit more about their set. I liked them and their sound (and it was great to see the Armstrongs being proud parents, too), but they seemed so young to me that I felt a bit like a creepy old woman staring at teenagers and I had to walk away… but from what I saw, Joey is an already excellent drummer and Travis (lead singer and guitar), Cole (guitar), and Max (bass) are solid and have grown stronger since last year’s Gilman videos. With a few more years and experience, this band and its members may lead the next generation’s version of punk. Let’s hope so.

After Emily’s Army set, the 15-year olds were sent home to pats on the back and a “what’s up” here and there. It was now time for the “grownups” to tear the place up.

That second wind I mentioned earlier appeared after I was fueled by a shot of Jägermeister, a drink I hadn’t touched since the mid-1990s when I got so drunk on it, I threw up in neon green. There’s a reason why the Germans call it “liver glue.” As it swept down my throat I fully remembered why I hadn’t consumed it in years, it tastes like NyQuil, but it does the trick in an instant. One shot and you’ve come unglued. Two shots… well, I didn’t let it go that far. I let out a big whoop and felt as if I could move mountains on the dance floor. I would have to. The bar was packed to the gills, but not as tight as the dance floor that I would hit when the FBHT started to play.

John and Rachel.

Some cast members from American Idiot walked in about this time, including Michael Esper, Christina Sajous, Chase Peacock, Theo Stockman, and John Gallagher, Jr. Once again, the sweet and kind Mr. Gallagher shocked me when we ran into each other and he greeted me by name and we shared a teeny moment. Later in the night, we would share dance space during “A Quick One.”

Joan Jett, the Cobra Girls and Management.

During the break and after the Jägermeister, I could do just about anything, and that’s when Joan Jett walked up to near where I was standing with the Cobra Girls, Baby and Lady, along with the tour’s tougher-than-steel management, Rachel K. and Call Me Donna. I turned around, and Jett, who looked like she wanted to talk to the Cobra Girls, was a foot from me. I leaned toward her and said, “Joan Jett, the Cobra Girls would love to take a picture with you!” (I went cameraless this night, so Rachel K. gave me her camera and I clicked a few shots.) Jett said that she had heard about them and wanted to meet them. Needless to say, it was a nice moment. Here we were, in close proximity to a hot and legendary lady of rock ‘n roll. She is opening for Green Day during some of their European shows, including London’s Wembley Stadium. I have a ticket for the show, but I can’t afford a flight to England. Sigh. I saw Joan Jett open for the Police back in 1983, and she was booed by the stupid-assed Detroit crowd. I’ll never forget her walking off of the Cobo Arena stage (now Joe Louis Arena), but not before she said, “Fuck you, Detroit.” She became a heroine to me. I’d wanted to say that same thing to my hometown for years. I would love to see her again in a stadium full of people. Sometimes, though, luck runs out with the Lushie Gods. No Wembley to write about for me. 😦

The Dark Side of Night with the Foxboro Hot Tubs

That setlist looks familiar! - Bowery Electric, 4/25/10

What can I say about this show that I can actually remember? Hmm. Not much. Once the Hot Tubs went on, the night became a complete blur of bodies and heat. I remember plowing to the dance floor with Bryan and Brasesco at the first strains of “Stop, Drop and Roll,” and jumping in sync with everyone around me. I was about two body rows away from the too-low stage at the Bowery Electric, which came to just under the kneecaps. Once you got toward that stage and the bodies behind you pushed forward, you could kiss your knees goodbye forever. Or at least until the bruises healed.

The Church of Lushotology was in session.

Two of Eight? Renditions of “Stop, Drop and Roll”

More Dark Side of Night… or what I can remember of it…

Adrienne Armstrong and Michael Mayer. Photo by Rachel K.

Theo in a boa. Photo by Rachel K.

Luckily, there are a few YouTube videos that have helped jogged my addled memory. Watching the limited video from this show on Youtube is a bit like clutching at dabs of manna from hell. When I look at them and see the brick walls of the club, packed with people and the tiny stage, I’m reminded that this party will be one of those that goes down in rock ‘n roll history. Small and intimate, packed with fan, friend, star, nobody, one on top of each and all going hog-wild in dancing and celebration. Sure, some folks like Adrienne and Michael Mayer, along with Joan Jett (I don’t think she came down into the pit, as I lost sight of her once I headed into it), stayed up by the rail, but I can’t really picture Michael Mayer crowdsurfing. I stayed with Bryan and Brasesco for a long while, and when the first “It’s Fuck Time” broke out, the pit went even wilder than I could imagine [Video]. Inhibitions were gone and it felt damned good. American Idiot cast members were flying left and right and hogging Billie Joe’s stage and he was loving it, until he finally told them that he loved them, but that they had to “get the fuck off of my stage.” No one stays on his stage for very long.

While Michael and Theo and John from American Idiot had some fine crowdsurfing moments, it was Steelthorne from the Green Day Community who wowed me with his surfing skills from the video below. I’ve never met Steelthorne, but we were both at last July’s (2009) Albany show (where I met Bryan and other Green Day Fans for the first time). Albany was my first real Green Day show. There’s a great Chris Dugan picture from either the Albany or Madison Square Garden shows of Steelthorne with a feather boa. Steelthorne gives Billie Joe some of the best boas. See him surf like a pro to “The Pedestrian.” Note also the expert beer exchange and how much The Rev seems to be enjoying it.

Steelthorne Surfs Like a Pro – “The Pedestrian” – Foxboro Hot Tubs, Bowery Electric, 4/25/10

Theo Surfs. Photo by Rachel K.

OMG! Photo by Bob Gruen

There is a picture that Bob Gruen took that I would love to buy and hang on my wall. I actually emailed his representative about licensing the photograph (goodness only knows how much that would be), but I haven’t heard back from them. Gruen has a thumbnail posted at his site, of Kevin Preston onstage undoing Billie Joe’s belt buckle with his teeth. The look on each individual face that can be seen captures the dynamic of the room as only a seasoned rock ‘n roll photographer such as Gruen can do. You can see me in the horde with a completely shocked OMG! face. I seriously don’t remember Kevin undoing The Rev’s pants. The only thing I remember is that I was so hot at this point that I had to walk off of the dance floor or spontaneously combust. You can make of that what you will.

Hot Pants. Photo by Rachel K.

It was Reverend Twitch’s red pants that caused the room temperature to go up many notches, surely.

When I walked off and back up toward the bar, I confronted a wall of people on the stairs, mesmerized by the stage.

Mesmerized

I somehow made my way through them, and folks were buzzing about Bill Murray having been there, but that he had left. I have no idea. I downed a few glasses of water and hit the pit again.

Chino and The Rev. Photo by Chris Dugan

The Cobra Men, Chino, Night Moves, and Gryptron, along with Bryan and Brasesco, had moved down into the pit front and were forming a tall and thick blockade on Jason Freese’s side of the stage. I couldn’t get near them, and found myself toward the middle of the pit, while Brasesco tried to get me closer to the front, but it wasn’t working. I motioned him to turn toward the stage. I was content on where I was. My knees had already been crushed against the stage front and I didn’t wish to replicate that particular pain. I turned toward my right and stared right into John’s face, who was screaming, “A Quick One!” “A Quick One!” Knowing that that song comes at the end of the show, I said to him, “They’ll play it, they’ll play it,” but I couldn’t get it out that if he requested it too soon and they played it, the show could abruptly end. It’s like yelling out “Minority” too early or “Good Riddance.” These songs signal the near end or end of a Green Day show, just as “A Quick One” symbolizes the end of an FBHT show. Sssshh! They’ll get to it. There were still a dozen more “Stop[s], Drop[s] and Roll[s]” and “It’s Fuck Time[s]” to go!

Probably the oddest of many odd moments from the night happened when a fan surfed onstage and called his wife. Apparently they had had a fight and the guy wanted Billie Joe to persuade her to come back to him. Unfortunately, they got her voicemail. Billie Joe said that it wouldn’t work out because he couldn’t talk to her, but that he had a beer for him (which appeared like a miracle out of nowhere), and a song called “Stop, Drop and Roll… and get the fuck off of my stage.” Poor guy. Well, at least they both tried.

Call My Estranged Wife… Please – FinksEntourage

Peanut Gallery. Photo by Rachel K.

Bob Gruen posted a surprising photograph of Billie Joe, who apparently re-chipped his front tooth sometime during the show (click to see at his site). Everyone who saw the photograph and had attended the show from the Green Day Community were shocked. When the hell did THAT happen? I remember the show being pretty wild, but I don’t remember blood dripping down Billie Joe’s face that one person mentioned on this topic. Sometime during the night, Christina Sajous from American Idiot was onstage and got kicked in the face by a roaming crowdsurfer. This I remember clearly as it seemed like it was a hard kick and looked like it hurt. The Rev pulled her back from the stage front and she watched the rest of the show from above the stage. Both of these incidents add a bit of special meaning to the screamed “I’m Alive” portion of the FBHT song, “Highway One.”

“I’M ALIVE!!!!” – Highway One – Foxboro Hot Tubs, Bowery Electric, 4/25/10 (Smshnpmpkn)

After “The Pedestrian,” the Hot Tubs did “Broadway” interspersed with a cover of the Mystic Knights of the Cobra’s “El Camino.” Gallagher and Stockman were onstage for most of the song, clearly smashed (like the great majority of everyone else in the room) and having a great time. Baby Cobra eventually made it onto the stage and helped with the “El Camino” chorus.

John, Theo, Baby Cobra, et al – “Broadway” / “El Camino” – Foxboro Hot Tubs / Mystic Knights of the Cobra – Bowery Electric, 4/25/10 (Smshnpmpkn)

The night began to wind down and it was time for the most mellow song of the night, Stop, Drop and Roll‘s “Dark Side of Night.” The Rev dedicated the song to Michael Mayer and gave a bit of a shout-out to New York City.

“New York City, Motherfucker!” – Dark Side of the Night – Foxboro Hot Tubs, Bowery Electric 4/25/10 (Smshnpmpkn)

Yeah I'm Rocking.

Sometime after the jazzy part of the night happened, came the final songs of the show, “St. Jimmy” and the moment that John Gallagher, Jr. had been waiting for… “A Quick One.” By this time it seemed everyone was holding each other up on the dance floor and the women in the front were begging people not to surf over them anymore. But still, there was an energy left in the room that sustained itself through the long and rambling “A Quick One.” John was so happy and it was fun to see him and everyone having the time of their lives. There is one YouTube video of “A Quick One,” but the sound goes in and out and it’s not that good, but that’s ok. Some things are better left to memory (or lack thereof). Just knowing that we were all there for a trip to the Dark Side is sometimes good enough.

At the end, The Rev said goodnight, dropped his mic on the ground and walked off. He and everyone else, were done.

And then it was over…

Josh and Rachael. Photo by Rachel K.

This party culminated a week of excitement that you can read about if you travel back through this blog. When I say that the week of April 19th-April 25th, 2010, spent over the opening of American Idiot on Broadway and the subsequent Party! Party! Party Tour and Foxboro Hot Tubs shows, was some of the best times of my life, it’s not hyperbole. It’s hard, cold fact. I’ve had great moments on the planet, but few can compare to this week of good performance, good music, good friends, good times.

As the Cobras would say, <143.

All Together Now. Don Hill's. Photo by Rachel K.


Lushie Church of Wishful Thinking Edition: Prima Donna = Foxboro Hot Tubs in the UK?

Prima Donna Opens for Green Day in Europe

Prima Donna Opens for Green Day in Europe

I will admit that at times I am a card-carrying member of the Church of Wishful Thinking.* I can’t help it. I want to believe that all sorts of things are possible – world peace, the end of famine, a sane Republican Party, aliens – you know, stuff like that. Unfortunately, world peace is probably unattainable because people suck, the end of famine won’t happen because agribusiness is too strong, a sane Republican Party is currently an oxymoron, and aliens wouldn’t dare come to Planet Earth at the moment what with the shape that we’re in and all… though they would probably get a great exchange rate right now. The entire planet is half off!

However, some things can be inferred (right or wrong), and I would like to throw the rumor out there that somewhere in Europe (probably in England), the Foxboro Hot Tubs will play some secret shows.

How do I know? I don’t, but I present the following:
1. The Reverend Strychnine Twitch, lead singer of the Foxboro Hot Tubs and supposed lead singer and guitarist of Green Day, wrote in a May 30, 2008 FBHT blog post the following: “and with that said, thanks to all the Tub Heads for coming out for our first tour. Will there be more? I got you on my mind, england…STING!!!!! The Reverend Strychnine Twitch.”
2. Prima Donna, a great band from Los Angeles, will be opening for Green Day for the entire European tour.
3. Chinatown, one of the members of the Foxboro Hot Tubs, is rumored to be Kevin Preston, a member of Prima Donna.
4. Someone who will remain nameless and who saw FBHT on their tour last year, asked someone else who will also remain nameless and is a member of the Hot Tubs, if they were going to play in England at some point and the answer was in the affirmative.
5. Lastly, I just want it to happen something bad. If it happens on Green Day’s day off, Sunday, October 25th, this will be the icing on my wishful thinking cake. I’ll be in London that day after seeing Green Day the previous two nights at the 02. STINNG!!!

Like Mulder from the X-Files, I WANT TO BELIEVE.

We’ll see what happens.

The Lushie Gods be praised.

*See lyrics for East Jesus Nowhere