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Entry date: 1-4-2022 - Thoughts on performing again - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I’ve been thinking a lot about our upcoming show on Saturday to celebrate and help fund the birth of Club Placebo. For those who are not sure what Club Placebo is, it is the brainchild of Tony Beram aka Tony Victor who was the main dude behind Placebo Records and Mersey Productions, which brought the majority of punk shows to Phoenix in the 1980s. Club Placebo will be a place where the past and present can meet in order to make a better future.

That sounds like some slick marketing, but it’s all true. We’re going to do some special things with Club Placebo and I’m really proud to be a part of it. In a way, the show on Saturday is a bucket list show for me. I went to a good number of Placebo related events in the 1980s and they were hugely responsible for me wanting to be in a band, play live, and make records. To be part of this now is allowing things to come full circle.

I went to my first show in 1985 when I was 15 years old. I probably should have been able to go at least a year earlier, but I spent the majority of my early high school life either grounded or unaware of what was available to me in terms of live music. I ditched school a lot, wore eyeliner, and probably did other things that pissed my dad off that I’m now able to block out that got me a lot of sitting at home on the weekends that I didn’t go to my mom’s apartment. Either way, that first TSOL/Mighty Sphincter/Dirt Clods show at the Mason Jar was mind blowing for me and I was instantly hooked.

I knew I loved punk rock music well before that, but again, I didn’t have a way or the knowledge of what was happening to get to shows. After seeing one, though, that all changed and I went to every single one I could, even bands that just sounded like they were punk. I remember my cousin Ben and I once going to a show at the Jar that was the Canadian band, Asexuals, and we were the only ones there. They were troopers, though, and still played for us.

So, I was hooked. I started telling my high school friends that I wanted to be in a band. My friend Bill offered me the chance to sing in a band he was putting together to play the Deer Valley High School talent show but I wussed out. I had done a few lip sync contests but I wasn’t ready to trust my own voice yet. I regret it now, but what can you do? I needed to find my confidence.

A few years later, during the summer of 1987, my brother from another mother (and a great mother at that), Tom, had a band going and they practiced in his apartment which was above a garage in the backyard of their family home. Somehow, I started singing/shouting with them and it was super fun. We were going to play my going away party later that summer before I went to Fort Benning and began my illustrious career in the U.S. Army, but that never happened.

When my short Army career ended, we did end up getting the band going again and we played our first live show on New Year’s Eve 1987. We sort of bum rushed the band who was playing at our guitar player’s girlfriend’s party and used their gear to play two or three songs right before midnight. What dickheads we were. I ended up being pretty good friends with the guitar player a little later on and I apologized many, many times.

That was it for me, though. I was hooked on getting up in front of people and screaming my lungs out. Religious Skid, as the band would eventually be known, played a few parties and ended up playing four actual shows, too. One was opening for Fugazi at a place called Time Out of Mind. We played with some other local bands at Time Out of Mind, too, but I can’t remember who, sadly. That particular weekend was a bit of a blur for me, and I will just say I had way too much fun.

We also played with Insted at Hole in The Wall in Tempe. That is a funny story. Perhaps I should save it for later, though. Our last ever show was with Dr. Know in Tempe near what is now the Arizona Mills mall. That was fun, too. We were supposed to play with DI at Rockers, but it never happened.

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes, we play on Saturday. First show in almost two years. On one hand, it feels very strange, but on the other, I don’t feel like that much time has passed. Call it Covid time, I suppose, but the last couple of years have really flown by. I’ve been busy doing a lot of other things, and that’s cool, but I haven’t missed the live shows as much as I would have thought I might have if someone told me I had to take two years off.

I’m ready to rock, to be sure, and I think Bobby and Michael are as well. We have some rust, but not as much as you would think, and we’ve been working hard in practice. The new songs are really cool, if I say so myself, and I think we’re going to pleasantly surprise whatever crowd is still there. Crescent is always a great place to play, which I shall elaborate on more in future writing, for sure.

Not sure if any of you will have read this by then. I haven’t really mentioned yet that I’m doing this to more than a few people. It is my friend Jim’s birthday today, so I hope he’s having a good day.

See you tomorrow.

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"I haven’t missed the live shows as much as I would have thought I might have if someone told me I had to take two years off."

My sentiments exactly. Turns out I didn't miss performing or going to shows at all. And I went into that show at Crescent with a lot of mixed feelings. And they're still mixed three weeks later. Anyway, cool blog. Did you read Neil Young's "Waging Heavy Peace"? Your posts remind me of it, in a way. I read it last year, and it made me want to do something like what you're doing. Glad you're actually doing it!

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I didn't read Neil's blog, but I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the tip. I'm glad we did that show, but I know how you feel. I look forward to the next time we get to rock together, even if it is a good, long while.

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