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Entry date: 8-29-2023 – Why I Love Rick Bishop (and The Bet) – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

It was sometime in 1985 when I first witnessed the Sun City Girls play. It was at the Mason Jar and I don’t remember who they opened for, but it was mesmerizing. My fifteen-year-old brain was not ready for what I saw and heard. I literally had no reference point for their music or their next level musicianship.

I remember just standing there by myself next to one of the poles that used to be in there. One of the ones, if you remember, that was a serious hazard if the pit really got going. Most of the rest of the audience was sitting down. Dumbfucks.

It was a “Minor” show, so that meant it went from about 5:30pm to 9pm, depending on how many opening acts there were. That night, I remember Sun City Girls and Bootbeast Carnival and for the life of me, I can’t remember who headlined. It could have been Mighty Sphincter and been an all-local show. Who knows.

My tiny brain was riddled and completely sucked in by both Sun City Girls and Bootbeast Carnival. For a year or so there, I would even say that I liked Bootbeast Carnival better than JFA and that was saying a lot….but this is not their day.

That night, I stood there by myself and was transfixed by Charlie Goucher, first, and then Rick Bishop. Charlie’s drumming was a sight to behold. That night, he appeared to be drooling on his snare drum throughout the set. I’m sure he was adding to this effect by putting water in his mouth and letting it drip out, but I thought it was the most bizarre thing.

His jazzy style was so different from what I had seen up to that point. It was one of the first half-dozen or so shows I saw, so what did I know? I was a local music neophyte.

My attention was stolen, though, by Ricky Bishop. He’s one of my favorite guitar players to watch. No offense to Alan, at all, either. Alan rules, too, but he’s not playing here tonight (at the MIM).

The “Girls” captured a piece of my heart that night on 23rd Street and Indian School. It’s that simple. Most people I hung out with were not into them, but I liked it a lot. Loved it, really, and still do.

Fast forward to about 18 months ago. We did a thing with the Bishop brothers at Club Placebo and Ricky tore it up doing his Sir Richard Bishop thing. I have to believe you would be pretty hard pressed to find a guitar player better than him. I’m taking Liam tonight so he can see it up close.

The way that Ricky conveys emotion in his playing is sublime. There is no other way to describe it. I’ve seen him make some great facial expressions, too, but some people might miss their subtlety and charm. Plus, he just shreds. The guy could play anything, I think, and make it sound killer.

One of my favorite things about the Sun City Girls was that in all the times I saw them, which was probably around eight times and over a twenty-five-year period, they never played anything close to a “same” set. It was always different. My guess is tonight’s set will be no different. All over the place and excellent.

Join me?


In Marcy’s dream, Jonathan was walking around the basement of the hospital.

Lancaster Garden Hospital and Care Center was an old campus, but it had been lovingly restored over the years. When Marcy had first started, though, the basement in the main building where the morgue was located had not been remodeled yet. It was old and dark and scary as fuck.

It was this basement, the “old” basement, that Jonathan was roaming around. He was scared and confused. Marcy sensed this in her dream, and it broke her heart. If Paul had walked into their bedroom at the moment Marcy’s dream Jonathan was kneeling in a corner, wailing out of fear and dismay, he would have seen her bawling her eye’s out but still dead asleep.

“Real” Marcy was curled up in a ball in the middle of their king-size bed. “Dream Marcy” was following behind “Dream” Jonathan as he stumbled around the morgue and then into what was once an old storage area with chain link fences sectioning off different parts. It was like something right out of the movies.

In some ways, this was worse than if Jonathan had turned into a murderous zombie out for brains. It wasn’t a scary dream, but Marcy would later describe it as being way worse than a nightmare. This was like Old Yeller, Sophie’s Choice, and Green Mile all wrapped into one. It was horrific.

“Dream Jonathan” was lost. He was also bellowing but Marcy couldn’t understand what he was saying. It just sounded like pain.

For some reason, “Dream” Marcy could not approach “Dream” Jonathan. She was physically unable to get closer than about six feet, or at least what passes for the distance created by a dream forcefield. The other thing Marcy noticed was that it felt like she was walking through about two feet of water as she moved in her dream.

At one point, “Dream Jonathan” looked in her direction but looked right through her. His eyes were not his “real” eyes. They were something beyond pale yet electric, too. They were the coldest of fire. They were paralyzing.

Marcy clung to this image for the rest of her slumber.


See you tomorrow.

Myself, Steve, and Craig. When Steve got married in 2003, we saw Sun City Girls in Portland. They were playing some sort of Chinese Gnome music.

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