Who’s On First!? Who did it first with rockstars?!

Saw this cute comic by Stephan Pastis parodying Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s On First?” go viral before my eyes tonight…..  comic If it sounds familiar….
THE CREDIBILITY GAP (1974)
Harry Sheerer (SNL, Spinal Tap, Simpsons) and David L. Lander (Laverne & Shirley)

SCTV (1981)
Eugene Levy & Tony Rosato

ANIMANIACS (1994)
Slappy and Skippy Squirrel

ROOKIE CARD (2006)
what's on second
Click on the can to buy it or listen to the song “What’s On Second?” by Rookie Card at http://www.SecretBonusTrack.com

O.G.
Originally developed on the vaudeville circuit in the mid-30’s, the 1945 film Naughty Nineties might be their most recognizable performance.  It’s much funnier in Japanese.  Trust me.

 

I’LL WRITE YOU A LETTER TOMORROW (a belated Replacements hometown tale)

How do you get the last word on the Replacements’ first hometown show in 23 years?  Wait a month to write it.  It didn’t help that I read so many other great reviews of their show at Midway Stadium (especially Zach McCormick’s piece for the Minnesota City Pages and Caryn Rose’s Jukebox Graduate blog). It’s already been said how great the band was that night.  This is more of a love letter to the people of Minneapolis for letting me watch them love their band. Seems fitting to finally finish it the night of their last scheduled reunion show…so far. mats paper headline

I did not travel 2000 miles to see the Replacements. That would be ridiculous. I flew from San Diego to Minneapolis to stand inside of a stadium with 13,000 of their fans. There’s just something about a homecoming show. It’s the reason I drove to Los Angeles to see Redd Kross play their first show in ten years.  It’s why I flew up to see the last Seattle Posies show in 1998 before they ruined my bragging rights and started playing again just a few years later. It’s why I went to Georgia to see Neutral Milk Hotel last year.  It’s why Drive Like Jehu’s recent reunion show on a beautiful San Diego night was one of the most special things this town has ever been a part of.

Charity poster by Aesthetic Apparatus. Closeted and awaiting wallspace.

Charity poster by Aesthetic Apparatus. Closeted and awaiting wallspace.

Last year, I saw the Replacements at the Denver Riot Fest. Like so many fans, I had mixed feelings about their reunion, even veering into purist rally cry territory (“Well, it’s not REALLY them.”). Just before they hit the stage, I felt old, tired and silly for coming all that way to see them.  Then, they ran on in dresses and orange cowboy hats and all of our heads exploded. Thanks to the damn internet, I knew almost every song that they were going to play, but, without being a drunken coverfest shit-show, it was full of hilarious banter and unexpected songs. “I think we need to play one we haven’t played,” singer Paul Westerberg announced at one point. “…in fact, one we don’t know. ‘Shiftless When Idle’…it’s in F sharp.” and off they went, playing a song they hadn’t played in 30 years….and haven’t done again since.

I wanted my reaction to be as pure as possible when seeing them for the first time in 23 years but was too damn curious. I ended up watching endless videos from their first two reunion shows in Toronto and Canada. I thought I couldn’t get excited about watching them play the songs I already knew were on the setlist. I was wrong.  To see it in 3-D at full volume was indescribable. I felt elated that I could still get excited by the rock and the roll but knew I’d never have that full-on feeling again with them.  When I heard rumors of a string of Los Angeles shows, I wasn’t remotely tempted to brave the traffic. Whispers of a San Diego show barely raised my eyebrow. Go to Coachella?  AT MY AGE?! Then, they announced that, after a year on the festival circuit, they would finally play a REAL headlining show…in their hometown…in a stadium that was about to be demolished.  A parody of the old Minnesota Twins logo accompanied the announcement. Check please.mats mn show logo

Seeing a band in their hometown is one thing but the tale of this band has always involved the land that spawned them: the people, the cold, the trees, the lakes, the basements, the skyways.  I was born in Chicago but hadn’t stepped foot in the midwest in almost 25 years.  I’d never been to Minnesota.  I love old baseball stadiums. Built in 1982? Ok, old-ish. Close enough. When Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Hot Club of Cowtown(!) did a tour of minor league baseball stadiums in 2004, I kicked myself for not flying out for a show.  That tour stopped at Midway Stadium, the home of Hamline University’s baseball team and the St Paul Saints, a pro team not affiliated with Major League Baseball that is co-owned by Bill Murray, who took tickets at the last homegame just a few weeks earlier.  What better place to see the band that so many critics and fans thought deserved to be in the big leagues?  My birthday was five days after the show. I had to go.

mats press3

Photo by Mark Vollrath

I was prepared to go it alone but I asked a few fellow fans if they were interested and found at least one was already planning on making the trek. That was good enough for me. When tickets went onsale, I got in quick and got my reservation for one.  I hopped on Facebook to see other fans as excited as myself but saw just as many people complaining that they’d been shut out.  People who were from Minneapolis that had been huge fans long before I was. Hundreds of excited locals posting online eased my Jewish guilt. I couldn’t wait to stand among thousands of fellow freaks and observe a 35 year love/hate affair of a band and its hometown.

mats 30 rock hallwayI had plenty to distract me in the months leading up to the show but got just a tad excited when it was announced that the band would be playing the Tonight Show the same night that Keith Richards would also be a guest.  Typical me, I started thinking of all of the connections between the band, Keef and 30 Rock and stayed up all night putting together a piece about it.  After drummer Josh Freese and Westerberg manager Darren Hill linked to what I’d written on Facebook, thousands of people read it, our Facebook page finally broke the 1000 “like” mark of (less-pathetic) respectability and, once again, the band was on the brain something fierce.  Not having a real TV to watch the show, I ended up near my parents’ house and tried to recreate 1986, the last time the band had performed in the NBC building.  Sadly, I could barely finish half of my unhealthy Carl’s Jr dinner, Baskin-Robbins was out of Mint Chocolate Chip and Keith didn’t play with the band as many had hoped.  Luckily, they looked and sounded incredible and it was great to see Paul drop behind Jimmy Fallon, even if Tommy didn’t take the bait and push him over.  The hallway photo from behind that the band posted made my year.

Before I knew it, I was buying my typically late airfare/hotel combo and packing up my Skyway suitcase, a gift I’d had for God knows how long before I noticed the manufacturer’s name. I saw someone online say that they’d talked to no less than ten people at the Austin airport who were flying up for the show but had no such luck hearing fans singing “Baggage claim is this way…” to themselves like I kept doing in San Diego and at my layover in Phoenix.  Like many travelling that day, I picked up the brand new Rolling Stone which had a great four-page article on the band.  I’m coming, Minnesota.mats rs on plane

Upon arrival, I was so distracted that everything in the Minneapolis airport says Skyway on it that I rode the train two stops in the wrong direction. As much as I wanted to see the city, it was already dark and time to head to the We Can’t Hardly Wait benefit for guitarist Slim Dunlap.  I wasn’t expecting a ticker-tape parade but sometimes it felt like no one in town was in on it.  Just ask anyone driving a cab, heading to the Mall of Americas or wearing a Vikings jersey.  I went from unsuccessfully running into fellow fans in three different states to cabbing straight to the ultimate Replacements Booster Club’s national convention.  To raise funds for Slim, who’s still recovering from a recent stroke, friends, family and filmmakers put together a night of music, raffling and outtakes from Color Me Obsessed, the 2011 documentary about people who like this band too much (totally not me). I thought one fan gathering in a packed stadium was enough for one trip but…it’s for Slim.  I RSVP’d and even brought a Westerberg promo cd to donate for the raffle.

Photo by Gorman Bechard

Photo by Gorman Bechard

I grinned as I pulled up to the eighty year old Parkway Theater and saw Color Me Obsessed on the marquee.  My people.  Here was a theater of folks I could probably talk all night with…but I didn’t know any of them. Recent instant online friend Dave James from Costa Mesa’s Factory Records was there but I’d never actually met him.  I just knew he had a habit of screaming for his favorite Replacements song when he saw the band. So, as soon as Slim’s kids, Emily and Louie, were done singing the heartbreaking Slimbob classic “Two By Two”, I yelled “CUSTOMER!” at the top of my lungs from the back of the theater.  After what seemed like a long silence, I saw some movement in the darkness of the back row and heard someone quietly say, “Adam?”

Dave and his local friend Shaun seemed like great folks, but they were taking off early, which left me to watch the documentary screening by myself.  Director Gorman Bechard was one of the organizers of the event and cut together a special “drunken” edit of the film, full of unseen outtakes (now available online).  Many fans unknowingly first saw the film thinking it would be a band bio, instead of a music-less homage to their fans.  I knew what I was getting into but, even as a fan of their fans, wasn’t as knocked out as I’d hoped, watching it on my computer.  There were some great moments but seeing a shorter, ragged version on the big screen in a theater full of insiders that were either in the movie or really knew the tale was a completely different…and awesome experience.  I’d once driven a few hours to see the LA premiere of the band documentary Love Story and had that same feeling of camaraderie watching it with the most appreciative crowd imaginable.

Photo by Deidre Caron

Photo by Deidre Caron

After the movie, it was back to the awkward situation of being surrounded by people I’d probably love talking to but was suffering from a rare bout of shyness.  Looking for eye contact or an in led to a brief talk with a couple because one of them was wearing a friends’ band shirt (thanks, Dragons!). After a few lonely laps around the theater, I finally recognized Slim’s wife, Chrissie Dunlap. It was absolutely surreal to have her introducing me to people and mentioning that I was good friends with Michael Buchmiller, who’d designed the genius Songs For Slim logo, which was everywhere that weekend.  They had it draped over the bass drum while Slim’s friends played his songs that night plus I saw necklaces and dozens of shirts at the Midway show. So strange to see it two time zones away from San Diego but not any stranger than having Mexican food as my first Minneapolis meal next door at Pepito’s.  Damn, if it wasn’t amazing.

Photo by Mark Vollrath

Photo by Mark Vollrath

Friday night’s frost warning was pretty disappointing.  It was sunny with a nice breeze the whole time I was there. I was definitley not getting the full Minneapolis weather experience but was saving money not having to buy a cap and gloves. The next morning, I slept in and went to my hotel’s second floor for a touristy photo of my first skyway. I incorrectly had thought it was a nickname for their train system like “The El” all these years. I got a quick lunch around the corner then started walking to Electric Fetus Records, an amazing record store south of downtown. Instead, I accidentally went north and ended up getting to see the famed First Avenue club, the Twins’ home Target Field and an unreal amount of clubs, theaters, shops, lofts and restaurants.  The streets were practically deserted but this was one of the cleanest, most beautiful downtowns I’d ever seen.

Jew, take the skyway.

Jew, take the skyway.

I successfully avoided spending money on records at Electric Fetus, despite the huge parking lot sale, but spent plenty on other random kitsch there. The girl who rang me up recommended the shakes at Bad Waitress and ten blocks later, I was ruining my dinner appetite with a caramel/coffee malt(!). When Dave called to tell me that he was record shopping at Roadrunner Records, on the same street, I continued heading south, stopping at some great vintage stores, eying pretty suburbs and wondering if I should just hop on a bus.  By the end, I’d walked seven miles and still had to stand in a baseball stadium for a few hours.  No matter. I was really seeing the city and loving it.  My college friend Christie, who lives nearby in Stillwater, swung by with her friend Shannon and whisked me up to Hola Arepa for yucca fries before heading out to St Paul.

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

Exterior stadium selfie with Stillwater VIP's and stellar bald head photobomb

Exterior stadium selfie with Stillwater VIP’s and stellar bald head photobomb

The sun was setting on St Paul as we arrived at Midway Stadium to a breathtaking view.  I couldn’t help but blurt out, “LOOK AT ALL THE WHITE PEOPLE!” The tailgate scene was buzzing like Heavy Metal Parking Lot but with much better music.  Normally, I frown upon listening to the band you’re about to see but being surrounded by this many cars and stereos blaring the Replacements was the exact scene I flew in for.  So much flannel. So much beer. Such long portapotty lines.  So many dudes peeing against the fence.  The girls left me to nerd out with some of the locals, but, though it’s very nice to meet you, Mr Guy Who Pressed Record On The Cops From Stink!, I’ve got a show to catch.

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Jay Russell captures what I missed by going in late.

Jay Russell captures what I missed by going in late.

A dead phone meant I wouldn’t be able to meet up with anyone. I’d be sharing this experience alone….with thousands.  I didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the stadium view inside because I entered to find 10,000 people rocking out to local faves the Hold Steady in the blackness.  It was a sight I hadn’t really considered.  Wouldn’t EVERYONE want to be as close as me?  I slowly weaved my way through the masses, knowing that as soon as the Mats hit the stage, it would be complete chaos. I barely remember the few Hold Steady songs I saw. I’d seen them and Lucero before and hadn’t been over or underwhelmed by either of them. In a year full of so many great choices for their reunion shows (from bandmates to setlists to wardrobe to unique venues), getting a few younger bands that they influenced to open their hometown show was disappointingly normal.  I wanted The Time more than anyone else (I know, could you imagine?) but I would’ve taken a GnR tribute or a blues band of seniors or….anything truly left field, so to speak.

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Trashmen air guitar. Photo by Tony Nelson, City Pages

Trashmen air guitar. Photo by Tony Nelson, City Pages

I got within a couple of hundred feet and I would’ve been an asshole to try and get closer, so I made nice with the folks surrounding me. The Mayor of St Paul coming out to officially declare it Replacements Day was a fun gesture but having “Surfin’ Bird” by the Minneapolis born Trashmen blaring when the lights went down was exactly the kind of grin-inducing wink to their hometown that I was looking for. When the band came bounding on in matching plaid Mr Turk suits, it was absolute bedlam.  But, unlike every other huge concert I’ve ever been to, 1000 jerks didn’t use the opportunity to elbow past.  All of my new friends remained within earshot as we all screamed our heads off to “Favorite Thing” (BAM), “Taking A Ride” (BAM!) and “I’m In Trouble” (BAM!!).  It was so amazing that I almost didn’t notice that it took more than a few songs to turn up Dave Minehan’s redhot guitarin’ so we could hear it. Whatever doubts I had about not being able to enjoy seeing them play these songs again one year later was out the window thanks to the energy of Josh Freese’s slammin’ drums and thousands of people witnessing it for the first time all around me.

Photo by Wendy Smith via We Love The Mats

Photo by Wendy Smith via We Love The Mats

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Once things settled down a little, I was painfully aware of my new best friend, directly to my left.  I knew that oversized grin.  I completely understood why he was so excited to share this moment with everyone around him (especially since his girlfriend seemed to care more about the Hold Steady).  I’d crossed many state lines for that feeling. But there was no denying that in his eagerness to bond and show off how well he knew all the words, he was turning to sing almost every line right into my ear….and BADLY.  I couldn’t break his heart by telling him to stop, so in slow-motion cinematic style, I let other people creep between us.  I saw a hint of sadness as he looked over to see me fading into the crowd (“Noooooooooooo!”) but I had to let him go to enjoy myself.

c/o Temple Of The Blogs

c/o Temple Of The Blogs

Photo by Wendy Smith via We Love The Mats

Photo by Wendy Smith via We Love The Mats

The nods to their hometown were mostly left unsaid. When Paul muttered “Sorry we took so long” early in the set, Tommy countered “No, you ain’t!”  After they played “Take Me To The Hospital”, with an unreal advertisement for a local hospital looming in rightfield, Paul mentioned that Slim was back in the hospital and absolutely deflated the crowd. It was nice of him to say “We wish he was here” and immediately play a bit of the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” but a sentimental speech would’ve been…awkward. As much as we all would’ve loved nods to angels Bob Stinson and Steve Foley, not to mention longtime drummer Chris Mars, who lives in town, we all knew it probably wasn’t gonna happen.  Still, the whole concert seemed to be a big thank you to their birthplace, whether they’d admit to it or not.  It’s all in the songs, anyways.

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

Photo by Nate Ryan, The Current

Photo by Nate Ryan, The Current

As predicted, without festival schedules to deal with, the band was ready to play almost everything they’d been doing for the past year.  Of the forty or so songs that they’d probably rehearsed in the past year, they played all but twelve of them (“White and Lazy”,  “I.O.U.”, “Hangin Downtown”, “Wake Up”, “Little Mascara”, “Psychopharmacology”, “Hold My Life”, “Customer”, “Message to the Boys”, “Another Girl, Another Planet”, “Judy Is A Punk” & “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” but really, who’s counting?).  Like before, I really didn’t care what they played as long as they dished out the usual spontanaity. Not surprisingly, they served up a few tunes that they hadn’t played in a very, very long time.

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

Photo by Jeff Wheeler (Star Tribune)

First, they brought out longtime local blues harmonica player Tony Glover for a fun run-through of Jimmy Reed’s “Going To New York”, foreshadowing their upcoming show the following weekend in the Big Apple. True to form, they didn’t play it for the New Yorkers, nor did they cover “Judy Is A Punk” which they played in Georgia earlier this year (despite the Ramones hailing from Forest Hills, where the show was).  They also resurrected their very first b-side, the countrified “If Only You Were Lonely” and Don’t Tell A Soul‘s “I Won’t”, which started with Tommy’s only lead vocal turn. It confirmed earlier microphone shenanigans when he went to sing and his mic was off.  Several times in the set, Paul went over to join Tommy on his mic and it was inaudible.  Holy mute button.  It sounds like it was coming through the monitors, so hopefully all the official cameras and recording gear got the goods.

Getting to first base in the outfield on "Kiss Me On The Bus". Photo by David Tanner, Minneapolis Post

Getting to first base in the outfield on “Kiss Me On The Bus”. Photo by David Tanner, Minneapolis Post

The set rolled on and on until they were doing the longest reunion set yet.  About 25 songs in(!), they played their favorite Sham 69 cover (“Borstal Breakout”), the beautiful “Swingin’ Party” (Slim’s favorite) and a Westerberg solo tune (“Love You In The Fall”) in a row and started to lose the people around me a bit.  It was time to break out the Big Four .  Four songs that were about to get the stadium anthem treatment that they’d so richly deserved all of these years. They’d done “Can’t Hardly Wait”, “Bastards Of Young”, “Left Of The Dial” and “Alex Chilton” at all twelve of their previous reunions shows.  Well, of course they skipped “Left of the Dial” in Boston but, you know, it’s not a big college town. When Paul kicked into “Can’t Hardly Wait”, the second wind that whipped through that stadium was unbelievable.  The place EXPLODED. Only they could take such a simple guitar riff, play it 3000 times in a row and come up with something incredible.

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

Photo by Nate Ryan (The Current)

The end was near, so they were either going to go out like they’d been doing all year or let it fall apart for giggles.  I’d already seen how great it was for them to goof it up for their encore in Denver, so I was rooting for something ridiculous to go with a chugging “Bastards of Young”, followed by “I Don’t Know”.  When the crew was setting up just before they started, a roadie brought out an acoustic guitar and I caught myself nerding out loud about it.  That meant we’d be hearing “Skyway” or “Here Comes A Regular”…or both.  About an hour and a half later, when Paul came out by himself for an encore, it was going to be good either way. It was “Skyway”.  No introduction.  No acknowledgement that the town’s weather and glass walkways inspired it.  It was for Minneapolis.  We all knew it.

Photo by Rick Marino

Photo by Rick Marino

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

Photo by Darin Kamnetz

That would’ve been plenty, but the rest of the band came back out wearing St Paul Saints baseball jerseys.  Paul pretended to refuse, referencing other acts who’d played at Midway and probably hadn’t worn them (REM & Bob Dylan).  This was a man who recently wore a Montreal Canadiens jersey onstage in Toronto so for him to relent and put on the hometown colors was a swell gesture.  They knocked “Left Of The Dial” and “Alex Chilton” out of the park, so to speak and exited again.  At that point, they’d played 31 songs. 31 well-played, rehearsed songs. To some, it was like the band owed Minneapolis a show like this for all the times they’d watched them play 31 drunken covers.  They had always prided themselves on not doing what they were supposed to do but here they are in their fifties giving the people what they wanted.

Photo by Mark Vollrath

Photo by Mark Vollrath

Ironically, the only song left on their setlist that night was “I.O.U.” and, like they did in Denver, they shunned that song to do something unforgettable.  Paul came out again by himself with just a 12-string electric guitar and a dangling cigarette. He started picking out a melody that I thought might’ve been a fitting “When The Saints Go Marching In” but then he went into those unmistakable chords I’d learned just last year for our own Slim benefit in San Diego. Slicing Up Eyeballs and Stereogum, two of the biggest indierock music sites on the web, both reported the Replacements playing “Unsatisfied” for the first time in 23 years as their headline news.  The band rarely played it on their last tour in 1991 and Westerberg has done it even less often since they broke up. I can understand why. It’s plodding and repetitive and….it’s our themesong.mats-headlines


(recently uploaded multi-camera vid cut from Youtube videos)

What an ending.  Tommy put down his bass and waited for Paul to head offstage to give him the biggest hug you’re ever gonna see. Then they both walked off, arm in arm, not even looking at the crowd.  After all these years, they’re still not gonna let on that they care about getting it right. We’re just lucky we got to see it one more time or, for many, the first time.  it almost makes me want to see them again, in case they ever play “Here Comes A Regular” or “Answering Machine” or “Within Your Reach” or “Talent Show” or “Never Mind” or “Sixteen Blue” or “Kids Don’t Follow” or “The Ledge”, not that I just looked up the recent poll by Minneapolis radio station the Current to see which of the top 30 they haven’t played yet because, seriously, who does that?

Photo by Darin Kamnetz.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz.

The Last Midway exit. Photo by Jim Walsh, Minneapolis Post

The Last Midway exit. Photo by Jim Walsh, Minneapolis Post

Thousands headed for the exits but many stayed behind to breathe it in, exchange knowing looks, steal grass from the outfield as a keepsake or randomly run into old west coast highschool classmates(!). In the afterglow, the crowd parted and I saw my new friend and fellow San Diegan, Howard. He was the hero of the Slim benefit from the night before because he’d come all the way from California without a ticket and deservingly won one in a raffle. We hugged and laughed and he told me how now he just HAD to get to New York by the following weekend to see them one more time. All around us, people who had not yet witnessed the reunion excitedly talked about how it couldn’t have been more perfect.  I grinned along, happy to witness the band giving the town a helluva homecoming dance, filled with nods to their old stomping grounds without being overly sappy ‘cos that’s not what we want from this band.

Undisclosed downtown hotel room shortly before getting naked with local press.  Everyone's gotta have a hobby.

Undisclosed downtown hotel room shortly before getting naked with local press. Everyone’s gotta have a hobby.

mapThat town.  I couldn’t get enough, so I got up early the next morning, walked across the street and took a guided city bus tour.  I was happy not to take the fanboy route and find the Let It Be house and other band-related sites until I saw artist Kevin Cannon’s amazing map that someone could’ve used to make a few bucks taking fans around town that weekend.  I lucked out and got hilarious, retired newscaster J.B. Eckert as the host and he was a walking Wikipedia of the Twin-Cities.  Everywhere we went, it was beautiful lakes, huge theaters, revitalized downtown construction, endless tree lines and historical buildings of all kinds.

mats jukebox

Yeahbut smart enough to have Chilton/Bell? Huh.

For lunch, I tried the infamous Jucy Lucy burger at Matt’s Bar. Apparently, there’s no “i” in melted cheese goodness and no Mats on the jukebox, despite the namesake name (seriously?).  I spent the rest of the afternoon south of downtown seeing old friends and meeting new ones, just to make it even harder for myself to leave.  Perhaps most surprisng was that seeing the Flaming Lips perform 1993’s Transmissions From the Satellite Heart for the first time at the legendary First Avenue wasn’t anti-climactic after such an epic previous night.  Funny what a little glitter and the most appreciative crowd I’ve ever seen will do.lips in mn

I got what I came for.  I wanted to see a city embrace its long-time heroes.  Where else could I have stood in a STADIUM with so many other people who felt that way about those songs?  Where else would they be on the cover of every weekly magazine and all over the papers?  Where else does a 12 year old working a fashion outfit app on an iPad ask, “Dad, do you think Paul Westerberg would wear this?!”  It was bizarro world and the weather was nice to boot.

Pleased to meet you, Minneapolis.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz.

Photo by Darin Kamnetz.

Please follow us by “liking” our Facebook page.  No one reads blogs anymore.

Click on any of the pictures to see larger versions or more by these amazin’ photographers.  Every time I thought this thing was done, I’d find another amazing set of pictures I wanted you to see. Per usual, they’re all credited and linked wherever possible.  If you want a link, credit or photograph changed or removed, just let us know.

 

An open letter to the couple that asked us to sit down

I recently had Myspace send me my old blogs, just to retrieve this one (the only one worth mentioning).  I remember it being the most liked thing I’d ever written at the time. I sent this to the Los Angeles Times and the LA Weekly on September 21, 2007.  I’m not sure if they published it.

Dear Sir and Madam,

I am so sorry that a giggling, smiling four year old and myself were blocking your view while you ate your dinner and drank wine in your boxed seat at the Hollywood Bowl last night.  I thought that when my girlfriend bought me tickets for my birthday and we drove with her daughter from San Diego that the price included my right to stand and/or dance in said purchased space.  It was also my understanding that LCD Soundsystem’s music encourages movement, possibly even inspiring people to rise out of their chair.  It was unfair of me to think that you might not be a huge LCD fan just because you looked like you were in your late 50’s and would be content to simply watch two huge video screens which we weren’t blocking.  Had you been sitting directly behind me, I might’ve been more sympathetic but two rows of chairs and a walkway separated us, which is a direct insult to my waistline and dancing skills.  I’m sorry you didn’t appreciate my offer to sit down if you could name one LCD song and I hope you didn’t think less of us when I denied your request to stop dancing with references to the 1984 film Footloose.  I thought that the band you paid to see would maybe want as many people to dance as possible but since you hissed at how incosiderate we were in between songs, you obviously felt that your right to relax at a rock show was more important.  You had every right to get a security guard to ask us to sit down.  I’m sorry that it didn’t work.  I hope you enjoyed the show anyways, especially when 17,000 people all stood up to block your view of the Arcade Fire.

Sincerely,
Adam Gimbel
down in front

 

Everything you need to get excited about the Replacements, Keith Richards and 30 Rock.

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The Replacements posted this video to their Youtube channel the other day….

Their 1986 Saturday Night Live appearance is legendary, so it’s a kick to see that they were letting them back in the building at 30 Rock.  There was some speculation that it could mean they were playing Seth Meyers’ Late Night but Tonight Show booker Jonathan Cohen confirmed that they are playing the show today on Twitter.
Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 3.11.37 PMThen, Paul Westerberg fan site Man Without Ties pointed out that Keith Richards is scheduled to be a guest on the show.

SHIT
JUST
GOT
REAL

Here’s everything you need to know to get excited about the possibility of anything remotely resembling Keef and the Mats being near each other in the NBC building….

January 18, 1986.  The Replacements appear on Saturday Night Live with Harry Dean Stanton hosting.  Unable to leave between dress rehearsal and the live broadcast, they did what any musical guest would do: trash the dressing room and get yourself and the host drunk. They played a fantastic “Bastards of Young” first. Paul yelled “C’mon, fucker” to Bob before the solo, then just kinda got bored at one point and didn’t sing. 

Paul, Tommy and Chris switched into each other’s clothes and came back later in the show to play “Kiss Me On The Bus”, which isn’t shown in shortened syndicated show repeats.

We were picked up to go to the studio at 10 in the morning in a limousine stocked with booze, and from 10 to five you couldn’t leave that floor.  Anything you want they’d send for.  Before we played we were completely just out of it.  Harry Dean Stanton was in there drinking booze with Tommy.  They were all fucked up.  I was in the bathroom getting high.”  -Bob Stinson in All Over But The Shouting (click to read more of his hilarity)

Producer Lorne Michaels was apparently livid and threatened to ban all Warner Brothers acts from future shows unless they paid for the damage that the band did to their hotel and dressing rooms.

On December 17, 1988, the Replacements played their only show of the year and their very first arena show, opening up for the last date of Keith Richards and the X-pensive Winos’ US tour at the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  They’d spent most of 1988 recording and getting ready to release the Don’t Tell A Soul album.  Since they’d be rusty, even by Mats standards, they actually rehearsed for it at 1st Avenue in Minneapolis, which turned out to be their only known taped band rehearsal.  Of course, it didn’t matter. One fan described their set as “BEYOND shitfaced” (show recording link).  

Photographer Paul Natkin recalls, “So, I spent about 3 weeks with Keith Richards and the X-Pensive Winos in November and December of 1988, traveling coast to coast with the coolest guy in Rock and Roll. The tour ended on Keith’s birthday, with a huge party after the show backstage at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. The Replacements, who were the opening act that night, asked me if I could take their picture with Keith. I told them to hang out and when he was through cutting the cake I would ask him. He of course said OK, so we went back to the Replacements table (This was about 15 minutes later,) and two of them were gone and the other two were passed out at the table. Keith and I just looked at each other, smiled, shrugged and went about our business.”

Happy birthday to Keith/Unsatisfied

Keith doing a timely Chuck Berry tune from that night’s show

Keith and the Winos on that one show

Tony Pierce (full 2008 LA Weekly interview): I saw a picture of you with Keith Richards who has got to be a big hero of yours. Did you guys have a chance to sit down and talk?

Paul Westerberg: Yeah we met about three times and that was the time we were doing a television show… no that was his birthday. Funny thing is that was his 45th birthday, I was 28, and now that I’m 45 I’m trying to get a picture of me and someone who’s 28 and compare them. Or take one of me and Keith now. No, that was very– I just snuck backstage through the security guard and took a Polaroid of us. I wasn’t scared of him. He gave me the look like he was going to kill me but he knew I was safe.

Polaroid found on Gypsy Dungeon tumblr

Polaroid found on Gypsy Dungeon tumblr

Seven years later after the first 30 Rock appearance, Lorne Michaels either forgot, forgave or didn’t know that Paul had been the singer of THAT band. In 1993, 3/4 of the current Replacements lineup was the musical guest on SNL (with Paul’s longtime manager Darren Hill on bass). They played the Keef influenced “Knockin On Mine” and the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait” with the house band’s horns.  Paul told drummer Josh Freese to yell something during the pauses, so he blurted out “BURT REYNOLDS!”.  In the end, he’s busting ridiculous moves that even Steve Moore would approve.  In a hilarious account of the night on Facebook he said, “I’m such a goddamn hot dog during the performances (I was 20 though…c’mon) that I can barely watch it”. He mentioned that they were told to keep it quiet that Paul was a Replacement for fear that they might not let them play.  The show ended without incident but 70-year old conservative host Charlton Heston couldn’t remember Paul’s name during the closing goodbyes. Paul made a “Ah, these people don’t care about me” gesture but then coughed into his hand and gave Heston a firm handshake.  A+

pw snl pw snl2

pw-n-chuckSo, what if Keith actually played with the band on Tuesday night?   What would they play?  Probably some old blues or early rock & roll song but the amazing Replacements Live Archive made it easy to find what Stones songs they’d done before……



Happy and Honky Tonk Woman on PaulWesterberg.net

Last Time, Let It Bleed, Midnight RamblerMoonlight Mile Start Me Up (Replacements Live Archive download links)

Plus

After the PW and HOF show at SF’s Great American Music Hall I was fortunate to get to meet with Paul and talk with him at his bus. Music was coming from inside the bus and when the Stone’s/Richards’s song “Happy” started playing, Paul turned and pleaded, “Can you turn that up?” I acknowledged the song by saying, “Keith!” Paul shook his head solomnly and said, “I love Keith Richards.”   -Brianlux

I might just have to stay up late and watch.  As if I’m not excited enough about heading to Minneapolis in….uh oh, I need to buy some plane tickets.

UPDATE
Is this the first time NBC has actually admitted that someone was banned from SNL? http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/filters/guests/11346Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 8.56.58 PM

Soundcheck in NY for @fallontonight.  -Josh Freese, Instagram

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.02.44 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.03.19 PM

 

 

Tonight…. via The Replacements’ FacebookScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.03.29 PM

Questlove and Tommy Stinson. I like this duo. via Jonathan Cohen’s Instagram

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.03.44 PM Thank you, goodnight!  via The Replacements’ Facebook

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.04.00 PM @officialKeef & @ruby_stinson (daughter) via Tommy Stinson’s TwitterScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.04.19 PM Keef and the Mats in the hallway after @fallontonight. I am a very happy and lucky fellow. via Jonathan Cohen’s InstagramScreen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.04.34 PM The cards say it all. Thank you, Paul and Tommy. SPOILER ALERT via Jonathan Cohen’s Instagram  Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 5.04.46 PMALSO CHECK OUT
The Last: words on the Replacements at Denver RiotFest
Elvis Costello on Saturday Night Live: The most overrated “punk” moment in TV history.
FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK, DAMNIT! NO ONE READS BLOGS!

 

Latest…..Riot Fest report……EVER, Denver 2013

After returning from last year’s Riot Fest in September, I had to immediately blab about seeing the Replacements and it ended becoming one of the most read Yer Doin Great pieces to date. Let’s see what my olde man memory can remember about the rest of my Denver trip four, er, eleven and a half months later. Seeing the amazing photos taken by my three friends is helping bring it all back. Just in time for Riot Fest 2014!

RF_Denver_Admat_web-1The first announcements about last year’s Riot Fest lineup in Chicago were tempting but when the Replacements and an additional date in Denver were added, I started thinking about going a little more seriously.  I’d never been to Colorado, I have friends there I’ve never visited and I’d just missed both of Rocket From The Crypt’s hometown reunion shows.  Then it was announced that original RFTC drummer Atom Willard would be playing with the band for the first time since 2000. When I met singer John Reis for the first time a few weeks before the festival at the Tower Bar, he insisted on getting me tickets.  How could I say no?!

I flew into the Denver darkness late Thursday night. It was strange visiting a new city and not actually getting to see it but by the time I bused into the city, I was barely awake.  Only a cool documentary about the Sunset Strip could’ve prevented me from crashing.  I woke up the next morning with no plans and a flip phone to (not) guide me.  I knew I was within walking distance of Twist & Shout Records so I headed that way and wasn’t disappointed.  After hitting a bookstore next door, I saw an amazing looking building across the street which turned out to be East High School, built in 1924. There were some purdy trees over yonder, so I headed north into what ended up being a huge park with museums galore.rf hs

I haven’t followed baseball in years but I couldn’t let my childhood dream of visiting every major league baseball stadium die, even if I didn’t care about an expansion team that didn’t exist the last time I could name more than three current baseball players. So I cabbed over to Coors Field, scalped a great third base side ticket, befriended some locals who schooled me on local history and watched the most unreal fireworks finale I’ve ever seen. The stadium was built to look like a classic and the hometown team prevailed, so it was a good night.

Highschool friend/punk icon Matt Page and his girlfriend Ambeur whisked me away to Denver suburb Northglenn afterwards and, since his daughter was away for the weekend, I slept in her bottom bunk while Justin and Selena posters watched over me.  Felt like home. They were also housing fellow highschooler and former Lorna’s Italian Kitchen slave Sarah and her awesome husband Greg (Ribshots).  As if they weren’t fun enough company, between the four of them, they introduced me to an endless stream of cool, interesting folks at the festival.

(fast forward seven months after I started writing and I can remember less….)

After a quick lunch, the five of us headed to the small town of Byers, Colorado, about 45 minutes east of Denver.  We didn’t hit a lot of freeway traffic but, understandably, the line of cars to get into the festival was not short. The parking lot route took us past the entrance and we drove at a slow crawl, getting further and further away from our destination as we watched exhausted pedestrians pass in the other direction. It was at least an hour until volunteers guided us into our parking space and we started the long hike back to the farm hosting Riot Fest.

c/o Your Older Brother

c/o Your Older Brother

c/o Greg Jacobs, Ribshots

Airborn ‘chunk c/o Greg Jacobs, Ribshots

There were some extremely unhappy Superchunk fans in our crew when we finally arrived to catch just a few Chapel Hill anthems on the stage closest to the entrance.  The entire festival was put on three huge stages all spaced apart and facing the same way. I’d never seen a set up like it but it worked fine.  We started to run into friends as soon as we walked up to see Guided By Voices. I’d never seen the original lineup that had recently reformed but I found myself missing the late-era replacements I’d seen so many times.  Bob’s Peter Pan juice ran dry for the rest of the band and they looked and played like their age. Strangely, the only song that really seemed to get the crowd going was “Teenage FBI”, which these guys hadn’t even played on.  They ended just in time for me to catch a few Dismemberment Plan songs and go help stake our claim up front for RFTC.

MP, Apollo9RFTC & me. -Matt Page

MP, Apollo9RFTC & me. -Matt Page

GBV -Your Older Brother

GBV -Your Older Brother

-Matt Page

DPlan -Matt Page

All reports of the Rocket reunion shows were, unsurprisingly, raves. It felt good to be that excited in my olde age, up front, jumping up and down and dancing like an idiot with fellow San Diegans, while our boys absolutely destroyed and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a little cool to be on their guestlist.  To see Atom up there on drums again was beyond special and Superchunk’s Jon Wurster even bounded out to yell and tambourine along like he’d done in the studio with them. Speedo was in rare form and kept thanking the rock community of Byers (population 1,160) for such a strong showing. Quite a few folks said their set was probably the best of the weekend. They rocked fierce and tight and I could feel my cheeks lodged into a semi-permanent smile.  This trip was already worth it.

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

Us up front having a little fun. -Ribshots

Us up front. -Ribshots

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

Atom -Matt Page

Atom -Matt Page

Atom -Matt Page

Atom -Matt Page

RFTC w/Jon Wurster during "Sturdy Wrists", photo by Matt Page

RFTC w/Jon Wurster during “Sturdy Wrists”, photo by Matt Page

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

rf Riot Night ob

-Your Older Brother

There was time after Rocket to grab some quality foods and try to avoid the unavoidable: AFI, the Brand New and Toxic Airborne Whatever blaring away with no audio shelter to be found.  A roving noise/marching band and conversation with my new best buddy, Tim from Dagger Zine, helped but it was hard to keep my energy up at my age at that hour.  I had flown from California to see the Replacements but was barely standing as Iggy and the Stooges tore into their set.  God knows what they’ve got Iggy on to get out there and be that crazy but it was motivating.  All around me, kids half my age gawked in shock and ran to get a closer view, some even getting onstage. I stayed my distance and walked off within earshot of the searching and destroying to jockey for position for the Mats.

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

-Matt Page

-Matt Page

I’ve already told the Replacements tale.  I thought I had no energy.  I even thought I’d be happy leaving without seeing them. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  After that fun, we all found each other and went back to Rocket’s trailer, where they’d left us their wristbands that would allow us anywhere for Day Two.  Boy, did we need them…..

-Matt Page

-Matt Page

I don't even drink. -Matt Page

I don’t even drink. Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe Oakland sweatshirt RIP-Matt Page

DAY TWO
After a long drive home and a good night’s sleep, we returned a little later and found all the  traffic problems had been solved. Not sure how or why but it was nice to avoid that mess again.  It’s a brand new festival in a remote location, so I figured there’d be plenty of kinks to work out. I’d say it all went pretty smooth considering everything that was about to happen….

Waylon from Kitten. -Matt Page

Waylon from Kitten. -Matt Page

We got there just in time to see California kids Kitten. I’ve known ex-School of Rock guitarist Waylon Rector for a few years, so to see him and the band do their thing way out in Colorado at a huge festival was a big kick. They jumped around like crazies per usual and the ol’ “Purple Rain” bit was fitting on such a gray day.  I eventually found fellow LA SOR guitarist Jacob Butler, whose Dad dropped him off like he was dropping him off at the mall and we went over to watch Peelander-Z, who was like a Yo Gabba/Power Rangers act for kids.  In broken English, they sang about tacos for 11 minutes and the youth contingent ate it up.  Huh.

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

I gave Naked Raygun a try but even hardcore fans said they were disappointing so I made the trek to the Public Enemy stage guilt free.  Their set got off to a worrying start.  There were only two S1W’s and they barely moved.  All the cutting and strutting with military precision was nowhere to be seen and, worse yet, they started into the first song and Flavor’s parts were pre-recorded but he was nowhere to be seen.  Oh no.  SIKE!   He came bounding out halfway through and the place went ballistic.  They jumped and rapped and preached, gave us all the classics and Flav played passable bass and drums for a few seconds. The mostly young crowd gave the band deafening call and responses, waved their hands in the ayah and jumped when told. Hell, no one even corrected Flavor when he gave shout outs to other bands on the bill, including Blondie and the Violent Femmes who’d played the Chicago Riot Fest but weren’t there that day.  I had almost forgotten they were playing so it was a great surprise to see them for the first time.

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

It had started to drizzle a lizzle at the end of PE’s set but, right as I met up with YDG reader and San Diego stranger Martin Weinstein, the wind picked up and we saw a bunch of trash go flying across a hill.  As we walked over to watch FLAG, who sounded monstrous, I saw a few flashes of lightning in the distance. The wind had just blown away the stage’s side banners and it felt like my contact lenses might go with them when they cut the power to the stage and announced that the National Weather Service had declared it unsafe and that everyone had to head to their cars until further notice.  In the chaos, I managed to find the rest of our posse quickly and we rushed backstage just as someone they knew pulled up in a minivan and yelled for us to get in.

-Ribshots

-Ribshots

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

While thousands of poor people had to walk a mile back to their cars and wait, we were whisked to a central barn to hang out with all the bands.  For my punk loving friends, it was an unreal chance to chat with buddies and heroes while eating free food and drink.  I got to see the Kitten folks before they used my phone to get a taxivan to come pick them up and catch their flight.  The organizers and hosts were doing a great job of keeping everyone safe, happy and informed.  You could see people on laptops, sending out notes on Twitter and Facebook while redoing and printing new band schedules as the rain started to let up.  After a couple of hours, we all headed back and the masses all returned to the festival grounds.

While Greg had been sidestage taking amazing pictures all weekend, I was finally getting my first VIP view. As we walked up the stairs to see Bad Religion, I saw a volleyball fly behind the stage followed by the sound of thousands of disappointed people chanting “WILSON! WILSON! WILSON!”. Having JUST seen Castaway for the first time, I put two and two together, ran back down the stairs, grabbed the ball, squeezed by security telling us to back up, walked onstage and gave ‘em back their ball, just before the band walked onstage. Biggest…cheer….ever.  Punk anthems never sounded so triumphant as they did playing to a field full of people who thought their weekend had just been cut short.

Photoshop free. -Matt Page

Photoshop free. -Matt Page

-Your Older Brother

-Your Older Brother

As we started to walk from behind the first stage over to the third, the skies EMPTIED.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen it rain that hard in my life.  We made it to a small tent near the stage where Rancid was playing and found other people like us, just seeking shelter.  After awhile, I figured there might be some coverage onstage and made a break up the stairs. The sides of the stage were packed so I ended up with a few other folks behind the band’s amps watching them play to a deafening throng of kids as SHEETS of rain came down on them.  It was an amazing sight and a perfect ending to a great weekend.

-Matt Page

-Matt Page

You don’t think we’d actually stay for Blink 182, do you?

 

LIVE FISH: JELLYFISH CONCERT LIST

concert-list-logoDust off those ticket stubs and memories! I said I would never update this but the archived version from 1996 has helped enough people that it should probably be back online. This is incomplete (and inaccurate in parts), so if you know of any more shows or corrections, please tell me with a comment here or on Facebook. Shows are in America unless noted. I went to the shows in caps.

UPDATE/THANKS: Lisa Henley (Atlanta show at Center Stage in 1990 & ’93 at Cotton Club),John Read Knapp Jr (’93 Seattle club names), John Molloy (The Marquee in NY ’90), Danny Means (Edgefest ’93, got bands from KDGE.com and date from Facebook), Notherland Kiefer (German ’93 show ticket), Danny Means (Berlin 93 poster) Geoff Leamon (Studio Kafe, 1st show), Scott Whitehead (Norman OK 93), Verity Bolwell (The Palace in Melbourne, date unknown), Matt Kellie (Manchester dates & tickets pic), Merlyn Veray (UCSD 90), Brenda Blackhalo (Summerfest 93 date), Clayton Lillye (Syndey 93), Carol Suzuki (Tokyo 93 setlist) plus found Austin, Philly & Detroit Sept 90, Club Lingerie (1990 video, date unknown) Detroit Nov 90, some 91 Black Crowes shows, JJJ Australian radio show date and Philly, Vegas, Dallas & San Antonio 93 with Tears For Fears. Also linked to 1990 NY review,  video of JF singing with Black CrowesUK tour postcard (Chris Manning), Magic Mountain ’93 postcard & LA Palace ticket/setlist/LA Times article (Bill Rowan) and 1993 Warfield videos.

1990 (date unknown, possibly August just after Bellybutton released) Studio Kafe, Santa Rosa, CA Warmup show as Smürf (photo)
1990 (date unknown) Catlle Club, Sacramento, CA

OPENING FOR WORLD PARTY
9/09/90 Wadsworth, Los Angeles, CA
9/10/90 Warfield, San Francisco (World Party’s set)
9/12/90 Boulder Theatre, Denver, CO
9/15/90 Austin Opera House, Austin, TX
9/17/90 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN
9/19/90 The Vic, Chicago, IL
9/20/90 St Andrews Hall, Detroit MI
9/27/90 The Ritz, New York NY (review)
9/28/90 Chestnut Cabaret, Philadelphia PA
9/30/90 Lisner Auditorium, Washington, DC
10/2/90 Center Stage, Atlanta GA

10/24/90 Cal State Fullerton, Fullerton, CA free show
10/25/90 The Roxy, Los Angeles, CA
10/26/90 UCSD gym steps, San Diego, CA
10/27/90 The Pub, UCSB, Santa Barbara, CA (preview)
10/90 (date unknown) Club Lingerie, Hollywood CA (video)

11/8/90 St Andrews Hall, Detroit MI
11/11/90 Max’s, Baltimore, MD
11/13/90 9:30 Club, Washington, DC (preview #1) (preview #2)
11/15/90 Chuy’s, Tempe, AZ (w/Maggie’s Dream and Big Head Todd and The Monsters)
11/16/90 The Axis, Boston, MA
(date unknown) The Marquee, New York, NY
11/19/90 Cotton Club, Atlanta, GA w/Maggie’s Dream
11/25/90 Mercury Cafe, Denver, CO w/Maggie’s Dream

(DEC-FEB WITH NICO WENNER ON GUITAR, JASON HAD ARM SURGERY)
12/5/90 The Edge, Palo Alto, CA
2/17/91 Catcus Club, San Jose, CA
2/21/91 Bogart’s, Long Beach, CA, recorded for Westwood One
2/22/91 The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA
2/23/91 THE BACKDOOR SAN DIEGO, CA W/ IF TOMORROW, EVERYTHING
2/25/91 Slim’s, San Francisco, CA

JASON RETURNS
3/2/91 Bay Area Music Awards Broadcast on TV
3/5/91 UCLA, LOS ANGELES, CA W/ STEVEN BELLAMY & THE CHRONICLES (setlist)
3/11/91 The Backstage, Seattle, WA (Ken & Jon from the Posies jump onstage for “Go Your Own Way”) w/the First Thought
3/24/91 Appfel Park, Galveston, TX
4/5/91 GRANADA THEATRE, ONTARIO, CA (OPENING FOR REDD KROSS W/ THE TEXAS VAMPS)
4/6/91 University of Arizona Mall, Tuscon, AZ (opening for Redd Kross w/the Posies & Momma Stud) (can you say dream concert?)
4/91 KUKQ Birthday Bash ’91, Chandler Compadre Stadium w/Sisters of Mercy, Drivin n Cryin, Havana 3am, Danielle Dax (MTV report)

(date unknown) Harpo’s, Victoria, B.C., Canada

3 WEEK EUROPEAN TOUR (LATE APRIL)
Stockholm
Frankfurt
Munich
Hamburg
4/23/91 Manchester University Student Union, Manchester, UK
4/29/91 De Melkweg (Milky Way), Amsterdam, the Netherlands
5/2/91 The Underworld, London, UK

(OPENING FOR THE BLACK CROWES)
5/7/91 Township Auditorium, Columbia SC
5/9/91 Sunrise Musical Theater, Sunrise FL (w/JF?)
5/10/91 Orlando Sports Club, Orlando FL
5/11/91 Entertainment Center, Tampa FL (w/JF?)
5/12/91 Civic Auditorium, Jacksonville, FL
5/14/91 Bayfront Auditorium, Pensacola, FL
5/15/91 Andrew Jackson Hall, Nashville, TN
5/17/91 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL
5/18/91 Milwaukee-Eagles Club Ballroom or Central Park Ballrom(?), Milwaukee, WI
5/19/91 Adler Theatre-Rivercenter, Davenport, IA
5/21/91 Music Hall, Omaha, NE
5/22/91 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, MO
5/23/91 Made in OK, Oklahoma City, OK
5/24/91 Bronco Bowl, Dallas, TX
5/26/91 Unicorn, Houston, TX (or the Ritz in Ybor City, FL?)
5/27/91 Municipal Coliseum, Lubbock TX (w/JF?)
5/28/91 Convention Center/Exhibit Hall, Albuquerque, NM
5/29/91 Auditorium Theater, Denver, CO (Ebay poster auction)
5/31/91 Greek Theater, Richland, WA
6/1/91 Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR
6/2/91 Opera House, Spokane, WA
6/3/91 Paramount Theater, Seattle, WA
6/5/91 Warfield Theater, San Francisco, CA (poster)
6/6/91 Events Center, San Jose, CA (poster) (video JF w/BC)
6/7/91 Freeborn Hall, Davis, CA (poster)
6/8/91 SANTA BARBARA COUNTY BOWL, SANTA BARBARA, CA
6/10/91 Wilson Theater, Fresno, CA
6/11/91 91X STUDIOS (INTERVIEW, ACOUSTIC “KING”), SAN DIEGO, CA (autograph)
6/11/91 SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY OPEN AIR THEATRE, SAN DIEGO, CA 
6/12/91 Ampitheater, Mesa, AZ
6/13/91 Music Hall, Tuscon, AZ
6/15/91 Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, FM broadcast of Crowes set
6/16/91 GREEK THEATRE, LOS ANGELES, CA

6/24/91 Hard Rock Cafe, San Francisco, CA, FM broadcast
6/29/91 Milwaukee-Marcus Ampitheater, Milwaukee, WI (opening for the Violent Femmes with Fishbone)

(3 WEEK UK TOUR) (postcard)
7/11/91 Moles Club, Bath, England (or Town & Country Club?)
7/13/91 Wembley Stadium (Summer XS), London, England (opening for INXS w/Jesus Jones, Hothouse Flowers)
7/14/91 The Waterfront, Norwich, England
7/15/91 Duchess of York, Leeds, England
7/17/91 Wulfren Hall, Wolverhampton, England
7/18/91 The Venue, Edinburgh, Scotland
7/19/91 King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Scotland
7/21/91 Riverside, Newcastle, England
7/22/91 Manchester International 1, Manchester, England
7/23/91 Goldwyns, Birmingham, England
7/25/91 Bierkellar, Bristol, England
7/26/91 Town & Country, London, England

8/2/91 The Catalyst, Santa Cruz, CA
8/9/91 F/X, San Jose, CA
8/10/91 Slim’s, San Francisco, CA
9/3/91 NBC Studios, New York, NY, TV show taping “Late Night With David Letterman”
9/7/91 GASLAMP QUARTER (STREET SCENE) SAN DIEGO, CA (OPENING FOR PATO BANTON W/ SCHOOL OF FISH, NO DOUBT)

(END OF BELLYBUTTON TOURING, GO SPILL SOME MILK FER CHRISSAKE!)

12/13/92 Live 105 Acoustic Xmas show, San Francisco?, CA, FM broadcast
12/17/92 KFOG acoustic show, San Francisco?, CA, FM broadcast
2/10/93 FX, San Jose, CA
2/12/93 DNA LOUNGE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA (W/ SHONEN KNIFE)

4/1/93 HARD ROCK CAFE, SAN DIEGO, CA (OPENING FOR CRACKER)
4/3/93 SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN, CA 1:00 SHOW (postcard)
4/3/93 SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN, CA 3:00 SHOW
4/4/93 The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA (Palm Sunday over & over)
4/13/93 The Roxy, Phoenix, AZ
(date unknown) Tower Records, Austin TX
4/15/93 Liberty Lunch, Austin TX
4/16/93 Rome 90, Norman, OK
4/18/93 Starplex Amphitheater, Dallas, TX, 94.5 KDGE ‘Edge Fest’.w/Gumball, Dinosaur Jr., Pop Poppins, Tragically Hip, Gene Loves Jezebel, Belly, DADA, 808 State

4/21/93 Berlin, German (poster)
4/22/93 Luxor, Germany (image)
4/24/93 De Melkweg (Milky Way), Amsterdam, the Netherlands

SHORT UK TOUR
5/5/93 Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
5/6/93 Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, England
5/8/93 Roadmenders, Northhampton, England
5/12/93 Bristol University, England
5/13/93 Nottingham University, England
5/14/93 Manchester University Student Union, England
5/16/93 The Arches, Glasgow, Scotland
5/17/93 Leeds Metropolitan University
5/18/93 Redcar Bowl, England
5/20/93 Junction, Cambridge, England
5/21/93 The Astoria, London, England

U.S. TOUR WITH ANTENNA OPENING
This is a mishmash of tourdates sent out by the fanclub before the tour (a lot of ‘em were switched) and the corrections you guys have been helping me with.
5/26/93 The Grand, New York, NY
5/27/93 WBCN, Boston, MA interview & performance*
5/27/93 Thje Orpheum, Boston, MA
5/29/93 The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY
5/30/93 Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
5/31/93 Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
6/1/93 Toad’s Place, New Haven, CT
6/2/93 Babyhead, Providence, RI
6/4/93 The Academy, New York, NY
6/5/93 Tower Records, Philadelphia, PA
6/5/93 Trocadero, Philadelphia, PA
6/6/93 Bogie’s, Albany, NY
6/8/93 WHFS “Lunchtime” acoustic perf., Washington, DC, FM broadcast
6/8/93 Gaston Hall, Washington, DC
6/9/93 Club Rogues, Virginia Beach, VA
6/11/93 Tampa, FL
6/12/93 The Edge, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
6/13/93 Station, Orlando, FL
6/15/93 1313 Club, Charlotte, NC
6/17/93 328 Performance, Nashville, TN
6/18/93 City Stages, Birmingham, AL
6/19/93 Masquerade Music Park, Atlanta, GA “A Rock Garden Party” w/ Trash Can Sinatras, Dillon Fence, Hollyfaith (with Tim’s future Umajets singer Rob Aldridge)
6/22/93 Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA
6/23/93 The Varsity Theater, Baton Rouge, LA
6/24/93 Trees, Dallas, TX
6/25/93 Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, TX (w/dada) RAINED OUT
6/26/93 Columbia, MO
6/28/93 Mississippi Nights, St. Louis, MO
6/28/93 Rose Records acoustic perf, Chicago, IL
6/29/93 Cabret Metro, Chicago, IL
6/30/93 Milwaukee-SummerFest, Milwaukee, WI (w/Antenna, Material Issue and the Buck Pets)
7/2/93 Cleveland, OH CANCELLED BECAUSE TIM’S SON WAS BORN
7/3/93 St. Andrew’s Hall, Detroit, MI
7/4/93 Patio in Brewery District, Columbus, OH
7/6/93 First Avenue, Minneapolis, MN (No Matter What w/Joey Molland from Badfinger)
7/7/93 Ranch Bowl, Omaha, NE
7/8/93 Bottleneck, Kansas City, KS
7/10/93 Mercury Cafe, Denver, CO
7/11/93 Club DV8, Salt Lake City, UT
7/13/93 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
7/14/93 RCKNDY, Seattle, WA
7/15/93 Portland, OR
7/17/93 The Warfield, San Francisco, CA (videos)
7/18/93 Sacramento, CA
7/21/93 The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, CA
7/22/93 (daytime) Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, TV show taping, Dick Clark’s Battle of the Bands
7/22/93 TOWER SUNSET INSTORE, LOS ANGELES, CA (ACOUSTIC) (2)
7/23/93 The Palace, Hollywood, CA (w/ Antenna) (ticket/setlist/LA Times article)
7/24/93 Iguana’s, Tijuana, Mexico (w/ No Doubt) CANCELLED
7/25/93 Ventura Theatre, Ventura, CA

8/?/93 Endfest Festival, Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, OH w/The Jayhawks, Violent Femmes, L7, Gigolo Aunts, Candlebox, The Clarks, The Odds, Tears for Fears

9/9/93 FM Yokohama, Japan acoustic perf
9/12/93 Shibuya On Air, Tokyo, Japan
9/14/93 Nagoya Quattro, Japan
9/15/93 Tokyo, Japan
9/19/93 Tokyo, Japan (setlist)
9/21/93 JJJ Radio, Australia
9/24/93 Selinas, Sydney, Australia (opening for Died Pretty)
(date unknown) The Palace, St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia
9/28/93 Honolulu, HI, The Garage

(OPENING FOR TEARS FOR FEARS)
10/4/93 State Theater, New Brunswick, NJ (Jellyfish cancelled)
10/5/93 Beacon Theatre, New York, NY
10/6/93 The Chance, Poughkeepsie, NY
10/8/93 WXPN, Philadelphia, PA, “Fundraiser” acoustic perf
10/8/93 Tower Theater, Philadelphia
10/9/93 Shippensburg University, Shippensbeurg, PA
10/11/93 Chrysler Hall, Norfolk, VA
10/12/93 Constitution Hall, Washington, DC
10/15/93 Shea’s Buffalo, Buffalo,NY
10/16/93 University of Connecticut, Hartford, CT
10/19/93 Holiday Star Theatre, Merrilville, IN
10/20/93 Fox Theatre, Detroit, MI
10/22/93 Palace Theater, Columbus, OH
10/23/93 Milwaukee-Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI
10/24/93 American Theatre, St. Louis, MO
10/25/93 Memorial Hall, Kansas City, MO
10/27/93 Paramount, Denver, CO
10/28/93 Salt Air Ampitheatre, Salt Lake City, UT
10/30/93 Alladin Theater, Las Vegas, NV
10/31/93 USD, SAN DIEGO, CA (HEADLINING SHOW W/ NO DOUBT)
11/1/93 The 5th Avenue Theatre, Seattle, WA
11/2/93 Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Vancouver, BC, Canada
11/4/93 UNIVERSAL AMPITHEATRE, LOS ANGELES, CA
11/5/93 Universal Ampitheatre, Los Angeles, CA
11/7/93 San Jose Events Center, San Jose, CA (poster)
11/9/93 San Diego Civic Center.San Diego, CA
11/10/93 Gammage Auditorium, Tempe, AZ
11/12/93 Bomb Factory, Dallas TX  (w/JF?)
11/13/93 Rockefeller’s West, Houston, TX
11/14/93 San Antonio(?)
11/15/93 State Palace Theatre, New Orleans, LA
11/16/93 Cotton Club, Atlanta, GA
11/17/93 Orlando, FL
11/18/93 Ft. Myers, FL
11/19/93 Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersberg, FL
11/20/93 Broward County Fairgrounds, Hallandale, FL (the last show ever)

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JACK McDOWELL CHIN MUSIC INTERVIEW

When I first started Rookie Card in 2001, I was excited to finally be playing my own songs and would busk outside of shows for fun sometimes.  Once I went to play near the exit door of Solana Beach’s Belly Up at an Old 97’s show. A tall, bearded man came out to have a smoke while the band was still on, so I started playing.  He nodded and after awhile said, “I like your songs.  You remind me of Scott McCaughey.” He was testing me.  “I love the Young Fresh Fellows!” I replied and we bonded on all things Replacementsy.  After playing for the departing concertgoers, I went inside to say hi to the band. Rhett took me aside and said, “Do you know who that is?”  I hadn’t followed baseball since my early childhood obsession so I’d never heard of Jack McDowell.  He probably appreciated that.

jackm1Besides being the winningest American League pitcher of the 90’s, Jack is an unabashed music fan. He’d started his own band, Stickfigure, and we played together a time or two. I’d just fallen in love with Kevin Chanel’s baseball/punk magazine Chin Music!  I’d been wanting to do more musicwriting and both Jack and Kevin agreed to an interview. I went up to his house in Del Mar and we talked a long while about baseball and music.  It was good and lengthy enough to be a two part article, so I focused on baseball in part one.  Before we could publish part two, Kevin stopped doing the magazine. RIP

Some of the old articles, including a GREAT one with Johnny Ramone and A’s owner Billy Beane and Apollo 9 from RFTC talking about meat prep, are archived on the magazine’s website but my interview never was.  You can buy back issues from their site. Do it. Writing about the Old 97’s for the ABC’s of Rock on the YDG Facebook page made me want to dig up a photo of Jack and I from when I had him play acoustically at M-Theory Music.  I came up empty, so I thought I’d at least put the article up online.  Someday, I’ll come across the cassette again and put up part two of the interview….

START SPREADIN’ THE BOOS!
Recently, ChinMusic! was lucky enough to sit with real-life ex-Yankee & rock star-in-waiting “Black” Jack McDowell. He’s one of the few baseball players to ever take being a musician seriously, first fronting the band V.I.E.W. in the early 90’s which eventually turned into his new band, Stickfigure. In the first of our two-part interview, McDowell focuses mainly on his time pitching in the Big Apple. The winningest American League pitcher of the 1990’s spent the 1995 season with the Yanks, posting an impressive 15-10 record, leading the league in complete games and pick-off throws, while finishing top 10 in strikeouts and shutouts. Though only in New York for one season, he made quite an impression, pitching the team into the playoffs AND making the best use of a middle finger since Billy Martin’s 1972 baseball card. To many, including this magazine’s editor; whose band dressed in ChiSox uniforms onstage in tribute, McDowell was the perfect marriage of rock and baseball. It’s not surprising that he loved being in NYC. Correspondent Adam Gimbel visited him at his home in Del Mar, California.

jack sportingChinMusic!: You were in New York for a year. Did you live there?
Jack McDowell: Yeah, on the upper west side. We’d just had our first kid, Lucas, in February of that year. We were living in Chicago and coming out of the strike. I didn’t know where I was going to be. I got traded by the White Sox during the strike so no one knew whether it was valid or not. I was supposed to be a free agent that year but I was 13 days short because they weren’t counting the time that I was on strike. Kenny Rogers and I were the only two players that didn’t get our free agency that year. So, I had to play seven seasons to become a free agent. It was screwed but it turned out being fun. New York was probably the most fun year I had in baseball.
CM: Really?
JM: Yeah, because the team was great. The guys were great.They hadn’t been to the playoffs in 13 years and we got to the playoffs and Mattingly got to be in the playoffs before he got out of there.
CM: You had a pretty good year.
JM: I was 15-10 and it was a shortened season. I ended up missing my last few starts of the season before the playoffs because I had a torn lat (latisimus dorsi) muscle. No one ever knew. We couldn’t say anything because we were going into the playoffs and they knew I wouldn’t be able to heal but I said,”Screw it. I’m just gonna roll with it.” I had this golf ball sticking out of the back of my lat. So I missed the last two starts of the season but still ended up, like, third in the league in innings.
jackm2CM: It looked like you had a good year but what everyone remembers is you flipping off the crowd at Yankee Stadium. Was that just you having a bad day?
JM: I went in there as their number two starter. Jimmy Key was our number one and past me were basically fill in starters. Jimmy made two starts and then he was done.When Jimmy went down, (manager) Buck told me, “You’re an innings guy. I know you don’t care what your ERA is. You’re going to have to suck it up this year. You’re gonna have to take the ball and if you’re getting beat up, you’re going to have to stay out there.” Before I missed my last starts of the season, I was leading the league in innings by, like, 20 innings. It was ridiculous. But, I wasn’t giving up four runs in three innings, I was giving up seven runs in seven innings and stayed out there to get pounded on, if I was having a bad day. I had a couple of those starts in a row and I was getting booed and then the White Sox came into town. My old team beat the crap out of me, hit three home runs. I gave up about seven runs but I ended up sticking out there. Just kept going and I was getting booed. I said, “You know what? That is enough!” New York guys are supposed to be smart. They’re supposed to get it.That this was admirable what I was doing and I just snapped. Rather than bitching about it in the media, I just covered it in one fell swoop.They got it. though.They did understand. People on the outside were like “Oh, he hates it in New York. He’s cracking under the New York pressure.” The assumption is that I hated it there and I had a horrible year but it wasn’t that way at all. I had fun. It was a great team. It was a great year. There was that incident but after that I was like a folk hero. (years later, Scott McCaughey’s band the Baseball Project paid homage to the incident in “The Yankee Flipper”) 
CM: How did it feel to know that you were going to be a Yankee? There’s such a legacy. Were you into that when you were a kid?
JM: I grew up in Van Nuys, so I was a huge Dodgers fan but if you’re a baseball fan, you know about that legacy. It was great to be a Yankee, at least for that one year.The strangest thing was changing teams in general. After spending six years with one team, you hate everyone that isn’t in your clubhouse and all of a sudden they hate you! I go into a new clubhouse and they’re thinking one thing about me and they don’t know anything about me.
CM: You were a Dodgers fan but you ended up with all American League teams.
JM: I know, I know and I was a good hitter too! I never understood why a National League team never picked me up.
CM: Could you actually try to get picked up by a National League team?
JM:Well, my only chance was when I was a free agent one year and we only had two offers. One was from the Marlins, who’d just started, and the other one was the Indians. No one was getting free agents.
CM: Did you try to call the Dodgers? I’d assume you’d want to be a Dodger.
jack rcJM: We tried to get the Dodgers to pick me. They were a few picks after the White Sox when I was drafted out of college. We were trying to sneak by, telling the White Sox I didn’t want to sign with them but they picked me anyways and you pretty much have to go where you’re picked. It ended up being great. We had a great team and it’s a super city.
CM: So when you grew up, were most of your early baseball heroes Dodgers?
JM: Oh yeah.
CM: Such as?
JM: You know. The Garvey, Cey, Lopes, Russell years. Dusty Baker and that whole thing.Those were my guys. When I was a kid, I had a Steve Garvey t-shirt that my brother painted for me. He was the only player that I sent away for his autograph and I got it back. I remember when I was 9, I had a 12 year old kid I was hanging out with and we all had baseball card collections. I traded all my dad and brothers’ 1920’s cards for that year’s Dodgers. Like,”Yeah, here’s Babe Ruth’s rookie card for Billy Grabarkewitz. You know? Bill Singer!
CM: Did you get to see Drysdale or any of those guys?
JM: No, but he was my first announcer for the White Sox when I was there. It was crazy because as a rookie, I came in and Jerry Reuss was there and (Tom) Paciorek was doing the TV and Drysdale was there. A couple of years later, they traded for Charlie Hough. CM: Were you wanting to be a pitcher when you were younger?
JM:I always was. I played pitcher and shortstop when I was younger. I went into college as a shortstop AND as a pitcher but I ended up just pitching. I was a big Bob Welch fan.That was my guy. I ended up pitching against him. I also pitched against Tommy John when he was at the end of his career with the Yankees. Both of my brothers played at USC and they used to play the Dodgers every spring. I have a picture of me getting Tommy John’s autograph when I was, like, 7 years old. I always wanted to pull that out and show him.  (note: in Feb 2014, McDowell was named manager of the Dodgers’ Ogden farm team)
CM: What do you remember about your first trip to New York?
JM: I remember room service being crazy expensive as much as anything. I mean, it was cool. I don’t remember being in awe of the stadium or anything. I just remember how very cool it was to be there and check it out and then ordering a couple of beers and a shrimp cocktail and having it be about a hundred bucks.
CM: So you’d already been to Yankee Stadium before you were a Yankee. What were your first memories of going there?
JM: It’s crazy going to EVERY big league park for the first time. First of all, you get to see all these places you’ve only seen on TV and, secondly, you’re pitching against a team where you know everybody in the lineup. Like, “Oh my god, I know all of these guys!” When you first get to the big leagues, you don’t know who your “outs” are and who the dangerous guys are. I tell rookies that you know you’ve made it when you know these guys are the “outs” and these are the guys I have to worry about.
CM: How was it having a newborn kid in New York? Were you walking him in Central Park and all that?
JM: Oh yeah, we were right by the park. We’d take those walks. It was a new team and a new city. Like I said, I didn’t know what team I was going to be playing for. I get a call from the Yankees when the strike broke,”Okay, we’ll see you at spring training in 48 hours.” Spring training was in Ft. Lauderdale and I was in California at the time. So I was on the phone with the (players) union saying”Is this real? Is that where I’m going?” I had to fly out there and then fly up to New York and get a place for us to live for the season while the season was starting. It was crazy. It was a crazy, crazy year.jack-mcdowell
CM: You were living in town. Were you able to go out at night?
JM: Not really. We had a new kid, so we were just trying to figure out parenting as much as anything. I had a couple of fun nights. I had one great night where we went to the R.E.M. concert at Madison Square Garden and we went out with all those guys afterwards, the Smithereens and Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows) who’d just started playing with R.E.M.. I was late for stretching the next day. Let’s put it that way. It was a Saturday night and there was a Sunday day game and I was late the next day.
CM: Was there anyone on the Yankees that could relate?
JM:Yeah, there were a few guys that were into it. They knew I was a huge R.E.M. fan. They understood that I could be late that one day to check in with my heroes. (check out Instream’s recent Jack interview where they talk a whole lotta R.E.M. -ed.)
CM: Had you already known the Smithereens?
JM:Yeah. we had already done a tour with them around ’91. It was the winter of ’91 when V.I.E.W. opened a tour for them.
CM: What other New York bands are some of your favorites? Stickfigure covers the Velvets (“Rock and Roll”).
JM:Yeah, I like all the stuff that was considered punk back then. But that’s not what people consider punk now. It was just basically straightforward rock from guys who weren’t into studio slick.There was some serious songs but some of it was funny and tongue-in-cheek. I like all that stuff from that era.
CM: Did you get to go to any of the smaller clubs?
JM: It’s tough during the season because someone will come through town when you’re not there. I wasn’t hanging out at clubs. In baseball, its tough because you get home at 12:30, you know? It’s different on the road because you’re just sitting there wasting time.You go out more on the road because your wife and kids aren’t there.You can get out of there and go to a club on the way back to the hotel.
CM: So you were just there for the one season?
JM: Just one year and I was a free agent after that year. Me & Coney (David Cone) were free agents. They fired Buck Showalter and they hadn’t hired Joe Torre yet and I had to make a decision. So I decided to sign with Cleveland. They were in the Series two years later.
CM: So, you got an apartment and you were only there for a year?
JM: Really just six months. As soon as the season was done, we moved back to Chicago and I ended up signing with Cleveland. Later, we moved to Cleveland and bought a house, had another kid, played that one season and had surgery the next season.That was pretty much it. I played two more years with the Angels, starting the season seeing if I could pitch without that muscle in my arm and it didn’t happen.
CM: What do you remember about 9/11?
JM:We were in Chicago.We were supposed to play a gig there on the 12th.The first I heard of it was our drummer waking me up in the morning from the airport saying there was something wrong with his flight. So I’m awake and on hold with United and I turn the TV on. I’m trying to focus on it I don’t know what it is, a burning building or whatever and then BOOM! The second plane goes in right as I’m watching. So I hang up the phone and turn it up to find out what’s going on. We were in downtown Chicago, so I’m on my balcony thinking “If they drop that Sears Tower, which you KNOW is next, we’re right here.” So, I’m FREAKING out. Mike (Mesaros, Stickfigure/Smithereens bass player) knew people that were in the building that got out. I knew friends of friends there but no one immediate.
CM: Did you actually use the phrase “chin music”?
JM: I’m trying to think of what we’d say. We’d probably say “knock ‘em down” more than -chin music”.
CM: Because, you were known for throwing high and tight.
jackm5JM: It’s so funny because I was known for that and it’s a crackup because I never hit more than, like, four guys in a particular season. Greg Maddux will hit 15 a year. I actually had veterans come over to our team and say, “You need to hit more people.You’ve got that reputation. You should just hit someone randomly, just to keep it in the back of their minds.” But I didn’t even have to. I’ve got this image that I do that anyways and it came from when I first got called up from college. I was primarily a two-pitch pitcher. I didn’t have a really good curveball. I had a fastball and a split-finger fast-ball. I didn’t have the normal split where they’d throw it in the ground and guys would swing at it. I had to throw mine for a strike. Over time, it became a great pitch for me. I was really basically a one and a half pitch pitcher, so I had to use my fastball a lot. Carlton Fisk was king on using the fastball, just moving it in and out in the right place. There were times in the first couple years where I’m throwing to Pudge (Fisk) where I would go into the windup and he’d move over to where he’s going and I can’t see him because he’s set up BEHIND the batter. (Adam laughs) You know? He’s set up and you can JUST see his glove sticking out behind the guy’s thigh. (thinking out loud) “So I’m throwing inside, man.” So, I got pegged as not being afraid to throw inside. But, I always threw inside to try to throw strikes to try to get people out.Very rarely did I waste a pitch just to get someone off the plate. I hated wasting pitches.
CM: Was it more up to the catcher to do that? I know there’s a signal for coming in tight, but, is there an actual signal for “knock ‘em down”?
JM: There’s a signal for “knock ‘em down”. Everyone’s got one but you can’t use it so much these days because you’ve got cameras. If a fight starts, they’re going to go back and see that the catcher gave the sign. Usually, when you see fights, it’s because someone got hit and then you’re in the dugout (and see it on a monitor), so everyone sort of gives the high sign that we’ve got one coming to us.
CM: Did you ever have a theme song like “Hell’s Bells” or something?
JM: The only time I had something on when I came out on the mound that they didn’t pick was one year in Cleveland, I had them play Pearl Jam’s “Present Tense”. I’d started seeing a sports psychologist, sort of a mental coach and his whole thing was to just stay in the present tense. It’s so easy to say and so hard to do. In baseball, if you throw a pitch and give up a home run, who gives a crap? You’ve gotta throw the next pitch. If you’re gonna trip about it, then your next pitch is going to be terrible. It’s all about “Next pitch, next pitch.” If you stay in the present, you’re going to look back and you won’t know what happened but you’re going to be good.That song came out almost exactly the time when I started seeing that guy. It was like (to Eddie Vedder), “You’re thinking along the same lines.” So I had them play that. It was a little knee-jerk. They played it as I ran out and warmed up for the game. It’s kind of a mellow song but it was good. It wasn’t like I was trying to trip anyone out. I was just trying to get in my own zone.

jack stickIn the next issue of ChinMusic!, McDowell discusses what it’s like to be into “weird” music in a locker room full of jocks and being an ex-athlete trying to make it in the music world.
Check out Stickfigure’s website at http://www.stickfigure.com (link to archived version). Their new album, Ape of Kings, is out now on What Are Records? It’s available through their website at http://www.war.com (link to archived site, War.com now belongs to the band War).