ABC’S OF ROCK: THE SHOWS

I talked a little bit about my alphabet obsession on the first ABC’s Of Rock post but how has this obsession played itself out? A few ways…..

1. KCR When I DJ’d at San Diego State University’s radio station in my freshman year, I’d start the show by playing a song by a band for every letter of the alphabet. It was fun but I only recorded my show once. It was stolen along with a briefcase full of other irreplaceable tapes when I moved back to LA for a few months. Welcome back to Hollywood, kid.

2. ABC’S OF RIFFS When I first started playing solo shows, I got asked to open for a (then) hilarious local singer named Jose Sinatra at Java Joe’s, a coffeehouse known for launching the careers of Steve Poltz, Jewel & Jason Mraz (who actually did my sound for my first set or two). I decided to end my set with a quick medley of famous riffs by bands for each letter of the alphabet. The crowd ate it up and the host was so shocked that he got on the mic right after and said “I’ve never heard anything like that!” to which the owner Java Joe yelled “AND YOU NEVER WILL AGAIN!” Apparently, he wasn’t a fan so when Jose insisted I open his next show, the sweetheart owner made me go on before the scheduled time so that almost no one would see me. I played one song then did the same thing with 26 different riffs and never played there again. Thank god.

3. BACK TO BACK ALPHABET SHOWS
I’d always wanted to somehow play a set that consisted of songs for each letter. In May of 2006, I did two alphabet shows. Well, one and a half. For the first one, Rookie Card opened for UK new romantic superstars ABC at the San Diego House Of Blues by pitching the booker on the idea of us doing a set consisting of a song for the first 13 letters of the alphabet. The crowd dug our set packed with 80’s tunes, chanting along appropriately with “GIMME AN A! GIMME A B….” and, even better, Martin Fry & the band loved it too.

SETLIST:
American Girl (Tom Petty)/Last Nite (The Strokes)
Bananarama (Cruel Summer)/Anything Anything (Dramarama)
Clash (London Calling/Rock The Casbah)
Devil Went Down To Georgia (Charlie Daniels)
Elvis Costello (Radio Radio)
Freebird/Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Girls (Beastie Boys) by audience vote
Henley (Boys Of Summer)
In Bed/True (Rookie Card/Spandau Ballet)
Just What I Needed (The Cars) (After The Beep by RC)
Kiss (Prince)
Love Vigilantes (New Order)
Mossy/Makin’ Love Out Of Nothing At All/Lost In Love (Air Supply)

Not long after the HOB show, Blasphemous Guitars was supposed to open for an LA U2 tributeband when, not one but TWO BG’s ended up in the hospital. The show must go on so I decided to do an A-Z one-man set with help from a few friends. From the very first song, it was a huge singalong. The best part was the drunk guy who kept yelling for Johnny Cash no matter what letter I was on.

The A-Z set:
American Girl (Tom Petty)/Last Nite (The Strokes)
Blasphemous Rumors (Depeche Mode)
Cars (Just What I Needed)
Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey) by audience request
Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode) by audience vote
Freebird/Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Gogos (Our Lips Are Sealed)
Hell’s Bells (AC/DC)
I Melt With You (Modern English)
Just Can’t Get Enough (Depeche Mode)
Kiss (Prince)
Love Vigilantes (New Order)
More Than Words (Extreme)/Somebody (Depeche Mode)
Never Let Me Down (Depeche Mode) w/Night Ranger thrown in by request
Oasis (Champagne Supernova)
Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode)
Queen (Crazy Little Thing Called Love)
Rejoice (U2) with Ophelia Handful from Sultry Savage Burlesque disrobing out of
a Catholic schoolgirl outfit for the Irish Catholics
Say It Ain’t So (Weezer)
Take The Skinheads Bowling (Camper Van Beethoven)
U2 (All I Want Is You)
Violent Femmes (Blister In The Sun sung to All I Want Is You)
Who (Baba O’Reily sung to All I Want Is You)
Xanadu (ONJ)
Young, Neil (Heart Of Gold)
full band: ZZ Blues (Sesame Street)
plus I Wanna Sex You Up/Badd To The Bono/Bad Boys sung to U2’s “Bad”
Phew!

4. ABC’S OF ROCK, PART 1. Cover Me Badd started to do a series of monthly shows at the San Diego Sports Club RIP and one idea I had was to have a show for each letter of the alphabet. Each night would have a few bands that started with that letter doing originals and one cover by another act that started with that letter. Our first show, Straight A’s, was on a Saturday night with a great bill but SDSC got shut down before we could do it. Desperate to still put it on, I struck out finding a date that worked for everyone and ended up doing a daytime version with different bands (including Addiquit & Grampadrew) at a coffeehouse to almost no one. Republic Of Letters became A Republic Of Letters. I was desperate. At least the other part of the show I wanted to do was fun: getting a band of people whose names started with that letter together to do a set of songs of the same letter. THE A TEAM (me with friends Alex, Adam & Andrew) played The A Team themesong, “Laika” by Arcade Fire, an Air Supply medley, “Here I Am Baby” by Al Green and “The Sign” by Ace of Base. We never did a B show.

5. ABC’S OF ROCK, PART 2 I finally got my wish of doing an entire ABC’s OF ROCK show with a song for each letter of the alphabet this year at a benefit with Geezer and the School of Rock. It turned out to be an incredible night at Space4Art in downtown San Diego. In addition to the alphabet concert, there was an artshow by artists who created pieces for each letter of the alphabet. Check out Justin Hudnall’s amazing photos of the art and the concert on So Say We All’s Facebook photo gallery.

SETLIST

School of Rock
A is for AC/DC (Let There Be Rock)
B is for Black Keys
C is for Cat Stevens
D is for the Doors
E is for Elton John
F is for Flaming Lips (Race For The Prize)
G is for Al Green

=G=
H is for Buddy Holly =W= & Hava Nagila
I is for If You’re Wondering (Weezer)
J is for Jump Around (House Of Pain)
K is for Kids (MGMT)
L is for Lee Lewis (Great Balls Of Nirvana’s Sliver)
M is for My Name Is Jonas (Weezer)

SOR
N is for Nick Lowe (So It Goes)
O is for One More Time (Joe Jackson)
P is for Pearl Jam (Eldery Woman…)
Q is for Queens Of The Stone Age
R is for Rock Your Body (JT)
S is for Substitute (Who!?)

=G=
T is for Take The Skinheads Bowling (Camper Van Beethoven)
U is for “Undone – The Sweater Song” (Weezer)
V is for Violent Femmes (Blister)
W is for Weezer (request)
X is for XTC (Making Plans For Nigel)
Y is for Young MC (Buster Move)
Z is for ZZ Blues (Sesame St)
Next ABC blog? THE ABC’S OF KARAOKE….

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