Wait, did they REALLY come in at number- this thing MUST be rigged. The most successful coverband in the countdown. Yeah, they actually came in at #40, beating Tears For Fears (who they co-headlined XFest with in 1993) by just one point. They had the honor of being #1 in the station’s very first countdown.
40. UB40 42. Please Don’t Make Me Cry, 1. Red Red Wine (1983), 48. Red Red Wine, 35. If It Happens Again (84), 29. I Got You Babe (w/Chrissy Hynde) (85) , 50. Watchdogs (86) 26. Breakfast in Bed w/Chrissy Hynde 8. Where Did I Go Wrong? (88) 75. Here I Am Baby 20. The Way You Do the Things You Do (90) 84. I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight (w/ Robert Palmer)(91) 76. Can’t Help Falling In Love 74. Higher Ground (93) 628 points/13 songs
To make up for posting this photo, I will now share the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever posted here at Yer Doin Great. As some of you know, I’ve been posting scans from my concert scrapbook here on the page but stopped about a week ago. That’s because I found some handwritten show reports I did in my first year of college. They’re LONG so I’ve been procrastinating editing down highlights, especially for the eleven page account of the first ever KROQ Acoustic Christmas show at Universal Amphitheater (RIP) from December 1990. Plus I was mortified to read what I wrote about Social Distortion. Let’s just say that my opinion has changed. But, just for Marie, here is the complete, unedited account of how I felt about them as a teenager. Enjoy the eloquent writing skills.
“Judging by all of the shirts and jackets, Social Distortion should’ve been headlining (Dramarama did). A DJ said that they were going to cheat and kick a little ass instead of going a total acoustic route. I think that one guy played an acoustic, the lead singer played a twangy, old, cool lookin’ guitar, they had a bassist and they had a drummer. The bassist held his guitar really low like Paul Simonon of the Clash, like it SHOULD be held. The bassists from Replacements, Fishbone and other groups do it and it looks cool when you swing it real quick. The drummer was this overweight guy in a leather jacket that was too small for him.
They started out with some rocker I didn’t know that made everyone stand up. After years of playing hardcore punk, they know(sic) play simple rock and roll songs. The lead singer has this really great gruff voice. He can’t sing a note but, he’s been through a lot so it doesn’t matter He licked heroin addiction and a lot of their newer songs reflect it. I kept on thinking of him as a sort of modern day bluesman. I can’t remember their whole set but “Prison Bound” was definitely second. The crowd cheered when the chords became obvious. Great tune, everyone sang the chorus. They must’ve played a somewhat slow song next because everyone sat down. He then said they were going to do a song by Johnny Cash. Jim & I high fived across Dan because we knew they did “Ring Of Fire” but then they played something we didn’t know. A harmonica player was brought out to do a cool bluesy rocker called “Drug Train”, obviously autobiographical.
The crowd obviously wanted to hear “Ball And Chain”. KROQ had actually been playing their new single “Story Of My Life” a lot more so I was expecting it before the big one. Unfortunately they ended up not playing it. They announced “Ball & Chain” to pandomonium. I just about jumped as 6500 people all sang, “Well it’s been ten years and a thousand tears.” We all looked at each other. Talk about crowd participation. I’d never heard anything like it. They sounded great, even without the distorted guitars. Actually, I was thinking how cool it was going to sound acoustically. KROQ had announced they were giving away 45’s of an acoustic version of “Ball” at the show. The lead singer totally drew out the pauses in the song: stepping away from the mike (spitting once) and letting the crowd go nuts as everyone did a collective headbang when it kicked in again. I didn’t think they could top it but (I thought) they did. After a brief recollection of seeing the Stones play on the same stage when he was a kid they did “The Last Time”. Great call, much better than Transvision Vamp’s version. He almost sounded British, “Mahy-be thah lahst tahm, I doh know.”
(re: all-star “Jingle Bell Rock” finale) Social D kept trying to leave but they’d go “One more time” and they’d turn around….We were out the door when the last note hit but we still weren’t in time. I’d say we were in the first 30% of the people to get out the door but there was a SEA of people and no singles to be found. There some empty boxes and I saw a guy reading his single, sounding out each syllable like he couldn’t read. “Ball and Chain, (flips over record) Ball and Chain” I saw this girl handing out some cards so I got one. It was a postcard you could send in to whatever record company to get your single….I got my Ball & Chain single in the mail a few weeks later. It’s very cool: just an acoustic, a sleigh bell as percussion and a little bit of backup vocals. I still want to get Dramarama and Social D.”
39. SOCIAL DISTORTION 31. Ball and Chain (90) 87. When She Began 22. Bad Luck (92) 36. I Was Wrong (96) 77. Don’t Drag Me Down (97) 26. Reach For The Sky (04) 26. Far Behind (07) 56. Far Behind (08) 49. Machine Gun Blues (10) 37. Gimme the Sweet an Lowdown 19. California Hustle and Flow 5. Machine Gun Blues (11) 633 points/12 songs
38. AFI 54. The Days Of The Phoenix (01) 82. Dancing through Sunday 60. The Leaving Song Pt. 2 43. Silver and Cold 7. Girls Not Grey (03) 51. Head Like A Hole 16. Silver and Cold (04) 66. Rabbits are roadkill On Rt 37 (05) 88. The Missing Frame 38. Love Like Winter 4. Miss Murder (06) 89. Beautiful Thieves 12. Medicate (09) 75. Beautiful Thieves 60. Medicate (10) 635/15
Ah, the B’s. My earliest memory of them was “Rock Lobster” coming on the Mighty 690 and my poor mom tolerating but then the DJ accidentally played it again. She shut it off QUICK. That “Lobster”/”Private Idaho” was one of the first 45’s I ever owned. Had loved ’em for years but when they started touring on Cosmic Thing I finally got to witness the fun firsthand….three times on that tour: Irvine Meadows, NYE 89/90 and XFest III at SDSU Aztec Bowl. When I went to work for Direct Mgmt in LA, they handled the band and I talked to at least one of them every day. I never got used to hearing THOSE voices. “Where’s my telephone?!” indeed. They were nice enough to let us put “Summer of Love” on Songs For Summer and even finally played it at Humphrey’s the last time I saw them, introducing it by saying “It’s all about Summer and lovin’!”.
37. THE B-52’s 70. Legal Tender, 65. Song for a Future Generation, 38. Whammy Kiss (1983), 85. Whammy Kiss (1984), 42. Girl From Ipanema 18. Wig 8. Summer of Love (86) 25. Roam 8. Channel Z 1. Love-Shack (89) 71. Revolution Earth 32. Good Stuff (92) 641/12
I wasn’t there to see them that night at the Casbah (video link below). I went to see the Waxwings and they were great but the Von Bondies stole the show. I didn’t “get” Jack and Meg but no one could follow the Bondies that night. Luckily I got wise not long after and have been a huge fan ever since. Jason from Rookie Card did the White Christmas Stripes with Emily from Bunky as a one-off way before anyone got most of the jokes. But because he did, a lazy CityBeat journalist (ok it was Will Schilling) reviewed our first album saying we wished we were the Stripes. So we dressed in red and white and invited him to the show. He didn’t get the joke, screaming “How can you say you don’t want to be them if you’re DRESSED like them!?” Har. Years later, me & my grand daughters Brandy & Rachel did the Gray Stripes at Geezer shows and last year, the Blasphemous Guitars showed up for a midweek Casbah benefit we knew would be empty and instead of playing a full set, covered their infamous one note show…IN FULL. I think I only saw them one other time, at SOMA. They did Arthur Lee’s “Five String Serenade” and I almost fainted. Could’ve been the heat.
36. WHITE STRIPES 18. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground 5. Fell In Love With A Girl (02) 14. The Hardest Button To Button 3. Seven Nation Army (03) 78. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself (04) 17. Blue Orchid 12. My Doorbell (05) 44. You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You’re Told) 3. Icky Thump (07) 84. Icky Thump (08) 642/10
Not my thing but nice to see a local band so high in the countdown. I only saw them once when they visited Berkeley with Blink. I vaguely remember being surprised they mixed in a bit of metal into the punk. I’ve heard weird tales of firing band members but one of them paid for two Geezer grankids to be part of the School of Rock’s West Coast Allstar tour, so good for them. The most memorable thing in recent years was when ex-drummer Wade Youman drunkedly knocked over a ton of chairs after the San Diego Music Awards. Zach from Geezer threw a cup in the general direction of security and one of them caught it one-handed, achieving instant internet fame.
35. UNWRITTEN LAW 41. Superman 29. Denied (96) 77. Lonesome 61. Holiday (98) 43. Lonesome 8. Cailin (99) 68. Actress, Model… 44. Up All Night 9. Seein’ Red (02) 80. Rest of my Life (03) 37. Save Me (04) 33. She Says (05) 40. Shoulda Known Better (06) 74. Shoulda Known Better (08) 644/14
Like a lot of SoCal ska lovers, I heard about ND in the early 90’s and got my first dose when they played a noontime show at my school (photo below). The next week at the Roxy, Gwen said someone at CSUN stole her Notre Dame hat. I was so ashamed. Hopefully this photo of the first ND football unis will make up for it. Saw them a few fun times after that, usually with cast members of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose dancing around us (anyone remember that show?). In 1993, they opened for Jellyfish on Halloween at USD. Gwen was either Alice (Wonderland) or Dorothy and was adorable, of course. She invited folks in costume up onstage for a quick contest. JF fans got the joke as I was dressed as their song “The King Is Half Undressed”. A couple of years later, I was working for well-known nice guys Direct Mgmt in LA and we always had great bands asking us to represent them. No Doubt sent over Tragic Kingdom songs before they were released and I knew that they were going to be huge. I told the bosses that songs this catchy with a girl that pretty singing them couldn’t lose but they weren’t taking on any new acts (they still flew to Chicago to talk to the Pumpkins, though). Next time I saw them, things were getting…um…bananas at a 91X SOMA show with Blink. They opened with the Imperial March. Serious fun. When I went to LA to see the Specials a couple of years ago, the balcony lit up like 1930’s paparazzi and when we craned our neck to see who the hell could cause such a commotion, it was Gwen and Gavin and the boys. Who’da thunk? ME! I CALLED IT!
34. NO DOUBT 40. Just a Girl (95) 39. Happy Now 26. Don’t Speak 4. Spider Webs 2. Just A Girl (96) 74. Sunday Morning 56. Excuse Me Mister (97) 25. New (99) 55. Ex-Girlfriend 43. Simple Kind Of Life 24. Bathwater (00) 6. It’s My Life (03), 74. Settle Down (12) 728/13
I immediately disliked “Creep” but when star Capitol Records intern Mike Byer slipped me Pablo Honey, I sure dug it. By the time, The Bends came out, I was in love but, for me, it never got any better than that. I saw them twice on that tour, once in LA opening for Soul Asylum(?!) and at a 91X show where poor Cracker and Insane Clown Posse(!??!) had to follow them. They skipped San Diego for years after that until a 2003 Coors Ampitheater show. I have a shirt buried somewhere that says “I SAW RADIOHEAD WITH ALL MY FRIENDS” and had people sign it when I ran into them. Sara Dozier wrote the setlist on the back. It’s worth millions.
33. RADIOHEAD 5. Creep (93) 42. Fake Plastic Trees (95) 54. Paranoid Andriod 34. Karma Police (97) 24. Karma Police (98) 25. Optimistic (00) 55. Idioteque 40. I Might Be Wrong (01) 56. A Punch Up At A Wedding 36. Go To Sleep 9. There There (03) 50. Bodysnatcher (07) 37. Bodysnatchers (08) 729/13
Is this guy really singing about how he doesn’t think Elvis is dead THAT earnestly? And so it began… My friends enormous opened a bunch of their first big east coast dates along with the Toadies. Once, Bush’s asshole tour manager got pissed during the band’s soundcheck and made the Toadies stand outside in the snow. We went to the LA show, with Hum in enormous’ place and, of course, they were all as nice as can be so it was hard to not like them…until that dramatic cover of “The One I Love”. They never did one thing for me but it was fun to stand side-stage and watch that many girls lose their mind. When you’re that good looking, you can sing about nothing and get away with it. I will say that the way Gavin watched his hands when he played guitar made me less self-conscious about it, so there’s that.
32. BUSH 69. Everything Zen 17. Little Things 3. Glycerine (95) 52. Swallowed 34. Greedy Fly 3. Machinehead (96) 68. Cold Contagious 35. Greedy Fly 22. Mouth (97) 11. The Chemicals Between Us (99) 65. Warm Machine (00) 70. The People That We Love (01) 10. The Sound Of Winter (11) 49. The Sound Of Winter (12) 780/14
I saw a lot of shows in my 18 months in the Bay Area and it felt like Cake opened every single one. Great fun but I never thought they’d get big. Like most great bands, as catchy as their songs were and as good as they were at getting crowds who’d never heard them to sing along, it was probably too odd to be huge. Right? Two years later I was at a sold out San Diego show and I couldn’t hear John McCrea sing because EVERYONE was singing along. How wrong I was. A huge disco diva in an afro waited sidestage for them to play “I Will Survive” so, of course, they didn’t play it. Their drummer and guitarist left to form the awesome Deathray and Cake grabbed Xan McCurdy as their guitarist. Smart move. I used to see Cake open for Xan’s band the Loved Ones, who no one in town could touch. It’s a bit of a waste to have one of the greatest guitarists on earth playing those awesome, twangy riffs but it’s a kick to see him up there. The last time I saw them, McCrea could not stop talking about how terrible the sound was onstage at the last San Diego Street Scene. My girlfriend’s six year old got a kick out of someone being whinier than her.
31. CAKE 28. The Distance (96) 49. Daria 44. Frank Sinatra 28. I Will Survive (97) 3. Never There (98) 65. Satan Is My Motor 47. Sheep Go To Heaven 16. Let Me Go (99) 52. You Turn The Screws (00) 57. Love You Madly 32. Short Skirt, Long Jacket (01) 82. Comfort Eagle (02) 64. No Phone (04) 65. War Pigs (08) 61. Sick Of You (10) 50. Sick Of You 21. Long time (11) 800/17
7 YEARS IN BETWEN HITS: SOCIAL DISTORTION Don’t Drag Me Down (97) Reach For The Sky (04)
7 CONSECUTIVE YEARS: Cake 96-02
5 CONSECUTIVE YEARS:Unwritten Law 02-06
4 CONSECUTIVE YEARS: UB40 83-86, White Stripes 02-05, AFI 03-06
4 SONGS IN ONE YEAR: No Doubt (96) AFI (03)
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