April 4, 2010
Sure, maybe we look back on those early travels and they take on a bit of a golden glow.
But that’s how it goes when yer dealing with memories, yeh? The gigs were a little more packed, the people a little more friendly.
And the girls? pffft–ya kiddin me? Beauties, all!
After that first trip to New York, we returned to Cerritos with wild tales of all night diners, illegal nightclubs, the bars that didn’t open until 3am! Helping to lock up the doors of A7 at 8 a.m. and stopping off for bagels before calling it a night.
But Winter break was over at Cal State Long Beach, we went back to the garage, and we had to readjust to the 1:30 last calls and restaurants that started stacking the chairs at 9 pm.
We knew different now, me and the fellas. Like soldiers returned to their small town after a violent battle in a foreign land, we were changed, if by just a degree.
And when we were kicked out of the Brique at 1 a.m. but still wide awake, we would look to the Eastern night sky and imagine our new pals just getting ready to hit the late clubs, even with the 3 hour time difference…..
We came back just months later on the 1983 Light Out tour. We found the city smoldering in August heat, and discovered the slower, crankier side of the town:
Seems like we found an excuse to get back East whenever they’d have us. Was it really only a year later when we saw the year turn to 1984, again in New York?
And then we did our thing, you know–the hair… the cowboy boots….ahem…and our touring days seemed to be at an end.
We all grew up, got real jobs and started families.
Through the 1990’s everyone got serious, and took the time to build the lives they were supposed to live.
We made it back out to New York those years, of course.
But when we made it back to Manhattan those days, it wasn’t with 3 other knuckleheads drinking our way across a continent on a red eye, hoping the guitars weren’t getting crushed in the baggage locker under our Doc Martens.
No, we went back as civilians, on vacation or maybe trade shows for that paper clip company.
We stayed midtown now, on a fuckin expense account to be scrutinized by some humorless recovering alcoholic who highlighted every minibar charge with an incriminating yellow stripe.
So now you got to see the parts of this city that other people came for. Times Square and the Oyster Bar, a quick dinner at Tavern on the Green before catching Miss Saigon. And sure, the views were nicer over Battery Park.
But as you stood there swathed in Terrycloth and clutching a Glenlivet in a tumbler of crystal, you looked down on those city lights and wondered where you left your heart.
The band got its groove back– it was right around 9/11.
We practiced that very night, or were supposed to. We instead went to the bar and sat drinking silently, as the hanging TV’s showed the horrific scenes that we’d already been bombarded with all that day.
We worried about our friends under those wrong clouds.
As we were finishing the comeback Channel 3 album, Kimm got a call about a gig….. at CBGB’s!!
We were going back to New York as a band again!
We got back there a couple times with the renewed band, and reconnected with our friends.
Finally, we got invited to come back for a special weekend of shows to honor CBGB’s.
Yeah-hey closed the joint down, and for Fuck Sake! we’re holding our breaths those sodden planks won’t be re assembled as a tourist attraction on Fremont Street Vegas!
We stood on that spongy stage one last time, breathed in that air, thick with the sweat and urine of a thousand gigs.
And we thought– proudly!—that we contributed to that biological funk, our first deposits so long ago in the winter of 1982:
Scenes from 1983:
Looking back on all this, we always felt more at home- as a band I mean- back there than we ever were here in L.A. I don’t know why……
On our last day on the East Coast, a Sunday, we woke up in Philadelphia. We played a matinée at the fledging BYO house there, and then came back to the city for an early show at CBGB’s with UK Subs.
By now CB’s felt as familiar and warm as Grandma’s kitchen…..
This was our last night in NY, that first trip out.
After the gig, an early Sunday night, the usual crowd gathered at Jack’s pad once more. We were up there in the apartment, the guys and girls we’d spent these weeks with, saying our goodbyes.
In the morning we were going back to LA and the gray normalcy of Life.
Kimm was down on Eldridge, behind the wheel. The guys from Adrenaline OD and a couple Beasties were showing him how to push cars into the trashcans with our rental wagon.
Me and Doug were huggin it up, sayin good byes, when Larry breached the stairwell, breathlessly, and gasped the magic words–it’s snowing!
And on that night, we all filed down to the street. Punk rockers, Poets, Drug Addicts, and Fiends, they all went down to the street to amuse us—– the weirdos from So Ca who thought snow in the city was such a magical thing.
We had a snowball fight.
The toughest bastards and lowest scum, we picked sides and threw snowballs.
And yeah, though it started as a way to whatever! satisfy these Goddamn assholes from Los Angeles and get them out of here—before long we were ducking behind parked cars and making strategies to take over the other teams’ stockpile–
And the soon the narrow street echoed with laughter—and if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was the heartfelt laughter of children.