Live From The Grayish Carpet

Life on the Other Side of Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll

The Days of Wine and Roses

Me, half of Valerie, and Steve, at the Rat, 1983 (Photo by Katy Lyle)

Me, half of Valerie, and Steve, at the Rat, 1983 (Photo by Katy Lyle)

No great shakes here in the present, so I’m once again writing about the past.  I went to a Rain Parade/Dream Syndicate/Three O’Clock/Bangles show at the Fonda on Friday night, and I’m inspired.   The Dream Syndicate played the first show I ever booked.

I went to the  Fonda with one of my oldest friends,  Susie, and ran into people that I’ve known for more than 20 years.   I met up with Craig, a journalist, and Cary, a publicist;  I’ve known Craig since I worked my first record, and Cary — who worked with REM — was the first person I ever knew who worked records at all. I hung out with Steve Backer, my partner-in-crime at Epic, and I stood next to Karen Glauber when the Dream Syndicate played.  (We met in 1983 in a corridor at the Hotel Iroquois outside of Steve Wynn’s room after a show in New York;  I was on my way in, and she was on her way out.*)

Everyone at the Fonda looked familiar, and, while I feel obligated to note that my vision has deteriorated to the point of legally crap, they probably were —  there weren’t that many people who turned up regularly for Paisley Underground gigs.  There are even fewer of us who would drag ourselves to a Friday night show 30 years after the fact,  and I’m pretty sure I know all of them.   I’m glad that I do.

We’re much less fashionable than we used to be. With the exception of a guy in a faux-fur dashiki, who was obviously suffering from dementia, no one bothered to dress up.  There were even a few people in their pajamas, which bummed me out only because I hadn’t thought of it.  Given that the show went well past my bed time, it would have been efficient, and I would gladly have traded the energy I expended in getting dressed for the energy required to make it through a five-hour standing-room-only night at the Fonda.  (When I saw a couple of women sitting down on the edge of the 12-inch platform that separated the concert floor from the bar, I elbowed Susie. “Ha ha ha,” I said. “They’re so old they’re sitting on a riser.”  Then I went and sat down next to them, grateful to take a load off, as Susie looked on in disbelief.)

I missed the Rain Parade because I opted to hang out on the roof and smoke cigarettes; this seemed like a sensible decision until I talked to a fellow smoker who used the expression “can of duh” in agreeing with me that the Dream Syndicate’s first album was their best.   I saw the Three O’Clock, but I have no idea how they sounded —  they played “Lucifer Sam”early on, and I spent the duration of their set wishing they were True West.  The Bangles — who mostly played music from their pre-hitmaker small-hair days, were a blast.

I was there for the Dream Syndicate, though, and they played like motherfuckers.   In 1983, I decided I wanted to work in the music business after they blew me away at the Rat, and on Friday night, after seeing them again, I considered giving it another shot.  But then I came to my senses.  I realized that it was never just about the music —  it was about the time, the place, and the people — and I realized that my feet were killing me.   And then  — hallelujah/can of duh — it was time to go home.


*It was completely innocent.  We were probably there to talk about Yo La Tengo or something.

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This entry was posted on February 16, 2015 by in Rock and Roll and tagged , , , , .
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