Friday, March 10, 2017


For whatever it's worth, here now are my memories of all the times I ever set foot on the stage of that prestigious and hallowed hole in the wall, CBGB -- all two of them:

The first was totally unplanned and spontaneous. It was late '83 and Bedlam, the band my high school pal Tommy Koprowski had just  joined, was making its CBGB hardcore matinee debut opening for Adrenalin OD. They'd brought along a friend to videotape the occasion for posterity, and were open to the idea of my jumping up onstage to join them for their cover of the Flintstones theme song as I often did when hanging out at their practice sessions (which were often more pot parties than they were rehearsals). Midway through their very messy and noisy set, I took the stage and introduced my number. On the video of the occasion you can neither really see nor hear me, but I'm there somewhere, and I recall nothing of my performance but a total blur. Me being the cocky kid I was then, when the song ended I couldn't resist throwing in a quick "Thank you New York, you're a great audience!" whereupon Davey Schwartzman of AOD picked me up and carried me offstage as Tommy reclaimed my mic and proclaimed, "NOW you can beat him up!" Thus ended my first onstage appearance at CBGB.

My second appearance was a little over five years later, in early '89 with Jet Screamer in Living Guitars, and it happened on everyone's favorite night, Sunday a.k.a. CBGB Audition Night. For those unfamiliar, this was the night they would test the pull of various local bands to determine which were worthy of playing a regular gig there. Somehow we got our audition just two months after we'd formed, though we really had gotten fairly good in that short a time. We arrived early enough to witness the end of the hardcore matinee, which was ruined by a very pathetic bunch of Nazi skinheads. Naturally, we waited until they left before we even thought to load in our gear. Again, somehow in spite of the fact that it was unannounced and we were shoved onstage at 9 PM, we had a good turnout of friends along with a few folks left over from the hardcore matinee. I used to have a soundboard tape of this performance but it has long since vanished. I seem to recall that for some odd reason, this lost tape sounded quite a bit murky and echoey, which was strange considering CBGB's reputation for having one of NYC's best sound systems and the fact that our music had sounded good coming through it live.

As it turned out, Living Guitars did pass the audition -- for two gigs in the spring of '89 not at CBGB itself, but the CBGB Record Canteen that had recently sprung up next door, which also housed CBGB Pizza (which is still high on my list of worst pizzas I've ever had in my life). The first of these two gigs went so well we thought we'd found a potential new home of sorts there. But the second gig was a disaster and we never returned after that.

So there you have it. My illustrious performing history at that legendary rat cellar, CBGB. I hope you enjoyed this intriguing and action packed tale!

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