10.14.18—Harold’s San Pedro, CA (Screaming Females, Kitten Forever, Clown Sounds, Treasure Fleet, Vacation, Rats in the Louvre, Weird Night.)
Woke up hours before everyone else, only to spend two hours expunging snot and mucus from my head, and also shit for what seemed like forever. Not the best way to wake up, but I’m trying to rally. After about two hours, I level out and feel kind of better? My nose is raw and tender from blowing, and my head hurts but I’m determined to make it through.
We break out of The Touchies crib, and head into the city for grub. Sunday brunch time, never an easy scene but we find some small coffee shop with enough amenities to keep us all happy. Today we have to get a reup on t-shirts, but that won’t happen until we are at the gig. With such a short drive, we have a lot of free time on our hands so we motor up to Newport Beach and go kick it with Kitten Forever. It’s sunny, and warm but not H-O-T; nevertheless, Mike and I change to our swim gear, and head into the ocean with Laura and Corrie and Liz. It’s windy and the waves are strong. It’s quite heavenly, even if the fear of being swept by an undertow looms over all of us. A wave takes me out and I land hard on my hip. Still no signs of bruising, but I’m expecting something big soon. Jarrett and Marissa take turns flying a kite. After, we mosey on over the Kitten Forever beach house, and I get to rinse the salt water and sand off me. We will sleep here tonight.
While the drive is short, I still manage to sleep on the way to Pedro. I’m only awoken when we get to Pedro because the band knows my favorite punk band The Minutemen are from Pedro, and maybe I’ll want to see the town where they group up. While, only 20-30 minutes away from Los Angeles, San Pedro is one tough town. “Still a pretty…heavy hood” as Mike Watt points out in “We Jam Econo,” the documentary on the San Pedro band, The Minutemen. I emailed Watt in advance of this show inquiring as to the whereabouts of the tree that D. Boon leaped out at him, mistaking him for another friend, and thus beginning a friendship/band/legacy that still rings today. No such luck, the tree was uprooted to make way for an irrigation system in Perk Park. Crumbs. Anyway, Pedro is wild—everyone we encounter either looks like or talks like a pirate. It’s a sailors town—Navy housing and lots of ports for international freights. Leaving Pedro, you ride over a bridge that looks down on the big shipping port. It’s pretty impressive.
I’d live here. I even text a friend and say “when we ruin everything else in our lives, I’ll meet you in Pedro.” It used to be Oaxaca, down in Mexico but today it feels like Pedro. My dude Courty, we’d spend endless hours either in his kitchen or his porch or the bar we both worked at—talking about John Coltrane, Can, The Minutemen, James Brown and the trees of art all those bands planted and bloomed with their first notes. Hours upon hours, sometimes forgetting that a sunlight would be approaching. I’m sure we talked in circles about Frank Lowe’s “Church Number Nine” or “Under The Cherry Moon” or D Boon’s solo in “Validation” or Jimmy Garrison’s bass solo on some Japan bootleg of Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.” Endless. Keep the Mezcal close. We met at a record store we worked at. I had an extra ticket for a Jurassic 5/Dilated People’s show and no one to go with; he took me up on the offer. That was 2002, and we’ve stayed tight since—death, birth, divorce, marriage, we’ve lived through it all and that’s my mellow. My main mellow. One of the things I miss most about Chicago, rolling into the spot, and posting up on the subwoofer while my mellow just kills it on the records.
We roll into Harolds, and there’s already a gaggle of locals putting beers back. A silk screen portrait of D Boon is on the speaker, thank gawd. He really was the best and he died way too young. There’s a lot of Minutemen/fIREHOSE/Watt lyrics that cut the ‘G’ off in words that end in “ing” (ex. “something” is always “somethin’” and “Remembering” is ‘Memberin.’”) Carla Bozulich, a tremendous lyricist and singer, also from Pedro does this too in her interviews. (“somethin’ to do.”) So I shouldn’t be so shocked when I see a sign in Harolds that says “NO SITTIN’ ON THE SHUFFLE BOARD!” but here we are, Pedro town. There’s bad Chinese food and a guy fighting a tree on the street.
Seven band bill…jesus loard, put me to sleep now! Thankfully all the bands kick tremendous ass. Weird Night are a five piece of Pedro weirdos singing songs about getting fucked up, and partying, but not in that heavy handed way that feels like they could be a Burger band. No, these are sloppy tunes that sometimes sound like all five are in different directions. Rats In The Louvre follow up with some tremendous post-punk skree. Vacation—the finest band from Cincinnati—come through with a barn burner set. All of em are firing on all cylinders but Dylan is really pounding away on the kit. I’ve seen some great Vacation shows, and I’ve seen sets that would send me into sobriety, and this was definitely the former. Treasure Fleet hit it back with some super cool swinging punk. Mike from Rad Payoff is behind the kit with them, and it’s great to see him and catch up with him. The band I used to be in played some of our favorite house shows with Rad Payoff in Chicago. Clown Sounds—as stated earlier—is a supergroup between Toys That Kill and the Railroad To Candyland dudes. Everyone that is on the bill is in the room, singing along/occasionally air guitaring to classics from both bands repertoires. Kitten Forever get the rowdy room even more hot with their rhythmic pummel. Screaming Females round out the night with a crushing bar set. All heaters, and everyone is in the zone with it. Even the bartenders are dancing through their set. I look out the crowd and at one point, Marissa has the most blissed smile while laying out a solo. A rare look.
The bartender loaded the jukebox next to the merch area and told Cheyenne and I to pick some songs. I load up “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” and Cheyenne picked “Creep” by TLC.
“I feel like I made the wrong choice for this bar” Cheyenne confides.
“Hey if they didn’t want that record played in here, it wouldn’t be in the jukebox.”
Sure enough the one two punch of said selections gets the stragglers dancing, even JD is like “goddamn this is exactly what I wanted to hear.” Vibe techs, we know what we’re doin’.
We load out, Kitten Forever get a snack list going for the after party at their beach house. I slide back into the bar for one more tequila shot. Before consuming, I raise it to the sky.
“Hey Everyone? FOR D. BOON!”
One dude raises a glass in solidarity. Party with me, Punker.