"It was 20 years ago today..." 🤣🤣🤣 Sorry to quote that hippy dippy Beatles song, but it really WAS 20 years ago today, tonight actually, that this legendary gig starring T.S.O.L. The Dirty Babies, and The Loud Pipes, went down in the parking lot of the Rio Hotel And Casino, both in celebration of the Las Vegas Mercury's birthday, and as a celebration of the Kodak Rock X-Posed photography exhibition that was going on inside a huge white canvas tent filled with elitist snobby people, crazy cool photos of various Rock And Roll godz doing their thing in front of famous Rock photographers, various free drinks galore, space heaters, and lots and lots of yummy food, all punctuated with Local scumbag musicians and their friends doing their part to take full advantage of all gratuities being given. I don't remember it being as cold outside as it is now when I'm writing this, 33°, but it was definitely chilly, and there was definitely something in the air, a sense of 'us against them' kind of thing, one, because it was a weird place for a show, and two, we definitely didn't belong on the bill... heh. We were dirty Rock 'N' Roll kids. We were waaaayyyy out of our element. 😁
We had to get there early for soundcheck, waiting around with everyone else while T.S.O.L. went through the motions they've done a thousand times before. I've known those guys forever, from back in my California daze, and we all hung around together while the general public was let into the standing room only area directly in front of the rental stage. The Loud Pipes had a bit of a buzz going at the time for only playing all ages shows, so that the kids here in town would have something to do and a place to go, because Vegas, just like now, doesn't give a fuck about the kids in this city, and The Loud Pipes offered a band they could get behind and support, exposing the kids to some good music to check out, and giving the kids a place to go and hang out beside the local park closest to their homes. That was us in a nutshell, and we had quite a few fans and friends in attendance, including future influencer and promoter Pulsar, supporting his JNCO pants and extra large wallet chain, who braved the weather to see T.S.O.L. and us play a gig together. Roxie had booked us as direct support to the headliners, and somehow she got The Dirty Babies on the bill last minute, playing directly before us. They were soooooooooooooooo fucking good, playing a set filled with future legendary tunes like County Jail, Up All Night, Driving Me Mad, and Stash, which they always played for me... heh One of the other opening bands, Split Second, from CA, got the kids going with some very Emo Pop Punk sounding songs, and the other opening band, Red Means Go, played some very adult sounding alternative college rock, which bombed horribly in front of a bunch of young kids and old Punx who just wanted to hear some good music obnoxiously played. The Loud Pipes were all that and more. And we were more than ready to play. To paraphrase Beetlejuice, It was now showtime. The Loud Pipes were primed and ready to hit the stage. 😎
Our set was filled with loads of stuff breaking. Drum sticks, guitar strings, bass heads, cymbals, tuners, you name it. I don't remember how I got it, but I got a cassette recording off the soundboard of The Loud Pipes set that night, and I've shared it with a few people, and everyone that's heard it says it's very Punk Rock sounding. To me, it sounds like Motörhead but with cleaner sounding guitars, Turbonegro with a major Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers attitude permeating throughout everything we played. Right before we started someone got on the microphone and admonished the crowd about circle pitting or dancing around in general, saying that it wouldn't be tolerated and that they would kick you out if you dared to dance, so of course in between every song we're encouraging the kids to break the rules and dance around ha ha. The in-between songs commentary is priceless, much too much to get into here, but I gotta say The Loud Pipes of that time were a vicious sounding monster of a band. We played a bunch of songs we never recorded, songs like The Loud Pipes Anthem, Jenny Won't Go, and Skate Or Die. With Dan 45, future Unfair Fight frontman extraordinare, up front on vocals, all lyrical content was basically about fighting and skateboarding!! hahaha Jesse and Pitt layed down this crazy mesh of interwoven guitar noodling that was rooted in like The Allman Brothers Band and Thin Lizzy, playing their leads thick and fast and precise, feeding off each other, all supported by Roxie and I, the hardest, thickest rock solid foundation ever laid down in the valley of Las Vegas. In her I had a solid competent bassist that could keep up with me and feel what I was throwing down thunder wise. We were earthquake proof. We were untouchable. ❤ This show was the public debut of future masterpiece Insurrection, freshly written, and we closed the set out with our "hit single" Out Of Time. We later fond out they threw A LOT of people out for dancing around while we played. Oh well. Seemed pretty ironic for a "Rock 'N' Roll Show" at a "Rock 'N' Roll Photo Exhibit", which featured, gasp! 😲 Pictures of kids dancing at Rock 'N' Roll Shows... tsk tsk.
T.S.O.L. then played and mopped the floor up with every band that had played before them. They were sooooooo fucking good, playing in support of their Divided We Stand release, as well as their Disappear album which came out a few years before. Songs like Terrible People, Fuck You Tough Guy and Sodomy were played in between the hits like Man And Machine, 80 Times, Silent Majority, Property Is Theft, and, of course, Code Blue. Jack was his usual magical, charismatic self and Ron was playing through the very same amp set up he used to record the Dance With Me album, which is probably why they sounded so good. I vaguely remember the official after party (I stole a tool box full of booze), and I definitley don't remember the party after that. Hell, I don't remember how I got home but I do remember playing this gig 20 years ago today. It was quite a proud acheivement at the time, a prestigious feather in the cap of The Loud Pipes (one of many to come) and this T.S.O.L. gig is just one of many long forgotten about "Legendary" gigs that Las Vegas is famous for, like the NOFX in the desert gig, or the Operation Ivy gig in the desert outside of Stateline. If you were there then you know, and if you weren't you'll never understand. Words will always fail to put into importance how magical this gig was, but at least I tried!! 😁
I'm nervous, like really nervous. Nervous and scared. I was never scared of anything before, but then I lost my leg and now I'm scared of everything - of falling down and hurting myself, of looking stupid while walking around, of fucking up my leg while playing drums, or even of dying old and alone, all new fears to me, all fears that are now a part of my daily life. Whatever. Tonight I put all that bullshit aside to pay tribute and honor to my brother, my bandmate, a man that I'm proud to say meant the world to me, because without him telling me that we were gonna get to the finish line, without Tyson's constant reassurances that everything was gonna be ok, that I was gonna walk again, play drums again, and that things were gonna work out for the better, I wouldn't even be alive, much less able to play 2 sets at his memorial gig tonight. It was all because of him. Everything good with me was because of him. Everything. Every morning when this monster straps things on and screws things together in order to face the day and put forth the fallacy of being normal and not handicapped, I'm reminded of Tyson and just how lucky I was to spend the time with him that I did. Thousands if not millions of memories, stories, and shared moments. Amazing. Truly an Honor. I didn't have to play the gig tonight but I wanted to play this gig tonight, if you can tell the difference. There was no way I was gonna miss out on playing this thing. No fucking way.
So yeah, then there's this gig I've been talking about. The personal drama, the bad luck involved, the bad breaks with the planning, the lazy, pettiness of some band members playing and not playing the gig, I mean, fuck, it's enough to make you pull your hair out and scream in frustration!! God bless Janoff for putting up with it all and putting things together and making it all work out in the long run. It's been nothing short of a miracle. At first I wanted nothing to do with the gig, not ready to think about playing drums again, much less without Tyson, who always asked me to play drums in all his various projects, which is funny, because when I auditioned for the Vegascendents, like, about 15 years ago, he didn't like me or my drumming! The bastard! 😆 Jeremy convinced him to give me another chance, and the rest, as they say, is history. So here I go. Again. For Tyson. It was always for Tyson. Every project he could think of doing, he'd include me as the drummer. Aluminum Falcon. Minor Threat cover band. Beastie Boys tribute band. His Protocol Zero solo project, which started out as some Beardcore project but evolved into a really tight, cohesive musical force to be dealt with. Believe me. I have the recordings to prove it. 😎 All these things that Tyson wanted me to be a part of, I never got the chance to tell him 'thanks' for including me in all that, those creative, fun times and amazing memories of the places we went, songs we created together, and the millions of laughs and smiles we shared and indulgd in, both on stage and off. Yeah, I never gotta chance to thank him for all that, for everything really, but I will when I see him again...
The fact that people I know are getting excited for this shit just makes me sad. 😢
Welcome to fucking Vegas. 🤮
Bob and I have been kicking this one back and forth since finding out the terrible news yesterday that Will Watkins had passed away a few days earlier. It definitely hit hard since we both had so much love for that crazy critter. A true LV Punk Rocker if there ever was one, and definitelty a local legend in the music scene. He should have a plaque somewhere in this city letting people know that they missed out on knowing a true Vegas legend, someone that those of us who knew him well can say without the slightest bit of hesitation. Will was a bit of a nutter, a character if you must, someone you'd never forget after meeting him once and I'm gonna miss him terribly now that hes gone. Sooooooo many memories... soooooooo many good times and laughter shared with that kid that I first met hanging around The Underground record store way back in the daze. After that I would see him everywhere - every Punk gig, Punk show, Punk event or gathering, he was always there, hanging about with his skateboard and his dog, always just smiling and enjoying the moment. I'm not gonna eulogize him by trying to paint him as a saint because he wasn't, but what he was was a good man who had his own demons to fight like all of us and who paid the price for his personal battles as we all will. My condolances go out to his family and friends during this trying time. It's sad that Death has to appear to make us realize just how special people are in our lives, and all the time i gor to spend with Will was a gift, truly a blessing. Save me a seat at the bar hombre. Until we meet again...
Go easy, step lightly, stay free.