.THIS is culled from a series of posts on THE REZABEK LOG around the time of his 9/13/2008 appearance…the sequence of events starts with a phone call at 2 pm
well ..Im scrubbing all my barb-b-que and party plans to go catch ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO’s act tonight…alejandro is part of the musical clan of PETE ESCOVEDO,SHEILA E.(escovedo),Javier Escovedo… its a musical family ..a musical franchise..I met AL in the SF77 PUNK onslaught when he was in the band called THE NUNS…he breifly managed NEGATIVE TREND and was always one of the nicest guys around…
he was at the helm acting as NEGATIVE TREND’s manager,..when we shattered MABUHAY attendance records in our first headline gig with THE NUNS and AVENGERS on the bill…467 people in the small club…it was a record that wouldnt last as BLONDIE,IGGY (w/BOWIE on keyboards) ,NICO and DEVO all packed out the famed club later
..my name came up last night backstage at ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO’s SF show …and PAUL DRAPER (of SLEEPERS fame) mentioned that we had been in touch since the PUNK PIONEERS show a couple months back…AL gave DRAPER his number and told me to call him and get on the PEST LIST…Paul called me in portland and said Al would be up tommorrow..which is tonight…at the ALADDIN THEATRE
So…I guess Im gonna doll up and make the scene tonight….rock-n-roll…its funny coz I just saw AL on the TONIGHT SHOW with JAY LENO and told a girlfriend watching with me that he was a friend of mine…I kind of think she was thinkin’…”Yeah…Sure..”…she will certainly be impressed when we get in for free, I thought…little did I know just how gratiously ALEJANDRO would roll out the welcome mat .
Got my son off to his friends for the evening…said my “Im sorries” and cancelled out on two social events last minute … I havent seen ALEJANDRO (except on TV) for over 30 years…he’s a PuNk LeGeNd.no contest…and who knows when I’ll see the busy rockstar again…that takes precedent over local activities….
6PM that evening…Talked to ALEJANDRO and its all set..his band goes on at 915pm…Time for me to wash my 5 dollar footlong down with a pale ale..and get dressed up for the rockstar-way-o-life…and meet my date for a Rocktail before the show at the adjacent bar PAOLA’s
LATER ..sometime after midnight…After our lengthy backstage reunion Al said goodbye and got on the tour bus towards SEATTLE….The show was a blast…not only did ALEJANDRO give me 2 shout outs from onstage …One was an interesting ancedote about my days in NEGATIVE TREND that I hadnt heard….
its seems that after the SEX PISTOLS backstage riot of january 1978 ALEJANDRO recieved a call from uber-promoter BILL GRAHAM “Are you NEGATIVE TREND’s manager?” he asked…
When ALEJANDRO answered in the affirmative… a FURIOUS and agitated BILL GRAHAM demanded “where do I send this bill for 5,000 dollars…I had to have the building sandblasted to clean up thier mess… ” ALEJANDRO said he had thought GRAHAM was calling to offer NEGATIVE TREND a gig…LOL.
later in his set …he also talked of the backstage showdown where ALEJANDRO ,Pistols svengali MALCOLM McCLAREN, and RORY JOHNSTON (SEX PISTOLS TOUR MANAGER) were pushing our amps up the.ramp onto the stage at WINTERLAND…..as BILL GRAHAMS goony musclemen were on the other side trying to push the amps back down…..hearing your name mentioned on stage in an ancedote by a PuNk LeGeNd like ALEJANDRO….well,..I was just giddy
I had never heard of this before… at that point me and my band mates had already went into riot mode BACKSTAGE at the PISTOLS gig, and the whole scene became a 3 ring circus…that was then,this is now…anyhuzen…alejandro did the ESCOVEDO name proud and put on a totally incredibly awesome show that included elements of all his era’s…but he will always be most famous for starting the “AUSTIN SOUND” …long after his punk rock days with the NUNS..
he was incrediblely humble and made me and my date feel like his honored guests backstage …spending an hour with us before giving in to his manager and going outside to talk to the fans…sign some autographs..I gave him a copy of LOVERLEGENDLIAR and THEATRE OF SHEEP”OLD FLAMES” and he gave me a vinyl copy of his new double album “real animal”.
..on the way out,..as we walked slowly down the long stairway out the back of the nightclub…we stopped on the stage for a moment…We talked about the old days and who was where and who was alive and who was dead and who was still strung out and who was happy and who was bitter..we said our goodbyes as we stepped outside and I saw FRED “NOIZE”SEEGMULLER waiting with some of the fans…another PuNk LeGeNd..what a night
.it was an awesome reunion..havent seen Al for 30 years…He told me he was at the THEATRE OF SHEEP show in SF in 1984 but didnt connect with us …he is a true artist and has never stopped playing and touring….visited with his MERCH guy ANTHONY … also a familiar face…he had backed MARY MONDAY in different incarnations of THE BITCHES and THE STREET PUNKS..
One of my clearest memories of ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO back in the day was his shoes..all the punk rockers in SF were dirt poor but AL always had on the sharpest looking shoes,..beatle boots,cockroach killers, snakeskin..he always dressed sharp and had impeccable taste in fine shoes…So I was excited to wear my new FLUEVOG’s …and as expected he had pointy stylish oxblood shoes to match his vest…but for once I didnt feel outclassed..
.It was sure good to catch up with ALEJANDRO saturday night..he has lived quite the life…I asked him about DENNY DIGREGARIO and he had an interesting story…after battling demons for years in the TRUE BELIEVERS with AL,..it seems DENNY went to a monastary in north carolina to become a greek orthodox monk…right before he was to take his vow of silence he made one last trip back to AUSTIN to see the guys…he was last seen in a monks long robe..giving AL and the band blessings with one hand and a bottle of tequilla in the other…he is still wandering lost in AUSTIN somewhere apparently…thats DENNY.. the genius behind the punk merry pranksters quasi gang known as the WHARFRATS
ALEJANDRO lost the mother of his children in 91,..he played the DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION recently and was chagrined when the NEW YORK TIMES published the top ten songs on PREZ BUSH’s IPOD…AL’s song CASTANETS was among them…so he stopped playing that song..but now he’s playing it again coz BUSH IS ON THE WAY OUT…
AL talked of the difficulty he has had in the music industry due to his mexican heritage…his albums have always been ROCK,.. but because of his name his CD’S have been categorized as WORLD BEAT,LATINO,ROOTS and FOLK narrowing the scope of thier availibility…a subtle form of racism he has had to endure and rise above over the years
saw local gadfly TRES SHANNON (owner of VOODOO donuts and the host of KAREOKE FROM HELL band) at the show…I always like TRES…He put THEATRE OF SHEEP on a bill with MEN AT WORK,and TOMMY TUTONE at BERBATI’S which was a gas of a gig…TRES tracked me down in the balcony and congratulated me “wow, you got mentioned between songs twice,I guess you and Al have history?”
Yes, ALEJANDRO and I have history..and even though its been decades since weve talked..it seemed seamless…we talked of DIETRICH, CRAIGATIVE TREND,DEBISOU, JERI AND JANEY(the tiny twins from madison) WILL,micheal BELFER,PENELOPE,GREG LANGSTON,WILSEY,the sad state of THE NUNS these days (that dead horse is now just a pile of pulp) and he gave me more tidbits and insights into the whole SEX PISTOLS fiasco at WINTERLAND…30 years later after the fact
right after that he ended up in NEW YORK at the chelsie hotel..with SID and NANCY down the hall…he has a song called CHELSIE HOTEL that chronicled that crazy time..another great song he had was SISTER LOST SOUL which is a paen to all of those people from the scene who have died…JEFFREY LEE PIERCE of GUN CLUB and WILL SHATTER (negative trend) in particular…great tune
AL told me he came close to dying himself and was hospitalized for 2 years on and off …like many from that era he battles HEP C…he now leads a chaste life and has foregone even an occaisional beer for vitamin supplements and dried cranberries and healthy munchies of all sorts…he looks great…he is almost 10 years older than me but still touring and recording constantly..it was inspirational….and uplifting…he is a remarkable artist others could learn from..
he now shares a manager with the likes of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN…so expect to see alot more of ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO in the future..check out his music and his blog at http://www.myspace.com/alejandroescovedo