Thru a strange series of events, iniated by bassist PAUL HOOD of the TOILING MIDGETS, I am reunited with NEGATIVE TREND guitarist CRAIG GREY for two shows over the next 2 days..I have 12 hours to learn and relearn 12 songs before the Portland show tonight…and perform then again sommorrow in SEATTLE at the FUNHOUSE..
IT WAS VERY LAST MINUTE, not something planned ..the original singer ran afoul of the law or something, couldnt leave the state of California..how street cred is that?..anyhuzen..the band was in a pinch for someone who could step in in a pinch and carry on the tour dates..here in the Northwest…it was kinda kismet…
SO thats the SKinnY…I am playing with NEGATIVE TREND in Portland…. TONIGHT NOVEMBER13TH at the EAST END WITH toiling midgets,lucky 13s,coco cobra and the killers,
And up in SEATTLE tommorrow NOVEMBER 14TH..at the FUNHOUSE WITH the THUGGS and FEEDBACK SEED
THE Mediterranean was a gritty greek cafe and tavern that specialized in cheap beer and low budget greek food..I came upon the place via AL THE ANTI-PAL (allen b. lloyd) who lived at KEARNEY HOUSE and went on to work for THEATRE OF SHEEP selling our buttons and t-shirts…he was also working in the dingy kitchen at the “MED” as it was called…he would get us free or half price pitchers of PABST there before and after rehearsels..or any “occaison”…at the MEDITERRANEAN I became friends with the owner…GEORGE TOULAHOUP-AH OH..PO…ya know…my greek isnt so good…we just called him GEORGE T….the other GEORGE being UGLY GEORGE,..a bukowski-esque drunk who would wax obnoxious at the MED’S open mike POETRY NIGHT…it was a slummy wonderful dive where if you were friends with GEORGE or AL THE ANTI PAL…you never left SOBER or HUNGRY……WALT CURTIS and the local literary illuminatti made the MED bohemian ground zero for the ever unpopular “Poetry”….students, musicans,drunks, berets and mohawks,and petty dramas of the seedy neighborhood locals…As the fledgling bands popularity grew ..and we became painfully aware that most of the BARS in town didnt want us .. the bands following was overwhelmingly underage…I approached GEORGE about doing SUNDAY AFTERNOON UNDERAGE SHOWS and he reluctantly agreed as long as “All the kids are out by 9pm”…we did shows with AL cooking up a spagetti dinner or greek food…and packed the tiny tavern with teens..and 50 cent champagne for the over 21 set..(that got us in trouble with liquor control commission).the stage was tiny..the size of a king size bed which made it very intimate…Jimi went wireless one time and I turned back during a lead to see he had left the packed building and was standing out on the yellow line down the middle of 16th and Burnside…going crazy on guitar…while cars whizzed by both directions honking thier horns and yelling…middle of the fucking street he does a 5 minute solo on “Manilla Romance”....the shows got a buzz and were a blast…for us and our fans..soon everyone wanted to play THE MED…VIOLENT FEMMES,..mini-national acts to numerous to mention..and the kids would come back during the week for falafels and coffee…a business arrangement that suited both of us very well… soon GEORGE would talk over beers about wanting to buy a club .”..a club…JUST FOR MUSIC..no cafe..no noise complaints..”
our shows became relatively hi-tech comparatively as we outgrew the MEDITERRANEAN TAVERN and began to headline STARRYNIGHT CLUB down the street…and our POSTERS would also evolve significantly from those early days the MED….but the half dozen or so memorable shows there (and the simple black and white xeroxed posters)were an important building block in the foundation of the storied history of THEATRE OF SHEEP….and portland rock history as well..
because with the profits of the Mediterraneans surge in popularity,..sooner rather than later GEORGE T realized his dream and opened the famed SATRYICON CLUB at 6th between couch and davis…out of loyalty to us…he tagged THEATRE OF SHEEP to play the very first night…george became famous..the club legendary..and up until he got out..if I showed up there,..he’d give a nod to the bartenders and my drinks were always free..sometimes joining me and my party to talk nostagicly about “the old days” at the MEDITERRANEAN
POSTSCRIPT; as always I would encourage you to support this site and hit the THEATRE OF SHEEP on CDBABY.COM Link (Top right hand of this page )and pick up a copy of OLD FLAMES…or get the original 1984 12 inch 4 song Ep.. only about 20 left..drop me an email if youre a serious vinyl collector
LESSON ONE; the beginning..
THEATRE OF SHEEP was a post punk neo-psychedelic new wave pop ensemble that I sang for in the 80′s…..the band went thru many incarnations but the one that really clicked with a predominately young teenaged crowd was as follows below…
we packed the STARRYNIGHT CLUB and PINE STREET THEATRE on a regular basis from 1982 thru late in 84…this line-up of TOS (as we were known to hardcore fans..) was a diverse bunch.. and made for the eclectic hard to catagorize musical style that the band produced…in no particular order..
JIMI HASKETT -GUITAR….jimi was one of a handful of pioneers using the looping guitar riff on an tape loop Echoplex when we met and started collaborating…the others being U2 ‘s “the edge” and will sargent of “Echo & the bunnymen”
BRIAN “BRAIN”WASSMAN-DRUMS…Brian came from a surf punk background in Huntington Beach,ca…and Jammed with everyone from early rockabilly act “TheSurf Trio” to “BLACK FLAG” before relocating to Portland where THEATRE OF SHEEP was formed…
LESLI ANNE ARBUTHNOT-KEYBOARDS….lesli came from a collegiate background in classical music and surprisingly played the Violin as well as the piano…
JAMES “JIM”WALLACE-BASS….Jim came from a Jazz and funk background and was a veteran of several art rock bands after BERKLEE school of music and before joining THEATRE OF SHEEP…
ROZZ REZABEK-vocals…I wrote the lyrics and attempted to “sing”…my history was in “confrontational theatre” (so to speak )with the san francisco PuNk LeGeNdS ..NEGATIVE TREND….
Like I said..a very diverse group…to hear soundbites or get CD or download information visit http://www.cdbaby.com or I-tunes…..this is just the begining…lesson One…there will be several more additions ….
in lesson two we will get into the rise of glamour…our mantra “I wanna be Lovely….” and our colorful assault on the city of portland with our trademark psychedelic posters…the bands message resonated with the young idealistic mostly female crowd…Lesli became a style role model and even affected the local fashion scene…a “Lesli cut” became a staple of local salons…
the band was a favorite of both critics and loyal fans…and rumors swirled of eminent record company signings from early on in the bands rise to popularity…the bands local following in portland were fervent so often Promoters would put TOS on national acts that were having trouble filling venues…the band opened for MODERN ENGLISH, GANG OF 4, IGGY POP..to name but a few…
a couple cases in particular illustrate the Bands sway…BILLY IDOL’s “hot in the City” was on the charts …but WHITE WEDDING hadnt broken big yet…his PineStreet performance was destined to lose money for the promoter….add THEATRE OF SHEEP to the bill…and additional 280 people in ticket sales over the next four days and a great show…
a couple of cases where we turned down gigs . show the reverse effect…by us NOT being on the bill…JOSIE (johnny are you queer?)COTTON at STARRYNIGHT(ONLY 29 paid admissions) or THE RED ROCKERS (china,..china) also at starrynight …who despite thier college radio “Hit” could not EVEN fill a guest list at the 1000 seat hall…
.so we were the darlings of local rock promoters as well the Newsweeklies…but the only opinion that mattered to us was the kids filling the clubs every weekend…and we catered to them…ending shows when the last buses left downtown for the suburbs…doing almost exclusively ALL AGES shows…and being accesible..in the cafes and local hangouts..
So when THEATRE OF SHEEP swept almost every category in the WILLAMETTE WEEKS annual music poll during thier emergence in 1982..it came as no surprise….Teenagers ,..though they cant get into bars…are the most die hard fan base in the world (just ask the jonas bro’s.)…snatching up buttons ,cassette tapes, tee-shirts, press kits as fast as we could “merch” them…THEATRE OF SHEEP released a 12 inch 4 song E.P. in 1984 called “A QUIET CRUSADE”
the rabid TOS devotee’s were invested in every twist and turn of the bands skewed journey… and the drama really heated up when a very young super groupie COURTNEY LOVE became obscessed with the band..
you can click to find information on purchasing the TOS RETROSPECTIVE “old flames” at CDBABY.COM in the LINKS at the top right hand of this page …Ciao for now…end of lesson one..
.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