King Tiki - June 1st 2002
This night was a last minute gig addition to play with the band Junior, they asked late and we jumped at the opportunity, they’re friends of ours, and we like their music too. The gig was at King Tiki in Portsmouth NH, it was for one set, and it paid nothing, although I think we got half priced PBRs, so once again, the more you drink, the more you get paid. There was also the addition of “American Werewolf” for an opener. That band features Roger on drums (who some of you will remember from Brian and my “old days” in Jupiter 2) and Jimmy on guitar. Mostly an instrumental duo, no bass, and Jimmy sings some too. Well, they went on what we thought was an hour late at 10, it was a cool set, rusty and out of tune, but great energy. Jimmy puts the savvy in idiot savant, paying simple instrumentals, and screaming out the vocals.
Then we were on. The place was literally the smokiest room I have ever been in. Trapped in the fire hazard of a basement with only one exit, or way to daylight up the stairs. I hear a rumor that they’re not even supposed to have music there because of fire codes. Anyway, our last gig there as something out of Spinal Tap or the Blues Brothers to me. The kind of gig you would be better off staying at home. We were packed in a corner behind a pole. There were some gorilla/jock types who tried to steal the microphone and sing, and most of the people there seemed bothered that there was a band there. I vowed never to play there again. Apparently to get paid we were supposed to have one of “our people” pass the hat, so we made no money, and had a bar tab at the end of the night. I think we walked out on the bar tab and called it even. Anyway, there we were back at King Tiki. The first band was very loud, so we kind of kept up the energy. We played a short set of maybe 8 songs, I don’t even remember, there were gear problems, but the crowd was great. We cut our set early so that Junior could get on at a reasonable hour; it was 11 30 or later by the time we got off. They had been drinking, it was loose, but really great, lots of great song and great feels.
This is where is started to get weird. We re-commenced drinking (because of New Hampshire’s strict drinking laws there was no drinking, no open drinks, or no thinking of drinking on stage). There was some sort of Bacholorette party going on consisting of about a half dozen really drunk women, one of whom came down the stairs, grabbed the microphone and began to sing what I thought to be improvised country lyrics, out of tune and completely out of key with the band. The band took it well enough, but when they because confident that they were not getting their mic back, they ended the song. Then she began to sing a cappella, and the band broke into a minute of a bluesy improve, and stopped again. Pete, the singer was trying to physically pry the mic away from this woman, who was by someone’s standards good looking, and as she sang, performed PG rated stripper moves. Once Pete got the mic she grabbed on to him and gave him an incredible, wet, sloppy, tonsil diving kiss that lasted upwards of a minute. Afterward he explained his dispassionate expression during this by saying “. It was gross, she had the worse breath.” The band began again, and she ran up again, this time going for the backing vocal mic. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that mic was either not on, or not up enough, so she became discouraged and left. It’s hard to express how bizarre it was. Anyway, the band finished up with about an hour’s worth of music, and it was hang around time.
My friend Mike came to visit from NYC, along with Rebecca from Boston. They were as drunk as I’d seen anyone by the time the band was done. We all milled around and enjoyed hanging out, having a few drinks, and having a laugh over all the little mishaps of the night.
We thanked the band and said goodbye to Pete who was returning to NYC the next day, and then we set out for the Friendly Toast for some late night eats. A bit more then halfway there we ran into some trouble. We were in front of a jewelry store (which as some of you may know could be anywhere in Portsmouth), and some drunken jock/gorillas were walking by us. One of them could not see where he was going, and bumped into Mike. Probably due to the fact he was an asshole, and augmented by his drunkenness, he began to push Mike and yell, just for fun apparently. At which time the drunken Mike put a big kiss on his cheek, kinda like bugs bunny would do, why we may never know. He DID NOT like that, and he became hysterical. Now Mike is not a big guy at all, and apparently has move balls then brains, because as the guy said, “you can’t kiss me” he said something to the effect of: “boo hoo hoo.” The guy began to swing and punch and as his friends tried to pull him off I went to pull Mike off, however, Mike didn’t need any pulling off, because he wasn’t really doing much at the time. At this time, Adam popped in and was promptly pushed down, so quickly that I didn’t even notice. So the guy cornered Mike in a stairway, and I went from pulling Mike off of him, to assisting this guy’s friend in pulling him off. At this time Mike was doing some damage to this guy’s fist with his face. The guy not very happy to be pulled off of him, and as we backed up, his friend pulled him away, and I was left standing alone oddly enough, Mike was standing there next to me also unbothered, a feeling that he later described as becoming “invisible,” and now this guy was turning on his friend for interfering with his efforts, he spun around and clocked him. Adam had gotten up, and I said,” lets go, come on.” Mike wanted more, why I don’t know, but I pulled him away, picked up my guitar and we started walking away at a leisurely pace. From what I can tell, the guy and his friends were now fighting without us. I think they did something to set off an alarm at the Jewelry store, probably by slamming each other up against windows, a loud bell started ringing. We were still walking away, Mikes face covered in his own blood, and just then two cop cars that were sitting in an ally heard the alarm and began to respond to the alarm, as they passed us Mike yelled out, “don’t arrest him, I LOVE HIM…”
We entered the Friendly Toast, but I had to go to them ATM machine. On my way back, I saw the “scene” now with 6 cop cars (every car Portsmouth had as far as I know) some sort of riot going on, and that guy and his friends being stuffed into the back of cop cars. I didn’t hang around to watch, incase someone would see me and yell; there’s one of them! Or something like that. I went back to the Toast and started eating. Mike insisted he was “fine” although the cut above his eye was big, and his eye was swelling up. Charlie showed up late, as usual, and when we filled him in on what he missed in the street, he seemed quite upset to miss it. We ate, paid and I headed home.
As I walked down the street I heard someone call my name, I looked up and it was Sid and Pete from Junior on the roof of Bull Moose Music, with about 4 other people. I went up to Sid’s apartment, crawled out the window and across a building and jointed them. I started by telling them this story. We sat around listening to “the Eagle’s Greatest Hits” and then a couple of guitars came out and it turned into an Eagle’s Greatest Hits sing-a-long. The roof was covered in rubber and was quite comfortable, and it was a nice night out. We then sang some other songs, and did “Junior” style versions of songs by Cyndi Lauper, and Tommy Two-tone. Then it began to rain, but not hard, so we kept singing. We were out of beer and it was getting close to 4am, then Pete said, “…Are we sick of getting rained on yet?” Which was the rhetorical question we’d all been waiting for and we headed inside, and then I headed home. I got home at about 4:30.
Would I do it all again? Of course I would. The only thing I’d change would be I’d bring my guitar in a hard case instead of a gig bag, so I could use it to beat up the Drunken Jock-rillas up with. Thanks to Junior for a fun night out.