“I’m a nice guy,” said punk rock star Eric Davidson, when I tried to discuss our strained relations.
“Yea, me too,” I thought. But I didn’t go into his place every few months and knock fiberglass ceiling tiles down.
That, however, was a minor inconvenience in my world. And though it usually cost a few bucks to replace two or three of them, and itched like hell when I couldn’t get Skippy, the sometimes fix-it guy to do it, what the hell. The New Bomb Turks brought us a full house and boffo beer sales.
But the night of the benefit, things got personal.
We were trying to raise money to move Stache & Little Brother’s down to the Short North, and a series of benefits were scheduled to help pay the tab. The architecture bills, remodeling costs, legal fees for the change of use and numerous variances, etc. etc. etc., ended up costing over $200 grand, most of which was borrowed from good friends, digging me into a hole that I never thought I’d get out of.
The benefit shows and those last few months at 2404 N. High raised way less than we had hoped, and I was drinking heavily, even for an Irishman like me.
But that night, I was sober. I was back by the sound board and the kids were a little wild. Tera, our soundperson, had just commented on how calm and tolerant I was being when some knuckleheads climbed up on the light truss. It was just a skinny metal pole, hung between two pieces of flimsy wood, and I was afraid that the whole rig would crash down on Eric’s “nice guy” head.
So I went to the stage and asked Davidson to hand me the microphone so that I could speak to the crowd through my P.A. He refused to hand it over, stepped away from me and hid it behind his back. I blew up.
I hand-signaled Tera to kill the sound, and when the song was over, I addressed the hecklers in the crowd without amplification. I said something about them being pseudo-punk rockers and and that anyone feeling up to it could follow me out back for a private discussion. There were no takers, thank my lucky stars.
I foolishly threw a beer bottle, which sailed past Matt Reber (the bass player’s) head. Somehow, he and I are still friends. Then I gave the band back the night’s take, at their request. The next day I wrote an apology to those in the crowd that I felt didn’t deserve my anger, and posted it at Used Kids Records. That note, of course, ended up in The Other Paper.
Eric later became a music critic and wrote about Little Brother’s, calling it “blasé.” Though they did play there a few times, I think they preferred Skully’s.
Eric also wrote that politics has no place in punk rock, although I think I saw his name on a pro-public option health care petition. I’m still a liberal, whose favorite punkers — The Clash, Patti Smith, The Minutemen, etc. — are all about the body politic. And Eric and I, of course, are still “nice guys.”