Recently Virgil and I were bullshitting and mentioned that he was wanting to start dabbling with some music writing again and I offered him a reoccurring piece here on ninebullets. This is his first submittal:
From time to time, the question gets asked, “What was your first show?” It’s usually a fun conversation that involves admitting enjoying an act that you can’t believe you ever liked. Sometimes the first show is a show that your parents brought you to. Every once in a while, that first show is awe-inspiring and worthy of bragging rights for life. This has been a topic I have been thinking about quite a bit lately as my good buddy, Devin, brought his young son, Hayden, to see his first ever show. The show was a show I booked with Chuck Ragan at Illegal Pete’s. I felt so much honor having a hand in this right of passage and took it upon myself to make sure Hayden and Chuck Ragan got a chance to meet and to take a photo. Luckily, Chuck Ragan is one of the nicest guys in music and was so great with Hayden. I just love the idea that at some point when Hayden is in college or out at a show, the question will come up and if you ask me, he will have one of the best answers.
My first ever show should have been the Monsters of Rock tour in 1988 with Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, and Megadeath. I had asked my parents if I could go and the answer was a big fat no. I was in 8th grade at the time and a budding metal head, but I still listened to my parents.
Fast forward to 1992 when I was a junior in high school. Spice 1, a gangsta rapper from Oakland (originally discovered by Too Short) was coming to Colorado Springs. Since I had a driver’s license and a car, I didn’t feel the need to ask my parents to go to the show. I brought a friend to the show and could not have been more excited to see live music. Supporting Spice 1 was a Denver hip hop act that I had never heard of. As they took the stage, the group grabs the mic and yells, “FUCK COMPTON, FUCK OAKLAND“. The next thing that happened is something I have never seen again at the hundreds of shows I have been to since. A huge fight broke out amongst Spice 1’s crew and the Denver hip hop act’s crew. Fighting continued and before you knew it, guns were drawn and shots were fired. My friend and I didn’t even get to hear any music before we were running out the door. When asked about my first show, I generally say it’s Spice 1 but add the asterisk about how the show didn’t really happen.
The more I think about my first show, I feel as though I should answer the question by mentioning Skankin Pickle. This was 1993, I was a freshman in college. My neighbors in the dorms introduced me to punk rock and ska and I was hooked. I borrowed CDs by Screeching Weasel, The Queers, Skankin Pickle, Green Day, and Operation Ivy, and I wondered where this music was all my life. I was soon invited to see this ska-punk band called Skankin Pickle at the Mercury Cafe. I had no idea what to expect. I was pretty certain that gun shots were not going to be fired, but that was the only thing I was certain of. This show was absolutely incredible. The energy was something I had never ever experienced. The camaraderie of the fans was something I never would have expected. The show was packed and it was so much fun. After the show, I saw some of the members of Skankin Pickle walking around and could not believe that I could actually go up to and talk to this incredible band that had just played. I finally felt a connection to music that went beyond just listening. This moment forever changed my life and is the reason why I have worked with music ever since.
I’d love for everyone to chime in and comment on their first shows. While I’d prefer sitting around with beers in hand discussing this topic, your comments to this post will have to serve the purpose. Thanks go out to every artist who actually spent the time to make their fans feel that connection to their music. Thanks to Chuck Ragan for being a class act and a complete bad ass. Thanks Devin for bringing your son out to his first show. And thanks to all of you who share their first show experiences with us.
AUTOPSY IV’S RESPONSE:
My first show was Valentine’s Day 1990. My favorite band on the face of the earth, The Cult, came to town on their Sonic Temple tour and I was there. I did the whole shibang. I got to the venue 4 hours early and hung out in the back, I met Billy Duffy (he gave me some Cult guitar picks), I bought the tour tshirt and I rocked the. fuck. out. By 1990 I had already lost my virginity but it didn’t matter cause I knew that seeing The Cult on that particular Valentine’s Day night was, up to that point, the best night of my life.