Friday, September 26, 2014

The Night Of Taboo Passions

Friday, May 5, 2006
Frank Moore's Cherotic All-Star Band
Burnt Ramen, Richmond, CA

Well, Friday’s gig at burnt ramen was coming home. I have said ramen is my favorite place to play music at. Full-volume, no frills, pure underground! We have played there a lot! We sat around waiting for the bands and an audience to appear … talking to John the Baker (the guiding spirit of Ramen) and Steve. Steve and I go back 40 years! He and I had a long visit the night before. We hadn’t seen each other in 35 years! He was a major player in my life … the first person who dared to give me LSD in college, drove me from San Bernardino to hippiedom Santa Fe, dropping me off at a Digger-style commune. When he, a few months later, followed my wheel tracks and moved to Santa Fe, we lived together in an extended family … etc. He drove from Santa Barbara to play his stand-up bass in the jam…and spent his day buying a new effects box for the gig.

As we sat there, John started telling us that A LOT of the punks who come to ramen have told him they are fans of my shows on B-TV … watching episodes multiple times! I had known we have a large black audience, judging from the reaction on the street when I go downtown. But it is good to know that we are corrupting … er … I mean educating … the YOUTH! At the end of the night, John proposed I do a show at ramen once a month with local bands (and of course Cherotic All-Star jams!) to get ramen bands on B-TV. The title could possibly be Going to the Core @ Ramen with Frank Moore. We talked about starting shooting it in July. Funny how things keep opening up. It’s also funny that I’ve been connected to the punk scene for 30 years.

As people came in, we gave each person a complete library of the Sons of Skip Skiffington and the Tortured cds. We also played them between sets. The guy who is behind both bands is always creating new cds and is always sending us many copies of each to give away. It would be scary if the dude wasn’t so good! We gave him his own LUVeR show just to use all of his hit material! He ain’t no fool! But we either have to build another house to store his cds, or do more live gigs just to give away his cds … or rent a plane to drop Skip Skiffington’s shit over Berkeley!

The audience was invisible! It looked like nobody was there. But we about broke even … which is quite good for a LUVeR benefit. Nobody minded not seeing the audience. We overheard John telling some people I was to blame for him starting to book bands and for ramen! I get blamed for everything! John was the first act we saw at W.E.Fest in Willington, N.C. in 98. He was a solo act from Woodstock. He blew us away! We spent hours talking to him on the sidewalk after the show the first night of the festival. But when we got home, there was an e-mail from him confessing he didn’t come to my 2 sets at the festivals … just sat outside … because he was scared! So when he came to San Francisco with his band, The Banned, he had me double billed with them…in fact, I sang in his band, and they joined my All-Stars. He said that show opened up possibilities for him. So he stayed here…wormed his way into a recording studio in an old produce warehouse…first to live, but quickly built a funky theater for hard core bands. The rest is history! I get blamed for everything … including history!

But enough history! Back to the gig! The night looked like one band that kept expanding, evolving, getting more and more “out there” as the night went on. Unfortunately The Urban Monks had a divorce before the show. So the first band was The Shenanigoats, a great, fun, four-piece punky band from Sacramento. With them you were pretty sure where you were at. But when Instagon came to bat, the magical weirdness began! The thing about them is they are NEVER the same web of players! This time it was Lob (my musical director for decades!) on bass, Dr. Oblivious (my other musical director) on keyboard, Lena the Jaw Harp Queen playing everything but the jaw harp, Chris on the banjo (and maybe guitar), and The Shenanigoats’ drummer (Skott) and guitarist (Jim). They had the familiar structure of songs, tunes, numbers … they did a trippy Inagadadavita. But you found yourself floating down the Mississippi on a strawberry and chocolate marshmallow raft!

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