Night of Taboo Passions
May 5, 2006
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
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 Wilmington, 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!
Things just went deeper into surreal erotic trance of rubbing friction
deep inside body love expanding a lava web when we cherotic all-stars
spilled on, over, off the stage. All of instagon of the night turned
into all-stars! The Shenanigoats and Steve were virgins to the Cherotic
All-Stars. The rest were vets of the cherotic jams. The drummer Skott,
Lob, and Steve provided a bone vibrating rhythm that dug out the groove
base right from the beginning. Dr Oblivious opened the curtains of
possibilities through which Jim and Chris, flew wailing mystically.
Tomek squeezed his punk/hip-hop/polka accordion, but then he discovered/explored/played
Lena’s table full of musical treasures (including a honking
horn) which Lena abandoned in favor of our musical toys, and using
her voice in unearthly ways, melting into the vocals of the nude intimate
rubbing inter-friction dancing pleasure body of Linda, Erika, and
me swimming in explicit love ... while the vocal primal screams of
the invisible audience, going through mics I provided for them, turned
the intensity way up. Throughout this hour+ trance, John was sampling
a complete library of the sons of Skip Skiffington and the tortured
cds! And if that wasn’t enough, the spirit of Steve Davis of
+dog+ kept floating around all during the jam!
Often when we play at clubs, what people hear of our jam is a sound
tidal wave. But with John at the sound controls, you could hear every
interplay, every relationship intermingling, transmuting ... just
like at our house jams, where Mikee is at the controls. That’s
just one of the reasons why playin’ at the ramen is special.
Cherotic All-Star Band:
Tomek Von Schachtmayer
Skott DeMEDERIOS (drummer Shenanigoats)
Jim Willig (guitarist Shenanigoats)
John The Baker (Skip Skiffington samples)
Download free audio of Friday night here: