Hey Everyone! The following is a short excerpt from Chapter 2 of my upcoming Book “Been There, Done That.”
The US Festival has inspired me. So much so, that when the Festival is announced for May of the following year, and now announces “theme” days – “New Wave Day,” “Heavy Metal Day,” “Country Day,” I come up with one of my own. I secure a date at the Goleta Valley Rollercade (near Santa Barbara), the weekend before The US Festival, and set out to produce “Punk Day.” I contact and secure the services of X, The Dickies, The Cramps, The Alley Cats, Fear, Black Flag, The Circle Jerk, Public Image LTD, and The Dead Kennedys. The idea is to set up two stages, one at either end of the skating floor, with no breaks in-between bands. When one band stops, the next starts, and the audience simply turns around. I name the show “The Storm Before The Calm” and in a play on the US Festival’s similar promise (which turns out to drunken, fire hose-wielding maniacs), I write a promotional campaign that includes “Pretty Punk-ettes, on wheels, skating through the crowd with squirt guns, to keep all cool.” I’m told by many in the know that the two thousand capacity Rollercade, even if sold out, cannot accommodate the budget and the likely damage, yet I persist. Later, when The Dead Kennedys, The Cramps and X beg off within a matter of two days, and after hounding by many (“You’re making a BIG mistake with this show), I come to my senses –which I still rarely do when in my dog-with-a-bone mental state– and decide not to go forward. In its stead, I keep the date at The Rollercade, contact the six top local Santa Barbara bands –The Tan, The Tearaways, The Generics, The Rave, Norman Allan and The Pups– and throw the “School’s Out for Summer” concert. I put big screens up and show Annette and Frankie movies and give away a couple of trips to Hawaii. While it ain’t exactly Black Flag, Fear and The Circle Jerks, the show sells out and is a lot of fun. But fuck, I should’ve thrown caution to the wind and gone with “The Storm.” That was a RARE occasion when I let someone talk me out of something I WANTED TO DO. Had I gone with it, sure, maybe I would’ve lost a few grand. And all these years later –after homelessness, bankruptcy and the rest—how would THAT have affected me? Well, it wouldn’t have. Instead, I could’ve looked back, and said, “I did the REAL US Festival.” And that is a seminal moment for me in the woulda/coulda/shoulda sweepstakes. In other words… JUST DO IT.