Monday, August 12, 2002

FROM DREW VANCE (who can't post to the blog from work at Gibson -- Brook)

I can recall being stuck in NC after my father died, feeling as though I was totally missing out on everything.  Finally, the bands were playing out, John had a new, good bass--the Daion, I think; it was used for the first N'Mares tape --Donnie had a hot Mustang, Ryalls had gotten those huge black Tamas, and the Rellava guy from Bleu Jackson's band was singing with them.  Kurt had even moved out of his Mom's place.  Meanwhile, I was floundering in Gastonia, trying--and failing, no doubt--to affect an outsider, alterna-image.  In reality, I was 22, living with my mom, working at a pawnshop, and had a mullet that reached halfway down my back.  Dear God, it was miserable.  Thank god for The Replacements, Jason and the Scorchers, Husker Du, Let's Active, Bangles--"All Over the Place", natch--Lone Ryders, Hoodoo Gurus, and above all of course, REM.  I craved the days that JC folks would come down to see the Scorchers at Kidnappers' in Charlotte.  It made me feel connected to the JC scene, such as it was at its nebulous stage.
Roland Tester was working a construction job in Charlotte in the summer of '86--the hottest on record, I think, with temperatures higher than in Phoenix--and he and I would make the occasional weeknd trip to JC to see the old gang.  They were hanging out with these freaks whom I had never heard of.  Mike and Lynne?  Johnnie Hicks? Ann, Barbara, Paul...who the fuck were these people?  And why were they turning my innocent little nerd friends into beer-sloshing slobs?  I had to go back to JC to save them from the evil outsiders.
When I finally made up my mind to go, I ran to JC.  Flopping on couches, going out of town with the Nightmares, riding my bike all over town, eating nothing, and--best of all--honest-to-god sex with real girls (in my case singular; I wasn't a player).  All the stuff I missed over 2 years in NC I had to cram in as fast as possible.  Goddam, was it fun.  And FINALLY getting my band.  I was one of the Stinkies, and part of the larger "scene".  Suddenly I was one of the evil outsiders I had come to fight, and all was beautiful and well.  We CREATED our scene, we owned it, it was ours.  I recall when Gov't Cheese, The Dusters, etc, first came to town.  All of us "musicians" held them at arms length...who were they to be coming into our scene?  After all, they hadn't been invited like 63 Eyes, Fab Motion, etc.  They had just strolled in to capitalize on what we started.  Such jealous bitches...
Looking back on it, I think the best part of it all is that it lasted.  Even though with everyone gone, Club Venus is still there, still booking bands because the Nightmares, Stinkyfinger, Scott Pleasant, Plane Jane, Beat Yo Mother, GSI, Electric Middle Earth, et al took it over.  The Down Home was cool, but it was so un-rock & roll.  Even when the scene died and we had to resort to massive LSD consumption, it was still cool, 'coz we were so much cooler than anyone else.  The fact that the scene died after a couple of years is for the best, I think, before it had a chance to lose its identity.
I think my favorite memory of it was the 2nd time that Uncle Green played there, and they had a full house.  The Do It Now Foundation--god, how do I remember that?--opened, and I remember them saying that Uncle Green was gonna be up in a few minutes.  That was greeted by polite but highly charged applause; we were really chomping at the bit to see Uncle Green.  It made the scene seem SO real for a great band to be there, loads of people there to see them, and for me to have escaped NC.  If I could have frozen the scene at any stage, that would be it.
Thanks to everyone who saw the Stinkyfinger show on 7/27.  The best rock experience I ever had.  Great time for us, and deeply appreciated.


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