Friday, December 13, 2002

Stories, stories. Let's see... where do I begin?

I think I'll begin in the fall of 1986. There was a benefit show for the humane society, and Linda Barnett convinced several of our circle of friends (Elizabethton High folks, who stood out like sore thumbs in our thrasher magazine t-shirts and trenchcoats among the skoal-dipping populace of that school) to go see it. Linda, you see, was already more wise to the ways of local rock than most of us. So, off we go. It was very cold that night, and I remember sitting both on and in a cardboard box trying to stay warm while the bands played.

I don't remember what other bands played that night. But, I know the Nightmares were headlining, and that was something of a revelation. There it was... good music that I could touch. I could see those guys walking down the street. I could see those guys pumping gas into their cars. Very tangible. Prior to this my only exposure to live music had been heavy metal concerts at Freedom Hall and Eddie Rabbit concerts at the state fair.

My friends Eddie Webb and Chuck Phaneuf played guitar and drums, respectively. I'd been wanting a drum set for a while, but mom wasn't having it. Eddie and Chuck set out to convince me that it was really a bass guitar that I needed to get that xmas, instead of drums. This way, they reasoned, we could start a bad immediately. And they were right. I got a bass that year, and Eddie showed me how to tune it. Only a day or two thereafter we started playing together.

Kim, who was Chuck's girlfriend at the time, was hanging around our little garage jams and became the vocalist. I won't say "singer," since Kim, who I love dearly, never really sang much of anything. Shouted, sure. Delivered, fine. Sang, maybe not. But, there was something precious about four loopy high school kids doing poory executed black flag covers with a cute female singer, I suppose, because after one night at Down Home's ubiquitous Open Hoot, we landed our first "real gig" opening for the Nightmares at the Casbah (Club Venus at the time). This was about three months after I got that bass for xmas.

I'm not sure many of the Nightmares fans from ETSU were really digging us. But, it seemed like some of the more alternatively minded folks were at least amused, if not entertained. So, we played around for a while. Eventually we tried to replace Kim with Liz, and then I slid over and spent more time with Buck Fifty and the Longnecks.

But, I'll save the Buck Fifty stories for some other time and sign off for now.

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