Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I have spent some time reading through some of the posts about old J.C. bands, and I wanted to share with everyone the first time Cricket Machine played in J.C. at the Highlander, and how this event led to a year long exile in Kingsport, or Chemsport, for some of you other Kingsport natives.

Well, I believe it was around 1989, I'm a little fuzzy on the fine details. We were hanging out at the Highlander, actually now it becomes clear, it was the same night as a pretty massive earthquake rocked San Francisco, and oddly enough, I was working hard to beat the high score on the Galaga Machine at the Highlander, nervous about getting on a real stage for the time.

Anyways, we were set to play their open mic night or whatever, we must have gotten there at like 8:00 or so, not a sole was there except for some crusty behind the bar(I think it was Danny) and Doug. We were young, Joey and I were 17, Damon, was 18 had just started school at ETSU, and Chris Gose the drummer was 18 and was down as Tusculum College. I had never been in a "club" before, and neither had Joey, and we had never played out, except for maybe a couple of parties, but we were definitely ready to make some noise. I think we were the only band scheduled for the night, and by the time is came time to play, like 10:30p.m., (11:30p.m. being Joey's curfew) there were a few folks there. We did our extended set of about 1 and 1/2 hours of music, and I must say for some green horns, we rocked out with our cocks out! And yes, specifically for Gary and Drew :), our set did contain our two REM songs, that would forever lets us be known as the band that sounds like REM. Nevertheless, we rocked and Doug invited us back for the very next night, to do our own gig, and man we were going crazy. We didn't have enough songs to really do a whole night, but we accepted the offer without a second thought. We left our gear there, in anticipation that we would return for the next night.

When we returned home around 1:30a.m., our singer, Joey, found himself in a world of hurt. His parents were absolutely livid, and immediately grounded him for a month, and would not allow him to play out the next night. Man, were we screwed! Here, we had worked hard for like three solid months in anticipation to play out at a real club, we kicked some ass, got our own gig, and now our singer was grounded, and hell, he was the only one who could sing, and knew the words to all the songs. Neither Damon, Chris, or I could pull this off without him, so we decided we had to cancel the next night's gig. The shitty part about it was that we had to drive to J.C. to pick up our gear at the Highlander, and tell Doug, in person, we had to cancel. Can you imagine having to tell a club owner, we can't play tonight cause our singer got grounded! Man, was Doug pissed off, I think he started throwing our gear out the door, and his last comment to us, as we got in our car was, "As far as I'm concerned your name is Mud around Johnson City", or something to that effect! This was embarrassing with all the locals outside there lookin' at us, laughing, etc. This would begin a year long exile in Kingsport, playing parties and Woodstone Deli, still desiring that one night on stage at a real club in J.C.

It finally came about a year later, after I had started school at ETSU, and we played an open mic night at The Pub Outback, where Doug was running sound. We billed ourselves under the name Mud, and Doug about shit when we walked in with our gear. Needless to say, he introduced us as Cricket Machine, and that would be our "re-start" to music fun in Johnson City.

Thanks for the opportunity to share this story.

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