MDC, Citizen Fish, Knitting Factory
Another night in paradise.
Team Spider rocked the Knitting Factory, with punk Legends M.D.C. and Citizen Fish, with a special appearance by Stza from leftover Crack. The show, which took place on “Buy nothing day,” / “Black Friday”, (a.k.a. the day after thanksgiving), kept all the Spiders in NYC for the holiday weekend. A time that maybe would normally be reserved for family, but a good band is really a family, and we spent it with each other.
So, after a summer-temperature Thanksgiving, and belly’s filled with $am’s mom’s cooking, and French houseguest Benoir’s apple crumbler, the Spider welcomed Old Skull Original Spidersta GEORGE (s)MACK, all the way from Austin Texas… one of the founding members of the TEAM, George was probably as excited as any 3 of us put together to be playing Knitting Factory. George is a long time fan of avant garde jazz, and spent many many many many nights in the knitting factory rockin’ out to John Zorn and countless other experimental players. Ironically, our merch table was set up where “his seat” is located. He’s spent so many hours unraveling the mysteries of the mathematical possibilities of the limited musical scales of human consciousness in that very spot, that I suggested he find out what the GPS coordinates are for that chair, and write a song based on the tablatures within that number. George, looking surprised, responded, “Xris, that’s very ‘Great Atomic Power’ of you.” ( G.A.P. is George’s side project, an amazing instrumental/ experimental band composed of various benched spiders, Geoff/Drums, Robbie Seahag / Gtrs, George / Bass and Sax). I replied sincerely, “You’ve had an influence on me.”
So, with Mack the Knife in town, we had some nice Sax playin’ within the Team. We executed an oft planned never realized idea to cover Operation Ivy’s “Bad Town.” The only song Op Ivy ever put any wind instrument on. So, with no practice together, due to George’s Thrift store flight which arrived at Midnight on Thanksgiving day, we hit the stage w/ the Mack, and rocked out BUSH BUSH BUSH, BAD TOWN, and LILLY’s TREAT with some ripping smooth sax. George also tweaked the knobs on our little sampler with various police rants, new reports, and other interesting sounds signifying our decimated civil liberties.
We had pretty good sound I thought, but I was dancing in the crowd most of the night so I was getting the full blast of the PA cabinets.
On- stage I am not sure what it was like, I know I couldn’t hear the samples when I hit ‘em. And Dave Dictor from MDC was non-stop complaining about the monitors, which I’ve never heard him do before, and we’ve done some ghetto-ass shows together. So I am not sure what’s up with that, Knitting Factory is supposed to be a top venue, the Main Space, ( which I still am not sure how the hell we weren’t playing up there, the ‘tap room’ was busting at the seams) , supposedly has the board that Pink Floyd’s dark side of the moon was recorded on. Not that that necessarily means anything in practical terms, but it does indicate a love and effort towards great sound. Why not in all the rooms?
So, who knows what went on, all I know is I somehow seem to have lost my new mic. A little while back I decided I am going to treat myself to a nice mic. Not just show up and rely on whatever beaten, bruised and germed up Shure mic I am handed by sound people, or in many cases, just whoever brought the PA. Well, my bring my own mic plan lasted one night, because though I clearly remember being handed the mic buy the sound-lady at the knit, I was focused on giving her back the house mic, and about 20 other things, so at 1 am, when we were loading back in to the practice room, I noticed, I had NO mic. So, unless one of the other bands, or the MY PUNK ROCK RADIO guys, who I was doing video with, produce it, I’m out 167 bux, for a 167 dollar paid gig. Even steven strikes again!
That reminds me though, that I have to point out how amazingly cool Citizen Fish were about letting us use their gear. Being a van-less bike-punk band, we often are thankful to play a place like Knitting Factory that has a ‘backline.’ That is, a general assortment of amps, and cabinets, drums etc. that are up for use. But upon load-in, the Fish’s road guy started upgrading the gear we were settling for with Citizen Fish’s monster sized cabinets and amps, then drums, then cymbals, till by the end, we were more like Citizen Spider, with nothing of the Knit’s gear, or our own, up there save for my little doomed Audix microphone.
So, big props to the Fish! Great guys. As are MDC. Talked to MDC drummer Al Shvitz about when I was a wee under-aged spider, and saw MDC in Reading Pennsylvania, the closest town to my little Pa. town to have touring punk bands. Al’s 4 year old son sang some of MDC’s set. Though it was long long long time ago, in a strip mall far far away, and that night I was drunk-off of beer bought for us (by MDC ! ), I clearly remember this little 4year old belting out “knucklehead”, and “chicken squawk”, and as AL pointed out “he also sang Dead Cop.” Al informed me his little anarchist toddler is now 22 years old, ha. Time flies.
We also talked about who is not with us, including Mikey "Offender" Donaldson, who was an original member of MDC, and a member of DRI during the DEALING WITH IT days, (one of the greatest records of all time in my humble opinion). He passed away a couple weeks back, as did Nick Phillips, the Leftover Crack friend, family member, and merch guy. Another tragedy.
Nick and I used to joke that we were in competition for seeing Leftover Crack more than anyone else on the planet. I was first for a while, having seen probably every single show they played the first few years of their existance. But when the national/international touring machine kicked in, and Nick became the Merch guy, he eventually lapped me. Oh well. Everyone who knew Nick had great stories to tell, and many are still dealing with the shock of losing Mikey and Nick. As Dave Dictor put it , “I still haven’t had my big bawl yet.” Stza came up during Citizen Fish’s set to sing the ole Choking Victim classic MONEY, and sent it out “To Nick, my best friend.”