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Mudhoney, The Melvins @ The Music Box, 9/16/07
I am loving this ATP-inspired idea of playing entire albums from beginning to end. Tonight we hit the Music Box to see The Melvins play Houdini and Mudhoney play Superfuzz Big Muff plus Early Singles. Sadly, we missed Flipper. We were late because I fell down the back steps as we rushed out the door. Bob wanted me to stay home and ice my foot, but no way was I missing this gig! We hopped into the car, and I broke into our emergency preparedness pack to patch up my bloody arm (It is preparedness month!). But I don't understand what to do with just a square of white gauze (there is never any of that white tape in the first aid kits), so I stuck it on with band-aids, and off we went. The thing that annoyed me the most was that when I fell down the steps, I landed in the rosemary bush. So I smelled like a hippie all night.
The Music Box, aka, the Henry Fonda is kind of aggro. They even take your gum. I sat on a couch in a big sitting area, and an usher said, "I'm sorry, ma'am, you can't sit there." I asked "It's reserved?." He said, "No. We have to keep this area clear." So there were places to sit; there was just no sitting allowed. It was all really strict until it seemed like the club hit a point where they just gave up, and then all hell broke loose. I think they over-booked the venue. Soon people were crawling all over those forbidden couches and going crazy.
We saw Dave Markey, Jennifer Schwartz, et al on the roof patio. And we hung out with some of Bob's old bandmates from Clawhammer. We also ran into Keith Morris, the original singer of Black Flag. He said the Fuck Yeah! Fest was a rousing success. Then I went downstairs to push my way to the front of the stage.
The club had some issue with photo passes, so I couldn't get behind the barrier into the photo pit for the Melvins. So I went into the slampit. The crowd was pretty mellow, up to a point. About nine people from the stage it was really packed and hard-core. During certain songs, swirling, violent mosh pits of angst would form. It was pretty gnarly. So sorry, guys, only one live Melvins pic (and Bobby had to Photoshop it within an inch of its life). Finally, I just went and stood near the side. The sound was pretty good anywhere you stood in the large hall. The band seemed to be having a good time, rocking really hard through Houdini. Although, I have to confess, when I become the Queen of Rock I will have them do Ozma. They are the kind of larger-than-life band that can really fill a large space like that. The heavy double drum finale blew the roof off. It was really spectacular. Rock on, Dale!
I was in the photo pit for the first few songs of Mudhoney. Afterwards, it was clear the crowd had gone completely feral. When I was in the pit for Mudhoney last year, I got punched right in the face, so we went and sat in the balcony. The sound was really good up there too. Apparently the sound in that place is good everywhere but on stage, because word was the monitors were a problem. Anyways, Sitting in the plush theater seats of the dark balcony, I was feeling pretty good. Every song Mudhoney was playing was familiar, since it was a singles album. And they have been together so long now, I think they actually play the songs better than on the original recordings. Touch Me I'm Sick is fucking the raddest headbanger, and If I Think is so bittersweet, so tender and sad.
Something suddenly clicked for me just before the encore. When they toured last year, Mudhoney always played Black Flag's Fix Me. Mark Arm and I had joked about his Keith Morris impersonation. And who did we just run into? Keith Morris. Come on, it was too good. So when they started the encore, we rushed down the stairs. As soon as I heard the introduction, I started trying to push up closer to the stage to catch it on videotape. Sorry the video is shaky and all over the place, but welcome to the pit.
Videotaping bands on the sly is not always cool. That episode of What's Happening! where Rerun was bootlegging the Doobie Brothers made a big impression on me as a child. So backstage, I went to every single member of Mudhoney and got permission to post the video here. Then I asked Keith Morris. He said, "Yeah, if it's OK with them" and swung his arm in a gesture meant to encompass Mudhoney. Then he said, "But it is a Black Flag song..." And we both said, simultaneously,
"So maybe you have to ask Greg Ginn!"
I started getting really excited, "I would LOVE to get sued by Greg Ginn! Imagine the punk rock cred I would have. It's like a Germs burn. You're nobody til you get sued by Greg Ginn." Keith just stared at me. I said, "You have that look on your face that says, "Any further discussion is going to have to be handled by my lawyers."
Dan (the drummer), told me that Mudhoney just got out of the studio. They recorded 11 songs over 2 days and will be putting out a new album. Because I am posting here on LAist, I asked, "Is that public information? Or do you want to keep that quiet?" He shrugged and said, "It's going to get out eventually."
Musicians are photographed so often, they try to outdo each other with weird faces.
Buzz is usually the winner of that contest
But I think Dale from the Melvins has emerged as an all-time champion.
Speaking of Dale's many talents, make sure to check out Dale's other band, Altamont, who are super-rad.
Steve, the guitar player from Mudhoney, wanted me to show him my injury. I lifted the gauze, and his friend started freaking out at the horror of my bloody scrape. Then Guy, the bass player, called over in his Australian accent, "Wait a minute. Come here." I said, "What, you want to see it too?" He said, "I'm just fascinated by this patchwork frankenstein bandaging job you've got going over here." Later, when he made fun of it again, "I asked, "Well, why doesn't gauze come with the white tape?" He replied, "Why don't toothbrushes come with toothpaste?" He had me there.
I saw Jeff McDonald, which was really nice, because we didn't get much of a chance to talk at The Redd Kross show and afterparty in July. The conversation got really heavy and philosophical. It was such a refreshing change from the usual small talk. We were talking about how some bands become trapped into playing the same songs forever. He said, "But that's what they chose." I said, "But you chose it so young." We taIked about the permanency of recorded music. I said, "But when you re-play an old album live like this, don't you get a second chance? If you feel like you made a mistake the first time, now you can fix it." He said, "No. You never can." Then my husband Bob, got into the conversation and we were telling Jeff about Zappa plays Zappa. Jeff said few musicians choose to go that deep into their music, "I mean, he would go into the studio and not come out. It was crazy". And I said, "I think all of you musicians are crazy." He said, "But you do it too." I said, "I can't pick up an instrument and play a single note." He said, "But you get it. I mean, you're still here."
Jeff McDonald and Keith Morris, who, contrary to popular belief, are actually the exact same height.
You may remember me talking in previous posts about the setlist-obsessed girl we know who is always storming stages, often at great peril. For some reason last night she felt it was very important that I have one. Which was really an honor, because they are like holy relics to her. We all have our trophies I guess; for me it is getting that perfect photo. Since I was talking to Steve at the time, she had him sign it for me, which was only slightly awkward. So if you are one of those people who are into setlists, here it is
Later, as we were leaving Dan's room back at Mudhoney's hotel around three in the morning, who was there in the lobby checking in? A couple inexplicably dressed as pirates and our good friend here in this photo. The girl on his arm was convinced she knew me from porn. And that's how you know you're in Hollywood.
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