Al's Bar, Los Angeles, CA. 1998, the adventure..
By Frank Moore

AL’S BAR is a funky punky neighborhood art/music bar…a warm graffiti-covered cave where you can down beer after work, playing pool while listening to the great blues-folk-country singer on stage from 7-9. That’s what we did, slipping the huge LaBash colored backdrop up before the singer started. Then sitting back waiting for our people to arrive. THE CASIOTONES arrived first. Raindog is a big root of a guy, promising me that they wouldn’t stink up too bad so people wouldn’t leave before hearing me. Then they pulled out CASIOTONES tee-shirts and patches to induct me into their band. They went off to get ready…their keyboardist got into his darling plastic dress and wig! Next to show up was Lob, the holy art hustler. His musicians that would be INSTAGON would arrive later. The next to arrive was my bay area band…Barb, Heidi, Corey, and our son Ki-Lin. They had been traveling all day to get there. What commitment! So it felt good to just hang out together. Watching Toast play fussball. She booked us on the suggestion of Jack Marquette.

When our show started , I was struck by how cool it was….talk about hip and underground…being at AL’S BAR, listening to THE CASIOTONES…then realizing I was on the bill! THE CASIOTONES were delicate and laidback. Raindog on casio sax, the cutie on keyboard…that was their base. The drummer kept pulling out toys to play. Big Bird made an appearance. The casio guitarist, sitting in a chair, kept putting pick-ups/transmitters/whatever on various parts of his body…voice box, temples, etc. My only complaint was their set was too short. I was enjoying it!

THE CHEROTIC ALL STARS were next. Ki-lin on guitar, Lob on bass, Barb and Corey on keyboards. Me in my rock star role belting out songs. Besides the band, I had a tape of the songs playing…sort of audio subtitles. Cher (Linda) in a topless fake leopard hot non-covering play suit and wide open fringe leather vest joined me for THE BEAT GOES ON. (That act has transmuted since Sonny’s death.) Then Heidi…dressed only in ribbons, a little blue scarf, and a black see-through net top…appeared on stage, dancing very sexy, rubbing me as I tried to focus on singing. In the middle of this, a woman from the audience (nope, she wasn’t a plant) got on stage to join in the dancing and to sign the songs for any deaf people in the audience! Heidi and the signer left the stage. But the signer came back to sign my pleas and threats to the heartless and trashy RUBY (mini-skirted Linda) in the Kenny Roger’s song. Lob and the two women left the stage while I did MIND GAMES. But he joined back in on MAGIC IS AFOOT, the last song.

So it was INSTAGON’s turn. But as they were setting up, a punky-arty guy in a black dress took the mike and requested the audience to abandon their chairs, get down on the floor and roll around on one another. A noble intent, but of course he was ignored. All night everyone had been cozy. But as INSTAGON started their killer set, as Burrough’s voice kept saying hello from the great beyond, the ignored artist and his buddy started rudely taking chairs from under people and piling the chairs in a strange sculpture in front of the stage. A lot of the de-chaired people just left, of course. It wasn’t like the mass exit that occurred when the two started a newspaper fight/orgy…throwing newspapers (and harder items) everywhere, then mock fighting/fucking each other.

Meanwhile INSTAGON did a killer high energy set, playing Zeppelin's "Dazed & Confused." Then I joined them from the battlefield, dodging flying objects to do vocals on what Lob calls "Cosmic Cherotic Crip Rockin'", Ki-lin holding my mike and blocking flying objects and bodies from me. A very exciting set!

So it was time for the jam! Most of the audience was gone. The floor was flooded with newspaper, chairs piled in front of the stage. I first collared the would-be artist and had him dismantle his sculpture. Then I had everyone who had stayed move close to the stage. THE CASIOTONES merged with THE CHEROTIC ALL-STARS. I loved vocally jamming with this huge band. But I will break down and get a head-mike before the next gig so I can dance while singing. We all jammed with Linda (this time clad only in a black see-through dress) as she read my poetry. Unfortunately the vibes weren’t right to do the planned erotic ritual…maybe next time!

- Frank Moore, Berkeley, CA

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