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