Let me start at the beginning. Well, not the very beginning. The very beginning would consist of me, a left-hander with a borrowed, right-handed, Peavey guitar, writing my first songs on my living room floor. That story might be told in the coming days, just to outline my personal hubris, poor financial skills, terrible taste in clothing, and wonderful, wonderful friends. That story might be told just for the fact that, frankly, if not for a few strange and out of character decisions, I might never have written or recorded a single song. The beginning I was talking about, however, was the night that forever changed the future of Get Set Go and many, many other bands who we had the inestimable good fortune to know over our long and storied history. Now, let’s hop in our way-back machine, or TARDIS, if you’ve got one, and return to late-September of 1998. You remember 1998, yes? Rap-rock? The Sopranos? Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Body-piercings? And shitty, shitty, shitty LA bands selling ten dollar tickets to go see them play at shitholes like the Whiskey and the Roxy? I mean, sure, Spaceland existed. But the Jabberjaw had shut down. Eagles Cafe was slowly suffocating. Moguls was no more. And there were myriad other little venues that were slowly going out of existence.
We were all partying at Shmed’s place on Hill Ave, in Pasadena. The group consisted of Shmed and Soup from the Holliston Stops, Nate and Sean from Otto (soon to become Arlo), and Tom Sanford (who joined Arlo during the Stab The Unstoppable Hero days.) And we were grousing about the fact that there were no places to play anymore in Los Angeles. And what could we do? And I proposed that perhaps we find an out-of-the-way venue, and ask to take over their worst night. If it’s a place struggling for more revenue, they could always use an infusion of 12 to 15 beer-guzzling rock musicians to help boost bar sales. I proposed that we ask to take over a night, say a Sunday, or a Monday, or a Tuesday and just play every week. I remember that a couple of them looked at me like I was nuts. I think it was Tom who made the point that there was noooo way in hell that we could draw a crowd every week. And I remember responding with something like, who cares? We don’t need a crowd. Let’s just play. We’ll get better on stage. We’ll play every week. We’ll get comfortable playing live, we’ll drink beers, and we’ll sing along to each other’s songs. Because, truthfully, for me, there could be nothing better. I loved those bands. I loved the music they played. It was like I was hanging out with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Having a place to play, and play with them every week…just us? Sign me up.
So, long story short. We did it. It was at Mr. T’s Bowl. On Tuesday nights. And for the first year, for most of 1999, we played for only each other. I mean, a couple other bands joined us during that year. The Mash Notes, 1976, the Pinks, Freud’s Boyfriend, Dopamine. We were a little family. And we played for each other. We had a fucking wonderful time. Drugs, alcohol, music, love, and friends. I mean, it was fucking brilliant. And slowly but surely, more people started showing up. By 2001, the place was packed every Tuesday. And the awesome thing was, it was ours. It was our community. We knew every person that walked in that door. Or, if someone new showed up, we met ‘em, fell in love with ‘em, and integrated them into the, what was ostensibly, family. And it was this experience that has colored my thoughts and feelings regarding music. This sense of family. Of belonging to something bigger and better and more awesome and inspiring that we could ever be on our lonesome. And it felt that way from the very beginning, in October of 1998, all the way up until I had to stop doing in in 2006. It was 8 years of mind-blowing, heart-stopping awesome.
So, that’s what Get Set Go has been trying to do at Casey’s on the Thursday nights. We’re still in our first year. And it’s sorta progressing like it did back then. But not really. Mostly because, until now, it has been just us. I mean, sure, the occasional band joins us for a couple weeks. Or a few weeks. But they don’t keep coming out. And they don’t hang out. I’m not sure if it’s our age. Or if it’s just the alchemical mix of the bands, or whatever. I don’t know what it is. But I can tell you, I miss it. We have just now begun to have bands that seem seriously excited to play. Houndstooth, Mod Hippy, Gosha, and, of course, Sebastian Bach, to name a few. I’m hoping, with all my heart, that we’ll gather a few more bands into the fold. That everyone will spend enough time at Casey’s to have it feel like home. That we will sing along to each other’s songs, fall in love, and celebrate music the way it was meant to be celebrated. Dancing and singing like we’re the only people in the room. Because, if I have anything to say about it, we will be.
Anyhow, talk to you tomorrow.
Hope is for the hopeful, but hopelessness leaves you more time for writing songs,