Monday, November 30, 2009

The Naked Drummer Story

Last Thursday, over the Thanksgiving dinner table, my mother-in-law was telling my mom about one of Jeff’s old bands, Pink and Brown. (Jeff was “Brown.”). Pink and Brown was a punk duo noted for wearing pink and brown unitards and face-masks. Mom-in-law told the story of she and her husband going to watch Pink and Brown play at a downtown back alley club called The Smell. Let’s just say it was a fish-out-of-water yarn involving nice middle aged folk dropped into the world of all-ages underground punk rock. My mom is still laughing at the idea that there is a nightclub called “The Smell.”

Of Pink and Brown, one reviewer said, “Sources close to the band eulogized them as ‘the sh*t’ and ‘the best band to wear the colored body suits since that last band wore the colored body suits.” The San Francisco Bay Guardian summed them up as “The fine art of destroying everything.”

Back in September, I wrote about how Jeff and I first met online. He had shared a story with me that had resulted in my first nickname for him, Naked Drummer and it involves his membership in Pink and Brown. At the request of a number of you, I now share his story, the story my sweetest husband first sent to me, by way of an introduction. Enjoy.

03-02-02 San Francisco, CA 68 Julian Alley Eviction Party w/ Pink & Brown, Numbers, Lo-Fi Neisans, Crack W.A.R.

We showed up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to this warehouse as this was to be the first show of our second 2 month US tour. We had been playing a lot and had a lot of momentum. The show was thrown by some guy named Ed who decided "f**k it" since he was getting evicted from the warehouse he built, and he invited all of San Francisco to come tear it down in grand fashion. I remember showing up and being introduced to his dog named Freedom and some girl doling out sledgehammers.

 The night unfolded much like that.

We were the last band to play, and by that point it was a full-fledged riot. There were people hurling chunks of debris and full 40 oz bottles off the second and third stories into the street, walls literally coming down while we were playing. 

You should know that by now that our band had a reputation for being confrontational and basically inviting any and all kinds of mayhem.

 We had been trying to tread a fine line between having a show that allowed the audience to participate with our tomfoolery but yet also did not give them carte blanche to f**k with us.

Effing with us would usually manifest as 1) John's cords getting unplugged many times 2) My drums/cymbals getting tipped over 3) John's mic getting unplugged 4) Something/everything getting doused with beer.

 In an effort to avoid this, John and I were trying out this idea that night of bringing effigies of ourselves so that maybe instead of trying to destroy us, the show-goers would thrash the dolls. That lasted for maybe 5 minutes, as we floated these giant poofy ninjas out to their (quick) demise.
 Then they came for us.

I remember us getting through most of the songs but it was very hard to see what was going on as I think I got maced at some point. There was a crowd of people behind us who kept darting in and ripping off pieces of our costumes. At one point I looked up at John and he was down to something like pant legs, underwear and a mask only, but he was quick and could move places with his guitar. On the other hand, I had been stripped of my entire sweaty costume minus the mask. This includes underwear. Smell of fear.

Some may imagine that it sounds liberating to drum naked but I was just really thinking at the time "Oh God oh God finish the song oh Jesus" and was told later that the tempos were all blisteringly fast. I also believe that something like the "lake effect" was probably happening in my down south areas. I also remember consciously deciding to not care anymore about the beer being sprayed / dumped from all angles and just get through the songs-- which we did.

At the end of the night there was nothing left but the memories: no clothes, barely any functional musical instruments, no walls, no warehouse, and no people (They did not want to be arrested by the 20 cops who showed up at the end). A night to remember.


  1. You had ME at "The Smell."

  2. Weird. I was just telling a youngin' this very weekend about that eviction party. After that show, no show has since compared. One of the best nights of my life.

    The dude who threw that party called the cops on his own shindig because of the intensity of the mayhem. The last thing I remember was a TV being thrown out of the window and landing on the car next to us as the cops pulled up in full riot gear.

    I will always be grateful for mr. pink and mr. brown. Mr.brown, you may have had to play with three sticks that night, but you slayed it...

    - ryan

  3. Ammmm? "Lake effect"??? As in, "cold lake effect"? Otherwise, YOU HAVE to explain...I don't get it but I'm sure it's a LOL sort of spill!
    Carol B.

  4. That's amazing!

    Karen Peterson Matchinga

  5. THIS is why I chose to be a crazy punk rather than a cheerleader. THIS is why I would laugh when I got in trouble with the cops, my parents, or a club owner. It's because of things like this story that I loved being a young kid in the punk scene and to hell with the repercussions! Your hubs is awesome!

    Kinda hard to picture him helping Bob learn to tie shoes or feed himself...