Andrew Hamlin 9 a.m., April 25
Strange Stage Stories from San Diego Musicians: Doriot Lair (The Dinettes), Joel Kmak (The Farmers, The Hitmakers), Michael Halloran (91X) and more...
Strange Stage Stories from San Diego Musicians: Michael Halloran (91X), Doriot Lair (The Dinettes), Joel Kmak (The Hitmakers, The Farmers), Louis Brazier (Lestat's soundman) and Jack Butler (Glory, Private Domain) relate odd and interesting moments that have happened while performing...
Michael Halloran / San Diego radio mainstay: “Matisyahu. Belly Up Tavern. Goldberg the wrestler. He and his brother are part owners of the club. I asked if he would come onstage to help with announcements. He obliged. At the drip of the moment I ask the crowd, it was packed, to 'pass' Goldberg from the stage to the bar and back. He had no idea I was going to ask but he was a good sport, he did it. However, when his body was passed back onstage, he picked me up by my belt with one hand and almost launched me into the pit! Painful wedgie.”
Louis Brazier / Soundman, booker at Lestat’s: “It was the last night of a tour with (glam rocker’s) Cinderella. So the roadcrew planned our practical joke, walking out in the middle of their set, bare chested, wearing a Domino’s hat, sweat pants and carrying a pizza. And guess what? One of our own pants me right in the middle of the stage.”
Joel Kmak / The Hitmakers, The Farmers: "Port Costa, a little one street town in the middle of no where, about 50 miles north east of San Francisco. Fall of 1978. The Hitmakers and The Liars somehow book a gig at a nice restaurant/bar there. A small group of punks and the like from the city follow us out to take over this cute little town for a night. Well, half way through the show the Hells Angels show up, at least as many as us. I'm talkin' Oakland Hells Angels, you do not (mess) with them. A fight breaks out halfway through our set and an Angel throws a punk into the dairy case breaking the glass and everyone proceeds to throw eggs and quart size containers of milk at us which make a loud thump as they hit the wall right behind me. I'm dodging this (stuff) as I play, amazingly I don't get hit. We cut our set short as the cops show up. Imagine the brawl scene in (the movie) Blazing Saddles! We retreat to our hotel room across the street on the second floor and watch everyone get arrested. Our equipment survived but unfortunately the club was wasted. I felt bad for the owners."
Jack Butler / Glory, Private Domain: “One Saturday night, while playing to a packed house at Dicks Last Resort, a commotion happened at the 4th street entrance next to the stage. A large limo had dropped off a group of well dressed men who entered in a big way. One of the eight men was clearly Bill Gates. Paul seized the moment. We got him up on stage to sing “Brown Eyed Girl” with the band, sharing the mic with Paul. The crowd was stunned as the world’s richest man suddenly was one of them. A UT reporter later researched the event, debunking it by saying his PR people said he was in Europe at the time. We later found out, through a mutual friend, that he spends a lot time in his mansion in North County and belongs to the Del Mar Country Club. Why would his camp report the truth of his whereabouts to the press? It was him!"
Doriot Lair / The Dinettes: “When the Dinettes played at the Western Front in San Francisco in the fall of 1979, we didn't get a gig at Mabuhay Gardens like the Dead Kennedys or Black Flag or the Pens. We were booked at the Deaf Club which, as a young San Diego bumpkin, I hadn't realized was more than just a cool name for a venue with really loud music, that since the Depression it was a social club for the deaf. As we waited to play, people were making a big deal out of blowing up dime store balloons. I was just hoping we weren't going to have to duck balloons in addition to the customary bottles, but all was clear when from the stage I saw people who'd earlier been signing that were now holding the fully blown balloons between their fingertips and against their chests. The nerd in me was jumping up and down because I knew what they were doing—they were using the balloons as mini-resonance chambers to experience the music. Double-bumpkined! I later learned it'd been Alexander Graham Bell who'd figured out the whole bubble- vibrational-sympathetic-frequency angle. Bell gave balloons to his deaf students in 19th century Boston as a sort of early warning system for detecting the approach of horse drawn carriages from behind. WOW! And so the telephone was born.”
Photo: Michael Halloran playing Jeff Aafedt's (The Rugburns) drumset, in between songs at rehearsals for a closing medley at the 2000 San Diego Music Awards. Photo by Sandra Castillo.