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Strange Stage Stories from San Diego Musicians: Ariel Levine (The Distractions), Victor Penalosa (The Phantoms), Allison Adams Tucker and Michael Head (Country Rockin Rebels) + Mike Peters (The Alarm)

Mike Peters / The Alarm, Big Country: In 1984 Peters was on a U.S. tour opening for the Pretenders. “I shouted ‘San Diego I want to hear you sing’ and got nothing from the crowd,” Peters recalled. “So I said it again, louder. Still nothing. So I shouted it again even louder and got nothing. That’s when I noticed a guy up front trying to get my attention, who said “Mike, this is Santa Barbara.” I’ve never been so embarrassed in all my life.”

Victor Penalosa / The Flamin Groovies, The Phantoms: “On my 21st birthday, I went to see Big Star at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. I went up there with my band the Melanies. I got @#% faced. The band came back out for an encore, and (Big Star frontman) Alex (Chilton) said does anybody want to come up and sing? I yelled “me!” I ended up on stage with them. It’s kind of funny, because they were playing (Free’s hit) “All Right Now,” but I got it confused with another song. They did a verse and chorus and then they kicked me off stage. I was too loaded.”

Ariel Levine / Elvis Costello impersonator with The Distractions, guitarist with Josh Damigo: “Besides school concerts, my first time playing and singing an original song to an audience was when I was 12. It was with my band Turnicate. We played mostly Nirvana and Weezer covers, but had about 3 originals. We sounded pretty much like three 12 year olds. I was so nervous I don't have any recollection of how the audience reacted. I also have no memory of the night, I must have blocked it out of my head. The only memory I have of it is from watching the camcorder playback. My bass player walked off the stage in the middle of the song because he forgot how to play it.”

Michael Head / Country Rockin Rebels, Bad Science Fiction: “I was playing at a bar in PB when a neighbor who apparently had a long standing issue with the volume at the club, walked in just started going off in the middle of a song. He was screaming, ranting, raving at the staff and literally throwing things, pissed about the years of being disturbed. Some real Roadhouse stuff. All while the band rolled on, even when the napkin dispenser went flying by our heads. They took the guy away and the bar gave us a nice tip.”

Allison Adams Tucker: “Back in the 80's, before my jazz days, I was lead singer and the token punker SoCal female in a New Wave band that performed in clubs around the Midwestern states. This was quite a social statement since "good ole boys" of the Midwest weren't big Alternative Music listeners. One night we were performing at a dive club in a small Indiana town, and as usual, people were yelling out song requests such as "Lynyrd Skynyrd!", "Stairway To Heaven!", and other tunes we definitely didn't have on the setlist. An inebriated middle-aged hippie woman approached the stage as I was in the middle of a song, and I figured she was going to request a song. I leaned forward to listen to her, and she grabbed my face and planted a long, slobbery kiss on it. I couldn't break her grasp in time for my next verse, so the lead guitarist pried her off me and kept her back until we could end the song. We called a quick break, and the guys in the band had to hide me while she stalked the club for a bit before giving up and probably forgetting the whole thing. I was left stunned and gun-shy of anyone approaching the stage for a while afterward. Of course, this pales in comparison to the time the stage lights exploded and the fire department evacuated the club in the middle of our set.”

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“Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.”
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The Yoda Code

“Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they.”

Mike Peters / The Alarm, Big Country: In 1984 Peters was on a U.S. tour opening for the Pretenders. “I shouted ‘San Diego I want to hear you sing’ and got nothing from the crowd,” Peters recalled. “So I said it again, louder. Still nothing. So I shouted it again even louder and got nothing. That’s when I noticed a guy up front trying to get my attention, who said “Mike, this is Santa Barbara.” I’ve never been so embarrassed in all my life.”

Victor Penalosa / The Flamin Groovies, The Phantoms: “On my 21st birthday, I went to see Big Star at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. I went up there with my band the Melanies. I got @#% faced. The band came back out for an encore, and (Big Star frontman) Alex (Chilton) said does anybody want to come up and sing? I yelled “me!” I ended up on stage with them. It’s kind of funny, because they were playing (Free’s hit) “All Right Now,” but I got it confused with another song. They did a verse and chorus and then they kicked me off stage. I was too loaded.”

Ariel Levine / Elvis Costello impersonator with The Distractions, guitarist with Josh Damigo: “Besides school concerts, my first time playing and singing an original song to an audience was when I was 12. It was with my band Turnicate. We played mostly Nirvana and Weezer covers, but had about 3 originals. We sounded pretty much like three 12 year olds. I was so nervous I don't have any recollection of how the audience reacted. I also have no memory of the night, I must have blocked it out of my head. The only memory I have of it is from watching the camcorder playback. My bass player walked off the stage in the middle of the song because he forgot how to play it.”

Michael Head / Country Rockin Rebels, Bad Science Fiction: “I was playing at a bar in PB when a neighbor who apparently had a long standing issue with the volume at the club, walked in just started going off in the middle of a song. He was screaming, ranting, raving at the staff and literally throwing things, pissed about the years of being disturbed. Some real Roadhouse stuff. All while the band rolled on, even when the napkin dispenser went flying by our heads. They took the guy away and the bar gave us a nice tip.”

Allison Adams Tucker: “Back in the 80's, before my jazz days, I was lead singer and the token punker SoCal female in a New Wave band that performed in clubs around the Midwestern states. This was quite a social statement since "good ole boys" of the Midwest weren't big Alternative Music listeners. One night we were performing at a dive club in a small Indiana town, and as usual, people were yelling out song requests such as "Lynyrd Skynyrd!", "Stairway To Heaven!", and other tunes we definitely didn't have on the setlist. An inebriated middle-aged hippie woman approached the stage as I was in the middle of a song, and I figured she was going to request a song. I leaned forward to listen to her, and she grabbed my face and planted a long, slobbery kiss on it. I couldn't break her grasp in time for my next verse, so the lead guitarist pried her off me and kept her back until we could end the song. We called a quick break, and the guys in the band had to hide me while she stalked the club for a bit before giving up and probably forgetting the whole thing. I was left stunned and gun-shy of anyone approaching the stage for a while afterward. Of course, this pales in comparison to the time the stage lights exploded and the fire department evacuated the club in the middle of our set.”

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