An unfortunate encounter with the lead singer of the Burning Witches



Like most chronic drunks I can do some stupid stuff when I’m drunk. But in my defense I’m not as bad as a lotta’ drunks. In all these years I’ve never once been arrested for any alcohol-related offenses. And generally, the worst I get when I’m too drunk — I sometimes get a little too loud and turn into the asshole that’s starts shouting “PLAY FREE BIRD!!” or “PLAY STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN!!” at concerts.

But generally I’m a harmless drunk. Though every now and then I’ll get a little too drunk and cross that line.

I remember one night. It must have been around 1983.

One of my claims to fame is that I started these things called the “Biker’s Bash.” I was a San Francisco bike messenger at the time. So I’d procure these local rock clubs to put on these shows that featured all these bike messenger musicians and artists and performers. And all the bike messenger would show up. And we’d all get way drunk and way stoned. And it was like a happening

The first Biker’s Bash was at the legendary punk rock club the On Broadway. And then we switched over to this other great venue in the Potrero District called The Farm. And put on a whole series of shows there.

Anyways, one Friday night this band called the Burning Witches was performing at the show. They were sort of a punk/death metal band. They had a female lead vocalist. And this little chick with horned-rimmed glasses and a mohawk on bass (I have no idea why I remember that) and some dudes playing guitar and drums.

Anyways, I’m standing in the front row by the stage. A little too drunk. And the Burning Witches were really starting to get tiresome. They did that unmelodic “I’m-full-of-rage-and-spewing-venom” act that was real popular with the punk and metal kids back then. Plus. Their set was going on way too long.

So after they finished one of their songs I shouted up to the lead singer chick. “OK. ONE MORE SONG! AND THEN YOU GOTTA STOP PLAYING!!”

But instead of heeding my words of wisdom — I had started the Biker’s Bashes after all, and I was the Bill Graham rock empresario of the bike messenger scene after all — the Burning Witches continued to drone on and on with their dismal set.

Finally — after their next song came to its conclusion — I shouted “STOP PLAYING!!”

The lead singer shouted back at me “FUCK YOU!!” and launched into yet another song.

I decided to take matters into my own hands. So I climbed up on stage. And I pulled the lead singer right off the stage in mid-song. Well. I succeeded at stopping their set. Thats for sure. But the lead singer of the Burning Witches was now mad as a hornet. And she’s bitch-slapping me in the front of the stage. And the guitarist is also way pissed. And he comes charging at me, waving his guitar in the air like a tomahawk like he wants to mightily whack me on the head and bash my brains in (to this day I can still see that image vividly in my mind’s eye — the guitarist charging at me ready to El-Kabong me with his guitar).

But it was like a mini riot of swirling confusion at the front of the stage at the point. So I managed to avoid getting beaned. And in my defense it was a great and dramatic ending to the Burning Witches performance. Probably more exciting than any song they had planned for their encore.

Next thing I know I’m in the office of the guy who ran The Farm. A cool guy who I had dealt with from previous shows I had put on. And he informed me I had to leave the premises. Which was embarrassing. Getting kicked out of my own show.

Later the next morning, when I sobered up, I realized: I hadn’t even put on this particular Biker’s Bash. Some other bike messengers had put together this particular show. So I had no right to assert my authority. And had in fact made a fool of my self. Oh well.

The next weekend, at another punk rock show at the On Broadway, I happened to run into the little chick with the glasses and mohawk who played bass for the Burning Witches. And I apologized for acting like an ass. So at least I got to do that.

But generally. I’m a fairly functional drunk.



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