Before They Play Artist Cabe Booth's Birthday Party, Members of Bobgoblin, Chomsky and El Gato Share Their First Show Memories
Booth's birthday is coming up this week, and for his birthday party, he's hosting a show at the Kessler Theatre in Oak Cliff featuring three bands that once played Deep Ellum all the time: Bobgoblin, Chomsky and El Gato.
To prepare for the show, we decided to ask Hop Litzwire from Bobgoblin, John Vineyard from El Gato and Matt Kellum from Chomsky about their first show experiences.
In two of these cases, the musician's earliest shows included Rush concerts. Can you guess which two? Find out if you're right after the jump.
What was the first show you remember seeing?
Hop Litzwire: Earth, Wind and Fire. I was seven years old, and the show was in a big, bouncy arena with about 25,000 other people in it. It was a daunting experience, but once the band started kickin' it, I was doing "The Re-Run" with the best of them. Come to think of it, the gear that EWF were wearing that night might have been an inspiration for the Bob.
John Vineyard: The first show I went to was an all-ages show at the old Agora Ballroom in 1993 with Tripping Daisy, The Toadies, and Adam's Farm, and it made a huge impression on my 17-year old brain. The energy in the room was unbelievable that night. It was such an escape from the world outside -- we may as well have been on another planet.
Matt Kellum: My dad took me, my older brother and some friends to see Rush on the Signals tour in 1982. It might have been '83, actually. Either way, I was 8. It was at the San Diego Sports Arena, home of the San Diego Soccers and some really awful San Diego Clippers basketball, with a hobbled Bill Walton at the helm. There are three things I remember from this, other than the incredibly awesome, greatest night of my life to that point, Rush experience. Golden Earring opene; I recall little of their set other than that I'm pretty sure their drummer's Neil Peart-esque stick toss landed about 10 feet in front of the drum kit. There was a guy wandering the concourse that looked exactly like Rod Stewart, complete with sweet leopard print jacket, I'm not entirely sure that it wasn't him. And, lastly, lots of pot. Yes son, even Rush dorks smoke weed. "Subdivisions!"
What was the first you remember paying for?
Hop: The Cars, Candy-O. Or maybe it was Rush, Exit Stage Left. Both happened near the same time.
John: Probably that show at the Agora. Before that, I do remember saving up for tickets to see Public Enemy, Anthrax and Primus at the Bronco Bowl in 1991, but my parents wouldn't let me go. I'm still bitter.
Matt: My own money? Not really sure when I started spending my own money on stuff, but was one of the following, in no particular order: another Rush show, Yes, The Who, Cheap Trick, Dinosaur Jr., Bob Mould, Frank Zappa or one of the many, many others I saw after I came down here for college.
What was the worst show you've ever seen?
Hop: By the time I saw this show, at about 13, I had long since plunged headlong into the likes of XTC, ska, The Smiths, Newman, Cheap Trick, Peter Gabriel and all that shit, so when a friend made me go to the Foreigner Four concert with him because he was -- just like in the teen sex movies -- trying to get an even amount of boys to match up to his date's friends, it was not something I was excited about doing. True to my expectations, Foreigner sucked the steel off the Gateway Arch. I think I ended up almost passing out before the middle of the show, because there was no capacity for life left in the arena by then. Foreigner had turned it into a deathly place. My friend was left with the extra female hanger-on by mid-show.
John: God bless the Meat Helmets, but a show we played with them at the Good/Bad Art Collective in Denton was more than I could handle. They were grinding up raw meat on stage, and they had a real pig head that they were smashing with a hammer. It pretty much cleared the room, but the people that were left in the audience wound up kicking the head all over the floor. It was straight out of Lord of the Flies. By the time they were done, there was so much blood and raw meat everywhere that they had to spend an hour cleaning the room with Lysol before we could even set up. I almost puked, and I didn't eat meat for a week.
Matt: Hard to say, but I'm sure it was in some way blues jam related.
Hop, what can you remember about the first Bobgoblin show?
Hop: It was freaking crazy putting it together. Bands are doing projectors and shit at a dime-a-dozen rate these days, including us, but at the time, not many were tackling such a hullabaloo. We literally had 15 pawn shop TVs that we were setting up, and not long before the show, we discovered we had forgotten many things to make it all work, so the scramble was on. We got all the TVs working with the video montage we had created, and that was satisfying to us and rather surprising to the virgin audience, especially considering that the whole visual was combined with our get-ups. It was blast stretching out the whole idea, even though I think many audience members thought it failed miserably (and still do). In addition to our small amount of originals, we did two covers. I think one by Wire and one by Bowie. We never did another cover after that until last year at the Kessler, a full 18 years later.
John, what do you remember about the first El Gato show?
John: I think the first show we played was at T.J.'s Pizza on Fry Street in Denton. All I remember is that the manager had to keep telling us to turn down because we were so loud that they couldn't hear the people on the phones who were trying to place delivery orders.
Matt, what do you remember about the first show you played with Chomsky?
Matt: I think it was at Trees back in the fall of 1997. I don't have a photographic memory of all this stuff like Glen Reynolds does. Anyway, it was a Wednesday night, so the crowd was pretty light. I was really excited to play at Trees and with Chomsky for the first time. I'm pretty sure that James had pneumonia, or the flu, or diarrhea, or something. I spent the whole show worrying about playing "Action Man" since I could barley play that song thanks to the hot tracks laid down by Rob Avsharian prior to me being in the band. Still my drumming hero to this day, and I probably still can't play that song.
Hop, what can you remember about the first Bobgoblin reunions show?
Hop: There was a reunion show in 2004 at the Double Wide that was especially a blast because it seemed like all of our friends were there: the Hagfish guys, the Funland guys, all of the Bar of Soap BMP'ers, etc. These days, we don't consider any Bobgoblin show a "reunion show." We're coming out with another record, making some new videos and playing more shows. So we just "are" again. We were detained by our own Liberation Front States Motor Forces commanders for many years, and we've finally been set free.
John, El Gato has played reunion shows prior to this show at the Kessler. What do you remember about them?
John: Our bass player's 5-year old daughter, Violet, has Cystic Fibrosis, so we help organize and play "The UltraViolet Rock Show and Art Auction" every year in Dallas to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It continues to be a successful event year after year. I'm always floored by how generous people can be even when money is tight. I envision us still doing the event 15 years from now. By then, Violet will be up on stage playing music with us.