Albuquerque, The Clown

The experiences we have had in the past in this town make us think that we have done something wrong, to hurt our band Karma. We try and try to figure out what we have done wrong, but can’t think of anything, so we give up and try to list the problems we’ve had in the town. The biggest problem I have is that I love this town, and feel like the town should reciprocate. (haha)

1) The Clown

Oct 31st, 1994: We get to Albuquerque at 4:45pm after another all-night drive, on Halloween, and race to the post office, because we need to send our t-shirt company some money, overnight. Joe needs to send some rent money overnight. We wait in line until about 4:55, and just make it to the window when we see an outraged woman dressed in FULL clown regalia, red nose and everything, behind the counter screaming at the counter postal workers, “COME ON! LET’S GO! WINDOW CLOSES AT 5! WINDOW CLOSES AT 5!!.”

The rest of the workers have normal postal uniforms on and are moving like they are in some sort of dream, and we are frantically trying to fill out our money-orders in 5 minutes. I have to force the normally-dressed woman behind the window, with my hands actually prying the window-gate open, begging her to accept our money. The CLOWN is now jumping up and down and banging her hands together, screaming, “WE ARE CLOSED! WINDOW CLOSES AT 5!” I shove the money behind the gate as both women almost close it on my arm, and we go away very, very shaken, and have clown nightmares for months. We didn’t even realize it was Halloween.

2) All Night Drives

First time we played here, we couldn’t find a hotel room in Arizona because of a Renaissance festival, (there is a cartoon in Cake Magazine about this whole story, it was a hell-night) so we drove all night to Albuquerque; probably our first all night drive: we were wusses back then. I think we have always driven all night to get to Albuqueque, since then.

3) Nosebleed Stage

The first show we played, the stage was about 12 feet high (it was on the 2nd floor, and the audience stands on the 1st floor), and we had to carry our amps up a ladder to get up there. While we were playing we were terrified that we were going to fall off. The bathrooms were located underneath the stage, so anytime someone needed to pee, they had to walk underneath us. I thanked the 3 people who came to the show for coming; I said it was so neat that we had fans so far away, and they explained to me that their car had broken down across the street and they were waiting for a tow-truck and that’s why they were at the club.

4) Really Bad Timing

Each time we play here, we play on a holiday. The first time we ever played, we played against a huge benefit with all local bands, a benefit for a much-loved local restaurant named Fred’s. Last time we played on Halloween, a Monday night (Monday nights are notorious bad-show nights; no one wants to come out on a Monday) against Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. And it was some guy’s wedding.

5) Wedding From Hell Story

So we drive up to the club and find out that we are playing some guy’s wedding reception. We are completely freaked: no one told us this, and we do not know any covers. This was just supposed to be a regular show. Then we were informed that this is sort of a “punk rock” wedding; the groom is playing in one of the opening bands, and it’s cool; everyone’s going to the club across the street to watch Jon Spencer while we play, anyway. (We wished we could, too.)

A couple of hours into this fiasco, we are informed that the groom is very, very angry with us because either 1) we are playing 2nd-to-last and his friend’s band wanted to play 2nd-to-last or 2) we are ruining his wedding because he wanted to play with Jon Spencer. This is the second time this night that we offer to leave town NOW, (more like “beg” than offer) but the promoter who is a very nice guy pleads with us to stay and we are told by other people that the groom is very, very drunk and angry at everyone for various reasons; some incuding 1) He did not get to play pool before his show and he feels he should be allowed to play pool tonight because after all, it IS HIS WEDDING NIGHT! and 2) now the pool tables are not open anymore so he is pissed and 3) He left his wedding ring on his hi-hat stand while they played and it has fallen off during the moving of equipment and it is laying on the floor somewhere in the club. . and 4) he is very drunk.

The groom himself comes up to Rick and starts yelling at Rick for offering to leave; “You’ll REALLY SCREW THINGS UP IF YOU LEAVE!” The ring was recovered later on, and the groom did get to play his pool, incase you were wondering. Rick spent most of the night freaking out (and half-crying) in the van, worrying that we had screwed up someone’s wedding. Rick is way too sensitive sometimes.

Wonderful Things About Albuquerque

The town is beautiful, New Mexico is beautiful, we love eating at “Fred’s” (Pesto Bread!), and the people are very, very nice. Plus, each time we play, the local bands are great. And our shows are always fun. Albuquerque will always be a special place for us. And maybe next time we’ll play on a weekend!