Rock-and-Roll Survival Guide
There Are Mirrors in the
Bathrooms, Use 'Em
When you're out drinking, remember to keep yourself in check when you arrive. I once spilled a jug of bottled water in my lap during a crowded cab ride to the Crocodile. In all the commotion of paying the driver, I forgot about it. Once inside, I went backstage to say hi to an old friend who was working as Jay Reatard's tour manager. After hellos and hugs, she asked if I had peed my pants. No matter what I said, I couldn't convince her I hadn't. The rumor came back to me via someone in San Francisco two days later. To this day, people ask me about the night I pissed my pants at the Croc.
Sometimes Too Close Is
Way Too Close
When you're sauced, boundaries melt away. One night, I was particularly drunk in the front row for Psychic TV at Neumos. All the Jäger bombs convinced me that Genesis P-Orridge was singing right into my face. I took off my necklace, a little toy machine gun, and handed it to Genesis. He accepted the gift, then leaned way down and planted a big, wet-lipped kiss right on my mouth. A couple months later, I got too close to Canadian punks Demon's Claws at the Funhouse. Headbanging in the front row, my hair got caught in the neck of the bassist's guitar. He laughed but never stopped playing.
High Heels Are for Art Galleries
Ladies: As tempting as it is to pull on heels, JUST DON'T DO IT. No one is looking at your feet. If the show you're going to is any fun, you're gonna end up dancing and being pushed around. Add a couple drinks, and your odds of staying upright are next to nil. Even walking on booze-slicked bar floors is dangerous. I once tried to wear heels at SXSW in Austin. I was trying to go up a flight of stairs near Emo's. I saw the dudes from Bad Brains standing around. I had to say something, so I called out: "Heyyyy, Bad Brains!" Immediately after, I caught my shoe in the first step and fell up the flight of stairs, spilling shit everywhere, as the band high-fived each other and laughed at me.
Don't Pick a Fight You Cannot Win
At a 50 Cent show, we unfortunately ended up next to the angry white guy with the backward baseball cap who was really upset about the open-floor status at the venue. People standing behind me kept pushing me forward, into his back, and he started to voice his displeasure. "Back off!" he spit at me. The crowd behind me was relentless, though. "Back off, you FUCKING BITCH!" I couldn't fight the whiskey swirling inside me, and I raised my fist to distract his eyes, then kicked him square in the shins. I spent the rest of the show darting through the crowd while he chased me and screamed that he was going to kill me and my mother.
Pay attention at 1:45 a.m. Push drunks into cabs or pair them up with other drunks so they can stumble away together. It's also important to watch the time. I once ignored all the "last call" warnings at the Comet Tavern (back when different people ran the place) and kept playing darts up in the little loft above the bar. When I finally made my way downstairs, everyone was gone. The bartenders—everybody. While it may sound like fun to be locked inside the Comet overnight, it really wasn't.
Even After-Parties Need
Sometimes it's fun to host an after-party. One night, I invited King Khan and the Shrines, all 9 or 25 of them, to my tiny apartment after the show. With so many people packed in like sardines, drinking cheap beer and listening to records, it was impossible to keep track of time. Conversations were lively, and Khan was holding court on the living-room floor, reading tarot cards. Eventually, someone asked what time it was. The band was scheduled to play live on KEXP at 9 a.m. It was 8:35. They made it to the station, but as I listened, it was obvious that everyone was still drunk. KEXP was not impressed and banned Khan and Co. from playing on air again.