In this First Concert Ever segment, the rock band Cheap Tissue, talk about their first concerts ever. You can check out the feature, after the break.
My very first was actually kind of funny. I think I was about 9 years old and my parents took me to Vegas on a trip where we saw Sugar Ray, Goo Goo Dolls, and Fastball at Mandalay Bay. It was very uneventful. Sitting room only. I remember that my sister kept saying the guitarist from Goo Goo dolls was “gross” because he wasn’t wearing shoes on stage. I didn’t really care. I was really into music, even as a kid, and grew up on KLOS, KROQ, and Y107 (when it was still a station). I was just excited to go to a concert. However, I totally fell asleep in the middle of Sugar Ray’s set, appropriately. Fastball was kinda cool from what I remember. I’ve liked that song–I think it’s called “The Way?”–since I was like 6. I still like it now to be honest, as “unhip” as that may be. I can still get nostalgic about some 90’s shit.
I attended the first real show that actually influenced me a couple years later. I was in 7th grade, so I must’ve been what, 12? I saw US Bombs, Toxic Narcotic, and The Forgotten at a venue called Chain Reaction in Anaheim with a couple of my friends and my sister again. She used to always take my friends and I to punk shows when we were little kids, which was really cool. I loved the show and was so stoked that my little ass got to see a “real punk show.” I talked with the guitar player of The Forgotten for a while at the show. He was super nice to me. His name is Craig (Craiglegs). He’s been in a bunch of other bands like Lars and the Bastards, whom I was super into at the time and has been friends with a bunch of my friends now, funny enough, so I’ve told this story a bunch.
He ended up giving my friends and I a bunch of free CDs at the end of the night. Ya know, just some random old shit they had, obviously trying to make some merch money on tour, or just in general. It was Misfits, Black Flag, Adolescents and other shit like that. I still have the CDs actually. It was super nice of him not only to talk to a kid but to give me a bunch of shit for less than, well… the last dime he probably didn’t have. I remember thinking that all the older punk dudes were so fucking cool and I wanted to do what they did and look how they looked. So I started really buckling down on learning guitar and writing songs, cut my hair into a Mohawk (I was 12 once. Give me a fuckin break) and just tried to go to as many shows as my parents would allow me to. They were always really cool about it.
Hmm… My first concert ever? Well, I saw a few right around the same time (at the age of 13). It’s blurry, so I’ll pick from two: The Go Go’s and Rush. All I remember was that The Go Go’s had a super crazy laser display and Rush looked great in their vintage poodle skirts and makeup. Around that same time period, the earliest gig that influenced me musically and stylistically was TSOL and Redd Kross. The show was at an ex-boxing gym that used to have punk acts in The Valley called The Country Club. TSOL was magic. I was completely awestruck. Jack Grisham came out onstage in a dress, and there were people getting knocked around in such a way that it was malevolent, but with good intent. It was a wild show. I was hooked and addicted to seeing bands live after that and it inspired me to start playing music myself. I felt like there was something happening.
The first concert I went to was at The Orange show, a yearly festival that used to take place in Riverside, CA. It must’ve been ’93 or ’94. My older sister took me to see her friend’s band, The Skeletones, at one of the main stages. It was a very energetic set and the “burnouts” my Mom usually tried to shield me from in public places, where they were all going insane. There was a pit, people crowd surfing and ‘pine tree’ smoke everywhere. I could tell this was something I wanted to be in the middle of right away. Throughout all of this, with my attention back on the band, I started to notice that some of the members were the guys that would come over to my house and try to build time machines out of random things in my backyard. Really cool guys that hung out with me and showed me skate magazines, etc. So I was taken aback by the whole thing, being 6 or 7 years old at the time. Then a few girls on people’s shoulders took their tops off. It was all over for me from there on out. The live music setting just enchanted me. It was way better than school in my eyes.
The first big punk show I went to was in 2001 (age 13) at the Glasshouse in Pomona. My friend Michael and I had his Dad take us to the gig. My mom was not havin’ it, and his dad didn’t give a shit, so I lied, saying I was going to do something else. I can’t remember what. The bill was T.S.O.L. & Agnostic Front, on tour w/ The Casualties, but the last time they played there, they had a huge riot so they were barred from that night of the tour. No problems here on my end. Anyway, they played and a bunch of punk chicks were making out… That kind of thing.
I loved seeing a gig on this level. Around 500 kids all studded up, me in my hoodie, wondering… what the fuck is going on? Halfway through T.S.O.L.’s set, I felt my collar being pulled back and heard my Mom’s voice repeating, “No….no…no….no.” I guess she was tipped off that we were there because I didn’t really cover my ass well enough. So I had to hear all about it in the car ride home. ‘These kids are fuck-ups and they’re NEVER going to college and the whole place smelled like POT!!!,’ she’d say. I started going to Showcase Theatre in Corona every weekend after that, as my group at the time had our eye on playing one of their Battle of the Bands. Joe (the owner of the venue), was a great guy and there until the end, for all of us kids. The memories that were created and the things that I learned there have never left me.
My first concert was when I was five years old. I come from a family with a very large musical background.’Yep. Taj Mahal calls his dad on his birthday’ (Andrew chimes in). I went to see my brothers play some of their first shows ever. I wanted to play guitar with them, so I started doing guitar moves at the end of the stage. They got really embarrassed and probably pretty mad, and wouldn’t let me come on stage after that.
What’s funny is… since their first show, they’ve both played with extremely notable acts including Jethro Tull, Gary Mallaber and Gerald Johnson (Van Morrison, Steve Miller, etc.) They’re both fantastic musicians. My brother reluctantly started teaching me guitar a few years later and I haven’t stopped playing since then.
My first actual show was seeing Carlos Santana. I respect the man, but I gotta be honest. It sucked.