Norman Blake, Teenage Fanclub
It’s winter in Minneapolis, our first time in this city and it’s cold.
We’d driven overnight to get there and had arrived very early in the morning of the day before our show together. The bus had pulled up outside our hotel and the driver woke us and asked to disembark and check-in early so that he might take his bus out of town, where it was cheaper to park. We stumbled into the lobby, dazed, rubbing sleep from our eyes. We didn’t notice how cold it was.
We slept all day. We met in the lobby at 7:30 having arranged to get some food. Raymond was wearing his red jacket, the one that someone had stolen his passport from.
We pushed our way through the revolving door to meet the night. It was freezing. We could feel the hairs in our nostrils stiffen. We were dizzy. And that’s when it happened: Raymond’s jacket froze. He couldn’t move. He tried to move his arms but it was impossible. We were getting worried, and Raymond was turning blue. Something had to be done.
We positioned ourselves around Ray, one to push him over and two behind to catch his fall. We heard a crack as his shoes broke away from the pavement. We then carried him overhead, back to hotel kitchen where we defrosted him in front of the pizza oven.
After a short time, Raymond had recovered. The oven had given us an idea, so we ate pizza and drank beer in Raymond’s room. He was still wearing the jacket.
Mac McCaughan, Superchunk, Portastatic
My worst (if hazy) memory of playing with Yo La Tengo would have to be an incident that took place on the last date of our Great Lakes/Easter-Central Midwest Tour in the Spring of 1994. We were opening for “the Tengos” in front of a packed house at Bogart’s in Cincinnati. Our set had gone over pretty well and after a hot shower and a couple of drinks we were all enjoying their set from the wings, joking with the friendly bouncers about Ira’s drumming, etc.
Anyway, the show was great, the Ohio crowd was typically nuts and as the third encore (an extended cover of an obscure 70s pre-punk gem) built to a furious climax, I was seized by the moment and the good vibes on-stage, and in an ironic-but-good-natured mocking of the mashing crowd and a genuine gesture of love and respect for YLT’s musical prowess, I decided to cap off the night with a tour-ending stage dive. I handed a shocked Joe Puleo my half-finished Manhattan and took off for the seething carpet of fans mashing against the edge of the stage. But instead of the “oh, you guys!” grins I expected to see on the faces of the band, I have just enough time to read “Get the fuck off our stage!” on Georgia’s lips before James sticks out his leg and I go down hard, my face slams into the wedge teeth-first and in about 2.8 seconds flat, Joe has been hog-tied with a mic cable. James puts down his bass and holds back my arms while Joe gaffer-tapes my head to the keyboard of the Acetone somewhere around middle C. Joe picks up the maracas out of a puddle of my blood and drool and, before I pass out, I hear the band break into “Sudden Organ.” I hear it was quite inspired.
Bilinda Butcher, My Bloody Valentine
I have a true memory of doom descending upon me during one of the shows we played together. We were in Seattle, around 1992. I’d been chatting to James in the dressing room and got all excited at the thought of Peter Bagge (of “Hate” comics creation) being at the gig, not to mention all the other “Seattle-ites,” like Hole. Well, for a start I ate too many jelly teddies while we were chatting, which was a bad start to any gig, wouldn’t you say?
YLT played a storming set and then it was our turn. Behind the stage curtains waiting to go on, someone appeared with a pure grass joint, and I partook of just one drag, thinking it might settle my nerves. Anyway, we all then strolled onto the stage and oh dearie me, my jelly teddies nearly came running out of my tummy with their little hands raised in horror! I felt absolutely petrified like never before, and, looking sick-like at the set list, I realize I have to sing “Only Shallow” to open the set. When I hit my guitar, it sounds all peculiar and I just want a big trap door to open up and swallow me. Oops! And then I have to sing and I just can’t, basically, I sound like Minnie Mouse on her deathbed, and feel like crying and running away. By this time Kevin is shaking his head and glowering at me from across the stage, and I want to go home. Anyway, by the end of the next song, I was fine again and quite enjoyed myself in the end, even though I never did get Peter Bagge’s autograph!