I can't remember if it was 1977 or 1979 (although I'm leaning towards believing it was 79) when I saw Cheap Trick play on New Years Eve in Long Beach, CA. They opened for Kansas, and I went to the show with my sister and we left right after Cheap Trick finished playing. It took forever to get back home to the Sunset Strip, but once we were there, we were headed for a Rainbow Bar & Grill pizza. We saw Tom Waits crossing the street and he came over to our car, stuck in traffic, and knocked on the window and wished us a Happy New Year.
THEE Tom Waits you wonder? Yes. Back in the late 70s punk rock days, Tom lived in a bungalow at the Tropicana and was friendly with all of us punk rockers, 'tis true. He came to parties at the Mumps bungalow across the way, and also to parties hosted by power poppers from NYC, Milk n Cookies. Three of the band members shared an apartment on nearby Larrabee Street. It was one big happy indie music community.
New Years Eve in 1978 was a one-two punch reprise of artists who shared a bill and a stage in early 1977, blowing everyone away with their performances. They're both now in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame... Blondie, whose Debbie Harry is pictured above, and Tom Petty played on consecutive nights in San Francisco, and I was there to rock in the New Year in Fog City.
My sister and I spent New Years Eve 1978 ---> 1979 with Blondie members Clem Burke, Jimmy Destri and Frank Infante at a party hosted by the Jefferson Starship at their home (2400 Fulton Street) which unbeknown to me at the time was a well-known address. It wasn't easy for us to find, but we did. Super NYC punk rock road crew guru, Michael Sticca (check the credits on all your punk records - Dead Boys and Blondie credit him with the best hand claps!) was with us on this party adventure, and I'm pretty sure he was the man who found the house as I kept getting us turned around in the rental car.
When we arrived at the party, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi were already there. As the Blues Brothers, they had opened for The Grateful Dead earlier in the night. We all joked that the Dead would still be playing at sunrise. I'm pretty sure they were too.
As 2008 becomes 2009, I believe that there might be a band playing until sunrise... at least the bandleader knows that many songs...
A set of New Years Eve shows that I would like to attend (but can't, despite my relative nearness to them) are happening in Memphis, TN.
Jack Oblivian and the Tearjerkers are playing the Hi Tone and on the bill is a rare appearance by a reunited Neckbones. How's that for some serious rock n roll?
Tyler Keith (below) has been doing a lot since the Neckbones stopped being a regular project. He's fronted the Preachers Kids and done a solo thing as Apostle TK, as well as a stint in the Jenny Jeans.
Attend this show, and I guarantee you a deliverance of transcendent proportions!
Jack Oblivian and John Paul Keith
The man in Memphis who can play from dusk to dawn without repeating a note is John Paul Keith, who got back on the radar during his brief tenure as a Tearjerker. JP fronts his own band, the One Four Fives and in addition to a healthy set list of original material, JP and crew know every song ever recorded and then some. I have never been able to stump this band. They're playing at the Buccaneer, a dive in all the best senses of the word. Watch the first sunrise of 2009 perhaps with them...
Meanwhile... back in Nashville, where I am, who knows what festivities await? Even though I can't rock and ring in 2009 with the best live music in my time zone, I get great comfort knowing that my old pal, former Dead Boy Cheetah Chrome is a couple exits away on the interstate...