Once upon a time in the early 1980s there was a city.

It was called Santa Rosa, California.

There was nothing there.

But there were bands from there. Lots of bands.

More bands than a shitty little town and it’s surrounding environs had a right to expect.

Being the early 1980’s there were some hair bands too, but this isn’t a story about them.

Also being that it was the early 1980’s in Santa Rosa there was pretty much nowhere to play locally. I mean sure you could go get shows in San Francisco but as far as local there wasn’t much other than backyard parties and the occasional show at the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma. I was in a band with a couple of guys from high school and some other dude that the other guitarist used to surf with (this is, after all, California).We went under various names like the Pedestrians and Idiot Savants. We set up a show at a union hall in Petaluma

even though we didn’t even have any songs. We wrote about 25 rock-a-billy songs, took a bunch of mushrooms and proceeded to play this show. I thought we were great. We actually weren’t bad I guess. We kicked out our singer and our bassist went off to college, so we got a new bass player who told me my songs were weird because I always play between the dots.We played a lot more of these sort of impromptu shows and one or two in San Francisco. We wrote more and more songs and learned a bunch of covers until we had about three hours worth of material. Everyone sang in this band which I really liked. Anyway, one night we set up a show in Santa Rosa at some restaurant and had this band play with us. They were called the Skirtboys. They ruled. They had this drummer who was really great and did all this really interesting stuff and a great singer and a guitarist who played all this these beautiful chords. But they had this bass player who was all over the place doing the most insane shit.We’ll call him Larry.We all became friends and started playing more shows and hanging out. The Skirtboys changed singers and just when I was going to summon up the courage to ask if I could sing for them they broke up.I later found out that they wanted to ask me to sing but couldn’t summon up the courage to ask. This might have been a very different story.

But it wasn’t.

Larry and I decided to start a band and we started making tapes of songs at my house on my cassette deck.

There was another band in Santa Rosa around that time called Fire Mission. They were sort of a goth, Bauhaus kinda thing.More stompboxes than guitar center.And this crazy rockabilly looking dude playing drums with no cymbals only hi-hats. We made it our mission to steal him…..

Next: 1985 tour and “Voltage and Violets”