DEAR MILO ROCK,
I am from upstate NY and was a fan of the band Agitpop in the 80's. I have heard a lot of stories about you guys and touring and I am wondering if you could tell me what it was like? What were some of the best moments you had touring?
Those were some interesting times. Regan was in the White House, farmers were losing their family farms, crack was taking off and rap was new and exciting. Joe Strummer was still rocking with the Clash, nobody had cell phones and we were using a Rand Mc Nally Road Atlas for directions.
My band, Agitpop had been banned from playing on campus at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor because of a song called Astronauts/ Cosmonauts since the school thought we were promoting Communism (thanks Mr. Regan). We were traveling in a Chevy van making 50-100 dollars a night. We did something like 82 dates in 90 days on that tour.
Well I was asked what was one of the best moments touring. There were so many great moments touring. These were great times. Indie labels were paving the way for the major labels to swoop down and ruin it. SST, Twin Tone, Homestead, Rough Trade US. There was a strong college market (it was the only outlet for independent bands).
You got no radio play from the mainstream but the college radio stations supported the music. The major labels were just discovering that bands were getting play, selling albums and making an impact. MTV did not even have 120 minutes yet. You had to watch IRSís the Cutting Edge on Sunday night with host Peter Zaremba of the Fleshtones with commercials starring Devo pushing the Honda scoter in the hopes you would see anything from the scene on the show. IRS was l the major indie label.
One particular tour date that has a special meaning to me was on November 26, 1985 in St. Petersburg Florida. The Minutemen were doing some dates with REM. We had one of the eight nights and we had a night off.. We were in St. Pete. We pooled money together, enough to buy only one ticket for the show. We sent our drummer (Mark LaFalce) into the show. He found Dave-O at the soundboard (the Minutemenís road guy for that tour). Mark let Dave-O know we were around and he immediately let the band know. We were good friends with the Minutemen having played dates with them in the past. ( They even called us their favorite band in a Maximum Rock and Roll article). We had mutual admiration and the same work ethic.
After they played Mike Watt came right out to hang with us. This was at the time that Watt was dressing like Fidel Castro and George and D. Boon soon followed. We sat in our van and talked and talked while REM played.
The night before our van had been rammed in the side door in Tampa after a gig. It was crushed and sealed shut. We had people sign the door wherever we went after that. The guys went out of their way to sign the door as well and put comments on it. Of course D. wrote a note about the current farm situation in America and also about the Nicaragua happenings at the time. (Oh, the Regan years). The Minutemen were blown away by the fact that they couldnít even touch their equipment when loading in due to the union rules at large arena gigs.
When the show was over, we told the guys we were getting a cheap hotel room. The Minutemen broke their own rules about the Jam Econo and got a room as well. You have to understand, they did not get hotel rooms. To Jam Econo meant you did not spend money on a hotel. You crashed in the van or slept on someoneís floor. This was a big expenditure for both bands as we followed the Jam Econo ethic as well.
We got two adjoining rooms for $25 dollars each. It was a cheap hotel with a door in between each room that we could pry open and connects the rooms. After a while, George was tired and went to sleep. Dave-O slept in their van and Earl, our roadie was going to sleep in our van.
No matter where we were someone always slept in the van to protect the equipment. (Black Flag after playing in our hometown of Poughkeepsie did not do that and had there guitars stolen, yet another story)
It was a wonderful night. Talking with Mike, D. and George. It was just one of those moments drinking beer and talking about music with people who cared and we admired.
The ironic thing was D. Boon was telling me about staying healthy on the road. He had this big box filled with vitamins and spirulina and other herbal pills. He was showing me all these vitamins and telling me about the benefits of spirulina while eating his second Burger King Whopper. Vitamins and their benefits in one hand and a Whopper in the other. Classic. I loved D. Boon.
Sadly, two days after I returned home from that tour on December 23, 1985, I learned D. Boon was killed in a tragic accident. I was devistated. To me it was the day the music died for my generation. Dís untimely death was a huge blow. He was such a talent and great person. I so treasure the times I got to hang and play with him.
Keep the music questions coming. Maybe next month someone will as about my times with the Replacments. But that was another sad time, the moment when Bob Stinson was taken.
For now,I'm out. Milo
DEAR MADAME KYMARA and MILO ROCK,
Do you have any information about the David Suskind Show that Jayne County appeared on titled, "The Mad Mad World of Freak Rock"? Also, what Jayne County song mentioned the Lustettes?
Mad Freak Rock Fan
The show aired on December 31, 1972. We are told that Jayne County has referenced the Lustettes several times in her song, "Max's Kansas City" during live performances. We are still researching for an archive of the "Mad Mad World of Freak Rock" episode. Did you stay awake nights trying to think of a question that would be near impossible to answer?
Madame Kymara and Milo Rock
Dear Madame Kymara,
When I am cocktailing at the club and I bend over to put the drinks on the table, the guys always steal my tips from my cleavage. This is becoming a real pain in my ass. What should I do?
Penniless in Pennsylvania
Madame Kymara has to wonder how this situation affects your ass. You are a buffoon if you lean over a table and stick the object that is causing you pain in the air while you are serving drinks! You must deliver your libations by using the bunny dip method.. Stand with your body at an angle to the table and bend slightly at the knees as you deliver your cargo to the next drunken idiot. If they reach into your cleavage, simply spill the drink in their crotch! A little ice on the cubes goes a long way.