I threw up on Lux Interior.

I threw up on Lux Interior.

It was mid-1986, at the Red Parrot in Perth (name and logo blatantly nicked from the New York club of the same name) in Perth. I was nineteen and had been going out to see bands and drinking in earnest for six months. The Cramps had played (the Canterbury Court Friday 22 August 1986 show, I think) and went there for after-show drinks.

The Red Parrot had been running a promo on Fridays where they offered a large cover charge ($5 felt large for a broke student in 1986) and then your drinks (rank piss) free! As a young idiot, I took full advantage.

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I was doing a fanzine so I knew all the local band scenesters. So i was hanging out in the band room, as you do when you’re ligging. I felt a bit unwell. BLUUUUUHHHH

I did not find out until 2012 on Facebook, twenty-six years after the fact, that I had thrown up literally on Lux Interior. The most rock’n’roll moment of my life, and I missed it.

(I was promptly ejected. The doorman was kind enough to hail a taxi for me.)

I couldn’t drink beer for about three years after that. I was on the Strongbow Cider in bottles. Which was at least as fuckin’ rank, but I did singlehandedly get the Seaview Tavern in Fremantle to stock Strongbow Draught, the one with the red label.

(I would hope this would be the sort of moment one could tell one’s children about, but mine has been primarily a gamer since she was two. Pretty musically talented though, which is unsurprising given her parents, a rock critic and an actual talented musician. We’ll see how the interests go.)

9 thoughts on “I threw up on Lux Interior.

  1. In Perth 1985, the Red Parrot was the groove go-to palace of the 12 inch dayglo remix, a state-of-the-art, pan-subcultural ex-cream factory dedicated to the ‘other’ which on this particular night was absolutely packed to the gantries for a glimpse of the mythical and rarely spotted Jonathan Richman and his Modern Lovers. had mosied into town

    Every alt. fashionista worth their gel was front and centre as Richman was considered something of a deity due to his championing by legendary WA fop-rockers The Triffids, the one band to escape the West and be knighted by the NME. Jonathon Richman was Nu Wave royalty, the godfather of the hard-flopping fringe, and so the air fair vibrated with an aloof expectancy.

    What the air did not vibrate with, however, was that of a nightclub. Richman proved himself to be years ahead of his time by insisting on a smoking ban for the duration of his set, a highly unusual move circa 1985, and the source of much disgruntled muttering.

    There were, furthermore, issues over the accessibility of the bar due to the fuller than full house and the volume of the Modern Lovers played at, which was not a lot. Their Fender Twins were not only not mic’ed up but were barely on 1, and they used the tiniest of vocal PAs, this in an 800 capacity room used to volumes fit to wake the the dead in Darwin.

    There was a big rock rig PA for the support band, Elroy Flicker & The Fitzroy Gutterslugs who, in north American tradition, were to go on last, the second last slot being considered the more prestigious in the Land of the Free, and so it was that Elroy, on the demand of the idiosyncratic and/or downright portentous Richman, were not to play until after him.

    So, you couldn’t smoke, you couldn’t drink and you couldn’t hear – six rows back from the stage the band sounded like they were on a building site radio, but it didn’t matter too much as he would be finished in a hour or so and then one could find one’s way to the bar, light up and generally get back to debauchery as usual were it not or one thing – Richman didn’t finish.

    He went on at 10pm but as 2am approached he was still at it, which had the unintended consequence of triggering a backstage party of hard core refugees who could no longer cope with the sensory depravation being inflicted upon them but who felt a great affinity with Richman’s somewhat over the top rider. Much beer and vodka flowed until Richman eventually whispered his last ‘Goodnight, Sydney!’ and left the stage, at which point The Gutterslugs leapt into action and attempted to get set up and bang out a tune or two before 3am closing time rolled around.

    And so the backstage party was the scene of much fevered activity as the Modern Lovers picked over what was left of the grog and amplifiers were heaved over their heads until Richman yelled ‘Whoa! What are you doing, man?’

    “Playing a gig!’

    ‘Not now you’re not! I don’t let anyone play after me for at least an hour! They ruin the ambience I’ve created in the room!’

    ‘But it’s two o’clock now! This places closes at three! We won’t get to play at all!

    ‘Tough, man. That’s rock ‘n’ roll!’

    ‘No, that’s complete bollocks! Call the fire brigade etc…’

    The fire service weren’t that interested but the promoter, who saw that a little diplomacy could save the night, parleyed the hour into 30 minutes and so it was at 2.30am that the support band went on to complete their contractual agreement. He puts it down to that last vodka that hit him across the back of his head like a baseball bat as down as walked across the stage, but never in Elroy’s career did he play, or attempt to play, so drunk as he did that night.

    By the time he reached his microphone there were two microphones and, of course, Elroy reached out for the wrong one and sent the real one to the floor in a squeal of feedback and clatter. ‘Oh well, never mind’…‘WeeeeeeThump!’ went vocalist Tanya-Lees Davies’ mic as Elroy completely missed it sent the all the drum mics flying as he staggered to the other side of the stage in search of Karl ‘Thirty’ Hird’s sax mic, which immediately suffered the same fate as the other two and lay on it’s side, screaming, and all before Elroy had managed ‘Hello’.

    Elroy faintly remembers standing on the feedback-filled stage, not having yet even plugged in his guitar, thinking that perhaps this wasn’t the best idea and suddenly thankful that the set would be so mercifully short, and the next thing he knew he was waking up in bed the next morning. He checked his guitar, found it missing two strings and sounded like it had last been tuned in 1965 and muttered ‘How the hell did I play a gig on this?’

    The answer was ‘very badly’, but the performance was not without a certain entertainment value – apparently, the stark contrast of Jonathon Richman’s epic recital of intense lo-fi mini-masterpieces and Elroy’s inebriated caterwauling was the cause of much mirth among the stragglers and die-hards – it was viewed as comic relief, like the circus clowns that come on after some particularly earnest acrobats, and some punters were even running a book on whether Elroy would actually make it to the end of the allotted time or, like a punctured bag of fat and bone, fall in a stupor where he stood.

    Cheers

    Elroy

  2. Nice story Paul. Damn I wish I hadn’t headed off after Jonathan. That would have been good to see. I do remember how shocked all were when he stopped the gig because someone had lit up. The one and only time the Parrot was smoke free.

  3. I call bullshit on that story. Jonathon, was quiet, but he certainly didn’t play till 2.00am.
    He did ask for people not to smoke though. You could tell a good crowd from the fact that they didn’t argue about the no smoking.

  4. Bullshit, Neil? I say not. If it wasn’t 2.00AM, it was 2.30. I remember it well. We were champing at the bit to play and got a little, er, agitated when we were told we couldn’t. Seriously, I had a row with JR himself about it and was in a screaming rush to get all our stuff up on time. I’ve got nothing against JR, he did a fine show (I think!), it was just unusually long.

    On the other hand we were both there, and it’s fair guess to say I was a little more the worse for wear than you by the end of it, so I dunno – JR’s rider may have somewhat impaired my judgement. Nichole Jenkins, you were there, wot sayest thou? An epically lengthy show? Or just Elroy’s hopelessly vodka addled fiction?

    Cheers

    Elroy

  5. Elroy, Jonathan always put on a good show and my memories of the night are only good ones. I can’t recall the time he finished but it wasn’t unusual for bands at the Parrot to finish at 2am or later.

    I must have left at that point because I didn’t hang around for your band. Sorry about that: if I had known I would have because I always wanted to see you play. As a result, my only encounter is one sunny Melbourne morning when you walked in on me in the shower. I’m sure you don’t remember!

  6. It was actually the band room at the Red Parrot in Perth where David Gerard projectile vomited at us :)
    I was there, sitting on the sofa with Lux, Ivy and Candy – in my element – just after they finished their show – My old band, the Bamboos supported them….
    It was one of only TWO times I ever felt like I was star struck and in the presence of larger than life superheroes (And I have toured and supported every “cool” international band you could think of.. The Damned, Femmes, Thunders etc etc.. But this was special to say the least.
    I finally sat with them and they were so nice to talk to…
    I see David at the band room door so I let him in.
    He looked more than a little worse for wear but I didn’t think much of it nor realise just how smashed he was until he plonked himself down somehow next to us.
    As I introduce him to the CRAMPS he opened his mouth and projectile vomited everywhere.
    The look of horror on all our faces would have been priceless.. If only we all had digital cameras and phones back then… Actually, come to think of it… So glad we DIDN’T! :)
    True story
    Shakir

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