This is quite a funny story with some very strange moments mixed into it. Since there were no cameras allowed in the venue I have no photographic proof that this happened, but that was very typical back then. All names have been changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.
Anyways! In July of 1989 I was an eighteen year old weirdo into punk, alternative and what would soon be labeled goth music. The goth tag didn’t infiltrate that area of California until 90-91. I had just graduated high school and was so happy that I was out of that hellhole that I saw this show as a reward of sorts. I had two tickets and was going with three friends, one of whom drove all of us from Fremont to the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. One friend, let’s name her Tracy, had actually lost her ticket and I let her have my extra one for free because that is what friends are for.
It was a general admission type show so we got there before noon and ended up first in line. It was very hot so we brought some shade protection and water but it wasn’t enough. Through the gate you could see their roadies and others walking back and forth getting things done. One of them had longish magenta hair and he would wave to us and smile. It was just really cool for somebody to acknowledge our tenacity in that heat.
I guess we looked very hot and miserable so that same roadie actually passed us some water and some fruit through the gates. This was a very cool thing for him to do and we thanked him profusely. Soon afterwards one of my friends, Ophelia, left the line to find a bathroom, and while she was gone the same roadie came over to us again with something in his hands; backstage passes! No joke! He proceeded to hand them out to our little group, and to two other women who were behind us in line. It was such a small weirdo world back then that I actually knew one of them. It all happened so quickly that we didn’t have a pass for Ophelia who then came back from the bathroom. That part of it really sucked, but we didn’t see the roadie again before the gates were finally opened. Word had gotten out about us getting those passes and I actually had a trendy alternative dude from my old high school ask if he could buy mine off of me for $50. Big hell to the no!
The prime area to watch a show unobstructed at that venue was standing on a bench that was on the path separating the pit and the tiers above. You had a barrier to lean against and you could see the stage with no obstructions. The Godfathers, the opening band, played and they were quite good and energetic. After they finished Ophelia mysteriously took off and was gone for about thirty minutes. When she came back she was magically holding a pass. She never told us how she got it so I’m guessing that some special exchange of body fluids is what occurred. You’ll find out why I think that later. Don’t worry, she was nineteen so nothing illegal took place.
Then Love & Rockets came out and they were really, really on fire that night. There was even a special appearance on stage of one of the Bubblemen, full costume and everything! It was a lot of fun, and when the show ended we went to the left side of the stage, all holding our passes like the rare treasures that they were. I mean, it’s not like we thought that we were going to get backstage passes or anything like that. My friends and I, and the two other women, didn’t look ubergoth or anything like that. We all looked alternative in one way or another. I wore the atypical black leather jacket of the time. I stuck some band stickers on the back of it and painted a quote from the PiL song Memories below them. It was 100% DIY because that is what you had to do back then if you wanted to wear something different looking. I’m just saying all of this to make the point that you don’t have to wear expensive clothes or a ton of make-up to actually talk to the ‘goth’ musicians that you like.
We get to the backstage entrance and the security guy tells all of us that we have to stick the patches on our clothing. I told him I was going to put it on the back of my jacket and asked him if that was okay. Got a nod and had Tracy stick in on for me. Away we went into the unknown!
You are probably wondering how nervous I was at this point. Very, but excited at the same time! What’s funny is that two years earlier some asshole at my high school made fun of me for not knowing about their first album, and guess who was meeting them? Me and not him! Hooray! Well, we walked into a large back room which was where the band food was to see members of The Godfathers and the really good backup singer that performed with Love & Rockets. Who was by the way a real sweetheart and I think I made her day when I got her to sign my jacket. She performed with them so she counted as a member of the band in my eyes. Backup singers are the unsung heroes of the music world.
No sign of Love & Rockets. One of the two other women asked if the band was going to come out because we wanted some things signed. She was the only person in the whole group of us who had a marker, and it was a cool pink metallic colour. I think security went down the hall and a minute later said that we can hand him our things and they will sign them. I had bought a shirt so I handed it over and about ten minutes later we received back our freshly signed gear. That wasn’t the end, so don’t think that all of us went down without a fight. Another one of us complained quite loudly as to why give us backstage passes if we don’t even get to meet the band. The rest of us joined in and I guess the band heard and soon all six of us were ushered into the inner sanctum; the band dressing room.
In the midst of all of this Ophelia told us quietly that The Godfathers wanted her to hang out with them at the club The Berkeley Square. However, she claimed that she couldn’t go because she had no way of getting home afterwards. I mean, she could have walked to BART in the morning, but I’m guessing she didn’t want to do the walk of shame. Which leads me to think that she got that backstage pass by doing something with a member of that band. She was willing to do something once, but not a second time. Again, she was nineteen years old so nothing illegal took place. I only knew her for two more years after this because she turned out to be one of those type of people who will kiss anybody’s ass to get what she wanted. That really, really irked me so I stopped being friends with her. She was kind of like a social vampire; just very draining.
Daniel Ash was standing in the corner looking at us with no expression, David J was on one end of the couch looking stoic, while Kevin Haskins was all smiles. One of the first things that happened was Kevin getting the pen from the other woman, then physically he turned me around and started to draw one of the Bubblemen on the back of my jacket. He did all of this with a smile on his face and you could tell that he was really enjoying himself and that he was in his element. When you have met a lot of musicians you learn which vibes mean what and he really came across as a genuinely nice person. Wait, I can hear you asking, what about Daniel and David? You have got to understand how absolutely gorgeous Daniel Ash was back then in person. However, I got tired of him just standing there and staring at us so I went up to him and started babbling and somehow I got onto the subject of the film This Is Spinal Tap. Yes, I talked about the film This Is Spinal Tap with Daniel Ash. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but soon it didn’t matter because we were all told that we needed to leave.
When I turned around I saw my friends but no Kevin Haskins. I asked what had happened to him and was told by Ophelia that Tracy had been sitting on the sofa arm and she had accidentality kicked Kevin in the nuts! When I was talking to Daniel I remember hearing a small commotion but that was it. So, one of us managed to accidentally kick in the nuts the nicest musician in the room. I remember Tracy constantly repeating ‘Oh my god!’ on the way back to the car because she felt so bad about it.
The really, really funny thing about all of this is that I learned years later that Daniel Ash has always had kind of a reputation of willingly having sex with his female fans, So, I guess all of us didn’t look hot enough to get banged by Daniel? I am so happy that he didn’t hit on me because that would have spoiled the whole thing in my opinion. Where is that leather coat and can you buy it from me? Unfortunately that jacket is long gone, which is what happens when you move around a lot.
Hey Daniel, if by some miracle you are reading this I hope you took my advice and watched This Is Spinal Tap because it is a very funny film. Oh, and Kevin thank you for being a really cool person and I am so sorry that a member of my group accidentality harmed you.