Every once in a while we like to write about various gigs over the years. And we've always found that people are more interested in the bad ones. If you've ever been in a band, one of the first things you'll notice when interviewed on radio or for print is that "What's the worst gig you ever played?" is a favorite question. Always.
Posted by Charlie Recksieck
Another Musical Residency
Here I'm gonna share a couple of notes about a recurring gig of ours which isn't our worst booking. But it has enough odd elements that it satisfies a minimum schadenfreude component. It was at a brewery in the UTC mall in San Diego / La Jolla that is long closed, so I don't have to worry about offending an existing meal ticket. And it's really not that bad.
On Tap - Location
If you look at the photo above, picture us out of frame at the right - outside of the restaurant, facing away from it. Basically, it looks like we were busking for people going into the mall, with a full band setup using electricity from the restaurant.
We were and are a loud enough band that it made sense for us to have a solid concrete wall between us and people on first dates at the bar. We're not hard rock, but I've broken piano keys and Shay has broken snare drum heads at shows, which is not easy to do while playing Barry Manilow.
Not that we are complaining. We LOVED the setup. The bar paid us nicely to play every Friday for mood music inside, while our fans and friends would come hang out on the outside and dance.
A Musical Residency
That's the beauty of a recurring weekly booking, it becomes a residency. For one thing, playing the same place out of view from most paying customers meant that it could double as a rehearsal. If we wanted to try out a new song that we'd only half-written, who cares.
But the nicest part of a weekly gig is that everybody knows where to find you. It becomes part of your weekly schedule. You're not email blasting everybody, they all just know that if they want to finish their week with a happy hour and see some of their friends there then we were always playing Fridays 5:00 to 8:00pm.
We had that with The Last Call - but unlike the Last Call, diners LIKED that we were there and we did NOT get alcohol poisoning from the taps.
Memories, Misty Watercolor Memories
I'll keep this from being a 1000-word article, but there are several terrific memories from playing there. Like meeting Tim's siblings there; he's perhaps 140 lbs soaking wet and I couldn't contain my amazement that his brother and sister could each outweigh him by 150-200 pounds.
We were shocked that not only were there no complaints from management and customers about regularly playing one of the more foul-mouthed songs about golf of alltime, On The Green - but the same went for the couple of times we thought playing Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler" to the music of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" was a good idea.
And none of us will eve forget meeting our good friend's new girlfriend and later ex-wife for the first time. My girlfriend at the time never had a bad word to say about anybody. The moment we got in the car that night after packing up and leaving was just, "I hate her".
The Owner & The Waitstaff
All of that aside, what really sticks out about On Tap! Is the manager, David. He was always nice enough to us personally - which is what people say about gunmen's neighbors, secret Nazis or Jerry Lewis. But he was an absolute monster of a nightmare boss for the staff. He berated them outright in front of the customers and us. I swear the waitresses would blink at us like a hostage trying to deliver a message.
That place was in a state of mutiny the whole time. Thankfully, the staff did like the band so we had nothing to fear. But I think their only way of striking back was to spit in the food. If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you probably know that you can't trust food service workers and especially when the manager is a tyrant.
Predictably, the place went out of business maybe sometime around 2010 and has been replaced by a couple of incarnations of bars - currently Eureka.
A few years later, my girlfriend (different woman than in the previous story) were there outside around the crowded firepit (pictured above). Picture that groovy-looking firepit with a rectangle of glass surrounding the hot rocks. When we were there, we felt the glass was crazy hot and tried to tell the waitress and other people sitting there - but nobody listened to us. Nobody acknowledged us - at all. I mean, really didn't notice us; to the point where I whispered to my gf and asked, "Are we dead?"
Surprise, surprise but about 20 minutes later that glass shattered and everybody was startled as fuck. Us? We couldn't stop laughing. The story has a happy ending since we ended up going back to my car and having sex in it. Klassy.
Anyway, what was I saying? We have nothing but great memories of On Tap! and we have great memories of every gig, even the not so special ones. Something fun always happens when you're out with three friends and making music.