Sunday, August 2, 2009

CB20! The Continental Ballroom 20th Anniversary Event

Yeah it went down. And when I say it went down, I mean it really went down. Yeah, I say it a lot, cuz things do tend to go down in my life. Down in the good way, not in the bad way. Down in the sense that "MAN IT REALLY WENT DOWN LAST NIGHT" type of thing, not in anyway in any sort of negative sense, no, when I say it went down, I mean, man, yeah, it really went down. In the history books and such.

I'm fully aware that most of you have no idea what I am ranting about (nothings changed). But basically, these past two weeks I have been in Erie, PA. Where I was birthed and raised. A lot of y'all reading this are doing so because you know this blog from the HoustonSoReal days. Well, in a nutshell, I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. My dad moved to Houston on my 8th birthday (1980), and from that year on I started spending time in both cities. Hence the Texas connection.

In 1989 when I was a senior in High School, I started booking shows at an all ages hall called the Continental Ballroom. The Ballroom was owned by these dudes who used it as a rehearsal space for their band, and a "club" of sorts where men would go and have beers and play bocci and I guess avoid their wives. I don't know. The place wasn't pretty, but it was available to us to use for a workable price, and once this little gem was discovered (by Larry Weaver, more on him later) we the youths finally had a place to go and see music.

The first time I walked into this place was in February of 1989 to see 3 local bands, My 3 Scum, Lost and Backwash. That day I asked the owner if he would be open to letting me book shows, he said yes, and the rest is history. I was hooked.

Read more about all that here ( and here (Lolirock Blog).

Anyway 1989 was 20 years ago and we decided to hold a reunion of sorts. Get some of the old players together and celebrate what once was and what it all hath become. I had no idea how big this thing really would be and how much it would mean to everyone involved, including me. Here's some photos, I'll report more as we go along.

Paulie is the owner of the Beer Mug in Erie, PA. I suggest any band touring that area should call him and get a show there. Its about 200 capacity and perfect for punk rock and indie music. Dude supports his city and the music and I hope people continue to support him for many years. He has been in that spot for 29 years now and has seen a lot come and go. He's one of those really real dudes that just keeps on ticking. Thanks Paulie!

First band of the night was the Killerinas. They hit the stage at 8:57 pm, 3 minutes before they were supposed to start and well, just killed it. Helped keep everything run on time. 6 bands and we stayed perfectly on schedule. Thanks to all of YOU! You know who you are.

Sue Martin used to be my favorite bartender in Erie, now she is fronting one of my favorite bands! The Killerinas! YES!


Diesel Houdini features my man Josh Gone. Back in the Conitnental Ballrooms earliest days, you'd see this dude, literally at age 14, at every show, supporting. Now he is rocking out and seriously this was probably my favorite band of the night. They remind me a bit of Husker Du. They just have that serious power punk pop realness about them and are no joke. Check 'em out!

Seriously they rock.

And that's something I have to say. Every band floored me. I didn't walk in there expecting to love every band, but I left, loving every band.

Gina "apologized" a couple days later for "jumping in all of my photos," but she really didn't, just this one. And I mean, if you know this blog, you know I don't mind ladies jumping up in photos, not at all. Thanks Gina!


The Trashed also blew me away. Dudes are some serious musicians. Down with the Erie scene for years and all together now kicking the real rock. For real. Dudes were killer.

Rob was always an extremely supportive dude on the scene. Seen here with Gina, um, singing...

Ken was the original drummer in My 3 Scum which was one of the original, ok second wave, punk bands in Erie. This dude is a legend and a maniac behind them drums. Was so good to see him again. Those early Scum shows were legendary.

My man Leon and his wife from Nocturnal Sounds. We rented the turntables and mixer from him. He has a new store on the 1100 block of West 8th Street in Erie that sells vinyl and music collectables and he also fixes turntables and such. Really unique spot. Record collectors should add this spot to their list when they head through the area. I know a lot of collectors come through Erie just to go to Grahams Records. Well, now you have 2 spots.

DJ LARRY WEAVER IN THE PLACE TO BE! Man, this is the King of ther Erie punk scene hands down. Dude has given the better part of his life to making things happen in that city. Was so good to work with him and just hang out again. We both played records that night but he handled the bulk of the duties cuz he got the punk rockers dancing. I am serious, if you ever have a punk rock show or night and need a DJ you should fly my man out to come kill it, on all vinyl.

Kim Kowalczyk (left) is one of my best friends ever. She worked at a record store when I was in High School and I bought a lot of my collection off of her. Then we started hanging tough and going to see shows like every week in Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh. We saw some serious shit in those days including Janes Addiction at Peabodys Down Under, like a 300 cap venue.

Iggy helped get this shit together and both he and Brian, seen here, are old friends. So good to see those dudes!

This right here is Chris Confer. He was my best friend from 3rd Grade on. Lived in my hood and we hung tough. We used to stay up all night playing rock trivia (and making our own music trivia question cards) and sometimes we would listen to the radio and write down every song they played and then just stay up all night crank calling the radio station for playing a bunch of shitty bullshit as opposed to Ted Nugent and Aerosmith. Then we later got into rap music and the white kids thought we were dumb and the black kids didn't understand us. What I am saying is, we were always some real music heads. Like thats all we did. It kept us out of trouble while pretty much all the rest of our peers continued on their slow ride to the bottom. Seeing Chris was a big surprise. He also skipped our HS 20 year reunion which was the same night. I found this out way late, but would not have gone anyway.

My great friends Brandi and Mike. Mike was my best friend in High School as we also shared a love for raucous rock music and heavy duty raps.

Also skateboarding and vandalism, not necesarily in that order. Also drinking.

Ben Frazier was also a big part of this event. He made the flyers, the Facebook page and the PINS!

And he fronted his old band LAST MAN STANDING and released a CD of all the old stuff that I somehow did not get a copy of. Must fix that soon.

Last Man Standing!

Fred Krugger also helped a lot. He contributed the Easy Action videos below. Dude played bass in the band LOST back in 1989. Lost later became the first band I ever booked on national tours.

And this boy here, Jim Beveridge was the original guitarist in LOST. He and I spent A LOT of time in vans on highways. Fred quit before that first tour.

So yeah, these dudes mean a lot to me.

Johnny James and the Absolutes fucking rule as well. Such serious songwriting and jammability. I am not even tripping. Crazy energy was pouring from the "stage" during their set.

And this dude right here, John Johnston was the man that helped make everything really happen and run smoothly at this event. He provided backline, ran sound, just kept everything straight from start to finish. He was my connect to the club in the weeks leading up to it and was a major promotional force. Thanks so much John. Also you have the coolest house I have ever been in.

And then of course there was Easy Action, featuring my favorite voice in rock music ever, John Brannon! John actually sang for the first band I ever booked, the Laughing Hyenas (and before that, Negative Approach). I'll never forget the first time I called him and asked him to play Erie, he said yes and well, that pretty much set off my entire career.

Word to Easy Action.

Real rock!

And this here is a photo of Ken, Bob and Larry. The ORIGINAL MY 3 SCUM! One of Erie's premier punk bands. I was listening to the tape they put out in 1989 and honestly man, these dudes songs really stood the test of time. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Dig in the crates and such.

And yeah man, the night before this art gallery had a party, Urrara Gallery I believe it was called, and Sonic Medusa played. They really should have been on the CB20 show, but alas, we ran out of room. Singer/bass player Eric Hiney played in a later version of Lost and well, we also spent quite a lot of time in vans together on the highways of the good ol' USA.

Dudes still got it, ROCK.

So yeah, my lil trip to Erie went down. Had a lot of family work to do while there, but that's nothing to blog about. That's something to man up about. And I did. We did. And it was great. Word to my mother.

Thanks to everyone who made sure that this event was not only a success, but a heartfelt, meaningful, memorable experience for all involved.

You think I'm being sappy, but really you have no idea. It was worthy of all sap.

More Erie photos coming soon, and yeah, I'm back on it.

Check out the bulk of the set from Easy Action (minus the three encores they did!) and keep checking back with me y'all.

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