Man I just started out playing some shows in a old bar in Mission Beach in San Diego. The place was called The Mission Beach Club. It was 1985 and I had just graduated from USD and gotten a job at a plastics factory in El Cajon CA. Plastics. Plastics. (Apologies to The Graduate)
We were a duo and sometimes a trio. Robert Driscoll and Gerald McMullin. I think we called ourselves The Pedestrians of Sni-A-Bar Road. We'd play at this Mission Beach Club every Friday. Or was it every Saturday? Or Thursday? It's all a blur.
We bought a P.A. From Carvin. We didn't have any monitor speakers because we didn't know what monitor speakers were. We couldn't hear a thing because the bar was so loud. I would usually break 4 to 6 strings a night. My name became Steve "Stringbreaker" Poltz. Rob Driscoll became "Dr" Robert Driscoll and Gerald Mcmullin became "Child" McMullin.
The place would get packed. I mean to the rafters packed. I think the bar would give us 150 bucks a night. Maybe it was 75. There were copious amounts of booze swilled so my memory is foggy.
Child ended up moving up north to the Bay Area so me n Doc became a duo. The Mission Beach Club got shut down. Chicanery and malfeasance I suppose. This is the bar where I first met Kevo. Kevin McGraw. RIP. F#%k cancer. Kevo was drunk and we were pissing side by side in the loo and when we finished he dropped his beer on my cowboy boot. He thought it was still in his hand and as was talking to me he was drinking a nonexistent beer. Love at first sight. We became pals.
Seeing as how The Mission Beach Club was shut down I used to drive around and visit bars all over San Diego. I was looking for a new place to call our home. Sometimes me and Doc would drive together and do "research". Sometimes it was just me all alone.
We finally found a place downtown in the Gaslamp district in San Diego. It was called Smedley's Baseball Inn. The legs on the barstools were made outta baseball bats. Pictures of old baseball players adorned the walls. It was perfect. Goosebumps perfect. The Gaslamp district wasn't really happening yet so every time we'd play, someone's car would get broken into. Smashed windows and stolen cars probably driven south across the border to Tijuana. We'd play every Friday. A residency. Or was it Saturday? Brain cells where are you?
Smedley's would get packed. Like crazy packed. Nutso magutso packed. We'd usually end up standing on the bar kicking people's drinks over. The first time we did it I thought we'd be in trouble but the owner Bob Smedley got mad if we DIDN'T stand on the bar at the end of the night. Sometimes he'd take me downstairs and give me a line of coke. He had alopecia and didn't have a hair on his body. No eyebrows or nothing. He was super cool. Real friendly. I think he paid us 200 bucks a night and all the booze we could drink. So me an the owner would do a line of coke together on the break and he'd say "make sure you get up on the bar and pour a beer over your head like you did last week. That was amazing! Especially when you kicked over the drinks and the glass shattered!"
"Umm aren't you the owner?"
"I think I like this job. Playing music."
Smedley's became this scene there were lots of pretty girls and lots of pretty boys. People would be hammered and other musicians would show up and hop on stage a join us in the chaos. Rick Wilkins used to play blistering leads at the end of the night when madness erupted.
Around this time Doc Driscoll started getting into recording equipment and we started writing and recording songs in his garage in Claremont. He owned a house with his wife Karen Baumer. Karen was cool and was crafty. She's a great writer and would listen to our songs and help us out. We'd drink whiskey and make up songs and record them. There was a song I'd written called The Ballad of Rodrigo. I can't remember it but I think it was pretty weird. I need to find it. Or not.
We finally recorded enough songs to make our first cassette. These were exciting days. Little did I know I'd become a lifer. This is all I've ever wanted to do. And I'm doing it.