down the shore, everything’s allright.

After the release party, Ralph went on a tear.  We were talking one night, and he basically said “For all these years, we’ve been a band, but we’ve never actually worked at being a band.  We don’t promote ourselves, we rarely book shows on our own, we’re totally not aggressive about it at all.  And look how far we’ve gotten.  So I want to actually work at it, and see where it can take us.”

So Ralph started booking shows all over the place, from South Jersey to Manhattan.  And the band played more and more, and got better with each show.

One night – and I’m going by memory here so I think it was early Spring, 1995 – they played a show down the shore with a North Jersey punk band called Flatus.  Flatus had been together for a while, but I had never had the opportunity to meet them.  I went to the show alone – Sandy, at this point, didn’t feel comfortable in a smoky, loud club while she was carrying a baby, and as a nervous expectant father, I didn’t, either.

I brought a camera, though, so I could take pictures of the show for Sandy to see.

Flatus Flatus played first, and they were very tight, old-school punk.  I really enjoyed their set, and Ralph and Mark stood with me for the entire show, telling me about what great guys the band were, and how we should talk to them about putting out a record.  I knew that the band had their own indie label thing going, though, so I never approached them about it.

They closed their set with an absolutely outstanding, aggressive cover of “The Kids Are Allright” that blew my mind, and after the show I had the pleasure of meeting the guys in the band and telling them how good I thought they were.

 

 

Footstone Live  Footstone took the stage with rubber noses and bleached hair, looking completely un-punk, and within two songs had knocked out everyone in the crowd.  At one point there was a little mosh pit going – the first and only time I ever witnessed people slamming at a Footstone show.  

As usual, the band was respectful to the other bands they played with that night, giving them appropriate props, and as usual, they had the same, self-deprecating humor that I’d grown to love from the band.  Ralph engaged with the audience after almost every song, dedicating songs to friends in the crowd and joking with people all over the room.  It was a great set.

 

I took pictures of the band in various settings throughout the night.  I wanted to have a library of Footstone shots that I could send out to zines – I knew that Jim Testa was forever running band photos in Jersey Beat, but they were usually not the standard promo photo-type shots.  I wanted to be able to give him similar photos that he could use.

Footstone - store This one was taken in a nearby convenience store, before the show.  I don’t remember why we were there, but I asked the band to pose – and they immediately dropped to the floor, grabbed some merchandise, and posed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Footstone  This one was taken outside the convenience store.  While in the store, Ralph found a bunch of rubber noses and bought four of them, thinking that the band should wear them during their set.  They tried, but Eric and Dave got rid of theirs within minutes, and Mark took his off shortly thereafter.  Ralph tried to keep his on during the entire set, but he kept knocking it with the microphone, and eventually gave up.

 

 

 

 

After the show, we went for a beer at a local bar, and then, realizing the long ride I had ahead, alone in the car, I left early.  I was trying to be responsible about going out late.

At this point Sandy was still eager to do the indie rock thing, but as I mentioned, was hesitant to expose the baby to a smoky bar with loud music.  Some of these clubs were loud, and Footstone was a pretty loud band to begin with – who knew what kind of crazy damage we could be doing to a baby in that environment?  So I’d get home and try and give her a play-by-play.

I was pretty good at this.

My dad moved out when I was nine years old.  My mom worked three jobs so that we could afford to live in our house, and when I hit high school and started to want to go out with my friends, my mother would hand me a $20 bill so I could get into the movie, get a soda, and maybe have some ice cream afterwards.  

I always knew that those $20 bills were all the money my mother had, and she was giving it to me so I could have the same sort of life as my other friends.  I never had to say “I can’t go tonight; we have no money.”  Even as a 13 or 14-year-old, I was aware of the sacrifices my mom was making.

Knowing that my mother was giving me her last $20, I would go to the movie and watch the entire thing – intently – paying attention to everything that happened in the film.  I never walked out of a movie, regardless of how bad it was.  I’d stay and watch the whole thing.

Then, when I got home, I would tell my mother the entire story of the movie.  I’d try and be as vivid as possible, telling her every plot detail I could remember, every line of dialogue I could spit back to her.  I wanted her to feel like she was watching the movie, and she would sit there on the edge of her seat and listen to every word as if she was watching the movie.

Maybe that’s why I talk so much.  Maybe it’s why, when I tell a story, it tends to be a long-winded one that goes on forever.  Maybe it’s why I’m writing 1000-1500 fucking words every day or two about stuff that happened 15 years ago, and remembering things I was thinking, conversations I had with people, the most idiotic things on earth that nobody in their right mind would remember.

But in 1995, it helped me recount Footstone shows to Sandy.

~ by Al on August 13, 2009.

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