One time Scotty P. pooped in the parking lot across from Tommy's on Coventry. That was pretty funny.
The first time I saw Prisonshake, they opened for Death of Samantha at the Phantasy. They kicked butt- and speaking of which; Doug was wearing a pair of sweat pants that were ripped all down the back and he kept sticking his ass in the crowd's collective face. One of my favorite shows of all time.
Damn, I hadn't thought of the ripped sweatpants night in years. When I did though, I realized it was one of my fondest rock memories in Cleveland. Before I start, be aware that this story involves Jane Scott, so you may wanna stay tuned.
My apologies to "Anon" and his/her memory, but we played that ubiquitous palace of mirth known as the Phantasy that night opening for Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper. Mojo was riding his "Elvis is Everywhere" wave. At this point he was at the peak of his popularity, and had run out of ideas two years earlier - always an artist's economic apex. (if it's not evident to the populace that the trough is dry, invoking Elvis always seals it).
We had to fill time and ended up playing nearly an hour-and-a-half. It was likely that shortly thereafter we settled into our standard 30 minute set routine. After a while Mojo's crowd was getting tired of us. (I couldn't blame them, I was getting tired of us).
But performers should always feed off the audience, hence their irritation over the longish set fueled us to play even longer. As luck would have it, we had worked up a version of Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" for the show and unveiled it gleefully to the annoyed
crowd. What a gay old time we were having. And there were of course the sweatpants.
When we were traveling around in that era, I would wear an old pair of gray sweatpants to sleep in. The more we toured, the bigger the rip became. (go ahead, I gave you that one). Scott would always say "you oughta wear those for the show tonight," him being the drummer seated behind me the whole time; never really wanted to figure that one out.
Anyway, this night in Lakewood I did. Our sarcastic catch phrase at the time was "total rock," and before the show the ideas flowed. I'll never forget Robert kneeling behind me backstage with a magic marker and scrawling the word "TOTAL" on one cheek, and "ROCK" on the other. Talk about a team player, a man ceaselessly devoted to rock at the time.
So we were playing our songs, I pranced about as usual, and remembering that "total rock" was written on my soft white ass, I had to spread the cotton flaps once in a while so someone could read it at at least a 6th-grade level. Blah, blah, blah the show goes on. And on. And on. Then I notice a woman near the stage, yelling between songs and I give her my full attention. She's got a beef, I discern. Tiring of hearing my own voice, I invite her onstage to air her displeasure, as it were.
The rather plump woman greedily takes the offered mike and gives us a two sentence Christgau-like reaming (ya never feel it, it's too small) and caps it with something like, "I could've stayed home and looked at my husband's ass." Griffin then delivers his best line ever on stage, "I'd rather look at his ass than yours." The crowd erupts like a Gleason audience, and for once, they're on our side. The woman steps down, and we carry on. (I'd like to think we broke into the Seger song here, but that woulda been too perfect).
Eventually we quit. We're backstage at the Phantasy and I look over and see her. It's her. Jane Scott. Backstage at one of our gigs. I'd been reading Jane Scott since I was 8. Of course we all hated her and couldn't understand why this old lady was the rock critic when we were in high school. But as the years went by and rock seemed even dumber to us, I could appreciate her gig. I shan't claim to know her deal, but there's something to love about a rock critic who refers to international recording artiste David Thomas as a "Heights High grad." I look forward to someone putting out a "Carburetor Dung"-type collection of Jane's columns.
Now I had played a million shows at this point and had NEVER gotten a word in print from her pen. I do recall talking to her at the DKs show at the Variety for a minute, telling her how irrelevant the whole shebang was at that point. The better moment that night was glancing over and seeing Carl Miller, one arm maneuvering a Pabst Blue Ribbon, the other around Jane Scott, jaw flapping.
So Jane's back with us, skinny little reporter notebook in hand, pen scribbling, asking where we went to high school, the works. Then she asks about the pants, and more specifically what seems to be written beneath. And here unfolds my proudest moment in Cleveland rock: I turn, bend and spread so that Jane Scott can crouch, blink, squint, and faithfully transcribe the phrase "total rock" written on my ass. And that was the sum of our two-sentence mention in her P-D review. (I don't mean to toot my own horn, but as far as "cle punk" goes . . . beat THAT motherfucker!)
To complement the poop story, one time Scotty P lived up to his surname (P) and wee'd on his only remaining leather coat, the other having been left in Madison, Wisconsin. Apparently he mistook it for a toilet. It was the dead of winter. I felt sorry for him.
Interestingly, Arne Fine of The Clocks once regaled me of a story about someone coming into his bedroom during a party (Arne had given up being jolly and had gone to bed) and mistaking his bed for a toilet. Or perhaps the miscreant thought it was a leather coat. Sadly, no-one will ever know.
I saw Prisonshake live a couple of times, but I was a scattered and foolish girl who often didn't pay very good attention at shows. Later, I was living in Chicago and was absolutely hating it, totally homesick for Cleveland. My best friend at the time (who had also lived in Cleveland once upon a time) worked in the distribution warehouse for Touch and Go Records, so he was always pilfering something or other and bringing it home to listen to. One night Ben called me over and said, "You have to listen to this album, it's totally Cleveland." He had stumbled across Prisonshake's I'M REALLY FUCKED NOW. The album really did sound uniquely Cleveland, especially during that early '90's era when everything else had a trendier sound (i.e. the "Am-Rep sound", the "Seattle sound", and so on) Prisonshake rocked in that I'm-so-utterly-exhausted-by-life kind of way that is unique to our fair city. They masterfully tapped into the negative energy thread that binds us (Clevelanders) together.