For the first time in my life, I am leaving the house on New Year's Eve and attending this year's First Night. Normally, I never left either my own house or, when I was younger, my grandparents', on that night because New Year's Eve is almost always amateur night; there's always dumb motherfuckers out there getting shitfaced on booze and trying to drive home. What's funny is, in all the bands I was in, I never played a NYE gig anywhere. Almost played two.

I'll get the second one out of the way first. The last band I was in (Foxfire, 1996), was booked to play a NYE show somewhere (I forget where), and that never happened (to my knowledge) because I had quit the band over creative and business issues.

The first one would have been with my third band, Bigg Trouble (1988-89, my alleged hair metal roots despite the fact that the guitarist and I had bonded over a mutual love of punk rock). During our existence, our "rivals" were a definite hair metal band called L.A. Lix. These guys wanted to be Poison or Cinderella so bad it wasn't even funny. They went for the visuals more than the music. The bassist could barely play, the drummer couldn't do certain rolls or fills properly (like the shuffle roll on the snare drum right before the phrase "all night long" in "Roadhouse Blues"), and they went through a series of guitar players during their two years of existence. They were an all-male band, yet used to open their shows with Lita Ford's "Kiss Me Deadly". They had one original song in their set, a little ditty called "Jump Back". It was that painful. Somehow, the two bands got along relatively OK as people but to us, who used to rehearse for two to three hours straight every weekday night, the band itself was a joke.

At one point, the one wall of our rehearsal space/hangout (the lower level of our guitarists' parents' house, which we had the entire run of), which was always covered with papers and drawings of private band jokes and other esoterica (including a full-page pic of Alyssa Milano torn from a Rolling Stone I'd brought to practice) had a parody of a newspaper ad advertising the "return" of L.A. Lix to their regular venue, the Red Buzzard Pub, after supposedly touring some venues in Florida and also claimed that they'd done some recording for a forthcoming EP. Mark, our lead singer, had cut the picture from the paper and pasted it to a sheet of drawing paper on which he'd written parody text advertising the return of "P.A. Dix" from their tour of "Japan Jeddo and Junedale" (two little squat coal-mining towns a short distance or so away from Hazleton) and telling people to look for the release of their forthcoming album Mongoloid Mania, available only on eight-track.

Oh, I should explain the reasoning behind the album title: either Mark or Damien (the guitarist) thought that L.A. Lix's bass player looked like a monologid. [I tried to get the guys to cover Devo's classic "Mongoloid" in order to immortalize the in-joker in our set list but they didn't go for it. Too bad, I think we would have kicked some serious ass doing that song.)

On New Year's Eve 1988 we were booked to share a bill with L.A. Lix at some Pocono resort hotel, I think it was. For whatever reason a few weeks prior to the gig, it got cancelled out, but we were plotting what to do during the gig. We had heard that we were going to open for L.A. Lix, and it was likely that we were going to be using some of their gear (their amplifiers and drums), so at one point we were joking that we were going to close the set with the Who's "My Generation" and do a good-old-fashioned Townshend and Moon-style gear smashup. Of course, the gig never happened and at the time we coudn't get away with smashing our own gear (our guitars) to get away with the prank properly, but it was a good joke for that brief 15-minute period.


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