The Note February 1988

 in this issue: Randy Grohs, Brad Burrows, Vince Mourning, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, Joe King Carrasco, The Rainmakers, Bob Walkenhorst, Pat Tomek, Rich Ruth, Steve Phillips, Buckwheat Zydeco, Bad Brains, Brent Kessler, The Kid, Guadal Canal Diary, Dead Milkmen, The Mahoots, Scott Gribble, Brad Gowcock, Steve Wilson.

       After publishing The Note for 2 1/2 years in Wichita, this is the first issue published after I moved to Lawrence.  I moved to Lawrence to help manage The Backsliders, a Lawrence band who I really liked. The plan was for me to move into their farm house, live there while their agent Igor (some of you may have known him as Igor) booked them at gigs in cities throughout the country. The Backslider's farm and Igor are a story for another time.

     David Randall, an extraordinary keyboardist and dude in the Backsliders, had an artist loft above the Bottleneck in downtown Lawrence. He said he wasn't really using it and I could use that for The Note's office space - The rent was $75 a month. I know a lot of people visited that office whether it was at a before, during or after hours party. When I first moved to Lawrence it took a week to shovel and remove the dirt and filth that was on the floor. Some say we never really succeeded in getting it all out, but it was in terrible shape. However, the rent was right, the location seemed cool, so with a little elbow grease we got the place cleaned up and made into a nice work/party place.  In 1988, a person could take a nap in the middle of New Hampshire street before a car would drive by.

      At the time, I was promoting an Athens, Georgia band called Guadalcanal Diary on some dates in the Midwest. I had a date scheduled for the Flicker in February of 1988, but a month earlier Alice Mayfield, a beautiful young lady, was murdered on New Year's Eve at the Flicker (I have written my experience regarding that evening, which I will share soon).  The bar was firebombed a day after her death so all Flicker shows were cancelled.

     I didn't want to cancel Guadalcanal Diary for a number of reasons: they were on a tour, I had other dates, their agency was ICM, I had a feeling a lot of people would come out to see them and the night I had them scheduled to play was a Saturday. I had never promoted any bands in Lawrence, but this seemed a natural "college band plays college town" show.

     It was totally feasible for Guadalcanal Diary to adjust their tour and play Lawrence. I just needed a venue. At this time, the Bottleneck was trying to figure out what kind of a bar it was. Some nights they'd have cover bands, some nights they'd have original bands and some nights they'd have a DJ. The Bottleneck had a great stage and acoustics, so I figure I'd meet my new neighbors by bringing them a touring show with all "upside". 

     I met Brett Mosiman and Mona Tipton one afternoon in early January 1988 at the Bottleneck. They were introduced to me as the owners of the Bottleneck. I told Brett and Mona about my dilemma. With their help, I wouldn't have to cancel the show. I said I'd take care of advertising, sound, tickets and the band. They could keep all the bar sales. I figured they'd jump all over it and I was half right. Mona was into it but Brett was skeptical and wasn't sure it was a good idea. I left the Bottleneck that afternoon unsure about what I'd do with this show.  Mona indicated she'd "work" on Brett.

     It took a day or so, but about four weeks before the show, Brett agreed to the deal. Lawrence's most popular band, the Homestead Grays, agreed to open the show. I blanketed the KU campus with posters. Any time I had a show in those days, John McBride would do the sound. I knew it'd be a stretch to get him to come to Lawrence from Wichita with a system that fit the budget but I asked him anyway. He agreed.

      It was an awesome sight to see the people at the Bottleneck's faces when McBride brought his concert PA into the venue.No bar in Lawrence had ever seen a PA like an MD Systems PA. It was a better sight to see the show sell out.

      The Bottleneck would find an identity shortly after that when the band In Living Color performed there. In Living Color at the Bottleneck will always be one of the top 10 club shows I've ever seen. Brett seized the market and the rest, as they say, is history. I promoted a few more bands after that, but became more interested in making The Note a better publication, so I focused my efforts in that direction for the next few years.

      My favorite thing about this issue is the column The Kid. The demented thoughts that came out of writer Brent Kessler's head were as funny and politically incorrect as anything I ever read. You'll note that there is an interview with the Rainmakers in this issue. The Rainmakers should have been on the cover. It took a while, but we figured that out and the Rainmakers were on a later cover of The Note which I'll post soon.

     One final note on this issue. We did a write up on a Boston band, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages because they were cool and they were playing the world famous Coyote Club in Wichita. The Coyote Club always supported The Note. Milt Reder and Dave Sholl were in BW and the Savages at the time. I would become the agent for Reder and Sholl's band Four Piece Suit almost ten years later in 1997. Four Piece Suit's music has been featured in several movies and TV shows including Sex in the City. Incredible groovy stuff. Check them out.

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