Wigged Gigs

A selection of some of the wildest, weirdest, and most dangerous bands and shows in Houston history

"So anyway, there's this long, long break, and then they finally get up there and there's a false start to about 20 different songs, about 20 seconds to one minute per song. Paul [who, according to the Houston Chronicle's account of the show, was carrying a fifth of Jack Daniel's] kept falling down and knocking over the gear. At one point he fell over and knocked over half the drum kit.

"And that was when the beer-can shower started. There had been, like, 15 minutes of insanity by that point and people were sick of it, so they were chanting, 'You suck! You suck!' and throwing beer cans. And every time their roadie -- who was wearing this American flag getup of red striped pants and a blue shirt with white stars on it -- would try to set their shit back up, Tommy would just start kicking the crap out of him, until he would finally leave the stage. So everybody's chanting, 'You suck!' and Paul gets up in this one guy's face, and they're shooting the bird at each other, and I don't know if Paul spit on him or something, but the guy just went berserk. The guy just grabbed Paul and pulled him in the crowd, and Paul's just swinging wildly around, drunk. Right before that Paul had tried to throw a beer can at somebody at the back of the room, but he was so drunk he hit my girlfriend -- who was, like, four feet away -- right in the head. So when he went down she proceeded to kick the crap out of him.

"Finally Paul got back to the stage, and his attitude had shifted from arrogance to apologies. He was bleeding -- he had a big cut on his forearm, and he just reached in his pocket and just threw a wad of money into the crowd, and a melee broke out. A few people got, like, $20 a pop, but most of us got nothing. So the crowd was still pretty unappeased. So then he slurs, 'We're not gonna get any better, so if you want your money back, go get it,' and he points to the ticket booth. And the attendant, who was just sitting there staring at the spectacle, just closed the window, grabbed the cash box and evacuated. Eventually the cops arrived; the promoter got on stage and told everybody to leave orderly. They tried to calm everybody down, but it was just a riot."

The Texas Rangers -- the law enforcement agency, not the baseball team -- had a slogan: "One riot, one Ranger." Houston's Fatal Flying Guilloteens, who for a few years wore matching Lone Ranger costumes on stage, have adapted those fierce words. Their mantra could be "One tour date, one riot." Or another fight with another band. Here's a story from the Guilloteens scrapbook, set in and around the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles in the summer of 2000, and told by Guilloteens guitarist-Houston Press columnist Brian McManus:

"We played one of the last shows ever at this place called Al's Bar, which was this legendary punk bar downtown, or so people told us. And there were these guys there called the Flash Express, and they were like, 'Wow, we have your album, you guys are awesome,' and they stayed for our show and they were like, 'Man, you guys are incredible.' And this guy looks like fuckin' Huey Lewis; he's, like, 35, and he's dressed like him too. He's got this sports jacket on and jeans, maybe like a V-neck shirt on underneath it. It was just ridiculous. And he's like, 'Yeah, man, we're in the studio right now and Jon Spencer's doin' a couple of tracks,' like his band is the shit or something. We get a lot of garage types at our shows because of [prestigious garage rock label] Estrus -- they're all like, 'Man, your label is awesome, but why are you guys on it?' 'cause we just don't fit. But this guy seemed to be genuinely into us, and he said that his band was gonna be playing at this legendary strip club called Jumbo's Clown Room. He was like, 'Man, if y'all want, it would be an honor to me if y'all played three songs with our equipment after we're done.' It was like this after-hours affair, kinda hush-hush. We were like, 'Fuck, yeah.' All of our friends were like, 'That's amazing! That was where they filmed the Mötley Crüe "Girls Girls Girls" video; dude, that place is legendary, you've gotta do this!'

"So everybody that was at our show came over. We had this entourage of about 40 people, and we easily doubled the crowd that was already there. And the Flash Express played, like, three songs and finished their set. And the guy looks like he's done, like, two eight-balls in each nostril, he's fuckin' sweatin' really bad, he's too old to be doing this anymore, and he's so infected with these garage rock clichés that he's got this preacher-man bit -- 'Right now! I'm gonna bring to the stage-ah! My very good friends-ah! From Houston Teck-shus! The Fatal Flying Guilloteens-ah!' Oh, we're like, 'Oh, God, this guy's a douche bag.' And I guess things got off on the wrong foot when he went on the microphone and thanked 'Huey Lewis and the Felch Express.'

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