Wigged Gigs

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

"So we start playing, and Shawn gets up on stage with the strippers -- there's poles and lights around him and everything. [The band was supposed to stay on the floor next to the stage.] Anyway, this stripper, I don't know if there was a 'no getting up on the stage' rule, or she didn't want to be upstaged or something, but anyway, when she took off her bra she started strangling Shawn with it. Literally choking him with it, and pushing him in the crowd. This place wasn't built for as many people as there were in there, so when she pushed him in the crowd, they pushed him back up. So then she started hitting on him, and I think he pushed her. And she must have been Huey Lewis's girlfriend, 'cause he got fucking pissed. He came up screaming at us, and he said that if I broke his $15,000 fucking Les Paul or whatever, that he would break my fucking face.

"So now instead of fun, it's kinda tense. 'Okay, this guy's mad 'cause Shawn pushed his girlfriend and I'm playing too violently on his guitar.' So we start the next song, and everybody's getting all into it, and the guy puts Shawn in a headlock, so Shawn starts hitting him over the head with a microphone. Our half of the crowd and their half of the crowd just start going at it. I unplugged his guitar and held it over my head like it was a fucking crucifix in a room full of vampires, and I was saying, 'I will break your guitar if you don't stop this shit.' And he was saying, 'Go ahead and break it, muthafucka! I will kill you!' Anyway, I had to carry the guy's guitar over my head all the way to the door, and his friends were all like, 'Go back to Modesto, motherfucker!' which didn't make any sense at all. I guess in California hicks come from Modesto. But I dropped his guitar at the door, we ran to the van and peeled out."

I've found that as long as you're holding a mike, you can get away with doing things in public that would get most people arrested. -- Greg Wood

Prior to the Guilloteens' ascent to the Most Dangerous Band in Houston throne, the reigning king was (and often still is) Greg Wood, whose antics in bands such as Tab Jones, Horseshoe and his eponymous current group are often difficult to document, for the simple reason that everyone, from Wood and his bandmates on down to the bar staff, is generally obliterated at his shows, and people tend to have vague recollections of mayhem and little else. Generally the six-foot-plus, 250-pound Wood has a six-pack of Bud Light at his feet at every show, which he augments with shots of bourbon, sometimes knocking back a shot and a beer per song. Years and years ago, he was known to silence the band so he could give extended readings out of works by Charles Bukowski, Arthur Rimbaud and Penthouse Forum on stage, and he has long delivered killer impromptu Bill Hicks-esque comedy monologues between songs. And therein lurks the danger. He directs his barbed comedy at his fans one at a time -- he's like a whaler hurling harpoons at his prey, and once he sees blood in the water, he transforms from Captain Ahab into Jaws. He also always brings an extra-long mike cord, the better to get in your face, up close and personal, and when he does, the results can be scary. He doesn't so much stand by your table as he looms over it, and his shaggy hair, bushy beard and milky, useless eye (lost to an infection) make him look like some sort of pirate king.

"A lot of those Silky's shows got ugly," remembers Wood's songwriting partner Rob Mahan. Wood had a run of gigs in 2002 and 2003 at the defunct Washington Avenue dive. "Greg used to chase the audience off -- one person at a time. He'd focus in on someone and interrogate them on mike until they got so uncomfortable they had to leave. He'd follow them as they left, out the door and onto Washington Avenue, yelling on mike, 'Hey, I have feelings, you fuckers!' acting all hurt that they had walked out on his show. It was funny on the one hand, but then he'd come back in the door and the whole bar would have an uncomfortable hush to it, as if it were afraid of what might happen next. You almost forgot it was a music show. Sometimes someone would then yell, 'Play a song!' And then Greg would go after that person."

Pam Robinson -- owner of the Pamland Central clubs cluster, which included Silky's and still includes Walter's on Washington and Mary Jane's Fat Cat -- also has a few tales of Greg Wood gone rampant. "One time at Silky's he passed out cold on stage in the middle of a song. He ran off one of my best customers one time, I guess just 'cause Greg figured he was easy to pick on. I can't think the way a cow thinks, I can't think the way you think, and I sure as hell can't think the way Greg thinks."

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