By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Remembering Peter Marzio
The perfect pallet: He was the most impressive figure that I have ever met in this town — intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, approachable and kind. He had the perfect demeanor, and that might sound stupid, but he had a way of being down to earth and approachable without losing credibility. He could have gone anywhere, yet he chose to stay here. And there were offers. My guess is that he found a quiet corner, a perfect pallet here in Houston where he could work his magic, and he did. He will be missed.
Sadness: Words are inadequate to express my sadness at Peter Marzio's death, and I send my great sympathy to Mike and all of Pete's family. (Forgive this public venue; I hope you see this.) The winds are howling here in Connecticut, the rain pelting and my eyes spill tears for a rich life cut short.
Pak It Up
Long live Pik N Pack: Banana Blender played there for years, as did some of our other bands from the late '80s-early '90s. I remember that all the regulars got in free — we charged $2 cover. Schaefer was 10 cents cheaper than other domestic cans. My cousin Jimmy Powers (RIP) was the architect behind some renovations Ralph did. I still have the drawings framed somewhere.
I remember going in there to see other bands. I always was greeted with a big smile by Ralph, no matter that I was underage and not nearly punk enough to see those acts. Once you played there a couple of times, the place was yours as much as anybody's.
Still have my glow-in-the-dark Pik N Pak T-shirt printed by Calico. I only wear it for special occasions.
Thanks, Uncle Jesse: Dead Horse announced a free show at the Pik N Pak on the Sweet Nightmares show on KPFT. My friends and I were all about 14 to 18. We did not know what an icehouse was at the time. At first the person in charge, who looked like Uncle Jesse from The Dukes of Hazzard, did not want to let us in. But he said as long as we didn't drink and stayed in front of the band, we would be okay. He kept an eye on us the whole time, and we left as soon as Dead Horse finished. I remember a small pit breaking out, but it stopped because everyone kept running into the wood beams in the middle of the floor.
Missing that puked wine: Pik-of-the-Pak is what we called it, because we decided that those of us in bands that played there should declare our side of town and venue. In our first incarnation of Kinetic, just about every gig we did there, there was a scraggly guy who would insist on putting his arm around my waist and singing with me. He had fewer teeth than toes and smelled like puked wine. Mmmm. And those bathroom stalls. The walls were painted with flat graphite and had a chalk rail and chalk so you could let the graffiti pour forth, and at the end of the night Ralph washed it off. He is our messiah and a genius.
Stranger memory: My first legit band that started to play clubs my senior year in high school, Stranger, scheduled a gig at Pik N Pak sometime in 1991. Most likely it was a Tuesday or some other undesirable weeknight. We had played the hair metal havens of the early '90 — After Dark, Live Wire, Backstage, Zelda's — and we knew Pik N Pak was more of a punk place or at least heavier.
We decided to write some heavier songs just for the presumed more hardcore crowd at Pik N Pak. They actually turned out to be pretty good songs — more Alice in Chains-sounding before we knew who Alice in Chains was than the Dokken/Poison/Queensrÿche our other stuff tried to be.
So we get to this place on Waugh at Welch and couldn't believe our eyes at how tiny it was. It was nearly empty, except for the Uncle Jesse-esque character (Hazzard, not House) behind the counter and some other biker dude.
Nobody else showed up to the show. Our friends were too young to get into most places we played, and our promotional skills were nonexistent beyond making up some flyers for our guitar player to hand out while working at the Holograms store at Deerbrook Mall. I have good memories of the show, though. We played great. My drums sounded good bouncing off the empty room and concrete floors. And that one biker dude fucking loved us!
Gigs galore: The cool thing about Ralph is he would always give a band a gig no matter who they were. There was none of the political bull-crap like there is today. If there were more like him today, Houston might have a halfway decent music scene.