Pik N Pak: Great Buzzes, Angry Skinheads, Uncle Jesse...
Last week, when Rocks Off posted our blog about this weekend's Pik N Pak reunion at Rudyard's and Groundhall, we asked people to email us their stories about the bygone Montrose icehouse. We're happy to say we got several responses, some quite short, others rather lengthy.
We edited the emails for spelling, grammar, clarity and style, but otherwise left them as is. In the spirit of Pik N Pak, though, we did not change how the emailers chose to spell its name. We thought that was the right thing to do. Some spelled it several different ways within their email, whether or not on purpose we have no idea.
Rocks Off hopes you enjoy reading them. We certainly did. And while we're plugging Pik N Pak, we might as well mention our interview with former owner and "honorary mayor of Montrose" Ralph Ullrich in this week's print edition.
But first, we believe we also promised you a schedule of this weekend's bands.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10 - RUDYARD'S
7:30 p.m.: The Hates 8:30 p.m.: Think Tank 9:30 p.m.: MyDolls 10:10 p.m.: No Love Less 10:50 p.m.: Texas Biscuit Bombs 11:30 p.m.: Rosebud 12:30 a.m.: Poor Dumb Bastards
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11 - GROUNDHALL
Doors at 1:30 p.m.
2 p.m.: Dead Roses 3 p.m.: Future Blondes 4. p.m.: Gus Buzbee 5 p.m.: Personality Crisis 6 p.m.: Bad Samaritans 7 p.m.: Room 101 8 p.m.: Rusted Shut 9 p.m.: Dixie Waste 10 p.m.: Contortion Session
10:45 p.m.: Bark Hard 11:30 p.m.: U.Y.U.S. 12:15 a.m.: Hummungus 1 a.m.: Anarchitex
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12 - GROUNDHALL
Doors at 1:30 p.m.
2 p.m. T.C. & the Cannonballs 3 p.m.: David Fahl & Bongo Jane Wiley 4 p.m.: X-It Only 5 p.m. Psyclops 6 p.m.: Blood Sucking Fiends 7 p.m.: Skillit 8 p.m.: Brown Paper Bag 9 p.m. Kinetic 10 p.m.: The Texas Spoilers/Focusyn 11 p.m.: Wake 12 a.m.: Academy Black 1 a.m.: Skatenigs
Now, on to those emails...
Anonymous: Dixie Waste fliers found at crime scene and in murder victim's leather jacket lead investigators to Pik n Pak and Ralph Ulrich. Ralph identifies suspect, who is later sentenced to Texas Death Row.
Ed. Note: Whoa.
Allen Hill, Allen Oldies Band, etc.: The first time I walked in Pik N Pak was on a Thursday in 1990, and [I] walked out with a great buzz, a new friend and a gig for that Saturday!
Rich: Hello there. I never respond to these things, but I feel compelled. I lived in Houston from 1983-1990, left for San Francisco, then moved back again four years ago and opened a bar (Big Star Bar). I used to hang out at Pik n Pak all the time, as I wanted to get away from Rudyards.
There, kitty-corner, was an old liquor store which is now a parking lot. I found out the owner had a drunken worker who would deliver liquor for free, so I would just sit at home, order some Jim Beam and Shiner, get in the shower and by the time I got out, he would be pulling up in his 1969 Cutlass with my booze... and he would not accept tips. Awesome.
Anyway, I digress. My great Pik n Pak story was me and three close friends drove back from Galveston in my 1972 Plymouth Fury III around 1987 and we were very intoxicated on various portions of LSD, mushrooms and weed. I was in the process of driving them all back to their homes when we looked up and there was Pik n Pak.
So we went in for some beer and some pinball. As we were playing pinball, this very young, very hot chick is setting up a camera and tripod behind us. She was a photography student and politely asked if she could shoot pictures of us playing pinball for a project she was doing.
It was just really surreal considering the state we were in. OK, that's it.
Stacey: Minerva, a friend's local band, was playing. I was underage, and Pik n Pac was dry at the time so unlike rudyards I could get in to watch shows without sneaking in the backdoor. My boyfriend and I were sitting down at a table eating some blue chips that were served to us, and probably a Coke or fruit juice.
My back was to the stage so I was facing the back wall where I had perfect view of a nice couple also sitting at a table enjoying each other's company obviously waiting for the next band from Austin to play. Gut, which was more awesome than your granny smoking a corn-pipe, sold me a seven-inch I still have and yet still love has to be the first band; no, only band to successfully play a kazoo and rock!
Back to Minerva playing and my view of the room and this couple. It's as if you are watching in real time, sped-up but slow motion, if that could ever make sense, when a big skinhead dude barges in makes his way to the nice-looking couple and, with helmet in hand, swings it with great force, hitting nice guy at the table. Swinging only one time [and] making contact upside his head before leaving just as swiftly he came.
In disbelief and fear for myself as this guy had no apparent reason in my mind; however, [he] walked right past me, blood dripping from his helmet with "mission complete" written on his face did nothing else to harm anyone additionally and walked out.
Now I can't say no one else saw this, but besides the girl at the table, I had the best view of all and, awestruck as any teenager gets, I calmly informed my clueless boyfriend what happened. [He] tried following Mr. Angry Helmet-man outside to no avail. And in Pik n Pac fashion, the show must go on, and as if nothing happened I experienced my next phenomenon at the club called Gut.
Moral of the story is don't date this guy's ex-girlfriend, don't fraternize, and especially don't sit unexpectedly in public if you plan to ignore the moral, or else you may lose your head quite literally! Lastly, it always ran in my favor hanging out at Pik n Pac as I was a familiar face to a group that liked to start a lot of fights outside clubs
As if there was some consideration for me, I was protected and knowing this felt assured that parking for me would not be an issue but everyone else was fair game to broken windows or busted mirrors. I'm still amazed at this fact, but times are different now and the words like skinhead or neo- Nazi are nowhere to be heard now.
Pik n Pac was another time. A different generation. Now old enough to enter Rudyard's, I gleam everytime I park at Pic n Pac because in my heart that space will always be Pic n Pac's memorial. Granted, my age only allows me the final years of the place.
I still miss the fond moments this itty bitty tiny club had. It's second only to the original days of the Axiom. R.I.P., you are missed.
Dan Workman, Culturcide, SugarHill Studios: Most of my recollections of the Pic N Pac are tinged with the tint of Smith's Nut Brown Ale. Ralph was kind enough to slip me a free one every now and then. I saw and played some amazing shows there. I got to sit in with several of Kirk Carr's (bassist of the Pain Teens) project-bands at the PNP, and the final show of Dan Workman's U100's took place there on one of the coldest nights I can remember.
My primary memory of the PNP was the gigantic disconnect of walking past the tables of old, nicotine-wizened regulars - think Micky Rourke in Barfly - in order to go see an awesome punk/experimental show just a few feet away. It just felt right. But in a very naughty-wrong way. David Lynch would have loved this scene.
I also loved the "guilty pleasure" aspect of the venue: If you didn't have the money to see the show, you could hang out in the front bar and hear everything that was going on just one piece of sheet rock away. Finally, Ralph Ullrich became an icon to the music scene with his enthusiasm for the bands.
He was everywhere all the time, checking out bands and having his favorites play the Pic N Pack. It's really comforting that he's still here, doing the same things. Every time I go to a show and run into Ralph, I just know that I'm in the right place.
Jarod Frank: 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 '90s - 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 the tininess of the place.
It was nearly empty, except for the Uncle Jesse-esque character (Hazzard, not Full House) behind the counter and some other biker dude who (at least in my memory) had one of those Nazi army helmets with the spike on top in lieu of a traditional motorcycle helmet. 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 fliers 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!
See ticket information and more on the Pik N Pak reunion's Facebook page.
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