In 1991, Random Children seemed to be doing pretty well. Of course, doing anything at all was success in and of itself. We were probably playing one show per month and it seemed, that people liked the fact that there were some new bands playing around Philadelphia. Looking back, I have to assume that they were happy to see anyone doing anything since it couldn’t have been our music they were into because frankly, we weren’t that good. However, there are moments during the brief history of that band that make me think, “Hmmm, maybe we weren’t that bad”.
I remember Ralph calling me at home one evening late in January 1991. I was hanging out in my room listening to records and Ralph seemed particularly excited. He explained to me that Random Children had been asked to play a WKDU show at Drexel University with Fugazi.
Now, there are very few moments in my life that I can look back and say, without hesitation, that I almost peed my pants in excitement but this was one of those moments. Being 16 years old and having the opportunity to play a show with (what was then) our most favorite of favorite bands was like…jesus, I don’t know how one could even describe it.
Needless to say, we were excited. The show happened at the Creese Student Center and all I seem to remember is stepping out onto stage and being completely amazed by the number of people who were about to watch our mediocre band. It looked like a sea of heads sans bodies and was definitely more people than I had ever seen at a show. Of course, looking back now, it was probably about 1000 people, less than a sold out show at the Church or Starlight Ballroom, but still…it looked incredible.
I don’t remember much of playing the show because I think I was to in awe of the experience. Here we were…playing our very own songs…punk songs that we wrote about our limited experiences growing up thus far…in front of a sea of people…opening up for Fugazi…a band that we considered to represent everything we believed music could and should be.
Here are some photos from the show. Sadly, I don’t recall who took them.
I also had to throw in this, “official” flier for the show. Look at what was possible with 1991 computer technology!
Here’s a YouTube clip of Fugazi from that show. Sadly, I couldn’t locate any Random Children footage although, I know it does occasionally still play late at night on Drexel’s television station which is kind of funny.
During the set, I stood just over Ian’s amp filming the show with my parents VHS recorder…that’s my arm leaning against the wall at random times. That camera was damn heavy. Now ask me where that video I shot is located…
Since I don’t play in bands regularly anymore, I’m not really sure about the availability of places to play shows. Meaning, I’m sure that it’s difficult to get shows anywhere, especially with the sheer volume of bands in the universe these days, but are there numerous places to play if you could or were allowed to play?
It seems like there are more these days. In Philadelphia alone, I can think of a whole slew of places where bands could put on a spectacle…all fully licensed with real sound systems and established methods of promotion.
When we were playing in The Random Children it pretty much seemed like there was no where to play. The few spots that did have shows were temporary at best and often, just held one off shows where someone found a spot where the owner didn’t really understand what they were getting themselves into. The Montserrat on South Street was one of these locations for example.
However, we did get lucky meeting a fella named Dave who went to school at Middlesex Community College. He booked shows there at the student center and would continue to invite us up to play when we were in Franklin. The shows were always fun and poorly attended. C’mon, it was a Community College in Middlesex, what would you expect?
Dave was a swell guy. Wonder where he is now.
I’m not much of a pack rat. Nor am I a hoarder. However, I do have a tendency to hang onto objects that seem important.
A few posts back, I mentioned the first time The Random Children played in Philadelphia proper. Sure, we grew up only 8 or 10 miles outside of the city, but playing that first show was a big deal. After posting about it, I remembered a little more.
I went to high school with a kid named Haim Koenig. He was, for lack of a better explanation, my punk rock father. Meaning, he turned me onto to such a vast universe of music it was like seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Haim was a couple years older than me, and he had transferred into our school system when I was a freshman and he was a junior. I had only started listening to punk music the year before and had only been introduced to the big guns, Sex Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Misfits, Dead Kennedys, etc. But Haim turned me and my other close friends onto so much more. Minor Threat, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Dag Nasty, Swiz…the list is endless.
Haim was so cool that he had already passed through all things punk and now had made the jump to being a mod. But he still enjoyed passing quality music onto kids who seemed hip for it. He would make endless mix tapes for me and my friends. The hours he must have spent…sheesh.
Anyway, when we first met Haim, he had played in a band called Grooving Power with a kid named Ralph. We were no longer, “The Tazmanians” and were looking for a singer. Haim brought Ralph to meet us one day when we were practicing and I guess that’s how we met Ralph.
Shortly after Ralph joined, Haim’s new band Mad Planets was playing at the Olde City Arcade. Haim asked our new band Random Children to play that show and I still remember the day at school when he scribbled down the information of where the show was.
Somehow I’ve held onto that small piece of paper. While it’s not much, to be able to post it here is something…I dunno…it’s something special to me.
I remember nothing of this show. Honestly, I attended or played so many shows at the 48th and Baltimore church that they all sort of run together. This is a great old flier tho sent to me by Joe Coyle. A fella that grew up around our way in the burbs and was always at the shows. A good guy.
Notice the fantastic spelling on the flier and of course, the free vegan food that was served.
One thing was sure in the mid 90′s, if you had a group of folks helping out towards a common goal that group was gonna be called a, “Collective”. This flier, again sent in by Joe Coyle was for a show we played out in the middle of nowhere. We played a couple times at the Bareville Firehall but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you, even remotely, where it was located.
Again, all hail the free vegan/vegetarian food. Sure, most of the time it wasn’t very good, but it filled the belly.