My First Show: THe BAcksliders' Chris Bonner Saw KISS in '79. Years Later, He Took His Kids To See KISS, Too.
Welcome to My First Show, where we give bands a chance to talk about the first shows they ever attended -- no matter how uncool and embarrassing those tales may be.
Chris Bonner and his wife Kim Pendleton-Bonner have led The BAcksliders through four albums of sweaty rock 'n' roll, and they're about to add another to that list: Their newest, THe BAcksliders from Dallas, Texas, comes out April 19.
The band opened for Liz Phair at the Granada Theater last week, and afterward, Bonner was kind enough to share with us his first show experiences.
Turns, out, not only was seeing KISS fantastic, but there was a nice post-script when Bonner took his own kids to see KISS many years later. This week, he tells us his recollections from that show, as well as his memories of the first BAcksliders show. Read on after the jump.
Do you remember the first show you ever saw? Did your parents take you?
The first concert I ever saw was KISS, on August 12, 1979 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee. The opening act was New England, which featured future members of Alcatraz. My dad, my uncle and his friend took me (none of whom liked KISS). I only have vague memories of fire spitting and Gene flying over the crowd, but they were my favorite group at the time, so, needless to say, as a six-year-old, I was excited. I actually got to take my sons to see KISS a couple of years ago, but this time, we met KISS's manager, Doc McGhee, and he autographed some stuff for the kids and gave them a hand full of picks, so that was cool.
What was the first show you saw with your own money?
The first show I saw with my own money, to the best of my recollection, was probably around 1988. A band called Private War at the Antenna Club in Memphis. They were a hardcore band a couple of years my senior -- and a huge influence on me wanting to play out live. In fact, that was the first place I ever played, that same year. It smelled like clove cigarettes and stale booze. Magic. The Antenna Club was such an important place in Memphis music. Alex Chilton with Tav Falco, Taint Skins, R.E.M., The Grifters, Man with Gun -- so much music came out of or came to that place. It took me moving away from Memphis to realize the importance of Memphis music.
What do you remember from the first BAcksliders show? Do you still play any songs from that first show now?
When Kim and I started playing out together, the band was known as The Disasters -- and we were. We had a guy try to tune his plugged-in guitar by holding it to his ear on stage, and a bass player, who, if he got lost in a song, would simply ride the E string. One time, a fill-in drummer proceeded to get high on heroin and throw up all over our rehearsal space. Bad times. To be honest, I was a lot more interested in partying then rehearsing when we started, and it showed. The first actual show as THe BAcksliders, was in February of 2006 at Dan's Silverleaf. We were still doing all kinds of stuff -- like The Db's, Big Star, Queen covers. In addition to that we, I am sure, played songs from our first album. We still do "If You Could Wait," "Get It Down" and a few others from the first album. I played out of a tiny amp and a really cool Hagstrom guitar that wouldn't tune, so I'm sure it was energetic and awful. Once the band got Nolan Theis and Taylor Young on drums, we started to take it more seriously. Couldn't help it, those guys were so profesh.
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