Concert Reviews

Crushed Stars on Seeing KISS, Prince and The Replacements

Crushed Stars' newest record, In the Bright Rain, came out this week, and to celebrate, we asked band mastermind Todd Gautreau and drummer Jeff Ryan about their first shows.

What was the first show you remember seeing? Were you with your parents? Todd Gautreau: My first show was KISS. I must have been about 10. The two things I remember most are that I had a Taaka Vodka comb in my back pocket, which broke when I sat down. And there was a girl in the parking lot having a bad acid trip and her friend was slapping her face to snap her out of it. As you can imagine, this was rather disturbing. Luckily, my parents did not attend. Transportation to the show was delegated to a young, cooler relative. Following a youth full of arena shows, my first club show may have been The Replacements in New Orleans. Jeff Ryan:The first show I remember seeing was Prince & the Revolution on the Purple Rain tour. If memory serves right, I'm pretty sure Sheila E. opened the show. Stunning. I remember this huge ice/snow storm had hit Dallas, so when the show was over it was just chaos outside. I think we risked life and limb driving home, but it was worth it. The performance was incredible, that's when he was at the top of his game. It was surreal for someone who'd never seen a show, to then see a show with an artist who was also, at the time, a movie star

What was the first show you paid to see? Todd: The KISS show. Also had to buy the ticket for the younger, cooler relative. Also in attendance was his friend Chubby, who was actually quite small. Jeff: I'm pretty sure it was in the late '80s and for some reason, it kinda coincided with that Deep Ellum tape that was floating around town. I could be totally wrong about that, but on this tape it had Fever in the Funkhouse, The Reverend Horton Heat, New Bohemians, and I believe Three on a Hill. Anyway, the show was at Deep Ellum Live, which I think at the time was called The Venue, and The Reverend played and a few other bands that I can't remember. But, what I do remember is Three on a Hill closed the show and blew my head off.

What was the first show that made a major impact on you? Todd: I think I am more impacted by records than live shows. But the Guided by Voices show on the Isolation Drills tour stands out as being exceptional. Jeff: There's been tons of shows that have made an impact on me, but I guess the first one would be Robyn Hitchcock & the Egyptians when they supported R.E.M. on the Green tour. I'd heard of him, but had never really spent much time with any of his records. His show was captivating -- he made Reunion Arena seem like a small club. It was amazing. The melodies and imagery he creates in his songs are just stunning. I have Queen Elvis on vinyl, and still listen to it regularly. So far, what's the worst show you've seen? Todd: The only disappointment that comes to mind was a Mark Kozelek acoustic show. He was nasty to the audience and played only a couple of Red House Painters songs. Jeff: That's a tough one. I don't know, being in bands for a number of years you're gonna have good shows and bad shows and the reasons they are either of those are so random and unpredictable. But, if I had to pick one -- and it wasn't necessarily because it was a bad show, just an uninspired one -- it was Blur at the Bronco Bowl in '98. Again, it wasn't that it was bad, but they were on some ridiculous bill with a bunch of random bands, played the hits and they were off. I mean, I don't think I would have been too inspired either to play with Reel Big Fish.

What do you remember about the first Crushed Stars show? Todd: I can't actually recall a first show. I think I did a couple of solo shows in Denton first. Then the first "full band" show was a warm-up gig in Deep Ellum a couple of nights before our SXSW show. So our SXSW show was only our second gig. It went remarkably well considering.