Leading up to our November 10 showcase, we'll be getting you familiar with some of our Dallas Observer Music Awards nominees, either via past features we've done on them, or new ones. As always, you can vote for your favorite acts, venues and more right here.
Recalling the post-punk and hardcore bands that frequently played Rubber Gloves in the late '90s, Denton four-piece Bad Design just released a new self-titled album on Gutterth Records, their second LP since forming in 2009. In honor of that, we asked the band about their first show experiences.
What was the first show you remember seeing? Were you with your parents? Steven Altuna (guitar/vocals): The first show I remember seeing was a 30 Foot Fall show at Fitzgerald's in Houston when I was 14 or 15. I had a friend with a pretty cool dad and he dropped us li'l shits off and told us to call him when it wrapped up.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
John Gillespie (guitar): Mine's not very cool. My parents dropped some friends and me off at a 1995 Oasis concert in Washington D.C. There were much more vital things going on in D.C. at the time, but they were at smaller clubs that my overly protective parents were not comfortable with me going to. This had the effect of making me think small clubs are much more interesting than they are, a misguided opinion I maintain to present day.
What was the first show you paid your own money to see? John Paul Hossley (bass): The first show I paid for was Beck at Deep Ellum Live in 1994. From what I recall, Radiohead was the opening band, and it was the night of the O.J. Simpson car chase. My brother was taking me and my friend to the show, and he didn't want to leave his apartment until the car chase was over. I was so mad at O.J. for doing this on the day I was going to go see my first "real" concert. I was sure I was going to miss Beck, but we finally got there and it was just as amazing as I thought it was going to be. In fact, at the end of the concert both bands got on stage for a grand finale and sang an improv jam song called "Free the Juice." Classic!
What was the first show that made a major impact on you? Hossley: That's easy. At the Drive-In at Rubber Gloves in '98. My friend Bradley was from El Paso, and he wanted me to go with him to see this band that he was friends with from back home. I knew Bradley was an emo kid, and I remember thinking I was probably going to hate the show. See, I was only into old-school punk rock at the time, and pretty much despised anything else. I went to the show anyway, and was shocked ATDI completely blew my mind. Their stage presence and their sound were like nothing I had ever heard, and from that point on my views on music were totally changed for the better. Thanks, ATDI! Clint Sawyer (drums): When I moved to Denton in 1997, I really didn't have a lot of exposure to music other than your typical radio pop-rock. So you can imagine the importance of going to see bands like Hairy Apes BMX, Reverend Horton Heat, Mushroom Groovy and endless other great local bands. Mike Dillon, Earl Harvin, Matt Thompson and my especially close friend Trey Adams all have greatly influenced my passion for drums. Trey Adams is the reason I even started playing in 2000.
What do you remember about the first show you played with Bad Design? Altuna: It was a last-minute gig that my brother Greg asked us to play because he needed to fill a slot on one of his bills. We were four months into the project and only had about 35 minutes worth of material. I think we were all so pumped to play it live we finished the set in 22 minutes. I also remember that the guy promoting the event thought our name was "Bad Decision," and someone joked about it being a better name.