About 5 years ago, my co-worker’s band was playing at Blake’s in Berkeley. Blake’s is a local club famous for having name acts drop in unannounced since the club opened in ‘71: Greg Almond, Jeff Beck, Bob Weir, and others. Now days it still gets some emerging acts just before they make that transition from clubs to arenas like Green Day and the GooGoo Dolls. Let’s just say, Blake’s has been and remains an institution even as Telegraph avenue evolves and devolves around it.
So, on a pretty March night, I am getting ready to go hear my new employee’s punk band. According to my notes the show starts at 8:30 and they’re the opening act. I figure, I’ll get there at 8, catch them during warm up to say hi, and then just sit back and watch the show.
So I arrived just before 8pm to find…no one was downstairs where the bands perform. No big deal, I figure I got the time wrong. I wander around a bit. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Blake’s. I take a look at the fliers for up coming shows. I watch as they unpack the bar downstairs and get it set up. Finally I sit down at one of the tiny, round cocktail tables and relax.
Not long after, this tall guy in a jean jacket comes staggering down the stairs. I can smell him from where I sit. A combination of cigarettes, alcohol and sweat. He staggers over and sits down right next to me. (Naturally). He smacks a pack of Marlboros on the table. “Here!”
“Thanks, but I don’t smoke.”
“Wow, I bet you have all sorts of good habits.” I think that’s what he said. He weaved back and forth with his heads and his hands, obviously drunk, and he mumbled. I have a high tolerance for eccentrics but I can tell this guy is going to be annoying pretty fast. We have a disjointed conversation in which he waxes exotic about the time he heard Hendrix play here.
“Interesting, since Larry didn’t open Blake’s until after Jimi died,” I reply.
“Oh, so you’re a local girl? I’m from Tennessee.” (that figures).
I’m only responding to half of what he says—mostly the half of what I can actually understand. At least 3 times he says “What is the most beautiful girl in Berkeley doing here alone?”
Finally after the third time, I smacked my palm down flat and said “I just gave the drummer a blow job and I’m waiting for the guitarist.”
He smacked his palm down in imitation of mine and said “Me too!”
I’m about to go ballistic at this point, when I see a male co-worker coming down the stairs. I launch myself at him in a way that is a far more intimate embrace then required and hiss “GET ME OUT OF HERE!”
Co-worker glances over my shoulder to the guy at the table and understands immediately. He takes me over to the bar and we sit, heads together over a drink until the band shows up and a few more co workers. Eventually the other guy staggers off.
“me too,” If he’s waiting to give the guitarist a blow job, he really doesn’t need to be hitting on me. Sheesh.
They never really listen.