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John Haynes Memorial Veterans Hall in Garberville, CA
June 10, 1989
Other Acts:
Mr. T Experience (headliner), Screeching Weasel, Lookouts
  • Christopher Appelgren: "As for shows, I haven't seen a punk show worth mentioning since Mr. T Experience rocked the Vet's Hall in G-Ville, before the summer! Yow, too long."
  • Kjersti Egerdahl: "Green Day was living show to show, but luckily the shows kept coming. They played a few bigger shows, including one with the Lookouts in Garberville in June of 1989: 1,300 people packed into the John Haynes Memorial Veterans Hall."
  • Ben Weasel: "It's about the weirdest thing I've ever seen. When we met them, Mike and Billie were 17. We stayed up in the mountains at Lawrence Livermore's with them, and we were so disgusted by these guys. We thought they were the biggest idiots we ever met. They were so drunk that they were puking, and they were constantly smoking pot. So the next time I saw them, I was pretty wary. They came up, and they were really nice and clearheaded. In terms of how they've dealt with success, amazingly they've gotten more mature and less impressed by the whole rockstar hype. They've actually become really great people."
  • Larry Livermore: "I don't know if it's very wild, but I can't help remembering a June, 1989 show I put on in Garberville, a small hippie town of about 1300 people in Northern California. The bands were, in this order, Bumblescrump, Green Day, Screeching Weasel, the Lookouts, and the Mr. T Experience. The original headliner was supposed to be Operation Ivy, but they had broken up a couple weeks before. Anyway, Billie and Mike were just 17 years old (Tre was still in our band, the Lookouts, then), but someone had bought them some beer, a lot of beer, in fact, and by the time they went on stage, they were lucky if they could figure out which way the audience was, let alone how to play their instruments or even how to hold on to them. I know one of them, Mike, I think, was outside puking right before he went on stage. But the amazing thing was that even though they were having a hard time figuring out where they were or remembering all the words to their songs, they still played a better show than any of the other bands who'd been at it way longer (Green Day was only a year old then, while the Lookouts and MTX had been playing since 1985). Even the parents and old hippies who'd dropped by the Veterans' Hall to see what all the noise was about were astounded to see some drunken young kids playing some of the best live music they'd ever heard. After the show we drove about 50 miles to my house up in the mountains and Billie and Mike slept in their van. All night long I heard my dogs barking, but didn't think anything of it until morning, when Mike said, 'Man, we had to piss so bad, but we were afraid to get out of the van because we thought those dogs would kill and eat us.' My dogs were even bigger wusses than I was, so that was pretty funny, but I think the guys were also scared because it was way out in the country and there were no street lights or anything. Oh, and there WERE bears out in the woods, but I didn't tell them about that part."
  • Spy Rock Memories: "Chris [Appelgren] and I were no longer KMUD outliers, it seemed — we were actually named “Programmers Of The Year” for 1989 - so I thought it was time I showed that punk rockers could help support the station, too - not just culturally, but financially. I organized a benefit concert, and when KMUD management questioned its viability, volunteered to finance the entire event myself. The lineup I had put together would, I was sure, easily draw a crowd big enough to cover expenses and produce a substantial profit for the station. The main reason I was so confident was that Operation Ivy had agreed to headline. Their popularity had spread beyond the punk scene; even Humboldt kids who'd never been to a punk show in their lives had heard of them. I rented the Vets' Hall in downtown Garberville; we’d packed the place in February when the Lookouts had played there with MDC, my old San Francisco flatmate’s Pope-terrorizing band. ... My optimism was unfounded. Two weeks before the benefit, Operation Ivy broke up. I begged them to put aside their differences long enough to play the show, but they’d decided to say their goodbyes where it had all begun, at Gilman Street, and suddenly my star attraction had vanished. Two years later, either of my opening bands - Screeching Weasel and Green Day - could have filled any Vets’ Hall in the land, but on June 10, 1989, this was not yet the case. Especially in Garberville. I had replaced Operation Ivy with the Mr. T Experience, who had a decent following in the Bay Area but were largely unknown up our way. Still, I was cautiously confident. Musical events aimed at young people were infrequent enough that you could count on a crowd for anything that didn't involve Scottish clog dancing or an all-day klezmer fest. Sadly, my confidence was misplaced; maybe 100 or 150 people showed up, a turnout big enough not to be embarrassing, but nowhere near enough to make any money for KMUD. Instead, the event actually cost me a few hundred bucks. The author of my misfortune was Jerry Garcia, who, unbeknownst to us, was performing a few miles down the road. Our audience had deserted us in droves in favor of the Grateful Dead frontman. That was Humboldt for you: kids were happy to check out something new, like a punk show, but Jerry remained first in their hearts. ... Mike Dirnt, Green Day's 17-year-old bassist, had been drinking heavily (I got the impression it was something he wasn’t used to doing), and when it came time to play, he was outside puking in the bushes. We had to half-lead, half-carry him to the stage, and once there, help him find his bass (he'd failed to notice that it was already strapped across his shoulders). Assuming his being blind drunk would prevent Green Day from playing their normal set, I was ready to cut it short, but the minute the music started, it was as though he’d been transported to another world, a world where it was impossible for him to play anything other than note-perfect renditions of every song he knew. As long as he didn’t fall over, that is, which always seemed like a possibility. ... Green Day made the trip up Spy Rock, too, without complaints or comments, except for the next morning when Billie and Mike complained that my 'ferocious' dogs had kept them prisoner in their van all night. 'Ruf Ruf and Kong?' I marveled. 'The worst they could have done was lick you to death.'"
Photos from Garberville, CA
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May 2021
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May 04:
Happy Birthday Mike Dirnt! He turns 49 today.