I Didn’t Know

So we’re cleaning out the ol CH3 storage facilities- nestled safely under the majestic Chino Hills- when we came across these musty old boxes:



Wha? What’s that ya axe, you fuckin little whippersnapper?

What’s with the funny lookin rims?

Gee mister--how ya suppose to fit that in the usb port?

Oh, I suppose you goddamn kids think you’re the bees knees with yer Power Macs and Pro Tools and Memory cards…huh?
Yeh, I know–ya stay up all night recording your autotuned whine-fests, hoping to be the next Owl City.

But when ya get done mashing that music through your computers til the songs are rendered a sterile sequence of 1’s and 0’s, I ask ya—what are ya left with the next day?

mmhmmm....just what I thought--processed cheese!

Ah, no–that’s not how it went down back in 1981 brother!

We layed that stuff down with a nerve wracking finality. Those flat black ribbons of tape racing past the heads with alarming-and expensive looking!- speed.

And when it came time to master down to a wee, precious 1/4″ reel, the editing wasn’t done on a 42″ Plasma screen with a visual seismograph, no….

hmmm...either one of the guitars are outta tune or I'm having a goddamn heart palpitation!!

It was a razor blade and splicing tape for us!
Holding these 2 inch reels in hand again–the heft of a bible, the coiled menace of a snake– it brought us back to those heady times.

Feel the sound....Taste the noise!!

After meeting with Mr. Fields that fateful evening in the garage, arrangements were quickly made to be at the Brian Elliot studio in North Hollywood that very Saturday.
An EP was to be recorded: Four songs required, that was it. (We snuck Wetspots in just under the wire, heh.)

Alright boys, let's cut a record. Have I told you how sharp you look in those suits?

Brian Elliot? He was a songwriter and studio cat from the day, and had a very nice working studio in a non descript strip mall out yonder. Nothing to write home about, vibe wise—but a good solid room to get the work done.

You fuckin hipsters take notes: That's the way to rock the facial hair!

A year or so after working with him, Brian scored a major when Madonna chose one of his compositions. The song?–yeh, you got it–Papa Don’t Preach….!

I aspire one day to be a sinewy and humorless Brit.

Well, we did the EP in one day with David Hines, and waited for the inevitable Stardom.

We also waited for Der Weinerschnitzel to call back about that part time job, no go on either front!

Let’s skip a year or two, I’m thinkin it’s early 1983.

Robbie has us back for the 2nd full length, After the Lights Go Out. But this time he tells us to report to a different place.
What say? A little placed down on Santa Monica called Gold Star Studios!


That’s right–the Wall of Sound, Sonny and Cher–Eddie Cochran! That Gold Star!!

Let’s check a small sample of Gold Star hits from the Library of Congress’ Official list of American Archival Treasures:

Eddie Cochran. Summertime Blues, C’mon Everybody, Somethin’ Else, Three Steps To Heaven (1958-60)
Ritchie Valens, Donna, La Bamba (1958)
The Crystals, He’s A Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron (1962, 1963)
Bob B. Soxx and the Bluejeans, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah (1962)
The Cascades, Rhythm Of the Rain (1963)
The Ronettes, Be My Baby (1963)
The Righteous Brothers, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling (1964)
Cher, All I Really Want To Do (1965)
Ike and Tina Turner, River Deep, Mountain High (1966)
Bobby Darin, If I Were A Carpenter (1966)
The Beach Boys, Good Vibrations (1966)
Channel 3, Didn’t Know (1983)

(Alright, alright…so I snuck that last track in there–sue me!)

This was hallowed ground! We walked through the lobby and wandered the maze of rooms, looking for the sound chamber, inspecting the padded walls for bullet holes.
The creepy energy of Phil Spector seemed to be watching our every move……

Alright baby, cut goofin off and get yer ass back behind the mic or I'll murder ya!
Heh--what? A guy can't joke?!

Fuckin Robbie. I don’t know how he pulled off some of these deals, must’ve been that boyish Anglo charm or something!

Jay Lansford was back on board for production, and he’d been working with us on this new collection of faster, darker songs.
And before we knew what was happening we were standing on those same worn planks that suffered under the symmetrical platform heels of Sonny and Cher.

Yep, there's 'ol 2 fisted Lansford showing up for work on Santa Monica Blvd....!

We unpacked the gear wordlessly, like we were setting missals down in the pews of an empty church. Maybe we took a quick swig off a pint of Smirnoff we had in the cord bag, though Robbie didn’t allow booze in the studio……

Guitars in hand and headphones on our shaved noggins, we looked up and saw who sitting next to our boy Jay Lansford at the board but Stan Ross!

Stan was…well, Stan was the Man, dig?

Alright you cats, let's swing this nutty Wetspots number again on the downbeat!

He saw that room through all the glory, and now here he was, workin with us knuckleheads as we assaulted the walls with our own take on Teen angst.
He just kept the wheels rollin and grinned at the cuss words, shook his head at the tempos.

One day he even brought in a nephew and his pals to see how real musicians worked in the studio.
We looked around, eager to see how it was done as well….until we realized he was talkin about us!

I don't know what you friggin maniacs call this stuff--but I like it!

It was a fun session, maybe a couple weeks, and we had all the tracks done.
Robbie came in for the dailies, and seemed to like what he was hearing.

But Jay tugged his elbow as we listened to the roughs one day, telling him to pay attention to this one:
it was a track called Didn’t Know.

I could see the wheels spinning as Robbie listened to the track, could feel the maniacal spirit of a thousand frenzied sessions haunting the room.
This was, well, a Pop song, really!

When the track ended Robbie put on his Spector sunglasses and whispered the fateful words to no one in particular:
I hear abstract background vocals on this one!

Wha?

And that’s how we ended up sitting in the studio the very next day, watching 3 extremely short bald men sing along to the track.

Those little doo doo bops at the end? The Oohs and Ahhs? That, apparently, is an abstact vocal. Again, thanks to the mysterious deal making machine that was Posh Boy, we watched in amazement as these professional commercial jingle singers layed down the sweetest background harmonies.
I immediately had panicked visions of losing all hardcore credilbility we had ever somehow gained. Would there be record burnings and protests outside gigs?

Mmmm...skittleybop shoobie doobie--we're here to ruin your career!

Had we sold out, and worst of all, for no money?!

Oh, we had a little power struggle with Robbie. He wanted the vocals on the whole track, I mean, the whole thing!
I wanted them off altogether, tough ass punker that I was am!

In the end, an uneasy truce, the oohs and ahhs stay, the doo doo bops only at the end.
Nobody ever beat us up for those little sweeteners, so I guess Robbie was right…I guess.

Click here to listen to Didn’t Know and be sure to listen for the Doo Doo Bops at the 4:27 mark!

That girl, she said
I feel used and dead
She whispered I love you
I pretended I was asleep
Deep down, I feel
Confused,the usual
Late nights, soft lights
What’s it all mean

There’s plenty to see
There’s plenty to learn
Without questioning life at every turn
Life means more than the meaning of life
But deep inside all the questions still burn

That man, in black
Said kneel, bow to that
If you want some answers, here read this book
I went, I heard
My prayers were never answered
I know those prayers by heart
But I forgot the words

I didn’t know
And I still don’t know
But I just gotta know
I didn’t know
I still don’t know
I guess I’ll never know

What, then, can we do?
What’s left to see us through
Maybe I’m the wrong one
But I can’t wait too long
What’s real to me
What feels good now to me
I can hold a bottle
But I can’t touch love

Vegan Cooking with CH3

Alright already, we hear ya…..After our recent entry chronicling our ongoing search for the world’s largest Chicken Fried Steak:

Oh My...bring 3 more and 2 to go, please!

And our step by step instructional video on making this bacon-mug-filled-with-nacho-cheese backstage surprise:
*speechless*

We started to get a lot of concerned emails from our readers.
Apparently, a lot of you have become alarmed at this behavior. Something about precariously high cholesterol levels and the well being of any domesticated animals within a fork length of Anthony.

Roasted pork knuckle before meeting Mr. Anthony......
Roasted pork knuckle before meeting Mr. Anthony......

...and after!
...and after!

In fact, our pals over at Anarchy in the Garden started to protest outside our gigs, even going so far as to throw red paint on Alf’s winter mink!


Oh sure--it's Anarchy in the Garden...but Hector says it's a police state in the bedroom!! Hey0!

What–you don’t recall our recent recipe for making these cool Black Flag bars out of peanut butter toast? Huh?

It's not my imagination...I'm having an allergic reaction!!

Fine by us. We’re not like those snooty TV chefs that frown on vegetarian behavior. And yeah, yer right. We gotta start watching our health.
I mean, we gotta stay in shape now that we’re all pushing forty *cough*

So I’m thinking today we should tackle a simpe pasta sauce, made from fresh tomatoes, basil, shallot and green onion.
That’s it.

You’ll really taste the flavors of these fantastic gifts from the garden, and if you’ll follow these simple steps you’ll be amazed by the difference attention to detail makes in your cooking.

Feel the freshness---go on!

Let me say this. You cannot make anything worthwhile with store bought tomatoes. Mealy and tasteless, they are like the shriveled testicles of Jose Canseco.

No, you’ll have to venture to your neighborhood Farmer’s Market.
Hey, why not try the one on Sundays right there on Marina Drive in Long Beach?
Yeah—that’s the one. You always wondered what the hell all those hippies with the canvas bags were doing while you were heading to the round bar at Hof’s for your hangover Bloody Mary’s!
So let’s get that Bloody and go!

mmm...I smell patchouli and birkenstocks!

Now wan’t that better than goddamn Albertson’s, hmmm?
And a big plus—on the way home you get to stop at the outdoor bar at Crab Pot and get a delicious Sam Adams in a 32 oz Mug! Make it 2, we have a lot of hot kitchen comin our way……..

What? I suppose you cook sober, your majesty?!

Alright then. We’re home with a mellow buzz, fresh vegetables in hand and feeling good about Ma Nature. Reward yerself with a pull off the ol Jamesons bottle, yeah?

Hey—this vegetarian business ain’t half bad!! Maybe a lil hackysack later on today if the weather’s nice……

Now just gotta run over to Pavillions to get a touch of olive oil.
Be right back with ya, but in the meantime go ahead and watch this wicked J-video of a cat standing up.
Ha! He thinks he’s people!!!!!

Hey kids-quick change of plans, okay?

Would you look at these beautiful short ribs those suckers had at 1.90 a pound, discounted 20% with club card!!! I had to buy ‘em, don’t ya see?

Oh come on!!! Look at that delicious fat!

Oh, shut the fuck up, Commies. We’ll get to your goddamn goat food another time, kay? But today, let’s put the fire to some beef and get this place smelling good!!!!

Braised Short Ribs on Egg Noodles:

Season Ribs and brown on all sides in your trusty LeCreusset.

shhhh...the babies are giving up their souls!!

Remove and rest, soften your root veg.
I am feeling dizzy.

What, again with the goddamn vegetables?!

Let’s kick things up, as they say, and see what kind of seasoning we have in the ol cupboard, hmm?

...and you were expecting who in the cupboard? Manny Ramirez bobblehead?

Touch of worcestershire,deglaze with a solid red, bring the meat back to the party…..

Alright, everyone back in the pool!

And let’s bring in some more taste: Paprika, Cumin, crushed Pringles.
Before you ask: No, don't try this with a Pogues cd.

Things are bubbling now.
Time for a bay leaf….

…….and what the hell, a Circle Jerks guitar pick for a lil extra zing!

I just want some Skank---well, that and some earthy flavors, hmmmm?

Are you hot? Is it hot in here?

I’m hot.

Ya know what? Hmm? Out of the Veal stock and forgot to get any beef broth at the friggin store.
Fuck.

Oh well. Really, any brown liquid will do in a pinch, so let’s see what we have on hand…..

Be creative: Here I am trying to cut open a bottle of Chivas using the dull side of a knife.

On the plus side, they now have a Wii system set up in the waiting room of Los Alamitos Hospital Emergency room!

Ah, now it’s time to cover things up, set in the oven, and let the magic of slow cooking do the rest. You did preheat to 350, didn’t ya?

I know a lot of cooks like to leave their pizza stones in the oven, to help dissipate cold spots and all that.

Me? I go with the BYO box set…..

Heh...that'll teach ya for leaving us out of your goddamn movie!

And now? Nothing to do but wait for the payoff.

Nice evening still, so might as well go fo a lil stroll down Main St, shall we?

Uh Oh....I know where this is headin....

Later that evening:
Ah geez...and the fuckin OC Register, for God Sake!...now all our Repubilcan friends are gonna know!

I’ll tell you what the bad part is. It’s not just that you stayed out all night, and woke up on a greenbelt parkbench wearing a lobster bib.

Or even though the Ribs cooked through all the thickened liquid and couldn’t be revived even with more stock and fresh veg….

Ick.

No, it’s that poor Lucy had to suffer through the night, smelling that beef simmer and the bones roast, the golden marrow finally coaxed out of its shell, butter-like gold.
She had to smell it all night, the poor dear!

Oh, the look I got when I walked in the door….

You are an ass.

Fuckin dogs.

Well, nothing that an early lunch stroll with the dog won’t fix, and guess what?

The special at Walt’s today–Short ribs on a carmelized onion marmelade.

Mmmm...did I tell you it would be worth the time?

Join us next week for Japanese style Teppan cooking ……should be fun!!

NY3

Sure, maybe we look back on those early travels and they take on a bit of a golden glow.
But that’s how it goes when yer dealing with memories, yeh? The gigs were a little more packed, the people a little more friendly.

And the girls? pffft–ya kiddin me? Beauties, all!

Hellooo---can you ask Kimm if he got my letter?!

After that first trip to New York, we returned to Cerritos with wild tales of all night diners, illegal nightclubs, the bars that didn’t open until 3am! Helping to lock up the doors of A7 at 8 a.m. and stopping off for bagels before calling it a night.

But Winter break was over at Cal State Long Beach, we went back to the garage, and we had to readjust to the 1:30 last calls and restaurants that started stacking the chairs at 9 pm.

We knew different now, me and the fellas. Like soldiers returned to their small town after a violent battle in a foreign land, we were changed, if by just a degree.

And when we were kicked out of the Brique at 1 a.m. but still wide awake, we would look to the Eastern night sky and imagine our new pals just getting ready to hit the late clubs, even with the 3 hour time difference…..

Magrann, what'd I tell ya? It's a fuckin Monkey skull!

We came back just months later on the 1983 Light Out tour. We found the city smoldering in August heat, and discovered the slower, crankier side of the town:

Hanging in the Alley of the Park Tavern Summer Tour 1983

Doug after fighting a juicehead in the alley of the Park Tavern...

Jay on stage, Great Gildersleeves, 1983

The Blue and White after the morning papers were delivered by A7...

The dash...lookin good!

Seems like we found an excuse to get back East whenever they’d have us. Was it really only a year later when we saw the year turn to 1984, again in New York?

Winter 1984 Tour. Sunglasses never removed.

Told ya!

Jack Rabid and Kimm, Barstool sittin, '84.

And then we did our thing, you know–the hair… the cowboy boots….ahem…and our touring days seemed to be at an end.

We all grew up, got real jobs and started families.
Through the 1990’s everyone got serious, and took the time to build the lives they were supposed to live.

We made it back out to New York those years, of course.
But when we made it back to Manhattan those days, it wasn’t with 3 other knuckleheads drinking our way across a continent on a red eye, hoping the guitars weren’t getting crushed in the baggage locker under our Doc Martens.

No, we went back as civilians, on vacation or maybe trade shows for that paper clip company.

We stayed midtown now, on a fuckin expense account to be scrutinized by some humorless recovering alcoholic who highlighted every minibar charge with an incriminating yellow stripe.

I must say, Mr. Thompson--a Toblerone and an Adult Movie?

So now you got to see the parts of this city that other people came for. Times Square and the Oyster Bar, a quick dinner at Tavern on the Green before catching Miss Saigon. And sure, the views were nicer over Battery Park.

But as you stood there swathed in Terrycloth and clutching a Glenlivet in a tumbler of crystal, you looked down on those city lights and wondered where you left your heart.

What the....where's all the goddamn posters??

The band got its groove back– it was right around 9/11.

We practiced that very night, or were supposed to. We instead went to the bar and sat drinking silently, as the hanging TV’s showed the horrific scenes that we’d already been bombarded with all that day.

We worried about our friends under those wrong clouds.

*****************************************************************
As we were finishing the comeback Channel 3 album, Kimm got a call about a gig….. at CBGB’s!!
We were going back to New York as a band again!

Back to the bathroom, CBGB's, 2002.

Molotov Gabby behind the board, CBGB's 2002

...where ya suppose this one was taken, hmm?

We got back there a couple times with the renewed band, and reconnected with our friends.

Finally, we got invited to come back for a special weekend of shows to honor CBGB’s.
Yeah-hey closed the joint down, and for Fuck Sake! we’re holding our breaths those sodden planks won’t be re assembled as a tourist attraction on Fremont Street Vegas!

One last time...Goodnight and Goodbye!

We stood on that spongy stage one last time, breathed in that air, thick with the sweat and urine of a thousand gigs.

And we thought– proudly!—that we contributed to that biological funk, our first deposits so long ago in the winter of 1982:

Scenes from 1983:

Looking back on all this, we always felt more at home- as a band I mean- back there than we ever were here in L.A. I don’t know why……

On our last day on the East Coast, a Sunday, we woke up in Philadelphia. We played a matinée at the fledging BYO house there, and then came back to the city for an early show at CBGB’s with UK Subs.

By now CB’s felt as familiar and warm as Grandma’s kitchen…..

Nicky, UK Subs...

This was our last night in NY, that first trip out.

After the gig, an early Sunday night, the usual crowd gathered at Jack’s pad once more. We were up there in the apartment, the guys and girls we’d spent these weeks with, saying our goodbyes.

In the morning we were going back to LA and the gray normalcy of Life.

Kimm was down on Eldridge, behind the wheel. The guys from Adrenaline OD and a couple Beasties were showing him how to push cars into the trashcans with our rental wagon.

Get in, Bitches! I got a new trick to show ya!

Me and Doug were huggin it up, sayin good byes, when Larry breached the stairwell, breathlessly, and gasped the magic words–it’s snowing!

And on that night, we all filed down to the street. Punk rockers, Poets, Drug Addicts, and Fiends, they all went down to the street to amuse us—– the weirdos from So Ca who thought snow in the city was such a magical thing.

And then?
We had a snowball fight.

The toughest bastards and lowest scum, we picked sides and threw snowballs.

And yeah, though it started as a way to whatever! satisfy these Goddamn assholes from Los Angeles and get them out of here—before long we were ducking behind parked cars and making strategies to take over the other teams’ stockpile–

.

And the soon the narrow street echoed with laughter—and if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was the heartfelt laughter of children.