Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Budgies and Banshees

Here's how I remember it:

Long about 2001, 2002, somewhere around there (the copious amounts of a certain German, cabbage-based liquor has clouded my mind) Leon and I went to First Avenue to catch Siouxsie and the Banshees. The place was packed and the show was great. For the life of me I can't remember who opened up. Regardless, I'm sure they were good too.

After the show I made it a point to track down their guitar player, whom I assumed was John Kline, former guitarist in one of my fave rave bands Specimen. Sadly Mr. Kline had quit before the tour and I found myself talking to a guy named Knox, but not the Knox from The Vibrators. I made pleasant conversation with Mr. Knox so as not to seem a cad and then went to the upstairs bar to rejoin Leon.

Soon enough the room cleared and there were only a handful of people milling around nursing drinks.  Leon and I were holding the bar up talking about what a great show we had just seen, and how there weren't any contemporary exciting original bands. We were talking to the bartender as well, an old friend of ours, who agreed. Leon started talking about how bands in the late 70's and early 80's seemed to have a much wider scope and originality was the key, unlike the cookie-cutter bands that passed as "rock".  I expanded and expounded on the topic for a few minutes when the only other person at the bar, a man wearing a white t-shirt and a blue bandana on his head turned around and thumped Leon in the chest. He drawled in an English accent "We're a dying breed, mate, a dying breed."  It took us a hot minute to realize that it was Budgie, drummer par excellence with The Banshees.  We then picked his brain about what it was like to be at ground zero for not only the punk year zero, but also the post-punk and early goth scenes.  Budgie was most accommodating, answering our questions and seeming a bit wistful of the old days.
After about a half an hour of talking with Budgie he excused himself, saying that he wanted to go get someone he  thought we should meet.  As soon as he left Leon, the bartender and myself looked at each other slack-jawed, not believing what just happened.

About 20 minutes later Mr. Budgie returned with a very sloshed Siouxsie in tow.  Budgie said he wanted to introduce her to his new friends. Sioux limply shook our hands and said she needed to get back on the bus.  Budgie left us saying that he had a great time talking to us, and could tell that we were the real deal.