Part two of the story of my second band: Michael Landon’s Ghost
Once we had rehearsed a few times we were ready for open mike night. Our plan was do several Ramones songs, The Didjit’s “King Carp”, The Dickies “Gigantor”, and The Sex Pistols “Pretty Vacant” since we weren’t ready to unveil our original songs. We were fired up the night of the show and we really let loose in our fifteen minute segment. “Gigantor” got the biggest reception, but we really impressed a couple of high school kids in the crowd. It felt pretty cool to be on stage again after being away for a couple of years. The best was to come.
We were invited back and this time we were going to do our originals plus invite our friends. The place was packed by the time we were ready to take the stage. I was crazed and felt like a tiger in a cage. We starting cranking out the noise and the crowd were digging it. Our originals – hardcore punk tunes titled “Eddie Killed Grampa”, “Michael Landon’s Ghost” (okay I have a bad habit of writing theme songs for my bands), “So High” and “Just A” – sounded fully fledged and never better. I took my guitar and threw it to the ground and then stomped on it at the end (it would need some repairs). I don’t why I did it, but the evening required some sort of sacrifice. The crowd went nuts. Even longtime friends were stunned at how good we were in our 15 minutes we had.
From my notes at the time: “I’m going to be a rock and roll star. Michael Landon’s Ghost has arrived with a vengeance. Dude in the grill yelled, “Hey you guys were great, man!” Right after the show the sphincter kid looked up at me in wonder and said, “You’re somebody famous aren’t you? Yeah I saw you on TV.” That’s the ticket, man. Wally is here to stay. I’m here to set the world straight, I’m like Billy Jack meets Sid Vicious.” It didn’t turn out that way, but for a short while we were red hot. We picked up a show opening for fellow punk rockers, Will Work For Drugs, and after that went well we had to play a local battle of the bands the next night. Here’s what I wrote at the time about that show – before and after: “I’m on the verge of playing Battle Of The Bands on February 11th where Michael Landon’s Ghost will make a rock and roll explosion this town has never seen. It will be earth shattering, brain blasting rebellion on display. I’ve got so much angst built up it’s time to get “Loose” like a stooge. Stars are going to fall on the crowd so bring your lead umbrellas.” That was probably written a few days before the both shows. Later on my confidence was not quite as high because I wrote this: “Here we go, it’s Tuesday February 11, 1992 and the silly Battle Of The Bands show is tonight but who cares. We played the ‘Boro last night opening for Will Work For Drugs. It was fantastic. I pissed the crowd off by saying hippies suck and went berserk as usual on show closer “I Wanna Go Home” (an old Holly & The Italians song). Tonight promises even more I can feel the rage inside. Guys in WWFD said we were great. One of them said we were a cross between the Sex Pistols and Ramones. We got it on videotape and damn if we weren’t pretty good. The potential is there to make it out of this hellhole town. People know that MLG are the next big thing exploding skyrockets across the collective consciousness of this crappy town playing real rock and roll spanking everybody’s behind. This isn’t Woodstock, this is my Altamont. “I Wanna Go Home” is definitely the show closer till doomsday. No escape from a motorcycle of pain, it’s the beat that drives them insane, Michael Landon’s Ghost will be real rock and roll heroes.” So we went on to play the show in front of a sparse crowd mainly consisting of friends of the competing bands. We played a decent show, but a spark was missing. I wrote about it later that night: “End of the line, adios muchachos or whatever – the gig is history and it’s all on videotape. The night ends with my foot going through a hole in the floor at Toby’s (the bass player) house and then cussing him out. The show was just a joke. Fletcher (a local scenester) loved it and few others liked it, but the spark wasn’t there like it was on Monday night. We did get a reaction, especially from all of the washed up rednecks. It’s almost a joy to hear them yell epithets at us along with the constant complaint to slow it down between every song. Maybe that’s what happened to Charlie Parker when he first started playing fast. I had my Rick Sims (Didjits) look going on along with a Public Enemy picture I cut out of a magazine pinned to my lapel. I’m just never happy with a performance, there’s always something to gripe about. We didn’t fall through the stage and we didn’t embarrass ourselves. There are a few more souls who now know to stay away from Michael Landon’s Ghost.”
I know this part of the story is overdue so I’m not promising a date for part three, but there will more parts to this rock and roll story so stay tuned if you’re enjoying the ghost ride.