Memories of a Berlin Hole in the Ground
Here is my contribution to a recent book written about SO 36, the legendary 1980’s punk and new wave venue in Berlin. It tells the tale of Tuxedomoon’s first Berlin gig in 1980:
Am Ostermontag feiern wir das Erscheinen des SO36-Buches.
Von 16 bis 17 Uhr spiele ich Songs von Bands, die zwischen 1978 und 1983 im Esso gespielt haben. 16 Uhr ist zwar etwas früh – dennoch würde ich mich sehr freuen, euch zu sehen.
Hier ein kleiner Appetizer – ein Text, den mir Blaine L. Reininger(Tuxedomoon) geschickt hat und der natürlich auch im Buch ist …
“I remember the first show at SO 36 (1980). It was also our first time in Berlin, so we were all excited, feeling all Blaue Engel and David Bowie Krautrocky. We were not dismayed by the stripped down old supermarket we found when we got to the club, we were used to working in crudholes and dumps. The Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco, the Mudd Club in New York, Plan K in Brussels, these were all dusty, decadent factory spaces, glamorous only with chemical enhancement or in retrospect.
I was amazed by the dressing room at SO 36. It was just a hole in the earth. There were no lights, no floor, just a pile of dirt on the floor of a sort of cave. I could respect this. It made me laugh.
I can’t say that I remember much about that show, other than that the place was jam-packed, people crowded in getting sweaty. They seemed to love us to pieces. I was so happy to be making it in Berlin.
I remember the last song of our set, though. We were playing “No Tears”. The song usually went that we would play the riff over and over and over and wait for Steven (Brown) to shout “MY EYES ARE DRY!!!” one last time. That was the cue for the end. That night, Steven held off the end over and over, endlessly, playing coy, teasing the audience, we kept playing that riff, a torturous riff with the left hand spread wide, we were getting tired, we were starting to get pissed off “End the fucking thing, Steven!” Steven decided to leave the stage, making his way through the crowd to the bar. He hammed it up back there, ordering a drink, lighting a cigarette, chatting up a likely looking lad standing there as we sweated and groaned our way through the two thousandth repetition of that goddamned riff….finally! He comes running through the crowd, beer in hand, jumps on the stage, grabs the mike and screams “MY EYES ARE DRY!!!” and that was it, folks. His eyes were most certainly dry! We left the stage to rapturous applause.
Later that evening, Steven was to be found out in the street, under a parked car drunkenly inviting the driver to ‘RUN ME OVER!! PUT AN END TO THIS MISERY!!!’ Thankfully, there was no one in the vehicle at the time. We put Steven in the van and went to the hotel.”