The Long Ryders - Live at The Keystone, Berkeley, CA (1/13/84) Part 1
The Long Ryders - Live at The Keystone, Berkeley, CA (1/13/84) Part 2
"Looking for Lewis & Clark" changed my life. It was a nasty, hot, humid, silvery-gray overcast Wisconsin summer afternoon and I was sitting in the passenger seat of my brother's typically filthy car in the parking lot of an auto mechanic on Madison's far east side waiting while my brother did something work-related inside. I did not want to be there and why I was there I cannot remember at all. Maybe we were going to the record stores downtown. But at least I had the radio. Madison had good radio: WORT - Listener Sponsored 89.9 FM! And it was a Friday afternoon, second best slot of the week after Harry Rag's Saturday afternoon show of legend. The guy called himself Mike Rock and he lived up to the name. I remember my brother just climbing back into the car when Mike Rock played...the song!
Shit. The shivers still come over me, the insane thrill of That Song screaming out of the dashboard - like hearing the Beatles for the first time! We were both yelling, hooting, hollering - indeed! - by the last note and I wanted to reach through the airwaves and make the DJ play it again and again and again. I wanted to hear it until I died. Still do.
Okay, I've composed myself now.
Besides this, The Long Ryders were my "Get Up & Go!" music for much of 1985. Stagger groggy from my futon on the floor to the stereo in my brother's room of the apartment we shared, put in the tape of State of Our Union and crank it up before I ever hit the shower. I didn't do coffee back then, so it was music or nothing. (These days I need both). By the time "WDIA" came on I was singing along at the top of my lungs, air-guitaring, flinging suds and water all over the place (literally, because we had an old clawfoot tub and a wrap-around shower curtain that couldn't keep the dirty debris in entirely). I'd be ready for work by the end of the album, after I'd had my traditional Kraft mac 'n' cheese (25 cents a box!) with salsa or 99-cent Totino's pizza breakfast.
Final Note: Tom Stevens was kind enough to write me up some liner notes for this, his very first show with the Ryders. He contacted me about eight years ago when he saw it on my bootleg trading list because he needed a copy for his archives. I begged him and he wrote an awesome bit on the show and the band and it's now on the back of the artwork I made, included for your pleasure.
Addendum: I'm being unfair to my brother above. His car was filthy, but so too was my own at that time. Both were traveling trash cans. I'm not going to say if they still are. I'll let you believe we've evolved.