There was a particular Cheater Slicks gig in my hometown of San Francisco that stands proudly as one of the most jaw-dropping rock and roll experiences ever witnessed by man or beast. I’d tell you that I’d seared the October 10th, 1995 date of the blessed event into my brain if I thought you’d believe it – but nah, I looked it up on the information superhighway just now. Most transcendent rock experiences are usually recounted as “The First Time I Ever Saw…” (nope, I’d seen the Cheater Slicks play twice before) or “The Day The Band Got Into A Fistfight On Stage, and Then Inexplicably Kicked Out The Jams” (none of that). This was just a show – a show from the era’s most incendiary howling garage cyclone of a band, whom had probably played a dozen such shows on their “Don’t Like You” tours that year and the year before.
The Cheater Slicks told me what the secret sauce of the evening’s magic was when, mouth agape, I asked them what the fuck had just happened. They’d played Portland, Oregon the night before, see, and had left that city at 3 in the morning for the long drive south. No one slept during the entire ten hour drive, despite trying, and once they arrived in San Francisco past lunchtime, no one could find it in themselves to catch even a wink of sleep. So this pissed-off, bedraggled, unshaven and unshowered trio of sleepless rock miscreants suffered through the indignities of the soundcheck; the turgid, crushing hours of the interminable pre-show wait; and of course, the de rigueur hideous opening bands before unloading it all on the stage.
They arrived at their anointed hour angry and a little unsteady, and it showed. Both
Something tells me the Cheater Slicks slept well that night, whether on someone’s garage floor, a moldy futon, or in the competitively upscale environs of a Motel 6, three disgustingly unkempt men to a bed. They earned such comforts with their valiant and heroic efforts in San Francisco that night, and it’s one of those live shows I’ll never forget.