Ricky Phillips (aka Ricky Rat) is an ace guitarist in the Mick Ronson/Johnny Thunders mold who spent 15 years in the trenches with the Motor City’s Trash Brats. Rat’s been touring with Texas Terri Bomb, a chick who’s been dubbed the female Iggy in press around the world. And she is sorta like Iggy — pansexual imagery and frenzied presence, lissome (tatted) frame and barked vocals. In fact, Terri’s been known to fuck shit up on stage wearing little more than a bra, been known to drop trou too. What’s more, she can frighten kids and parents. Who in rock ’n’ roll can say that now? Huh?
For fun, we invited Rat to document what he could on this tour, which he did, freehand, without the benefit of laptop. We ask: What could be more spectacular than an insider’s view from a sponsor-free punk rock tour that isn’t Warped? —Ed.
I have known Texas Terri for a few years now, got to know her when the Trash Brats shared stages with her. Knowing that I was without a band, she asked me to join her on her upcoming U.S. tour. I jumped at the chance. I was already gung-ho, but the real highlight was that ex-Dead Boys/Rocket From The Tombs guitarist Cheetah Chrome would be joining us on guitar for eight shows.
What better way for an unemployed rock ’n’ roll musician to spend the summer than crossing the country with like-minded sorts, all crammed into a stinky van? It’s like a traveling rock ‘n’ roll salvation show, bringing faith to the believers.
July 2 — Spaceland, Los Angeles, Calif.
After but three rehearsals, the first show is a CD release party for Terri’s aptly titled Your Lips… My Ass, produced by Jack Douglas (of Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Lennon, Alice Cooper fame). Apart from Terri, the band is Big Blue Gorillas drummer J.L., Undead and Marky Ramone bassist — and part-time male porn star — Roxy Michaels, and me on guitar. The show is a trial by fire. I struggle to remember chord changes. Yet the packed house cheers the explosive Terri on. Ex-Runaway Cherie Currie steps up and duets on the Runaways’ chestnut “Cherry Bomb,” which brings the house down.
Warped Tour Shows
We had a trio of California Warped dates scheduled, but we had no idea. What a fucking nightmare. The festival is a giant emo day-care center; there is even a tent pitched for parents of dour brats to camp out! How punk rock. And the shows: one depressing interchangeable band after another — and this is supposed to be alternative? Everything — the music, the piercings, the career agendas, everything — is identical. Where is the individual? The Warped ain’t about the music or punk rock, it’s about sponsorships and advertising. Worse, we had to beg to get a bottle of water as the heat scorched us and the music just about killed us. We skip our Sacramento Warped date.
July 20 — Ziggy’s, Phoenix, Ariz.
Today we leave Hollywood for the start of the actual tour. We are happily zooming down I-10 toward AZ when, suddenly, BOOM! SCHLAP SHLAP SCHLAP … there goes the tire. It’s a small miracle that we make it to the shoulder safely. We spend hours on the roadside awaiting assistance. We watch the clock tick past our set time. Terri has flown into Phoenix ahead of the band (she had dates in England with a U.K. pick-up band) and is able to do a few songs with underground star Jeff Dahl.
Tire fixed, New Mexico awaits.
July 21 — Launchpad, Albuquerque, N.M.
A small but enthusiastic crowd highlighted by the hopped-up Latino who says I look like Blackie Lawless’ (W.A.S.P.) kid bro. Funny, considering the next day’s events.
July 22 — Green Door, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Tonight’s venue is adjacent to the one where the wretched W.A.S.P. is actually playing. Killing time before the show, Roxy and I wander into the neighboring club, entering through the back door. We nod at security. They think we’re W.A.S.P. We watch the opening band from the side of the stage and, yes, folks in the crowd think we’re W.A.S.P. too. Great. Several people approach us and one guy buys us drinks saying, “That one bouncer asshole was acting like we were gonna mob you guys or something.” We swill the comped booze and split before anyone gets wise.
July 23 — Double Wide, Dallas, Texas
We play a great set to a very fun crowd. The owner, fitting in a spiffy ten-gallon hat, a guy we dub the “cocaine cowboy,” pays Roxy our fee, plus that of the opening band. He says, “I didn’t like them … HEEHAW, OKEY DOKEY!!!”
July 24 — Emo’s, Austin, Texas
Biggest, best crowd yet. Better, they’re smashed. Run into fellow Detroiter Nick Pivot of the Cocktail Shake who’s here on vacation. I don’t know who’s more drunk, him or me.
July 25 — Sin 13, San Antonio, Texas
The club erroneously advertised that “Chrome” from the Dead Boys is playing with us, even though he’s not on the tour yet. Weirder still is the Club’s BYOB policy. You bring in booze and they give you a cooler to put it in. Hence, a very drunk and crazed crowd. Terri whacks an overzealous drunken oaf with the mic stand to get him to back off. I narrowly escape staying with the drunkest girl in the place.
July 27 — One Eyed Jack’s, New Orleans, La.
Great club in the French Quarter, too bad the crowd is free of energy. My drunken antics almost get me into a three-way with a couple. Later on I’m sleepwalking at the hotel, and almost pee in a closet. Terri catches me. Here the band christens me Truman, saying I sound gay like Capote when I get drunk.
July 28-29 — 516 Soundstage, Shreveport, La.
Swanky hotel rooms, relatively big money, plenty of Cajun food and lots of love. We get bumped up to rock-star status with plenty of autographs and photos.
July 30 — Big Daddy’s, Tallahassee, Fla.
A humid, messy show at a little dive on the frat-boy college strip. Later we’re stuck in our van with a drunken band-dude who directs us to his “friend’s” place where we can crash. Once there, he knocks. There’s no answer (of course). Time to leave town.
July 31-Aug. 2 — Masquerade, Atlanta, Ga., and days off
We play to about 40 people in a 600 capacity club. Roxy — who, like Terri, has not showered the entire tour — gets a blow job in the girl’s bathroom. We spend our two days off at some other girl’s house out in Douglasville, Ga., with her mom and two younger brothers. Not a good move — said girl turns out to be nuts and falls hard for Roxy, and their neighbor is a full-on member of the Klan. Mom shows her “burning bush” tattoo. Guess where it’s located?
Aug. 3 — 506 Club, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Girl from Atlanta show continues to stalk Roxy via J.L.’s cell phone, leaving a dozen messages. Terri calls her back, tells her to back off. She shows up in Chattanooga anyway.
Aug. 4 — The Local, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Happy birthday to me! A fun, participatory crowd makes for a killer set. I get the birthday song complete with cake. We play with a great band, the Unsatisfied.
Aug. 5 — Springwater SC, Nashville, Tenn.
We hook up with guitarist Cheetah Chrome at his house in Nashville and manage to get in a quick rehearsal. Later, the show is packed with very drunk, happy people. Our set is raw and loose. The two Dead Boys’ songs added, “What Love Is” and “Sonic Reducer,” go over swimmingly.
Aug. 6 — Creepy Crawl, St. Louis, Mo.
Having Cheetah adds another fun element to the mix. The St. Louis crowd turns out to be the weirdest. This guy comes up to Cheetah in the bathroom and asks, “How’s Stiv doing?” To which Cheetah replies, “Not too good — he’s dead.” During our set Terri has to banish the soused slamming guy in the Skrewdriver T-shirt to the side so others can get in front. Later, a girl wearing purple fishnets bites my arm, hard. The venue owner Jeff (tonight’s his birthday) is loaded and drags me and J.L. behind the bar to do shots while, somehow fittingly, Gimme Shelter plays on the big screen.
Aug. 7 — Club 202, Columbus, Ohio
In the parking lot of our Pochahanis, Ill. hotel, this shirtless, asshole Axl Rose clone approaches Terri and me. He says he’s actually from Misssissippi. But he likes it here. He says, “It’s quiet. There ain’t no niggers.” Jesus.
Moron aside, Columbus show totally rocks with many Texas Terri, Cheetah Chrome and Trash Brats fans in attendance. J.L. complements some girl on her boobs. Her response? “I would show them to you but they’re all bruised from shooting speed.” Next.
Aug. 8 — Lime Spider, Akron, Ohio
Another excited crowd including many from Cleveland’s “old days.” We stay with pals Sherry Rose and her husband Eric who have the ultimate rock ’n’ roll bar/basement. Another long night that blurs into another day with little sleep. We’re all looking forward to the final shows with Cheetah, particularly the Continental in NYC. Special guests will be Andy Shernoff from the Dictators and Sammi Yaffi from Hanoi Rocks. But that’s another tale for another time.
The tour finishes on Aug. 28 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California.
Texas Terri Bomb appears at Small’s (10339 Conant Hamtramck) on Saturday, Aug. 21. Call 313-873-1117 for info.Ricky Phillips is an area musician and freelance writer. Contact him at [email protected]