Hope you enjoy.
CHAD BOOTH (Gary Wrong Group, Wizzard Sleeve, Kajun SS, Jeth-Row Records Mobile, AL)
Twenty years of GONER RECORDS...well 18 for me. I bought the Wolf Rock LP in 1995, my senior year of high school. I didn’t realize at the time that current bands put out records that nasty. Well they did and they still do! I guess I have been a GONER a little over half of my life, as dumb as that sounds, it’s the TRUTH! I played the first GONERFEST at the Buccaneer Lounge with my band Kajun SS. Black Lips, Final Solutions, King Khan and BBQ and uhhhh I’m drawing a blank . WHAT A BLAST! Later that night/morning I jammed with Loose Diamonds (did this actually happen???) and the REATARDS destroyed an afterhours club at 5am. TOTAL DESTRUCTION! After the first GONERFEST I attempted to attend or play all of them in some capacity. It didn’t always pan out. Like GONERFEST 8 for instance, my new band (Gary Wrong Group) was not asked to play and my inquiries were denied. Instead of giving up I called Quintron and Benny Divine and said let’s just show up with a generator and play anyway. That is what we did. Quintron arrived at my house with a generator and a fresh new handmade Swamp Stack of speaker cabinets he had also built a sub woofer out of an ice chest. GENIUS! We set up everything in my jam back yard and back room cranked up the generator and cranked up all of our amps to the max just to make sure it worked before we drove the 5 or so hours up to Memphis. We jammed a few loose tunes and packed it all back in and made our way up Hwy 45 with no clue as to where we would play. We asked a few locals for some copless suggestions but no one really had any good ideas. After no luck we just said fuck it…there is a park across the street from the Hi-Tone let’s set up back in there and at least we can start immediately after HUMAN EYE finishes dissecting brains in the club. We found a beautiful spot amongst some fallen trees just far enough away from the road that we couldn’t be seen while setting up our gear. Everything seemed to be going great. It was a really nice night: the amps, organ, drums, vocals, casio and generator were purring like an air boat. A little crowd of drunken goners were waddling over the hill. Warlords Willing was starting to rip open when I noticed in the distance a pair of blue lights and they were getting closer. Then another pair and two more, the Memphis P.D. had gotten a whiff of our kajun blood and the sharks circled right up to the front of the fun. They jumped out of their cruisers with flash lights in our dumb faces. I held a chord and asked if we could continue….the LAW said “NOPE!” and that was it. The very first Gary Wrong Group show ever was done in less than 3 minutes. They were nice enough to not arrest us and leave their headlights on our shit while we loaded back into the van. One of them even told me that he thought it was cool that we drove up from Mobile and New Orleans to attempt such nonsense.
Thank You Eric / Zac / Memphis for all of the wonderful times and killer records.
ALIX BROWN (Angry Angles New York, NY)
The first Gonerfest has to be my favorite. It took place in the Buccaneer, so it was pretty small and everyone there were good friends. It was January and I had just moved to Memphis to be with Jay, and I was excited cause my best friends from my hometown were coming to play, The Black Lips. King Khan and BBQ, Kajun SS, and Ryan Wong were also there. Everyone was going balls out crazy (of course) during the Black Lips set.. I was jumping around up front, and Cole backed up into me. I felt something strange, and looked down, my skirt was soaking wet! I grabbed Jay and pointed down. He started laughing uncontrollably. Apparently him and Arish (KK) thought it would be funny to pee all over Cole while they were playing. Jay sure did love to pee on people. I guess Cole does too.. and Arish! I think the next night there was an after party at this strange gay bar where there was an impromptu Reatards show. There were no left handed basses around, so Ryan Wong played the bass upside down, Jay sang and played guitar, and Matt Billiams was on drums. The bar had food, and I was starving so I ordered a steak. After waiting a hour, I asked the bartender where my steak was and he simply replied,"You don't want to eat it. Believe me." Thanks for the heads up! The night ended with a 6am Kajun SS interview that I conducted for Horizontal Action Magazine. That was one of the best nights of my life!
CHRIS ALIENATOR (Louisville, KY)
...bed bugs immediately jump to mind.....Rob K hanging from the rafters at Gonerfest 8 springs to mind.
Dan Kroha doing is signature standing on amp swaying.
Lets see, listening to Quintron in the park watching three cop cars roll up lights flashing leaning against a tree in the dark.? I was only at GF 8 I think.
TOMMY TROUBLE (Final Solutions, Perfect Fits Memphis, TN)
I don't even know where to start...obviously seeing so many friends and great bands every year feels like a reunion of sorts.
My favorite early GF memory is feeling the floor at the Bucc shake like it was about to collapse. It would’ve been catastrophic, but what a great way to go!!
Breaking a bass string at Gonerfest 3; I've never broken a bass string on stage before or since. It was truly one of the most mortifying experiences of my life. I didn’t have a backup, and no one was particularly excited to hand over his/her bass to the guy who just wrecked his own…
Jay's incessant taunting brought me very close to flying over the top of the drums and beating the shit out of him. There had been a few times I wanted to sock the little rascal, but this time was the closest he’d ever come to actually getting hurt. I'm so happy that Robin has the whole ordeal recorded and makes it public every few years to bring back the wonderful memories.
During Gonerfests One and Two there was a brief fad where people were urinating on each other (I’m pretty sure Talbot started it).
DAVID LEMOINE (Cheveu Paris, France)
We arrived a bit late at Al Green's church the morning after the show. The place was packed. A lady pointed the only free seats right in the middle.
As we sat, Al Green stopped talking for an endless moment. Then asked us to stand up and introduce ourselves. It took quite a while, the eight of us mumbling, dirty green faces from France and Belgium. After another endless silence, Al asked the public "a warm round of applause for our new friends from Europe".
On the way back Sam "the ham" from Antwerpen completely destroyed his car on the highway realising kind of late he was driving on the wrong side.
JON SWIFT (Icky Boyfriends Baltimore, MD)
Not Gonerfest-related but my favorite Memphis memory was meeting Jackie Smith, the woman who was the last tenant of the Lorraine Motel before she was evicted & they turned it into the Civil Rights Museum, so she decided to mount a one-woman protest outside the museum that had continued into fall 2011. I'd already decided not to go into the museum because there was a military discount. (At a musem located at the site of the assassination of America's leading OPPONENT of military spending, tho of course they don't tell you THAT about MLK in school.) Jackie Smith became my new heroine.
CURT MCCONNEY (No Bails, DJ Useless Eater Kalamazoo, MI)
Finally getting to see Head at our first Gonerfest. I hadn't been drinking that much so everything was pretty crystal clear. I remember turning my head and looking around to see if anybody else couldn't fucking believe that this was fucking happening and I caught a few people's eyes with the same smiles on their faces.
Before No Bails played at the Bucc last year I had to shit 3 times before we played. The pain and mismanagement of Krystals, Gus's, and Bryants had finally caught up to me. Before we played I decided that a Topps burger on Union was a good idea too. Had to have Scott watch the shitter door at Topps and The Bucc to keep unsuspecting patrons away from the carnage. Right before we played I bent over to pick up my Peavey and I swear that I almost lost it all, locked and loaded, face bright red with the strain and sweating. I managed to keep it in luckily. Then I went to tune my guitar, pro move, and my buddy Mike from Kzoo informed me that my pic was in the strings hence the weird shit going on with my tuner. Thanks Mike!
One year I was DJing and I played "Hell Bent For Leather" and Robin came running out of the back room from doing live feed to the internet to give me a metal fist and yell, "hell yeah!"
Miss Shirley making us cheeseburgers at the Lamplighter and then swearing at how good they were. Feeling shame for swearing.
Singing "Scavenger Of Death" with Wizzard Sleeve was pretty fun too. I had an hour before they played to write down the lyrics. Sadly, my copy of the record was back at the house otherwise I would have just read it off the back of the sleeve which would have made for better performance art.
CRAIG DANIELS (Leather Uppers Toronto, Canada)
Our first Gonerfest was Gonerfest 2 and it was in the wake of Katrina and during an intense heat wave in Memphis. That raised the intensity and energy of nights for sure and The Leather Uppers had decided to wear matching grey corduroys with thick paisley-patterned corduroy dress shirts so we were melting before we even hit the stage. That show has the honor of the only LU show with a confirmed stage dive injury...Sambeaux broke his leg or ankle in an stage launch that would have been a home at a vintage Jodie Foster's Army show. When we returned for Gonerfest 3 the next year we wisely wore airy dashiki shirts with light white pants.
JONATHAN KIERSKY (Hi Tone Memphis, TN)
So I'm sitting in the green room after the Reatards played having a whiskey. There had been some commotion on the stage at the end of their set. I didn't really think anything of it. Jay comes in bleeding. I grab a rag and start putting out the blood fire that is his face. I ask him what the fuck happened. He said Steven cracked him across the face. I, of course, ask why Steven would do that. He told me he had taken a piss on Steven in stage. I asked him what he thought was going to happen after be pissed on him.
JOHNNY LZR (Human Eye Detroit, MI)
I remember going to a Vietnamese fish market with Tim right before we played our first gonerfest. We decided on the huge fish head and planned on securing a big chef’s knife on the end of his guitar to hang the fish head. problem was that it was too heavy and I think it was making his guitar out of tune so he had to ditch it halfway through a song and into the crowd.
REMA YOUNG (Portland, OR)
Rema Young, AKA Skank Police, DJ Rema Rema Attended: G'fests 4, 8, and...10!
BEST: The old friends, the new friends, the love therein, the FOOD! The Gories, Eddy Current, Boston Chinks, Cartwright in-store, Icky Boyfriends, OBN III's...etc etc.
CRAZIEST: Red-faced angry girl heckling Jeff Evans and Ross Johnson to "Shut up and PLAY!!"...an exercise in futility. Ha! Delirious dancing with Timmy Vulgar and Peggy O'Neill to the Royal Pendletons at 5:30am! Driving through pouring-ass rain, skull-shattering thunder, and whole-sky-pink-spiderweb lightning, from Oxford to Memphis Sunday night, listening to Lightnin' Hopkins on WEVL, to arrive at the cozy Buccaneer for the come-down dance party. Human Eye!
SWEETEST: The goosebumps raised by Rev John Wilkins and his 3 daughters, as they brought the dusk-at-Murphy's crowd to it's knees. Seeing JD Mark play (with them) for the first and last time (RIP), and becoming friends 2 years later. Tyler Keith jumping offstage to dance with me/others during the breakdown in Makeup Makeup. Damn!
SICKEST: "I AM Gonerfest! You can't have Woodstock without Jimi Hendrix!" - Jay Reatard (RIP)
ABE WHITE (Manateees, Oscars, True Sons Of Thunder Memphis, TN)
Ah the Gonerfest memoirs. I've been to all of em, every motha fuckin one of em! Played in just about every one of em as well! So rubbin flint and a stick or whatever shit you do I'll try to pull a memory or maybe just a clue? I recall having a TSOT show in midday i was up for 2 days no sleep "figure it out" and it was at the Buccaneer. There was word of a dunk tank or sum monkey bizz with the 2 biggest monkeys in the bizz"Jay and Louie" and they were suppost to be the clown drowners for the tank. So i went to the back of the Bucc to find such a gass only to see a redneck in a kiddie pool with eels in the pool.Take in mind these are live eels swimmin around boonie boys feet so i decided to pick one of em up shook off the stank and put it in my mouth.As you might have guessed the eel was not to taken with the idea and hissed right at my face then tried to bite ol Abe.So i threw him back in the cesspool of jimbos locker and threw a bottle at some random fratboy and proceeded to head into the Bucc.Only to play the worst set of my life and the most fun and heckle a bunch of early mornin drunks w afflicted hearing problems. LONG LIVE TSOT!
GERARD COSLOY (12XU Records Austin, TX)
Black Time played the Hi Tone on the Friday of Goner Fest 5 and were a personal highlight in a week full of 'em. I don't remember every detail about what happened between their set and whenever the lights went out at the Artisan, but I do recall waking up on Saturday thinking I was hearing some version of their set thudding thru the hotel walls. Sorry to be super dramatic, but at the time I thought this was a moment of horrible self-realization ; i'd FINALLY done lasting, permanent damage to my brain and it was manifesting itself in the most realistic of hallucinations.
After making a solemn vow to do whatever it took to repair what was left of my mind, I bade farewell to my hotel room guests (who may or may not have been cockroaches) and stepped into the hallway....only to find I'd imagined nothing. While trying to maintain unconsciousness, I'd been awakened by the actual sound of Black Time trying to teach their repertoire to a new bass player in the adjacent room. KEEP IT DOWN, PLEASE.
MADS STOBBERUP (Cola Freaks, Mastermind Records, Denmark)
Best show – the Barbaras, just perfect.
Biggest regret – Not buying the Big Star #1 Record LP on Ardent in the Goner store.
Best food – Payne's bbq
Best taxi driver – Scott from the Oscars. He drove us around town in the middle of the night
Best place to sleep – Abe Whites house. He is just the best.. HOLGER
Worst – It's too expensive to fly from Denmark to Memphis
I will be back one day, it's really one of the best fests I have played..
STEPHEN POPE (Wavves, Barbaras, Boston Chinks, Jay Reatard Band)
Every year I've looked forward to going to Gonerfest...whether I'm attending or playing. I've only missed 2 so far. Gonerfest 3 was the first year I got to play with the Boston Chinks. It was the first show I ever used a tuner pedal and I had the setting on drop D because i didnt know how to use it so I was completely out of tune the whole show. It sounded terrible, but we were dressed like hot dogs and got in a fight at the end so I guess it wasn't all that bad. Hanging out backstage after I was really star struck by King Louie, then he told us "good show". Made me feel a little better....
GREG KING (GG King, Carbonas Atlanta, GA)
Ah yes Gonerfest...the ultimate conference of degeneracy! Through thick layers of fog and haze I remember...Prime Time Malt Liquor, scaring people in the Hi Tone parking lot with the dying horn of the Carbonas van (which sounded like a moose in heat), amazing sets from mostly long gone bands like the Final Solutions/Reatards/Kajun SS/Human Eye (not long gone)/etc/etc, greasy bbq and fried chicken, spicy bloody mary's, seeing an early version of Wizzard Sleeve at some dive at 4 AM, Evil Army house parties, backstage shenanigans at the Hi Tone, crashing Bits Of Shit's hotel room Weekend at Bernies style last year, and just generally irresponsible behavior from someone who is old enough to know better....Great memories, thanx Goner!!!
JEREMY SCOTT (Memphis, TN)
Thee Oh Sees in the gazebo. (Was that #7?) It felt like the intersection was levitating. And I was rather sober.
SHAWN CRIPPS (Limes)
the memory that sticks out the most was probably the first one at the buccaneer, with king khan and bbq playing an intense set... K Khan wearing that German military hat, and the excitement of all these out of towners filling the place, later we played an anticlimactic set at an afterhours show, spent twenty minutes talking to a guy that looked like Mark Sultan telling him how great they were, until the real Mark S walked by... we left our equipment intact while Dj's played records, then all the original Reatards got up firing up the crowd again playing a full set
RYAN ROUSSEAU (Reatards, Earthmen & Strangers, Destruction Unit, etc etc)
For the past 10 years I've always looked forward to gonerfest. It's a great party full of friends and family from around the globe...you always leave with at least a dozen new friends and great memories. I am extremely honored to have played every G.fest and I hope to be involved with many more to come. I've seen some wild shit throughout the years at g.fest...i guess that's what happens when you have a gathering of insane boozedrinkin drug takin rock Rollin wild dawgz of destruction....
ALICJA TROUT (River City Tanlines, Lost Sounds, Mouserocket Memphis TN)
well my special Gfest memory has to be the first one. My guest was to be Federico Zanutto. I had never met him before. If I remember right he jst showed up at my door wth his bag and loked very awake in some stylish glasses and a yellow sweater, camel colored leather jacket, maybe it was unseasonably cold. He just got to my house from the airport. He brought me a gift, some special lemon liquor that wa meant to go in the freezer and was in a long tall bottle, it came from his area of Italy.
I don't remember what night but somehow there was an afterparty at my house. Ryan and the Arizona dudes got a keg from the hi tone and stuck it on my porch They were out there all night and when I got up in the morning they were still there drinking. Sadly enough my lemon liquor mysteriously diappeared, but I had gotten a few sips the night before, it was delicious!
Fred I think had to sleep in a bundle of comfortors on the floor made into a bed, and I remember my dog Nico cuddled up to him and he was very accomodating. He was such a good guest, just came and went as he pleased and got himself around the city on his own personal tour of Memphis.
I feel like the first Gonerfest was all about stuffing as many people as possible into the Buccaneer. Maybe, I don't remember much, but I remember it was a huge 3 day party and so nice to be in Memphis where i could sleep in my own bed at the end.
GINA TYNAN (Memphis, SF)
I’ve met most of the best people I know at Gonerfest! Every year is like a family reunion, seeing friends from all over the world - all across the US, Canada, England, Finland, Scotland, Germany, France, Australia, Japan… it’s crazy. Goners are the best sort of degenerates – worldwide!
Ah, my brain she gets hazy… but,… here are some of my fave memories (that I can remember).
During Gonerfest 3, The Hi Tone had somehow failed to renew its liquor license so every lady in the house had a bottle of booze in her purse. We also picked up some disgusting novelty booze straws at the liquor store called a “suck ‘n’ blow” (which required the efforts of two people sucking and blowing to empty them) and we proceeded to do both by the end of the night. There were also mushrooms, which made Viva L’American Death Ray and Cheveu especially insane. And, the drunkest night of my life ended with me passing out on the table at Alex’s Tavern at 5 a.m. with Micheal Day, Joe Dixon, Dulcinea, Tina, Nate, Roman, Scott, and Cathy…
During Gonerfest 4, I had the honor and privilege of tag team DJing with the illustrious Twinkle Van Winkle – will never forget the insane dance party that broke out. Those SF kids ain’t afraid to dance!
Before the first night of Gonerfest 5, Scott and I went the Mid-South Fair with Heather and Aya, who had just stepped off the plane from SF. Those ladies BOTH puked after riding the twirly upside down thingy - before Gonerfest even started!
Gonerfest 6 brought the first “official” year of the Sunday dinners that have come to be known as the infamous “Margarita Mistake” – a post-Gonerfest, pre-Buccaneer Come Down party tradition – started with Scott; Sara and Aiju from Finland; Gemma from Scotland; Chris, Guy and Gary from London; and others.
Also that year, there was trespassing on Mud Island for post-fest late-night skinny dipping with Gemma from Scotland, Chris and Guy (who took a nap in the planter), Cathy and Scott. From there, we hit the Goner pool party/gay pride weekender at The Artisan Hotel. Cathy and I were soaking wet, in our dresses and no shoes, wet hair. She and I stood in amazement, mouths agape as we witnessed Jack O. coming over the wall, having scaled it from the street side, to get into the pool area (cuz he was too drunk to walk through the lobby?). Never laughed so hard!
NoBunny almost burned down the Hi Tone at Gonerfest 7. After Guitar Wolf on Saturday night of Gonerfest 8, Cathy packed Gary and I and New Bomb Turks guys (Eric and Matt) into her rental car and drove us to an EPIC after party at The Dairy House. There were so many people packed into the living room, going nuts with the bands that the floor was bending and we were bouncing all around like we were on a trampoline for Ty Segall, Cheap Time and White Wires. At one point the floor really started flexing like mad beneath our feet, we all looked at each other and started moving back toward the walls, so that if/when the floor collapsed, at least we’d be on the top o’ the heap. Loved seeing Guitar Wolf, still all in leathers, drinking beers in the back yard on lawn chairs!
At Gonerfest 9, Lindsey Crappor and I forever cemented our friendship over being attacked by bees INSIDE the Hi Tone, while in line for the ladies toilet!
ROB KENNEDY (Jam Messengers, Workdogs Volcano, HI)
Me'n Uncle Butcher normally play to a crowd that enjoys their alcohol. So I wondered "how drunk can an audience possibly be on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Memphis?" That question was easily answered - REAL drunk. Most had been drinking all night and morning but then there were those that had been at it 3 days straight. Closing down Gonerfest turned out to be a lot more of a gas than it sounded like on paper. Everybody still able to ambulate ambled by the store to say 'Tata' to Eric and the crew. 2 Tears and Jam Messengers did the thing and sent them on their way. The ones too drunk to move probably got put on a shelf in the Goner back room. Might be time to see if they are still back there.
OWEN PENGLIS (Straight Arrows, Sydney Australia)
Gonerfest was our first time in Memphis and let me tell you, we'd been waiting all tour for this. It our first days off in three weeks, we'd get to see our buddies from back home, sleep on real mattresses, finally meet the Memphis crew, and see the Gories. And what a time it was. I think the highlight of any tour we've EVER done was a day spent playing to a packed Buccaneer with $5 unlimited refill beer and a cop bringing in extra ice, (and pretty much funding our tour from the merch sales), visiting Elvis's house, and finished up with a mountain of fried chicken at Gus's. You guys were totally right, don't bother with the sides.
Thanks a heap to Eric and Zac, and Bruce and Jeannie
CHRISTOPHER BECK (London, England)
Things I can remember:
- Arriving in Memphis for the first with Hadda Bad Day, not knowing anyone, meeting a load of friends (including Quinn), and deciding to come back in September for my first of four GFs. Never had any money, but it's easy to borrow over here.
- Catching fleas/whatever at Scott and Gina's
- Getting off / making out with Seth of Hunx, when Justin (Nobunny) played with him at Murphy's
- Going a little nutz during Sonic Chicken 4's set at the HiTone and ending up head butting the singer's guitar.
- Watching Tire Fire outside at Murphy's and being blown up by fireworks, and kicking Jay up the arse as he was throwing a tire around.
- Buying Dutch Hercules a hot dog at Murphy's, which he seemed to appreciate.
- Seeing Scottish Gemma from afar at Amsterdam airport, then, weirdly, seeing her at the HiTone a few days later. Strange.
- Donning Bruce Hipshake with war paint and playing some frat boys at pool, almost getting into a fight.
- Riding on the top of Pony's car through town.
- Too much whiskey.
- Being introduced to Justin NoBunny by Dan Hipshake.
- Grabbing Stephen Pope's naked cock'n'balls at Murphy's.
- Watching Bobby Hussy set fire to his guitar at Murphy's. Although he probably does that all the time.
- Whiskey tears watching Jeff Evans close things up at the shop.
- Watching Eric Hurst singing with the reverend at the gazebo.
- Watching the live stream at home whenever I couldn't make it.
- Riding along the street with Scott, Gina, Guy and Gemma, and deciding to jump out of the car and start dancing with some girls in an adjacent vehicle. Lots of laughter when I got back into their car.
- Guy's constant farting when sleeping with him at Scott and Gina's.
Can't believe I'm gonna miss the 10th one. Bastard insurance companies wanting to charge me truck loads of money cos of me brain!
TALBOT ADAMS (Dutch Masters, Black & Whites, Jenny Jeans, Talbot Adams Band Oxford, MI)
Surprise Reatards Reunion at XYZ at 3 am. I think during Gonerfest 3. Boston Chinks dressed as food was Gonerfest 3 too I think. I loved playing Gonerfest 1 with The Jenny Jeans and Dutch Masters. Played Gonerfest 2 with Jenny Jeans. Maybe my favorite show I ever played. Played 3 with Black and Whites. Another good one. I remember going to 4, but not playing. Saw The Mans at The Buc and that was one of the most hilarious shows I ever saw.
JOHN WESLEY COLEMAN (Golden Boys, John Wesley Coleman band Austin, TX)
ok ...craziest goner moment ...........when the golden boys were on stage and no bunny was the MC. he was doing his thing ....introducing the band and shit. we were standing behind him and i noticed he tucked his ding dong between his legs and was not wearing pants. so you can see the head of his dick poking out under his buttholio. i hit Matt Hoopengardner on the shoulder and pouted to it ...i was like look at that...and he was like what is that. ..his vision was blurry ..Matt bent down for a closer look to see what I was pointing at. He realized Nobunny pee pee hole and and gave me the oh gross face. thats all i got. i can't remember any of the gonerfest other than Abe watching the keg of beer in the back of the Hi Tone and scaring people.
DAN MELCHIOR (Asheville, NC)
'Had a great show (still yet to see the footage that will undoubtedly burst my bubble and confront me with the horror of reality) and, as usual committed the horrendous faux pas of not 'partyin' till the bitter end' - - instead, retired to a run down family home somewhere or other that was being occupied by a skate/vid game type person (our host) - - once again, committed the cardinal sin of not 'drinkin' to da last drop is drunk' and retired to a sheetrock loft space. Was awoken sometime later by the almost hard to believe snores of band mates and something crawling up my leg. Closer inspection revealed the place was cockroach infested - - the sight of them gamboling over tooth brushes and combs in the shite infested sink was enough to assure I slept no more that night - - show and bar b q pizza were great though!'
MATT HOWE (Pity Fucks Portland, OR)
My first Gonerfest was Gonerfest IV...really killer lineup, Jay Reatard, Head, Hank IV, Eddy Current, Tyler Keith, Quintron...etc, etc. That's the one that really popped my Memphis cherry. First visits to Goner, Payne's, Cozy Corner, Stax Museum, Gus's, and so on and so forth. Memories are a bit hazy. I remember seeing Evil Army outside, being drunk as hell up front for Head with Eric O. (who was also drunk as hell) , bro-hamming and screaming along to Tireshredding. Somebody was in a banana suit at some point, and I swear I got more battered up front seeing Quintron than I did seeing the fucking Cro-Mags in the 80's. Just an epic, epic time. The next one I got to was Gonerfest 8, and this one the guys were gracious enough to let us play. The lineup was again fantastic. I remember the OBN III's just destroying, Harlan playing the first few songs with Aquafuzz turned around with a mask on the back of his head while somebody else lip-synched. Spending way too long in the Hi-tone bathroom taking a horrendous dump, only to see Greg Cartwright waiting on a stool in white pants when I opened the door (Sorry man!). Opening the day show at Murphy's, then seeing Al Budd and the Shirks just tearing it up inside. Spending every dime we made on merch at Cozy Corner. Having my head blown clean off by the good Reverend John Wilkins, and finally, the after hours show at the Buc with the Royal Pendletons, place was packed, my watch read 5:00 am ...Louie was almost falling asleep between drum breaks, but would then burst into action, and I remember jumping around up front with Peg from the Gories and Timmy Vulgar...just fucking surreal. Gonerfest was, and always will be, the standard by which all others are set. Tear it up kids!!
MONTE BUCKLES (Lamps Los Angeles, CA)
Gonerfest is the only time of year you can be assured you'll be in a room of a few hundred drunks watching music and there will be next to no jerks.
MEGHAN SMITH (Empty Records Seattle, WA)
My first memory off the Goner label was from the amazing / horrible / do I need to get a new needle for my turntable? / it's supposed to sound like that! Guitar Wolf release that we had a copy of at eMpTy. I am not even sure how we ended up with it, but we had a conversation going about what was more wonderful, but bordering on unlistenable Wolf Rock or the Lightening Beat-Man Lp that came out a little later. They are really different records, but have the same "I think one of my speakers is blown" vibe.
I used to walk to Fallout Records every Sunday morning (usually really hungover) and just sort of pick up what was new that week. I was buying all the Oblivians records when they came out, but also picked up the Johnny Vomit 7" and the Royal Pendleton's. At the same time having no idea that Eric was Goner and the great Wipeout Zine and playing in the Oblivians. I might not have even connected those dots until a couple of years later.
One day I saw a strange 7" while shopping that had an odd face on the front and Reatards was misspelled on the front. I flipped it over and saw it was on Goner, I remember walking home with it. I fell in love with this 7" and played it all the time. I would say I was bordering on obsessed with it. It was a life changing 45 for me.
Hard to think that Wolf Rock came out 20 years ago and it still sounds pretty tuff.
BRUCE SALTMARSH (Memphis Fuzz, Easter Bilby Records Memphis, TN)
My favorite Gonerfest memory would have to be sat afternoon of number 4. Ooga Booga's came on as the first band of the day, no one really seemed to have any big expectations. Within about 15 minutes of their set starting all 25 copies of their 7", printed exclusively for gonerfest were sold out. T-shirts were gone as well and i had to wait about 6 monthes before i finally got one, shipped from Australia.
JOHNNY LOWEBOW (Xanadu Music Memphis, TN)
Ten years of great fun and being way gone ! Most fun hanging with the hot dog chef at the backyard and then the Bucc . Dinner parties with Joe Pestilance and Rocket Craig. The Green Room before it became a Tobacco lounge. Bittersweet memories of Jay at his best and worst. King Louie in his many formats. The Golden Boys, Pierced Arrows, Cyclops , White Mystery so many great bands ! The Rocket Science Crew kicking it. The Reverend Wilkins redeeming the nest of Goners. Kicking on my One Man band. So much fun ! I can't wait for the future madness .
SHANNON SHAW (Shannon & The Clams, Hunx & His Punx Oakland, CA)
Firsties: The FIRST time I met Jay Reatard was my FIRST Gonerfest on my FIRST tour with Hunx. I was wearing a blue beret, blue shirt and skirt, with a fruity lil scarf to match (feelin' cool). Seth and Jay were chatting and hugging when Jay looked over at me ringing my nervous pervous hands in a corner and yelled 'who's the blueberry?' Moments later we were all in Jays house (I changed my clothes) partying our bananas off (it's probably 3pm.) Jay is suddenly in nothing but a red cape and some glitter he had me apply, jumping on his bed like a wild man. Davila 666 came over to join us when suddenly one of the members and a groupie disappear into the bathroom to 'freshen up.' Jay gets wind of this activity and kicks the bathroom door down and drags the nudies out the bathroom and stuffs the male lovers' dong into a Slayer themed Nike. Somehow now we were all jumping on the bed screaming like chimps, jay still in a cape and glitter, fella still clutching a Nike shoe stuffed full o' twig n berries.
All I remember was that this was my second EVER show with Hunx and I could still just barely play bass. It was an insanely packed show, lots of screamingdancingthrashingcrowd
surfing...all the best. OH YEA and Steven and Jay trying to pull off Seth's leather thong (that's has a secret pocket in the front for chips!) and Seth stealthily scaled a speaker to escape. At some point Steven got foot loose and fancy free and pulled his personal goodies out and shocked us all with his pubes being encrusted with glitter. How DID they get there?
I think it was the Omni hotel where everybody went to hang after Gonerfest. There was a huge pool and A LOT of booze so naturally I went swimming. fully clothed! I remember the people of Memphis being shocked at the sight of the free n nude Copenhagian from Da Hoje Hale (sp) swimming around. Balls look so funny under water, don't they? Anyway I woke up wasted out of my mind in a hotel room full of people that didn't speak English so i couldn't figure out how or why I was there! Plus I was still in my dress fully soaked with pool water (thus soaking those poor sons of bitches bed) and had no clue where my band was. Turns out I had missed a dozen or so calls from them because today was the day we were goin to Graceland! In fact they were outside the hotel waiting for me. So I waddled down to the car full of clean shiny well rested beautiful Erin and Seth and crammed my moldy sponge self with melted makeup and double vision And hangover afro inside.
All I can say about my experience at Graceland is that I barfed there, several times, and tried to 'maintain' and 'keep my cool' by winking at kids and tipping my non existent hat to old ladies that were forced to trail me. Needless to say, I failed Graceland and passed out in some grass till Erin and Seth had their fill.
JARED SWILLEY (Black Lips Atlanta, GA)
The very first money check the Black lips ever got was from Goner, as was our very first review(which was really good). As teenagers we were shocked and stunned that someone outside of our circle and from another town actually liked us. That was our first real push to get out and do something. We sucked, and still kinda do, but we all suck in a good way(most of the time). Being invited to play Goner Fest was mind blowing, and the fact that we were on tour with King Khan and BBQ at the time (our brothers) was massive to say the least. It started as the "death cult" tour. And it ended in a life-long friendship, and a real understanding of what we were aiming for. After multiple van breakdowns and mental breakdowns we found our selves in Memphis at the Buccaneer. A run down old charming dive in the heart of the old south. It was probably the biggest audience both bands played to on the entire tour, and the Bucc doesn't even hold that many folks. Ian had just joined the band and he broke his guitar during the set, and we didn't have the money to get a new one. Somewhere along the show Jay Reatard and King Khan dropped their trousers and peed all over Cole, and he never skipped a beat. I think Jay got kicked out that night and smashed a painting over one of the bartenders heads. All in all it was an amazing night, and the first "festival" we ever played. I don't remember that many shows these days, as there have been so many, but that's one I'll never forget. The only part that sucked was that we had to drive back to Atlanta after the show, and I think I could have gotten laid. Wish I could have stayed. Long live goner fest!
JEFFREY NOVAK (Jeff Novak One Man Band, Rat Traps, Cheap Time Nashville, TN)
I have great memories of playing a show at the Goner store at the first Gonerfest, opening for Jeff Evans and Ross Johnson. I have a Polaroid of me next to my pile of vomit on the sidewalk outside of the store, that's was taken immediately after my set. As much fun as the first Gonerfest was, being at the Buccaneer and getting to see the Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ Show for the first time, Gonerfest 2 had a more crucial lineup for me. Getting to see The Persuaders and The Reatards on the same bill was unreal to me at the time! Granted, The Reatards didn't include Rich or Bundy, and they only played about half their set after one of the guitar cables broke. I just want to go on the record saying Scott Rogers should not have been playing bass with The Persuaders. I couldn't figure out why Scott was playing with them. They didn't have bass on the LP, and The Persuaders LP is the best southern punk album ever, as far as I'm concerned, so it didn't make sense seeing them Scott. No offense Scott. I just wanted to see the original three piece, and it's still bugging me all these years later.
As far as I can remember, I didn't go to Gonerfest 3D. I can't remember why but, I did go to Gonerfest 4, which is where my favorite Gonerfest memory comes from. Gonerfest 4 was a really big deal to me for 2 reasons, Head and Donny Denim. Two west coast legends in my eyes, that I never thought I'd get to see, especially Donny Denim! Donny Denim wasn't even a real band. I had never heard of them playing shows before. They just had that one single on Super*teem! It was just a studio project for Darin Raffaelli from Supercharger, and I loved that single. I played it all the time and put either "Hey You," or "Rock'n'Roll Love Affair," on every mix tape I made for any girl around that time. Eric had told me he was going to get Donny Denim to play Gonerfest eventually, but I never believed him.
Anyway, I eventually get to see what I thought I'd never see, and my question got answered. What does a band who only released 2 songs play to pad out their set? I remember their set mostly just being forgettable covers, but that didn't matter when they played "Hey You." I was standing behind Alix Brown, who I had always had a big crush on since she was in The Lids. She turned around in the middle of the song and started making out with me. I always look back on that as a real magical moment that I've never had matched by any other show. Alix and I are good friends and I knew she was just as excited to see Donny Denim as I was, and that's what made it special. I had never kissed her before nor have I since, and we never really talked about it. It's just a testament to the power of amazing music and the energy of a live show.
I've got great memories of playing packed shows other years at Gonerfest, but they're not as entertaining of stories. I got really lucky to be at the right place at the right time when I was 19 to really have my mind blown!
Long live Goner!
TOM CHAPMAN (Boston, MA)
Some Favorite Gonerfest Sets:
Final Solutions GF1
Jack Oblivian Band GF3
Marked Men GF4
Thee Oh Sees GF6
Davila 666 GF6
James Arthur’s Manhunt GF8
Jeffrey Evans+ Ross Johnson every time
Go to Stax and Sun- hallowed ground that must be seen
Drop cash at Goner Store, usually on Thursday afternoon
Check out Shangri La Records
Ernestine’s and Hazel’s after 1am
Gus’ Fried Chicken
Hotel room party, beer and speakers on hand
Afternoon sets are not to be missed, Murphy’s shows always deliver (who will ever forget the Shitty Beach Boys?)
Spending the entire festival packed inside a pirate bar
Wherever that Reatards after show was
French Quarter Suites
The old Hi Tone, hope the new one has a beer garden in the back.
ROBIN PACK (Dutch Masters, Rocket Science Audio, Jack Stands)
So many crazy stories. There are several now-famous/infamous tales about Gonerfest that many participants over the years know and re-tell. The "Throw an Eel at some guy in a kiddie pool", "Red Sneakers from Japan come to Memphis to live out a dream", "Louie survives Katrina with a jar of Pickles", "Hunx gets a handjob on stage, whether he wanted it or not, and really freaks out the sound guy", "Jay flips the fuck out. Again."
Yes, so many stories.
If you've seen us (the recording/streaming crew), we're typically huddled in a truck or van or in one of the back rooms, or we're doing sound, and we always see a bunch of crazy stuff go down. Most years, I've tried to sum up the experience on the goner board, but not always. Some of my favorite stuff may be meaningless to others - when the power went out at the Buccanneer that one time, stealing wifi from some place to make the stream work, crazy, threatening and occasionally wonderful emails from Nanne Tepper. That one time I finally got to go to the bathroom, only to have Chad (now Gary Wrong) jump in to take a leak at the same time, all the while saying "Don't look down. Is this weird? Don't look down." It's the little things (and in Chad's case, very little- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). The occasional return of the "Hello, My name is Dtrain" stickers. Missing the Barbaras indoor Murphy's set (I was prepping the outside stage), but walking in after to something that looked like a flour bomb had gone off; and the Barbaras (such nice guys that they are, sticking around to clean up the mess. We have a microphone stand that still has encrusted lentils stuck to it from the Human Eye set at GF2.
But it's the people that are my favorite. The freakout that happens whenever seeing the Frenchies like Pascal and Piero; giant, running "bro" hugs that end in "I bet I can pour more beer down your throat" games. Getting chill-out time with Windy and Mark Millionaire and a Jack Pirtles sandwich. Telling jokes with Talbot. Hanging out with Johnny and Joel from the Hi-Tone, and whoever is manning the band beer. Knowing that Eric and Zac are always crazy busy, but they ALWAYS come back to see if we need anything. Just the best dudes, really. Justin sans Nobunny. And good god, Don Perry. Richard, Mikey and the rest of the Aussies. The Portlanders. The Austiners. The Londoners.
But I guess if I had to nail down my three favorite things about Gonerfest, it'd be the following:
- The expression on peoples faces when they come by to listen in the headphones
- Getting away from the board for a bit to go out and dance with whoever is around during a band you really want to see.
Getting away from the board to go outside for a little bit of quiet for a second and stumbling into an old or a new friend who had the same idea, and saying barely a word, but both of us absolutely vibrating inside from the excitement that really is Gonerfest.
I can't thank Goner enough for what they do. It's my vacation every year. And I don't want it to ever stop.
MARK MILLIONAIRE (Jackpot! Jenisen, MI)
Aside from the great music, I'd have to say the time when I asked Justin (Nobunny) if he liked Nobunny at the Bucc on the Sunday evening of GF4, only to get a curious look and then being told from across the table by with Eric or Scott "that IS Nobunny", and then the booth inhabitants erupting in laughter. Then it came full circle at GF9 in the back room of the Hi Tone. Windy and I were hanging out and catching up with people when Justin walked in and I said "you probably don't remember this, but..." and he cut me off and said "oh, I remember. You asked me if I liked me", in a very nice and amused way. Turns out that Nobunny loves me even after all that. I think the several vodka and Redbulls we downed together at Murphy's the next day (GF9) on my tab didn't hurt. Nobunny, a king among men, and one hell of a good sport.
BRAD DAUGS (Porch Honkees, Manitowoc, WI )
Gonerfest 2 was a blast, porch honkees were a project me and the wife put together and we were excited to be invited to play. just witnessing such a spectacle is enough, but being an actual part? priceless.
the whole weekend was a blur. i remember drinking in the pool of the motel, but seeing most of the bands was an absolute blackout, i woke up pissed the next day because i missed the reatards and persuaders, though i was there i was too drunk to remember much of anything. i assume we had a great time.
the trip was too much for us and we ended up breaking up the band soon thereafter, but were included on the CD and DVD. it’s the one original music project i have done that is available on itunes and such, and i still sometimes refer to myself only half jokingly as a "goner records recording artist"
thanks to eric for inviting us, thanks to memphis for all the great music that has been created there, and we hope to see you this year at gonerfest 10, should all the planets be properly aligned and it be the lord's will...
BILL ROE (Cococoma, Trouble In Mind Records, Chicago, IL)
GONERFEST CURED MY VEGETARIANISM
I remember heading over with Lisa for CoCoComa's debut at Gonerfest 2 - we had been asked to fill in sight unheard by Eric after The Detonations had cancelled & we were having a great time... it was a great weekend (I think - don't remember too much about it EXCEPT) that at the after party at the Two-Way, Scott Rogers convinced me to have a burger... OK he didn't have to work TOO hard at convincing me, but in my >ahem< altered state those shitty burgers smelled like the greatest things in the world... I ate TWO. Bear in mind I had been vegetarian for going on nine years at that point... Plus they had mayo on them & I HATE mayo. Just goes to show ya what Gonerfest can do to a man. I paid for those burgers the next day. OH how I paid.
RICHIE RAMONE (Homeless Records, Australia)
Having traveled to Memphis from Australia via New York on a music history sojourn, I wasn't aware of the early years of Gonerfest so it was purely a store visit, this was June 2005. I recognised one of the store dudes as Eric Oblivian, which made me slightly nervous to meet a member of the Oblivians, who I had blasted repeatedly on the stereo at home and my former record store jerk day gig at Au-go-go. Once told I could take any record and give it a listen, I carried 20+ LPs down the back to the turntable and the "To Buy" stacked up quickly.
I took a huge pile to the counter and Eric served me. As he reached the Final Solutions 'Disco Eraser' LP in the stack I stated "Who the hell are these guys? They're my new favourite band! This guy is wearing an Australia t-shirt and this guy looks like Macca from the Onyas?!!"
Eric: "Oh, you liked this? They're a local band and the guy you think looks like Macca from the Onyas is standing behind me".
**Eric points at Zac**
Speechless and a little embarrassed, I departed the store, not knowing that five years later I would begin a regular September pilgrimage back to the greatest festival in the world, Gonerfest. Congratulations to Eric and Zac and thanks for making Australians feel welcome halfway round the world. Shit, there's even shrimps on the BBQ at Bruce's...
OLIVIER LAVERGNE (Le Disque Steak, Paris)
I went to Memphis two times to attend the gonerfest 3 & 5 in 2006 & 2008. Each times were great times, and i have so many good memories about it, amazing food, pabst, great gigs, nice people from around the world, the jukebox from the Lamplighter bar with the goner people after the fest, realizing the Hi Tone used to be Elvis's dojo in the middle of a show...
A special one is perhaps meeting our friends from Cheveu at the sunset on the parking lot of the Buccaneer in 2006 and saying "hi, you should try the local Bloody Marys." just like any otherday in Paris... But in Memphis. The day after at Al Green's church was also amazing, still drunk from the day before we were advised to be true to God.
Best concerts : Thomas Function at 2008 closing concert at the store and every Tennesse Tearjerkers gig at or after the fest. Time is tight!
MATTHEW HOOPENGARDNER (Golden Boys Austin, TX)
Dang...I can't remember.