It was in June or July of 1988 that we got our first gig in New York City. It was at a club called The Big Kahuna, which boasted an aggressive surfer decor, to the point of having a VW van in the bar done up in psychedelic style, surfboards protruding everywhere. I don't remember much about the show, except that we were interviewed by Ian Cranna for Sounds magazine, we played "Viola Lee Blues" somewhere in the set, and finding parking was a nightmare. Ian spoke with Chuck after the show in a cramped basement dressing room. It was incredibly hot, so I headed out to the alley behind the club to get some relatively cool air.
I was sitting on the back step of the club when I was approached by a young black fellow who wanted to know if I had any spare change. He had a very eloquent speaking style and a heartrending tale of woe, some of which may have even been true. When we left Rochester, I'd brought along all of my spare change to help pay for tolls, and this lump of coins was still in my pocket. I said, "Yeah, I can help you. I hope things get better for you soon." and gave him all of that change, probably in the neighborhood of eight or ten dollars. His eyes widened in astonishment and the ensuing response was worth every penny. "Now, I'm not gay or nothin', but I gotta say, I LOVE white men! I mean, I just LOVE white men!" All of which was shouted repeatedly while jumping up and down. Around this time, other band members came out to witness the spectacle and added to the donation. Chuck said, "I had to give him something, he was such a fine orator."
I searched for an image of this club, which is apparently no longer there, but didn't find one. I'm also having trouble remembering if this was our first gig in NYC, or the one we did at the Rodeo Bar. Phil? Ken?