“My buddy R. Dammit had called ahead and signed us up for an open-mic set. We humped our gear through the back door and muttered our name to the doorman, who was actually interested in seeing our IDs. Dammit had no need to worry, but I was only nineteen at the time and thus not allowed on the premises, so I attempted to evade the doorman for most of the night.
“The open-mic host, Rick Slack, introduced us as Tiger Beat as we dragged our gear on stage. I remember the exhilaration at the lights on my face as the rest of the room fell into darkness. I’d never been on stage before. The only song I remember playing was ‘Like a Virgin.’ Unfortunately, at the time, my jaw was wired shut, which muted me and did not allow me to rival Madonna. I growl-hummed and forced a mess of consonants through my locked teeth into the spittled microphone. It came through the monitors and speakers sounding like a wet-dreaming teen moaning into a pillow pressed over his face. Which I think is exactly how ‘Like a Virgin’ ought to be performed — at least in a place like the Cricket on the Hill.
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"Afterward, a veteran in a wheelchair slapped me some skin, saying, ‘Man, you got some guts, putting it out there like that.’ That was also about the time that the doorman finally caught me and kicked me out of the bar. Still, it was after our set. My task was done.”
Editor's Note: The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music venues by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.