“It was around Christmas time, and there was a holiday showcase at the Cricket where lots of local punk bands would be playing a song or two each. My friend John and I loved the Chicago punk band the Dwarves, so we decided to form a Dwarves-like band called the Elves, as befitted the holiday theme. I played bass and could only barely play the instrument at the time, but John and I learned one song for the show: the hilarious ‘Father Christmas,’ by the Kinks.
“The Dwarves were notorious for getting naked on stage, but we were way too chicken for that. But we did strip down to our underwear in the filthy bathroom of the Cricket right before we went on stage. Walking through that drunken laughing crowd in my boxer shorts, bass slung over my shoulder, felt oddly liberating.
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“We played ‘Father Christmas,’ but it rushed by in a sloppy blur. We sounded terrible, but I’d never had so much fun in my life. My punk-rock baptism of fire went down at the Cricket that night, and I was hooked. From then on, playing music became my life.”
Jason Heller is a member of two Denver punk bands, Weathered Statues and the Stickups. Weathered Statues will play at the Sie FilmCenter on Friday, October 13.
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.