“At the time, I was living by Silverthorne, so the band all had to drive down for our first gig in the city. On Sixth Avenue, a truck sped up behind us and popped off a couple of gunshots at our van before speeding off. Wow. Welcome to Denver. Then, when driving down Colfax, we were amazed at the sheer number of ‘working girls’ and people that just looked generally insane. Outside the Lion’s Lair, there was a pregnant woman smoking crack in the bushes, as well as two men having sex in the dumpster! Really rollin’ around in the garbage and lovin’ it up.
“It was the mid-’90s, so we had long hair at the time. The drunk punks at the bar kept calling us ‘dirt heads,’ though most of the taunts were actually coming from a single bald guy. I think he was just jealous of our flowing manes. And remember, this was before they remodeled the place, so the bar was still attached to the stage. You could lay back on the bar while you were still playing, and they would pour shots in your mouth.
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“Afterward, we stumbled out of the show to find out the entire block had been closed down with police tape. A kid had been shot somewhere nearby, and the cops weren’t letting anyone out of the area. The band had got paid $18 for the gig that night and blew most of it when we also discovered Pete’s Kitchen next door.”
Jonny Barber recently released The Survival Game, a solo project, and Western Riot with his Western rockabilly outfit, Jonny Barber & the Rhythm Razors.
Editor's Note: The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.