TAD, Mudhoney, and a Dead Juniper Bush

Posted: December 3, 2011 in Miscellaneous

Kurt Danielson (TAD, Bundle of Hiss) recounted the following story to me during our 2007 interview.  It took place in the Summer of 1988 in Seattle’s University District and involved members of TAD, Mudhoney, and their friends.  My book does mention the event, but in a very summarized version.  Here you can read about it in all of its glorious detail.

“One weekend,” Danielson recalls, “we decided to go out and have a few beers.  We decided also to drop some acid, and we do.  We’re sitting in this bar on the Ave–which is University Avenue–in the U-District of Seattle.

“I’d noticed that the Ave at night was getting to be a sinister place.  At this time, you’d see gangs of big black guys, weightlifter types, roaming the streets at night, looking for Greeks–you know, frat boys–to beat up.  And on this particular night, little did we know, a similar gang was patrolling the streets looking for action.  And they all had these big, thick, leather weightlifting belts that they were wearing around their guts.  So, they could take those off and use them as weapons, swing ’em around their heads like lassos and beat people with ’em.  Pretty amazing when it happens.

“Imagine sitting in a place called Georgio’s, which is a dumpy Italian restaurant/bar up on about 55th and University, and in it is Tad [Doyle from the band TAD], Dan Peters [from Mudhoney], myself, my brother, a couple other friends–and we’d been drinking all day–and then we get the bright idea to take acid.  And acid hits, and I’m wearing a t-shirt I designed myself that says: SUCK MY COCK on the back in big letters and on the front it said: STINKY PUSSY STINKS.  I wrote it with a black felt pen.  It looked like I was just a complete moron–clown–and I felt like one, too.  Anyway, I was talking to all these chicks, and they were all just appalled by my shirt, and I was just laughing and laughing.  Acid was hitting.  There was a non-existent wind blowing–like sometimes happens on acid–and lights were flickering.  We decided to go out on the street.  Actually, no, we didn’t decide, they kicked us out.  That’s right.” (laughs)

It was about 1 am.  The streets were deserted except for an occasional carload of drunken frat-boys.  Danielson’s group decided to venture back to his apartment, which was about four blocks away.

“We [begin] to walk down towards my apartment,” Danielson continues, “which is in a brick building with a very ornate glass–leaded glass–foyer…

“We see on the opposite side of the street–me and Dan were walking out front–we see this big group of black guys, BIG black guys, coming up on the same side of the street.  So we discreetly shifted over to the other side–the right side–which is closer to my place anyway.  And, the other guys [Danielson’s friends] follow.  And we’re kind of like, ‘Fuck!’ sensing the bad vibes, even then.  So, we round the corner, and the rest of the guys are following.  But one guy, a friend of mine who shall remain unnamed, sort of legged back.  The black guys passed all the rest of us.  This guy legged back about a block, up on the corner.  We turned around, like ‘Where is so-and-so?’  There he is on his back like a dog, with his feet in the air, and his hands also.  And those guys are glowering over him.  And I don’t know what the fuck is going on.  We’re watching from a distance.

“Finally, Dan runs up there–’cause he knows him best–and talks him out of his craziness, and gets him to come with us.  He does.  [Our friends] around the corner join us, so we can finish the last, oh 40 yards to my front door–which is locked and I’ve got the only key.  We hear this thunderous avalanche of footsteps.  And it’s that group of black guys and they’re swinging those belts over their heads like lassos, and they’re howling like wolves.  And they came just down on us.  We all turned, and we’re like, ‘Hey, hey, we can talk about this.  What’s going on?’  We had no idea what our friend had said to them when he was up there acting like a dog.  Turned out he was soliciting crack from them.  And these guys were like anti-crack warriors, little did this guy know.  We had no interest in crack.  This particular guy did, apparently….

“So these guys are running right at us.  It just freezes the blood in our veins.  Remember, we’re on acid.  It totally is blowing our minds.  ‘Is this real?  Is this really happening?’  [Our friend] Dick Johnson is the first they come to, and he’s like trying to placate them.  He’s putting his hands up.  He’s kind of shrinking, cringing down, trying to talk to them.  They immediately just are on him with their leather belts, and smacking him down to the ground, and he’s down AND out.  Next they come to Tad, and I’m hiding behind Tad.  And they do the same thing to him.  Tad goes DOWN, and the Juniper bush that he landed on–died that instant.  [It’s] dead to this day.  I’ve been by there recently, well, couple years ago.  It was still dead. (laughs)

(Photo I took of the dead Juniper bush in August of 2007.  Don’t ask.)

“There I am: ‘Hi.’  And I try to talk to them, too.  Same thing happens to me.  I’m down.  It’s like, suddenly this white light and you’re out, and you wake up and you’re on the ground.  I look, and what’s happening, but Dan has made it to the door–Dan Peters–and they’re all on top of him, ’cause he’s fighting back.  The rest of us had just crumpled, but Dan was kicking them and hitting them.  And so they all jumped on him, and were stomping him.  They picked him up and they threw him through the leaded glass window, dislocating his shoulder, and glass everywhere.

 “[But] it was not a serious dislocation, and it healed by itself, and he was able to go to Europe and do the Mudhoney tour with Sonic Youth and history was not interrupted, thank God.

“This became the basis for the first song on [TAD’s Sub Pop debut LP] God’s Balls–“Behemoth”–which I wrote about that night.”

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