The common thread? The fact that Bauer and Rodriguez both liked them. "It was kind of hard sometimes," Bauer says today. "We got requests from tons of shitty bands, and it was, like, 'No, no, we don't like you guys.'”
A year after Clit Stop began, Kimo's started showcasing the same combination of rock and noise characterized by such varied Clit Stop players as Cock ESP, No Neck Blues Band, and Nautical Almanac — a mix that has filtered to the Hemlock Tavern and 21 Grand and into the sounds emerging from Bay Area bands like Deerhoof, Total Shutdown, and the pre–Yellow Swans group Boxleitner, all of whom played the Clit. "The weirder and more fucked up, the better," Bauer continues. "We wanted to push boundaries — we wanted to annoy people." Bauer moved out in 2000, leaving Rodriguez to continue to book shows at the venue under, Bauer says, the name Hot Rodney's Bar and Grill. Bauer went on to put on the first noise-pancake shows with ex–Church Police member and Bauer's Godwaffle Noise Pancakes co-overlord Bruce Gauld at Pubis Noir, a former sweatshop at 16th Street and Mission. Gauld is expected to put out a DVD of Clit Stop performances this year.
GIVING UNDER-21 KIDS ACCESS TO CHEAP ART
"The cheapness factor is a huge part,” says Cansafis Foote, sax player for the No Doctors. “In Oakland right now, you have a lot of kids who are trying to make a go at being an artist or being a musician or whatever, and almost all of them are broke. But they're all really excited about people making stuff, so they'll go to Art Murmurs on the first Friday of the month or they'll go to warehouse shows, and maybe at the end of the day they won't have any money in their pocket — and we're still going to let ’em in to see the show. That, or they're underage."
An improv seminar leader at Northwestern University and onetime music teacher in Chicago, Foote was accustomed to instigating music- and merrymaking when he took the lease in February 2005 at Grandma's House in Oakland. "Everything was kind of funneling out of that experience and just having the background with Freedom From [the label the No Doctors ran with Matthew St. Germain] and free exploratory music." Grandma's House had already been putting on shows in the massive warehouse it shared with Limnal Gallery (and at one time the Spazz collective), and Foote threw his energy into doing two to three shows a month — including performances by Sightings, Burmese, Hustler White, Saccharine Trust, and Warhammer 48K — until March, when, he says, an especially loud show by USA Is a Monster brought the police on a noise complaint. Foote, a.k.a. Grandpa, was already bummed because housemates who had initially said they'd help with shows "totally weren't coming through on that. So I was sitting in my car and watching the gate while everyone was watching the show and I was, like, 'What's the point of doing this? I don't even get to see the show.' So I took a ladder and put it outside the window. I thought it was fun too, because it was like a clubhouse and people could come up the ladder and through the window into Grandma's House, and then the cops came, and one told me they'd unlock the seventh door to hell if I did it again.
"I was actually kind of excited — should I allow him to unlock the seventh door to hell for me? Is there going to be a special fire-breathing dragon there for me? It was amazing. It's, like, 'Dude, there's some 16-year-old kid who's going to shoot some other 16-year-old kid down the street — go deal with him.'”
The next show was the deal breaker: police returned twice to open that door as a brouhaha broke out at a Grey Daturas show between audience members and various warehousemates. Warehouse denizens put pressure on Foote to halt the shows, and now he's moving out: "It was the only reason I was living there.