Brian Reminisces

It was spring of nineteen eighty. The first night I performed with Cloverbottom at Frankensteinís we played four sets at forty-five minutes each, nearly everything at a hundred miles an hour. The next morning, my right wrist was so swollen up, it was almost frozen, and I couldn't imagine how I could do it all again that night. Rick Champion called and congratulated me on the previous night. He gave me a little pep talk and encouragement, and my wrist eventually loosened up.

I'd never been in a three piece band before, and it created an urgency in my playing to make as much noise as possible to fill any gaps. Mostly, it was about energy; whatever we may have lacked in virtuosity, we made up for in power, and it helped that I was already in good physical shape.

We played songs by bands I'd never heard of - The Flies, Gloria Mundi, The Buzzcocks, The Stranglers, The Only Ones. It was a parallel existence - we'd roar through nearly four hours of exciting and fun music of the day, adrenaline and endorphins pumping, then I'd go home late and wind down with spacey chamber jazz from northern Europe.

A small perk for us was that Rick Champion not only was the manager for the club, but for Cloverbottom as well, so we rehearsed in Frankenstein's (it had long ceased to be referred to as "Phranks and Steins") on Monday and Tuesday nights when the club was closed. As such, we sort of felt like we owned the place. Rock and Johnny constantly had their fingers on the pulse, and we'd get together and talk about other band's members and more memorable club attendees. There was an underlying sentiment that we could all get away with anything we wanted, and we pretty much did.

One evening before we got started, an obviously older woman showed up, dressed in semi-formal business attire. She had a younger girl with her, and had an aura of specific purpose. Martha Kibby (R.I.P.) was serving drinks that night, and the woman refused drink offers. At some point into our first set, Martha began asking questions, trying to figure out who she was and why she was there. The woman finally told her that she was an administrator with Clover Bottom Developmental Center for retarded citizens, and she was scoping us out to see if there was any shameful mocking or disgraceful satire going on. Satisfied that there was none, besides our not-quite-literal name appropriation, she left.