Surrender

Our name was going to be “Drop” — something to do with Madonna dropping a baby, I think; I never asked — but this is when every band in San Diego had a one-word name, so we went with “Ten Ton Pug” instead. Then every band in San Diego had a three-word name, and we were hosed.

Our singer had photocopied a movie poster for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and superimposed a photo of a pug onto it. He was slick that way, and I used to run his artwork in the zine I published back then.

So, the 50 Foot Woman’s pug weighed, you guessed it, ten tons. I think technically he was her “Wonderpug Snookie,” but you can’t really call a band “Wonderpug Snookie.”

I dunno, maybe you can. Maybe we should have, but we didn’t. Our singer wrote lyrics about people suffering from AIDS, I quoted the Tao Te Ching. Yeah, we were totally connected.

Nobody cared. We were young and dabbling at disaffection. We ate unbalanced meals, sat on cliffs overlooking the beach, and lamented things we thought we understood.

We had no clue.

I’ve told you about our first show (although now I’m thinking it may have been at Granny’s, and not the Boiler Room). After I bought the Marshall, we landed a gig up at a place called Surf ‘N’ Saddle in Solana Beach. It’s still there, though I haven’t been inside since we played.

Some friends made promotional fliers, which riffed on Spinal Tap — a quote from “Sex Farm Woman,” as I recall. We showed up at the appointed time and watched workers pull apart the floor in front of the stage.

We set up our equipment. My mid-’70s Gibson Les Paul Studio and the spankin’ new Marshall, complete with Lt. Commander Data action figure on top for good luck, maybe some Mardi Gras beads. Basically whatever I could find that seemed like it might bring good luck.

Then the workers left. We didn’t know if they had gone on break or were done for the night. Either way, they’d left stacks of linoleum between us and the stage.

Someone asked the bartender what was going on, but he seemed as enlightened as we were, which is to say not at all. We stood around and stared at each other, wondering what to do. Our friends drank. I got quiet, because I always got quiet before a show, and turned to the television in the corner.

The Padres were playing the Rockies at Coors Field. Bob Tewksbury worked six strong innings and left with a 9-2 lead. Then this happened:

Bryce Florie pitching:

  • Vinny Castilla, groundout
  • Andres Galarraga, hit by pitch
  • Jayhawk Owens, single
  • Quinton McCracken, single

Ron Villone pitching:

  • John VanderWal, single
  • Eric Young, walk
  • Walt Weiss, single

Willie Blair pitching:

  • Ellis Burks, double
  • Dante Bichette, intentional walk
  • Castilla, grand slam
  • Galarraga, hit by pitch

Glenn Dishman pitching:

  • Owens, single
  • McCracken, flyball
  • VanderWal, walk

Tim Worrell pitching:

  • Young, single
  • Weiss, strikeout

The Rockies sent 16 men to the plate, and 11 of them scored. They now held a 13-9 lead.

Scott Livingstone launched a three-run homer in the top of the ninth to make it close, but the Padres lost, 13-12. I’m assuming we took the stage sometime between Villone’s outing and Blair’s, because I distinctly recall being infuriated with the former but not the latter.

The only other thing I remember from that night is that we played Cheap Trick’s “Surrender.” By the time we got to the last verse, I’d pretty well figured out what had happened to this season’s losers of the year…