Monday, October 31, 2005

My Memories of Rabbit Choir.

Via the new Rabbit Choir Blog:

Hey all you Rabbit Choir fans out there.


Come-on, you remember - it was when you were in college.

Well, actually I had just moved down to Southern California to teach at Cal State Fullerton while I finished up my Ph.D. from Stanford.

You met the bunch of hippies playing music on the street, selling their tapes and CDs, getting hassled by the man.

Oh, yeah: I remember exactly the place. It was on the southern steps of the ASUC building at Cal.

I had played with a band called the Troubadours for a month on the streets of Berkeley at a pivotal month of my life some four or five years earlier. I was always returning to Sproul Plaza where we'd played most of our gigs to see if I would run into one of them again. The location was and remains a touchstone for me.

And so when I heard the Rabbit Choir for the first time, I had this overwhelming sense that the same spirit of the place was speaking through them that had spoken through us. I felt like this spirit had preceded us and would continue speaking groups like Rabbit Choir long into the future.

And so I instantly fell in love with the group. I'm certain they played Full of Love and One Love that day. The religious universalism of the latter song was in full accord with my own philosphy, and so I was hooked.

You bought a tape, gave them a buck when they passed the hat and told your friends you just met a great band that is playing this Thursday (or Friday, or Sat.) at some bar or maybe some coffee house.

I still regret not buying the EP that first day: I never got another chance. I did get High Fidelity Hare Cut at Rasputin's, I think, a couple of years later.

The day of the show, you got a call from Doc, the drummer, so you decided you just had to go to the show. When you got there, you found that this hippie street band actually rocked.

Well, no. Being in So. Cal., I never made the phone list. Instead, the first thing I'd do whenever I was up for a visit was walk Telegraph looking for Rabbit spoor: the precious adverts indicating that there was a show that week.

I still managed to see the band a surprising number of times. Two I documented with poetry at the time were the I-Beam and the Berkeley Square. In addition, I also caught a show at some dive on Broadway in the City where the band wore marching band jackets (!). I think I caught shows at the Starry Plough at least twice, because I know my fiance (then and now wife) got to see the Choir at least once there. I drug my best friend from highschool to a gig at a pizza place in the Oakland hills a couple of miles from where I now live. (Jim talked to us before a show gave us tickets: how cool!) And, certainly, once at the Bison Brewery.

Your life was changed forever...

Well, of course: everything She touches changes.

But Rabbit Choir was special. The songs were hopefull, probably overly ernest and possibly dweeby. But, man, that's me too. I embrace that.

Or maybe you just drank a little too much beer, smoked a little too much weed and ended up inviting the band back to your house.

Certainly, beer. I did get invited to one after party. Good times!

And after the uncertain disolution I saw Stacie working in the Brewery. Lan embarassed me by saying we were the Rabbit Choir's biggest fans. Lan's English was not as good then, and what she meant was that Rabbit Choir was our favorite band. Stacie told us about the Love Props, but basically blew us off prefering to read a travel guide (probably just a bad day). We did check out the Love Props but the energy was so much darker, cynical and even violent. We mourned the loss of Rabbit Choir.

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