(It feels impossible to write about this band without mentioning GREEN DAY, so here you go) Many of you already know the drill with this band: four friends got together in 1991 or so and formed this band. There was a lineup change sometime in the mid-90's and this band still exists, more or less, to this day. One guy named Billie (singer/guitarist) was already playing in a band called GREEN DAY, who are a pop-punk band out of Berkeley. I think they're still around, but I haven't seen them play any shows in a number of years, so I can't confirm it right now. Their other singer/guitarist Jason White also started playing in GREEN DAY, even though no one outside of the band ever wanted to believe it. Their bass player, Bill Schneider used to play in MONSULA and went on to be GREEN DAY'S tour manager (why anyone would need a tour manager to play house shows in the Midwest is beyond me). Their drummer, Aaron Cometbus has been writing a zine since 1981 and playing drums pretty consistently as well. He was also GREEN DAY's roadie.
I first heard PINHEAD GUNPOWDER in 1994 on the "Very Small World" double LP comp with the song "Losers of the Year" and I was instantly enamored with it. I probably put that song on every mix tape I made for the next 5 years. I followed their albums pretty loosely and somehow stumbled across this tape...I think Aaron might've given it to me or I dubbed it off of him...I can't remember anymore. It's not important. It's a good live performance though.
Say what you will about GREEN DAY, their excess, their Broadway musicals, all the trappings of stardom, or how it is weird that a huge rockstar is still allowed to be in this fairly DIY band that plays warehouses but I don't hold anything against them...and here is why: A few years ago, my dear partner, Anandi was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a terrible time, to say the very least. As punks, I wondered what could possibly be done to help out financially. As usual, we (myself, Gaybob, Anandi and Eggplant) decided to set up a benefit show to help out with medical bills and the cost of living, but how the hell could we get hundreds of people to come see our dumb bands? We couldn't. We needed a headliner..a band that would sell out Gilman. One of our early, funny ideas was to get LUDICRA and GRASS WIDOW on the same show, but we soon dropped it in favor of getting PINHEAD GUNPOWDER (GRASS WIDOW still played...we never got around to asking LUDICRA). We joked that PINHEAD GUNPOWDER owed it to Anandi by singing about her without her consent. So, we called them up (actually, I think Anandi did) and asked them to play the show. They couldn't do it when we had scheduled because the whole band was going to be in China on tour with GREEN DAY. We set the benefit show up for a month later and the band did it, no questions asked. They didn't want any money and they didn't pull any rock star weirdness. It felt like we were pulling off some crazy bullshit, getting some people who had just been on the fucking Grammys a week earlier to play Gilman. Also, they were great and we made a fuck-ton of money for the benefit. I could have done without the psycho-#1-GREEN DAY fans who showed up, claimed their spots in front of the stage for the entire show and wouldn't move or dance until Billie Joe hit the stage, but what can you do? It was a great show and every band ruled it. Unlike every other Internet outlet that covered this show, I will tell you the other bands that played. The lineup was DIRTY MARQUEE, FLEABAG, MUTOID MEN and the aforementioned GRASS WIDOW. All of the bands were great and did their best to make it a memorable night. I can't thank every person enough. Gilman sold out that night and gave Anandi a huge cut of the money for expenses. The sad thing was is that all of that money was used pretty quickly on medications, but they were needed and appreciated. Thanks everyone for your help and enjoy this tape that has nothing to do with that show.
Download Pinhead Gunpowder on KALX
Link updated Dec 2017
Link updated Dec 2017
Funny side story: I was told to run to the Gilman office as soon as PG finished their set that night to get the money. As soon as they hit the last note, I started running across the room. I ran full speed into someone else running towards the front door to leave. We both caught each other from falling and we both started apologizing at the same time. I looked up and it was Mike Dirnt from GREEN DAY. Then we both continued running towards our respective doors.