Kids, before there was a viable public Internet, there were these wonderful things called hotlines. 94.5 KDGE–THE cool station in Dallas had one–and one night, on the VERY LUCKY night it came in loud and clear here in East Texas, I jotted down their number, because it was hyped for having tour dates, gossip, and samples of THE cool bands. The first time I heard the name Tripping Daisy was on their sampler. I’ll admit, when I heard the name, my first thought was, “God, I hope this isn’t another lame Grebo/Madchester band” (the era was lousy with ’em!) I hit the button, and I hear a guy with a heavy duty Texas accent loudly declare, “MAH DECISION YER DECISION THERE’S NO COMMON GROUND AHM SICK AN TIRED MYSELF”
I was HOOKED FOR LIFE.
Cut to a few weeks later, and I’m hanging with this girl I knew from high school named Sunshine. I’m looking at her tapes, and I see what is lovingly known as The Shoe Demo, and the name “Tripping Daisy.” She tells me that she got it in Dallas, that a very cute tall and skinny boy gave it to her and said he was the bass player. Not too long after that, I’m at Moondance Records in Nacogdoches, and I see a poster with an elderly man on it and a note on it that says their debut album Bill, is out now on Dragon Street Records! I plop down my nine bucks and I wear that sucker OUT.
I’d see them here in East Texas a few times, but my usual superb memory fails as to where. Rick’s On The Square in Tyler? The Capri in Shreveport? Clubs I can’t remember the names of in Longview or Nacogdoches? All of the above? Probably. Loud, great alternative rock with bubblegum loving frontman, bubbles and backing film, and an energetic elastic firecracker of a goofball frontman…they were GREAT.
But it would be in Lubbock where I would really get to appreciate them. They played there ALL THE TIME, it seems. Back to school bash? Yep. Post-midterm, late fall? Yep. Spring break time? Yep. Easter bash? Yep. Summer? Uh huh. Okay, so I’ll be honest and say I kind of drifted apart with their second album–hearing a sorority girl bar full of drunk girls belting out “I Got A Girl” at 1:45 AM happened way too many times than I’d care to remember, but it wasn’t the band’s fault. (In later years, I’d return to that album, I Am An Elastic Firecracker, and I love every second of it.)
Yet I came roaring back in when a friend of mine–the awesome and enigmatic possessor of an amazing sideburn, a fella known as Trini–told me that I should DEFINITELY check out their forthcoming third album, Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb, as it was a psych rock masterpiece.
It sure was.
Sadly, we know the rest of the story, and just as I was there near the beginning, I also saw what was to be one of their last shows, mere weeks before the sudden death of the uber-talented Wes Berggren, His death was heartbreaking, and it brought the band to a sudden end. I would make sure to be there and support the amazing new band, The Polyphonic Spree. And that love continues on, nearly 20 years later…and that love and support is now in a whole new generation with Tim’s son’ Oscar Delaughter, whose music is different than his dad’s but he’s definitely his father’s son!
All of this talky-talk is me being sentimental and it’s sort of off topic, because 94.5 KDGE would have turned 30 this week/month. It still exists, but not at that number, and not really to the same extent that it used to. Times change, tastes change, and various deals and corporate mergers and whatnot in the late 1990s confined the iconic station to a life of mediocrity and ultimately the collective memory of those who loved it. Though I didn’t really listen to it–I didn’t live in the Metroplex–but I’d always tune in when I’d drive through D/FW going back and forth to West Texas, and I’m grateful for them, as introduced me to one of my favorite bands.
Thanks for that, Brian The Butler, Josh Venable, George Gimarc, and others whose names I didnt know or have forgotten.