Can’t fight the seether…..

A pattern revealed itself early on in regards to my musical preferences — female-fronted bands dominated the mix tapes I made and the vinyl records I bought. A cynic would say that I only gravitated to artists like Liz Phair, Veruca Salt, PJ Harvey and Lush simply because of their looks. That cynic would be wrong on almost every count. They would be right on one — Veruca Salt.

I’d only heard Veruca Salt’s first hit ‘Seether’ when they were added to Hole’s 1994 tour. This may come as a shock to those reading this under the age of 25, but Courtney Love’s band was HUGE at this time. I had tried to get tickets for their show at St. Andrew’s Hall, but it was sold out. None of my contacts were able to score tickets, and radio station contests came up empty (In the Detroit area, when 89X first started playing alternative music in 1991, they would give out tickets for concerts every hour on the hour. I had mastered winning tickets at odd hours of the day and night. By 1994, my luck had pretty much run out, but I did score a trip to Lollapalooza ‘95 in Toronto before retiring from call-in contests)

Hole signed flier for the show at St. Andrew’s Hall in 1994. Veruca Salt was added to the bill after the flier was produced

Striking out with obtaining tickets the standard way, I went to the record store, purchased 7" singles from Hole (Miss World), Madder Rose and Veruca Salt (Seether). I went to my home away from home, St. Andrew’s Hall at about 2pm in hopes of a last minute ticket release. Being a Saturday, there was already a pretty large crowd outside the venue which meant the odds of the headliner signing were very low. The support acts were a much better option, but the crowd (at least 35 people) was making me think about just going home. Then, Veruca Salt showed up.

Because they had been added to the bill at the last minute, most people in the crowd were unaware of their presence, and in this pre-internet age, most didn’t even know what they looked like. I’m not a person to be star-struck, but Louise Post turned me into a 23-year-old fanboy that day. I could barely ask for her signature as she smiled at me and said “Of course. What’s your name?” I stammered my name and thanked her for the signature and had a newfound determination to see the show that night.

The crowd got increasingly large and obnoxious (later in the evening I saw fans taking photos of Frances Bean Cobain and her nanny on the street), so I decided some sort of drastic action was needed. I knew that Hole was staying at the Pontchartrain Hotel downtown and decided to drive over and wait outside by the bus for an autograph and ask if I could be added to the guest list. When I got there, there was no bus. I walked into the lobby and to my surprise, Melissa auf der Mar and Eric Erlandson were just sitting in the lobby looking bored. I walked up to both and mentioned that I was a fan and that I missed out on tickets, but would love an autograph. Both obliged, and Eric asked me: “Do you want to be on the guest list?” YES!!!

Tickets secured, I waited for Courtney Love, got her signature and high-tailed it back to St. Andrew’s. My girlfriend at the time joined me for the show, although I didn’t mention my budding crush on Louise. The show was fantastic. Veruca Salt was warmly received by the capacity crowd, and Courtney Love was even in a good mood and bantered with the crowd a bit, most notably as she sang the first verse of Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf.

After the show, I tried to get a setlist to no avail, and Veruca Salt was long gone. I vowed to be at their next show (which turned out to be the following March) and got a poster, and a vinyl copy of American Thighs signed. I recently spoke to the owner of both the album and Seether single and she is not only a huge music fan, she’s willing to sell them both back to me! Stay tuned…..

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