The Band


Bill and Mike were in one of the bands who rehearsed at the house-o-toast, my old house, while I tried to sleep. They had their hands full playing in that band and one or two other bands each, but they still pestered me, saying we should play music together. So late at night, after all the other bands had finished rehearsing, we started working out songs. Not to form a new band, but just as a release, without the worries or restrictions.

The problem with having a band in the East Bay was that everyone had five other bands, and anyway, I was always leaving town and couldn’t commit to anything steady. The problem with having a band anywhere else was no one had the kind of drive and the same kind of style as people in the East Bay. My band in Arcata couldn’t even agree on a name. I wanted to call it “Pinhead Gunpowder”, after the high octane green tea at the Arcata Co-op. They wanted to call it “50 Foot Hesher”. We couldn’t even agree on how to play the songs.

In the spring of ’91, after a few months of rehearsing and one disastrous show, I gave up on the band and living in Arcata. I brought the name and the song back down to Berkeley and rounded up the obvious candidates for a band. Bill and Mike, plus Billie who I had written songs with on tour. A band of people who were always at the same shows, always dancing, always hanging out. Dedicated enough to put all their energies into a band, but so busy with other projects and travels that we knew Pinhead Gunpowder could only be part time, once or twice a year for a few months at a time.

And that’s the way it’s been ever since. We’ve gotten together to work out and record new songs, or to play a few shows, or to do a West Coast tour, or sometimes just to rehearse for a few months and not play at all. The band is the one thing that has remained steady through so many other changes. It’s funny because we barely knew each other when we started, and though we don’t really hang out at the same places or go to the same shows anymore, we’re much closer now. The only big change in the band itself was Mike leaving in 1994, and Jason joining in his place. He’d played in a band with Bill, lived and toured with me, and was already busy with two other bands.

By Aaron Cometbus
From “The Pinhead Gunpowder Story” courtesy of Lookout! Records 1997 Catalog.