It was exactly 30 years ago today on Sunday, July 25th, 1982 that Red Wedding played the very first Theoretical party. Below is a piece I wrote for Billy Ingram’s book (Punk) on the subject….
One night Spider and I were out with Jim Van Tyne, Craig Lee, and Marc O, we were all out drinking and partying and then we decided to go back to Jim’s apartment (he got locked out, and had to crawl in through the window). We were talking about how gay people played such a part in the underground scene but we weren’t really recognized and there was still a lot of anti-fag sentiment coming out of the LA Punk thing, what can we do? It was then that Jim Van Tyne said, “We should have afternoon parties with live bands at the One Way bar where I DJ, parties where both gay and straight people can come together and enjoy the music. Everybody was like, “Yeah that’s a good idea…” I didn’t hear anything more until a few weeks later when Jim approached me and said, “We’re going to do one of those parties and we want you guys to play because Red Wedding is the only openly gay band in town,” and so Red Wedding played the very first Theoretical. The stage was made out of beer cases and plywood and they had a really crappy little sound system, and I remember that I wore a full-length peach-colored negligee for the occasion. The party was a great success.
That first Theoretical was deliberately done in a gay bar with the idea that gay and straight people could come together for these parties and to see these different bands and it would create a healing vibe and the whole anti-gay thing would subside. And it worked, to a large degree, suddenly every cool band in L.A. wanted to play a Theoretical.
I think Edie the Egg Lady played the second or third Theoretical and Spider did her sound. I remember her song, “Hey Punks Get Off the Grass.”
Spider and I lived literally right around the corner from the One Way bar in Silverlake in those days. It was surreal for Spider and I to go there any night of the week when it was a hardcore and sleazy gay cruise bar, and then on Sunday afternoons it was transformed into a venue for straight and gay people to enjoy bands. It was weird that it was the same place. Eventually the Theoreticals moved on to other locations.
Red Wedding played a second Theoretical the following year in honor of Jim Van Tyne’s birthday. This time we played on the back of a flatbed truck in a downtown L.A. warehouse and over a thousand people were there. Jim Van Tyne was a very cool person, he really cared about local bands.
Gay people were making the scene happen in those days, in a lot of those clubs… Jack Marquette was gay, Jim Van Tyne was gay, Craig Lee was gay, and In Touch (when it was a slick gay publication headed by Jim Yousling) and Data-Boy magazines were covering the underground scene in a way no one else was. When people write about those times they totally ignore the gay aspect.