Last August 2011 a Facebook reunion group got started by people that used to attend a little pizza joint on Tate Street in Greensboro, NC called Friday’s. It was owned by Steve and Sharon Hayner and what made the place so remarkable was that they were from NYC and knew many of the innovative Alternative rock bands during the early 1980’s.
They cleared out a section of the restaurant, built a small stage, and featured local and national groups 4-5 nights a week—in addition to serving up delicious New York style pizza and subs. Local artists included Treva Spontaine and the Graphics, The Alibis, The OtherMothers, Let’s Active, Tornado, the Truehearts, and Dakota Joe…..but the real story was with the contacts the Hayners had with the national acts that were touring. Soon they began booking bands like R.E.M., the Bad Brains, Jason and The Nashville Scorchers, Black Flag, Evan Johns and The H-Bombs, The dB’s, The Violent Femmes, Root Boy Slim and The Sex Change Band and a slew of national acts that really had no business being in Greensboro. This remarkable experience came to an end in late 1983 to the dismay of all the participants and was never really duplicated in this area again.
Facebook gave a platform for the old crowd to reconnect and the afternoon the group started 83 people had joined…..and the buzz began. The OtherMothers stepped up first—then came Tornado, Stratocruiser with The Village Pistols, Butter, Treva and The Graphic, and finally the F-Art Ensemble. Burley Hayes offered his venue, The Somewhere Else Tavern, to host the show in December. Jim Hoyle of Audio & Light donated a backline of drums, huge Marshall guitar amps, a bass cabinet, and all the gear we would need to make the transition between bands go smoothly. Local personalities of the day—Also Aswell and Anti Claus signed on for comic relief and we were off to the races. We decided to make it a benefit gig for the Greensboro Urban Ministries and I thought if we could give them a nice donation and give the bands some gas money the event would be a success.
The night of December 30th rolled around and the event took off. Tornado opened at 7:30 and the dancers hit the floor. Mike Nicholson with Stratocruiser fired up…..mutated into The Village Pistols and wound up with Mikey rolling around on the floor during a guitar solo. The OtherMothers came on after the only sound glitch of the night and ripped a blistering 40 minute punk set. Anti Claus worked the crowd between bands to ask what we wanted taken away for Christmas. Butter hit the stage with their cool brand of JazzFunk and the evening concluded with a vigorous 7-song set by Treva and The Graphic. Incredible.
Most of the crowd in attendance had not seen each other in 25-30 years. One lady came in from Vermont and a guy drove up from New Orleans for the show. I greeted one couple and asked if they just got here and they said they’d been here about an hour but it took them that long to get through the entrance because they were talking to old pals they hadn’t seen in forever. And that’s how the whole night went—everybody there was happy and upbeat, the bands tore it up with excellent performances, and there was much moshing and sweatiness. And after the dust cleared the club made a profit, the bands got a little gas money, and I took an envelope of cash to the Urban Ministries. How cool is that?
I have never been a fan of Class Reunions or Nostalgia Events or living in the past on any level. It is true that the past shapes who we are in the present and I am grateful for all of my experiences—good and bad alike. But The Fridays Reunion gave all the participants a chance to reconnect with old friends and enjoy who we are now—older, grayer, and a little more achy but seasoned and active nevertheless. Several of the people who did not attend told me “I’ve moved beyond that” or ‘I don’t do stuff like that anymore’ and that’s fine…..but I wish they could have seen how everyone turned out. A pretty impressive group I thought…..we should try to do this again!