The Audio Experiments of Jeff Danos

Testube - Live Footage from 1997

Testube Live 1997

Happy New Year! I've just finished uploading a set of live Testube videos from a 1997 performance in Albuquerque. We had been invited to play a release party for the Cyberpuncture compilation. Also on the bill were other bands appearing on the compilation, including In Virus Tandem, White Trash Compactor, Nookleptia, and Filmstrip. These clips were converted from some old analog video, so the quality isn't the best, but it brought back some fine memories...

Christina and I drove with Michael Lauter (White Trash Compactor), Bryan Elsloo (In Virus Tandem) and his wife Amber. We were crammed in an older Dodge minivan, with all of our gear tucked wherever it would fit - under seats, on armrests, etc. On the way to Albuquerque, there was a treacherous stretch of icy highway in Denver near I-25 & Arapahoe Rd. A woman in a Honda spun out in front of us, and we t-boned her car. Both cars slid to a stop and we all had a chance to catch our breath, only to notice a massive Cadillac sliding towards us from behind. Those few seconds before impact seemed to last an eternity. Old Cadillacs (or perhaps it was a Lincoln) weigh a lot.

There were probably a dozen accidents within a quarter mile stretch of the highway. One even involved a school bus and bucket truck. The police asked if anyone was injured, and then advised us to pull off the road. I called my father from a payphone at a nearby McDonald's (the van was his), and he suggested that we turn back. But the van didn't look too bad, and we were determined to carry on. So we forged ahead, ignoring the weather and the $800+ worth of hidden damage that had been caused. I was more concerned about my synth that was sitting near the tailgate, where the Cadillac had attacked us. Would I open the keyboard case in Albuquerque and discover a pile of fragmented plastic and faux ivory? Somewhere near Trinidad, we picked up Darian from the band Filmstrip on the side of the road. Apparently one of their vehicles had died on the way down.

We met the other bands for lunch at a Taco Bell somewhere in northern New Mexico. We got some interesting looks from the locals, particularly since Filmstrip already had their stage makeup on. (I can't imagine that too many New Mexicans are accustomed to seeing upside down crosses painted on peoples' foreheads.) We arrived late for the show, so the entire schedule was delayed. White Trash Compactor played first, then In Virus Tandem, then me (Testube), and Nookleptia. I don't think Filmstrip (the last band to play) went on stage until nearly 2am. It was a rough night, and there were too many bands on the roster for such a late start, but after all we had been through none of the bands wanted to cancel.

The venue, known as "The Central", was strange - Tommy T told us that it used to be some sort of cosmetology school. There were lots of small rooms and corridors that one could easily get lost in. There was also a video arcade and a separate room with a dancefloor and industrial/goth deejays who continued to spin while we were performing, which seemed rude. The room we played in was long and narrow, and sloped down towards the stage, almost like a formal theater, but the echoes off of the back wall were pretty bad. Brendan from Filmstrip also complained that the sound system was inadequate. (I think Tommy appeased him with some pot.) The crowd there was different - not the usual goth-industrial fashion show we had grown accustomed to back in Denver. These people looked fairly normal, except for one middle-aged man with a patent leather jumpsuit and coke-bottle glasses. He was an anomaly, but he danced the whole time and seemed to be really enjoying himself, so you can't knock him. You may catch a glimpse of him in the videos.

At our hotel later that night (morning?), the innkeeper gave us a double room that looked like it had already been wrecked by another band. The furniture was all damaged and the television was missing. Do hotels keep a pre-damaged "band room" on hand for such occasions? We complained the next day, but the guy at the desk told us we'd have to wait four or five hours for the manager to arrive. So we left. Our proceeds from the show paid for the room and perhaps a meal or two - the rest was out-of-pocket. But it was a crazy experience that I will never forget.

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