Jeff's Plaid history
It all started when we (a group of friends not Plaid) first learned about the underground punk scene in Paducah. Somehow one of our friends learned about a show at I think it was the jaycee civic center on lone oak rd. Several of us went to this show and it was up among one of the coolest things we had done in Paducah. I do not remember who played this show but it was more than likely MC2, Signal 30, and Brain Dead/Drooling idiots. We then made it a point to find out when these were happening and to go to them.
Somehow we hooked up with Wheeler Underwood of MC2 and became friends with him. I learned a great deal from Wheeler as at the time he was the one who had a big role in putting on these "Hall Shows". At the time he had a bass player named Connie I do not remember his last name but he was amazing. He was a poor black guy who had a bass but it was in pieces. Other than that he could not afford a bass. He would borrow a bass from someone mainly Wheeler to play the shows. He was also left handed so when he played a bass he played it upside down. Connie left town and I was invited to play with them. So now I was in the mix on these hall shows.
Somewhere along this time the Playful 8 formed and joined in playing the hall shows. During this time the National Guard Armory was where we had these shows. Wheeler rented the hall and also paid a guy to come in and do sound/lights. The lights were amazing for what was going on.
I was not in the Playful 8 as a musician but I was part of the band in the early days somewhat. I helped them record practices, lug equipment, etc. We even put on a few small shows on in Johns garage. Somehow during all of this we decided we needed to do a big hall show and do it up right. So we started the process of seeing where we could do a show. One of the first places that we tried was the National Guard Armory but they wanted way to much money to rent the place. There was no way we could raise the money to book the place. We tried some of the other Civic centers and it was either to much money to rent or they were not renting for bands anymore. So Ian from the 8 had a idea "Let me talk to my dad about the old jetton high school they have the symphony auditorium" We all were freaked out a auditorium that would be amazing. This idea was quickly shot down but with a alternative. The old basement cafeteria... So one day we all go down to the basement and I think we all fell in love with the place. Sure it needed some major cleaning as there were boxes of old crap all over but we all agreed that it was perfect and worth the work. So we cleaned out the basement as best as we could. Cleaned out the back room behind the stage area and made that our "Green Room". We were set except for a few things sound, lights, a date, more bands, etc.
So Brady from the 8 introduced us to Tim who did a bunch of theatre work and was into lighting. Tim also was part of a DJ company. So Tim and I started talking about what all we would need to do to get a show put together. We needed some lights and some sound gear. We compared notes on what all we had or could get access to then we talked about what else we needed to do this. Most of the equipment came from his DJ company and the rest we begged and borrowed. We also needed more bands than just the Playful 8 they were a good band but to draw more people we needed more bands. I do not remember who the rest of the bands were I also do not even remember if I was playing that show with MC2 or not. One of the bands had Daniel playing guitar and that was how we met Daniel. I got to know Daniel decently well and found out he was working at this new music store downtown. I started hanging out there pretty often as it was a cool place to hang out we would play the different instruments and wish we had them, or even have guitar pick fights. A guitar pick fight is where you take a rubber band and put it between your fingers and you launch the pick as if it was in a slingshot. Somehow Daniel and I started talking about forming a band. We started jamming together and even learned a few songs. All we needed was a special drummer. I think I asked John if he knew anyone who would be interested in being in a band with Daniel and I and he said he would. At the time I believe the 8 was practicing at Bradys house. They could have practiced at Johns garage but his dad was into some woodworking and would have to tear everything down after each practice. So John being in 2 different bands we all had a meeting to decide what to do about practicing.
Now a couple of years back there was a Paducah band called Signal 30 and they had this building called the Greenstore. Some of us had been there several times up until they broke up. I remember I was at their going away party and actually played at it. This was before any of us needed a place to practice so we had no idea who owned the building. We knew that we needed a place like the greenstore it was the perfect place for a band. It was just a brick building with a closet and 2 doors. So we headed out there to see if we could figure out who owned it. Behind the greenstore was a house that I do not remember being there from the past times I had been there so we knocked on the door and talked to the man who lived there. He told us who owned the property and that he rented from him as well. We called the owner and told him that we really wanted to rent the greenstore and why. He said yes and charged us $50 a month. So we had a building but no power which we really needed to practice so we contacted the power company and found out we had to give them a deposit. We had already spent all our money on the deposit on the building and first months rent. So I sold a couple of things I had and everyone else scraped up what they could and the next thing you know we had power and a place to practice. The greenstore was a dream come true for us. We had our own hangout with a couch, table, and some chairs. We had a cheap stereo to listen to music while we took breaks or if waited on everyone to arrive. We had a place to practice that was our own. So we started practicing luckily Daniel and I already had been working on some songs and John was a fast learner as about a week later Plaid had their first gig in Murray at a Earth Day show. We mixed the set up with some originals and a few covers and was a big hit.
Tim, John, and I started Greenstore productions to help put on our shows. John being in two and sometimes three bands mainly took care of getting the bands together and publicity for the shows. Tim and myself took care of sound and lights and just about anything else that was required to put on a show. Tim eventually did mainly sound and I did mainly the lighting. I even built a homebrewed lighting console that for a short time would shock people when they pushed a button. Needless to say I had to change the design of that. So with the greenstore, greenstore productions, playful 8, and plaid we took over the Paducah underground music scene with a force that still has people talking about it to this day.
For all of us we were into the music and we wanted others to hear our music. We also saw the hall shows that were put on before ours and we decided to be different in a way. We promoted all of our shows as truly a all ages show and advertised it as such also including a statement about no drugs or alcohol. We inforced this policy very strictly as we truly had people of all ages at the shows probably a range of ages from 13 to 50. With this and a moderate cover charge of 5 dollars a person we made a nice chunk of change per show. For a show we would plaster the town with flyers advertising the shows. We would get people who went to the different high schools to post them there. We would post them in music stores. We would post them up just about anywhere we could get away with it. We even had some commercials on MTV that we made about the shows on thanks to our friend Rod.
The Jetton shows were the best money makers as we had little to no payment on the place. We always had some equipment costs and we never really made any money for us on the shows. We always took a big chunk of the proceeds and put it in a fund for the next show. A few shows we even donated some of the money to a charity. For us it was not really about making money but more about playing music, having a good time, and watching others have a good time. So we used Jetton for quite a while until we got kicked out for some reason I do not remember. It could have been from setting the smoke detectors off to many times with the fog machines. This was probably the hardest part in time for both Plaid and Playful 8 we lost several places at around the same time. We not only lost Jetton our truly underground concert hall but we also lost our studio the beloved greenstore. The last concert we were supposed to have at Jetton got cancelled at the last minute and we were all excited to have a show so we got the word out to our closest friends to meet us at the greenstore and we would put the show on there instead. This was a very bad mistake. We had already had the cops come out to the greenstore several times for being way to loud past ten. This was the time we were planning on stopping however someone left the greenstore that night pulling out way to fast and almost hit someone leaving the subdivision that was not there when Signal 30 had the greenstore. This was the straw that broke the camels back. The cops came out we told them that they had been out in the past and we worked out a deal that we could play until ten. This time they said no as there were way to many people out and that the night was over and to leave. A few days later I got the call from the landlord pack up your stuff and get out.
This was a hard time for all of us and the stress got to Plaid. Sometime shortly after that Plaid broke up for a while. I do not remember how long we split and I do not remember if the 8 split or what. I do remember we got back together and for some dumb reason decided we would change our name to litterbox. We played one show as litterbox and got a bunch of complaints about the name so we went back to Plaid. I do not remember how many shows or how long we were together after this but when we recorded the album we gave a shout to litterbox by calling our record company litterbox records.
A short time after putting out the tape I got word that I was accepted into college in TN so I left town and ultimatly plaid as well. In the first few months I figured that after I settled in at college I would still go back to keep things going but it did not work that way. I got a job and a girlfriend and plaid died. After plaid died Nathan from the 8 joined as bass player and the united steel workers were born. I think I came into town once for a show and played bass on a song with my former plaid mates.
That is more or less the history of plaid from my memory and point of view.