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Inn At The Park Anaheim, CA

Recessionfest '93

Friday, August 20th, 1993


7 p.m.

  • Inn At The Park closed after this show

  • LA Times Report
  Cadillac Tramps Go Driving for Pearls


For the Cadillac Tramps, last week was one of Shakespearean proportions: first a comedy of errors, then all’s well that ends well.

At some point in the middle of it, the road-weary band must have thought about trading its kingdom--or it least its much-abused 1985 Dodge Ram touring van--for a Lear jet.

The unlikely series of events began to unfold on Aug. 6 in Seattle, when three members of Pearl Jam’s entourage, including the mega-selling band’s bassist, Jeff Ament, saw the Tramps’ gig at Grunge City’s Crocodile Cafe.

They were sufficiently impressed to recommend the Tramps as opening act for two sold-out Pearl Jam concerts, Aug. 11-12 in the Canadian cities of Calgary and Edmonton.

But nothing was certain.

The Tramps played Aug. 7 in Portland, Ore., the last night of their five-week national tour, and headed for home. Brian Coakley, the Tramps’ guitarist, said it was his assignment to call in from the road to see whether the talked-about opportunity with Pearl Jam had panned out. The band wasn’t banking on it.

“We’ve heard this before,” Coakley said. “ ‘The Chili Peppers are going to take you on tour,’ ‘Nirvana likes you.’ ” So Coakley got some needed sleep in the van, and by the time he awoke, he’d forgotten about calling in for instructions concerning possible dates with Pearl Jam.

“It completely slipped my mind. When I walked in the door (back home in Cypress), my dad said, ‘You (screwed) up.’ We had to turn around the next day and drive back. We had driven 24 hours straight down the West Coast. We slept at home, then drove all the way back to Calgary, which was like a 39-hour drive.”

At the end of it, the Tramps, a group that combines the deliciously crunchy roots ‘n’ punk guitar playing of Coakley and Jonny Wickersham with a good dose of humor from animated front man Mike (Gabby) Gaborno, still had enough left to impress the audience and make some new friends in high places.

“The crowd received us really well,” Coakley said. “I look over to the side, and there’s (Pearl Jam singer) Eddie Vedder filming us with a Super 8 camera, laughing and waving at me and just really enjoying it.”

For the Edmonton show, Coakley said, Vedder came out and introduced the Tramps before their set. “He said, ‘This band drove 39 hours to get here,’ and that we were the best band that ever opened for them. It was one of those trips where it’s, ‘Wow, is this real?’ ”

The Tramps won’t have far to go tonight to celebrate their homecoming: the band headlines a “Recessionfest ’93" bill at Inn at the Park, 1855 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim. Tickets to the 7 p.m. show cost $5 for the five-band lineup, which also includes Big Drill Car, Sublime, One Hit Wonder and Exploding F-Dolls. For information, call (714) 323-8683.

As for plans to follow “Cadillac Tramps” (1991) and “Tombstone Radio” (1992) with a third album, Coakley said that “anticipation is all we can offer people now.”

“We’ve got a lot of new material,” he said. “I want to make sure we can do it right. We’re afraid to record this and not have it distributed well"--a hazard for all bands on small, independent labels like Doctor Dream, whose contract with the Tramps calls for one more album.

Doctor Dream’s president, David Hayes, says he’s open to a contract buyout or a joint release with a larger label that could bring greater promotional resources to bear.

In the past, Hayes said, bigger companies have tended to regard the Tramps as an exciting live band whose appeal might not translate well on record. Now, he said, “A & R people (from big labels) might think twice about the Tramps because they’re getting the endorsement of bands that sell millions of records.”

But Hayes hopes the Tramps won’t delay while looking for a bigger deal to materialize.

“I’m expecting another record. I would hate to see them sit around and wait. They had (album releases) in ’91 and ’92. We need one in ’93.”

No Doubt played their first big concert at this 1,200-capacity hall in the summer of 1993. It closed after a subsequent Sublime Show pushed the stage back into a hotel wall. - Spin Magazine June 1998

Bands performed:

  • Caddilac Tramps
  • Big Drill Car
  • One Hit Wonder
  • Exploding F-Dolls