ON THIS DATE IN CITY GARDENS HISTORY: November 24th, 1985 - Motorhead Cancels Day of Show. Fates Warning Agrees to Play, but No One Cares...

ON THIS DATE IN CITY GARDENS HISTORY: November 24th, 1985 - Motorhead Cancels Day of Show. Fates Warning Agrees to Play, but No One Cares...

The following is an excerpt from the book No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens by Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steven DiLodovico.

Motörhead/Fate’s Warning – November 24, 1985 (cancelled day of show)

Randy Now: This show was on a Friday, and that Friday I quit the post office after eight years to go on tour with Suicidal Tendencies. It was a huge gamble to quit a guaranteed government job with benefits. The very first show I did after I quit was Motörhead, and they fucking cancelled the day of the show. They didn’t like the sound system. We brought in the biggest sound system possible, but they really just wanted to go to Los Angeles. They brought up every excuse in the book. When they booked the show, they asked me to put them up at the cheapest and closest place I could. Normally a band as big as Motörhead would be put up at the Red Roof Inn, which was about five miles away. I mean, the club was in the ghetto! There aren’t any nice hotels! But they wanted the cheapest place, so I put them in the Trent Motel, which was $25 a night. I guess they got there, saw roaches and all the welfare people living there, and freaked out. I’m losing it… I just fucking quit the post office for this?! What the hell is the matter with me? I got a speaker with a microphone, put it outside on top of Suicidal Tendencies’ Winnebago, and told everyone who showed up that the show was cancelled.

Rich O’Brien (City Gardens bouncer): I remember Randy standing on top of the Winnebago telling people they could come in and see Fates Warning play if they wanted to, but if they had anything they wanted to say to Motörhead directly, go to the other side of the building where the road crew was loading the band’s stuff.

Randy Now: Before I made the announcement, Motörhead was in a car at the back of the building. I went back and talked to them, just me and the band in the car. I said, “We got a thousand people here who want to see you play.” And Lemmy—I couldn’t even understand most of what he said—was bent out of shape about the cheap motel. I said, “Hey, your manager said to put you at the cheapest and closest place!” And then he’s like, “Your sound system sucks.” I told him that his soundman is the one who agreed to this system. But they still refused to play.

Rich O’Brien (City Gardens employee): I remember standing outside the door while Randy was getting yelled at by the road manager, and the word that kept coming up was “inadequate.” Like, “The food is inadequate, the sound is inadequate, the accommodations are inadequate.” Everything was inadequate.

Deirdre Humenik (City Gardens employee): Bands were never the problem. It was the managers of the bands that were the problem. A case in point was Motörhead, which was one of my worst shows ever. The show didn’t actually happen onstage, but it sure happened in my world. I had to cook for 25 or so people. I made a huge spread, and they ate every scrap of food. There was not a morsel left, not a noodle in the pasta salad, not a carrot, nothing. Everything was gone. So, the manager goes upstairs to the dressing room to eat, and the food was all gone and he flips out on me, screaming, “You call this fucking food?! You call this food?! We asked for food!!” Typical manager. Screamed at me in front of a lot of people, but by the end of the night he apologized. He told me the band, including Lemmy, said the food was wonderful. But I had attitude, like, “You find all the people who were there when you yelled at me and apologize to me in front of them.”

Randy Now: After the band refused to play, I’m out there with the microphone going, “How’s everyone out there doing?” and everyone’s yelling and shit. I say, “Well, the doors were supposed to open at 8 o’clock, but Motörhead has decided to cancel because they aren’t happy with the room, the sound, and the hotel. They’re around the corner if you want to go talk to them, but it’s out of my hands.” And then I tried to sell them on all coming to the Anthrax show the next week. People wanted their money back, and we didn’t have that much money on hand! We had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to refund everyone’s ticket.

Deirdre Humenik: I think I was the one who had to go and tell people that the show was cancelled. Some people say they were the one, Randy says he was the one. But I remember having to answer to a lot of angry, angry people who had waited so long to see Motörhead.

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