[Staples] and I had just moved in together and we became a notch or two more boring) [we didnt go to that show]. Radiohead was more “my” band than Josh’s (’til OK Computer
, then even jaded music snobs had to give in) [and maybe] I was trying to keep cool and not go to pretend for his sake I didn’t listen to Radiohead in my red Tercel in the parking lot at our home. I have no freaking idea why we did that, and it haunts me legitimately 2-3 times per month since.
Another random memory: I was…watching Hepcat at 19 years old on the one and only time that I tried dressing “ska” (in a skirt, I guess?) and I looked around and all the girls were dressed like girls and all the boys dressed like boys, and in that moment I realized I wanted a much less heteronormative experience culturally than ska was giving me….from then on I would stand there every show and remember what finally deciding to be yourself was like. Then emo was born and we all looked kinda dumb for a few years, but we all wore the same jeans and tiny black shirts, and I was happy.” — Sanger
“A memorable time was when my old ska band opened up for Pato Banton there. I was so excited for the show since Pato was on the last English Beat record and when our trumpet player showed up AFTER our set, I fired him in the back parking lot and he threw a box of Lucky Charms at me. Slim’s has a nice, private area in the back to fire a bandmate without the whole world seeing.” — Staples
(photo: Robert Alleyne)
“I was a struggling musician and working as a doorman across the street at the Paradise Lounge in the ’90s and we would all let each in from the other clubs for free so I would head across the street to Slim’s and get to listen to so many amazing musicians play. It was a scene. We had a music scene in San Francisco and Slim’s was one of its high points. Those times formed me as a musician and I am grateful for being part of it. When this is over it is more important than ever for all of us to get out and support local music at places like Bottom of the Hill, Rickshaw Stop, the Chapel, and Great American Music Hall. Thank you again Boz and everybody at Slim’s for a labor of love.”
“I saw so many shows at Slim’s that I can’t remember them all. Luckily I kept a lot of my ticket stubs. Propagandhi, NOFX (once I saw them encore with The Decline at Slim’s. It was so emotional that sweaty punks were all hugging total strangers on their way out the door), Swingin’ Utters, Lagwagon, Tomahawk, Melvins, Dillinger Escape Plan, the Locust, Fantomas, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Lovage, Moistboyz (still have a scar from being pushed against the stage).
I can still feel the butterflies in my stomach when I think about parking at that Best Buy parking lot and hoping to not get a ticket. One time, my friends and I were waiting in line outside a Tomahawk show. This man was walking by and rolling something in his hands. His hands were black with soot and in his hand was a black ball of who-knows-what. He said, ‘Wanna buy some hash?’ To which I said, ‘No thank you.’ At which point my friends said, ‘Yes please.’ They purchased the mystery filth ball and proceeded to smoke it in the line. Crazy times…
I will miss seeing shows at Slim’s. I was supposed to see Propagandhi there on May 22. Not anymore. The future of live music is uncertain right now. San Francisco, like a lot of cities, has been struggling culturally for a while as far as venues closing and stuff like that. We may soon be mourning more great institutions like Slim’s (Amnesia, Elbo Room, Hemlock Tavern, Edinburgh Castle, Ali Baba’s Cave).
For now I say thank you. Thank you Slim’s. Thank you for giving us a place to go a dance and scream and sweat and take mushrooms and feel free. You are a part of me and I’m lucky to have been a part of you.”
“Too many memories to come up with just one, but here’s a pic of Me First & the Gimme Gimmes from the last show I went to at Slim’s! They were waiting to come up for their encore:
One that stands out is the Bronx/Mariachi El Bronx Christmas benefit show. Matt was dressed as Santa in the center of the floor with a giant circle pit around him. Radioactivity was my last show, a good one to go out on. But now I’m really pissed at all the shows I just stayed home for because I was doing so much pet-sitting.”
“Slim’s was a pretty important club for Swingin’ Utters. Over the years, we played there a countless number of times. We held a few record release shows there, as far back as A Juvenile Product… in ‘96. If we weren’t playing somewhere smaller like Bottom of the Hill or Thee Parkside, you’d find us at Slim’s, always. Between all the shows I’ve played there — with Swingin’ Utters, Filthy Thieving Bastards, the Re-Volts and my solo stuff — and all the shows I’ve seen there over the years, this is a particularly sad closure.”
“I’ve seen my favorite shows at Slim’s so playing there always comes along with this crazy anxiety and excitement. We came through with the Bouncing Souls and got to do a hometown show after being nice and loose from the road. The Souls are the nicest guys and the Slim’s staff is incredible so the energy was perfect, from the downstairs scene to the back of the club. It felt like the kind of show that could’ve been a favorite if I was watching.”
Fat Mike, NOFX
(photo: Alan Snodgrass)
“My favorite memory is when NOFX did three nights in a row and had over 200 person guest lists every night. So the staff at Slim’s set up kegs in the alley for our guests. We had 200 people partying in the alley every night ’til closing! Slim’s has the best staff ever!”
(photoL Robb Klassen)
“SLIM’S ?? I saw so many great shows there, of course…the one’s that stand out for me since I heard the sad news that it is permanently closed: SUN RA, my all time favorite artist (I have 235 of his LPs) played there shortly after it opened in 1988 — much to the joy of the adoring crowd…he and the band, led by Marshall Allen, Danny Davis, June Tyson, and John Gilmore led the entire crowd out onto 11th street for a “Halloween March” and then back in for a finale — one of the greatest shows I’ve seen. And I saw Ra a dozen times at least…
Others that stand out: Fred Frith performing his amazing and seemingly impossible-to-play Gravity record. . . Then there were two amazing Meshuggah shows there that practically burned the house down with sheer energy. . . of course, another big hero who played a great show there was Patti Smith back in the mid-90s…
This venue will be greatly missed & will be hard to replace in the era we are all living in now. . .”
*Interviews have been edited for length.