So I know some of you have already heard it, but here's my other Chrissie Hyde story … I think I've mentioned before that the Cleveland Agora was the club in Cleveland for seeing rock n' roll shows when I was a teen ager. It had a low ceiling and a low stage that you could stand right up against without any barricade between audience and band. There was a wooden dance floor in front of the stage and behind that a maze of tables and chairs. Behind those tables—towards the back of the room and up a few steps—were tall circular tables with tall chairs. There really wasn't a bad spot in the whole club.
Meanwhile, the club itself was one of the country's hottest live venues. Everyone who was anyone played there when passing through Cleveland, and I saw most of them. One memorable show featured a reunion performance by Cleveland's very own original punk band, The Dead Boys. From the size of the crowd that night, you never would have known that the city had originally turned its back on Stiv Bators, Cheetah Chrome, Jeff Magnum, Johnny Blitz, and Jimmy Zero; forcing them to move to NYC and take up a semi-permanent musical residence at CBGB's. The club was packed!
The show was a snarling, clawing, musical frenzy and at the center of it all was a short, spikey haired, whiskey guzzling, leather clad punk spitting venom into the microphone. A runaway train looking for a wreck, who somehow managed to dance, sing, drink, and spit in one continuous motion. Halfway through the band's set I heard a commotion behind me. I turned around to find a tall, slinky, dark haired woman dancing precariusly atop one of the tall round tables. Waving their arms, security gestured for her to “get the hell down.” The woman gestured back profanely. Finally I realized that the dancer was none other than Chrissie Hynde in town personally paying tribute to one of Cleveland's punk rock greats. She was moving like a deranged go-go dancer and it took three beefy security guards to finally end her fun and pull her down from her personal dance floor which had begun to wobble like a gyroscope when it loses its momentum. She shook herself free and then strode off in the direction of the bar, hissing invectives a lip reader could see in the dark. The song Chrissie was dancing to? The Happy Medium Song of the Day: “I Need Lunch” by The Dead Boys.