The Touch (IPU094)
Tentacles, where are you? The inquiries continue to pour in concerning the Tentacles/Yo-Yo a Go-Go confusion. Though we at K are responsible for releasing the Tentacles only known recordings, even we are in the dark on many details concerning the band, their personnel and past history. We usually only work with folks we know; the Tentacles material "The Touch" b/w "Louie Louie Got Married" (International Pop Underground Vol. XCIV 45rpm) is just so sublime we couldn't resist making it available.
We don't have a lot of details on the renegade Yo-Yo show that was scheduled at Itchy's Cavern on Saturday, July 17. Like everyone else at Yo-Yo a Go-Go, we noticed the letter press printed posters that mysteriously began appearing early in the week announcing the show: "SECRET SHOW! The TENTACLES SATURDAY NIGHT ITCHY'S CAVERN DO YOU WANT THE TOUCH?" A number of naive out-of-towners made the extreme scene faux pas of asking "where is Itchy's Cavern?", to which the cynical (and equally puzzled) locals replied "What, you don't know?" The only other known performance by the Tentacles was a basement party a year earlier.
The phones started ringing here at K , and we had to admit we were stumped. But the Tentacles never have done things the easy way, and if they were determined to go up against Yo-Yo a Go-Go's grand finale, no one was going to deter them, and no one wanted to; the possibility of a live Tentacles show was so tempting, it was worth the possibility of missing the Make-Up/Enemymine/Tight Bros. bill that was to cap Yo-Yo on the same evening.
The excitement began to build. On Thursday, the posters announcing the Tentacles show were stamped with "SOLD OUT" in bright red letters. Entrance to the show at Itchy's became the hottest ticket in town, with a pair rumored to have gone for over $50.00 on eBay. Other rumors abound: supposedly Nardwar was going to release himself from the hospital in order to MC the event, and Itchy's Cavern was going to order a huge wedding cake that would be cut right before the Tentacles played "Louie Louie Got Married". I guess it must be true.
Alas, confusion reigned on Saturday when suddenly all the posters for the show where pasted across the front with a big CANCELLED. What happened? Again, the rumors flowed like black cherry soda down 4th and 5th Avenues. Some said that Itchy's Cavern burned down (arson suspected), and all the ticket receipts were locked in the office, so there would be no refunds. Another story had it that the powers that be at Yo-Yo had the city shut the show down, on the pretext of code violations. Another strong rumor traced the demise of the Tentacles show at Itchy's Cavern to a long running feud between two D.C. street gangs, the Dags (a gang of Spycyclists to which the Tentacles are allegedly connected) and the Skulkers, who have long been championed by the Make-Up and their ilk. Apparently, the Skulkers didn't like the idea of Dags moving in on their Saturday Night territory. One unlikely theory is that the Tentacles canceled the show because they were unable to make it to town in time. A group of Tentacle devotees from the Bay Area were going to substitute for them as the Alternative Tentacles, but that was nixed at the last minute by the folks at the Scene Control Room (thanks Quitty!).
We most likely will never know what really happened with the Tentacles and Itchy's Cavern. The Tentacles never made it to Yo-Yo a Go-Go, but all of us there felt their touch.
This is vol. XCIV of the International Pop Underground series.