Todd: Was that the same night that Nicky Beat got into a fight with Tom Waits?
Alice: Yes. That’s all on the same night.
Kat: That sounds like a great night.
Alice: The story actually starts back at Canter’s. My version of the story is that we were leaving Canter’s and a friend of mine who was with us knew Tom Waits and said, “Oh, let me say something to my friend.” The rest of us were on the way out. I don’t know if it’s still there, but there used to be a whole pastry section, so we were all looking at the pastries and then she came back over and said, “Let me introduce you to my friend.” So we went over and met Tom Waits and his entourage. I probably said, “Oh, we’re playing at the Troubadour, please come see our show,” because it was the following weekend or something, right around the corner. Somehow, that was interpreted as flirting. Who knows, maybe I smiled or winked or something. Later on, my friend came back to us and she said, “Tom Waits really liked you. He thinks you were great and he thinks Nicky’s a dipshit,” or something to that effect. Nicky was just like, “What?” Angry and whatever. We had left the place and I didn’t think anything of it. Nobody did. The night of the Troubadour, we’re upstairs and we’re getting ready and Nicky had to play drums with us because we didn’t have a drummer at that point. We used to go through drummers…
Todd: Like Spinal Tap, where you can’t keep track of your drummers. I think everybody except Terry Graham…
Alice: Yeah, Terry Graham lasted the longest. So we’re there and somebody came in and said, “Tom Waits is here and he’s at one of the front tables.” During that time, it was customary for clubs to have these long rows of tables in the front and people would watch the band while they ate. He was there with a group of people and Nicky was just livid. As we stepped on stage, Nicky went up to a microphone and he said something like, “We have a celebrity in the audience and his name is Tom Waits…” I don’t remember his exact words, but I know that it ended with “pussy.” [laughs] So we did our set, and as we were playing, our friends and our fans, the punks, started to move the tables and chairs out of the way so they could dance. Pretty soon, there was a pile. There were a lot of tables and chairs and they were just thrown in the back and everyone had come up to dance except for one table and that was Tom Waits’ table.
He was sitting there expressionless, and at one point I looked over and saw a chair flying over their table, but still they sat there, seething. At the end of the night when we were going to load up our gear, the bouncers had locked us in and told us we couldn’t take out our equipment, not until that was settled. I was like, “This is stupid.” I was freaking out. You were talking about being scared. I think at that moment I was scared, because all our friends were outside. It was just us and a lot of these burly guys. Luckily, and I didn’t know this at the time, their only intention was to make sure that nobody interfered in the fight. They made a big, burly circle around them and they had it out. I remember trying to open the door and thinking, “They’re going to wreck our equipment and beat us all up,” but none of that happened. It was just Nicky and Tom having it out, rolling around on the ground.
Todd: That sounds very gentlemanly, actually.
Alice: It turned out to be okay. I don’t remember how it stopped. At some point, they got pulled apart.
Kat: But they needed to get their aggression out.
Alice: That’s that. We were released after that.