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[whitespace] Coby Dick
Photograph by George Sakkestad

Come to Papa A Cactus standout was Papa Roach, led by singer Coby Dick.

A Million Memories, 1998-2002

By Sarah Quelland
Metro music writer 1999-present

NO MATTER where my evening began--be it covering a show at Shoreline Amphitheatre, the San Jose Arena/Compaq Center, the Event Center, the Usual, the Edge/Icon Nightclub, the Quarter Note or any other venue--nine times out of 10, I'd end up back at the Cactus Club. I felt comfortable there; it was kind of like home.

I remember the first time I stepped foot inside those dingy walls--to catch a show by Insolence. It was years ago, the place was packed, and this friendly young woman started raving to me about their song "1xZero" and singing the lyrics "What is a pig? / An animal with a gun." Insolence has come a long way since then, and it seems fitting to me that the band is playing one of the last big nights at Cactus.

I've seen so many bands there I couldn't even begin to count them or separate out the nights. I would love to be able to hit the rewind button and see (hed)pe tear up the venue as it did in 2000 or see Papa Roach's Jacoby Shaddix (back then he was Coby Dick) out on the street in the thick of the crowd hawking P-Roach CDs out of a cardboard box for $5. Some of the best times were when I'd be just hanging out, not there to see anyone in particular, and some band nobody had heard of would come out and blow everybody away--unfortunately, most times "everybody" amounted to about 12 people. That happened a lot though, and it was always exciting to see new bands emerge.

The nights when I wasn't "working" were memorable, too. One time, we were helping a local band member (who shall remain nameless) celebrate his birthday against his better judgment. He'd just gotten a new piercing on an, um, intimate body part, and before the night was done we convinced him to show it to us. He handed his Long Island iced tea to someone (who shall also remain nameless) to hold and proceeded to let his pants fall down to his ankles. He wasn't exactly the picture of dignity at this point, and, to add insult to serious indignity, the guy holding the drink poured the whole thing, ice and all, into nameless' undershorts. Yep. Those were the good old days. I'm going to miss everything about that club--the people, the atmosphere and battling Calvin for top score on the monkey game. Life just isn't going to be the same. With the bands and fans, bartenders and regulars scattering to the four winds, it feels like high school graduation. But rather than experiencing a giddy sense of optimism, I just can't believe it's all over. It feels like an important part of the world is ending.


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From the June 20-26, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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