LFA’s infamous Concert on the Quad, Illinois Wesleyan University, April 1991.

This recording is fairly poor and is probably only desirable to hardcore fans or former Lizards. The sound and mixing quality of the live recording is spotty at best (Serpentuh has said this is because our sound engineers were hopelessly stoned). Also, I only had access to a old, incomplete cassette copy. One of my favorite tunes, “Nursery World,” does not appear here at all, and for some reason “Dead Linus” stretched from one side of the tape to the other, with the result being that I had to manually recombine the song once converted to digital format). The protest tune “Runt” is cut off before the end, too. That said, this is pure rock’n’roll history!

(Album cover below from an original concert poster drawn–scrawled–by Gila and designed by Serpentuh, formatted to fit a CD Jewel case)


1 Stay With Me

2 Winter’s Chill

3 Fallin’ Down Drunk

4 Giddy With Dread

5 Runt

6 You’re Crazy

7 Been A Long Time

8 Always A Woman

9 Mick Says

10 Dead Linus part one

11 Dead Linus part two

–Dead Linus Complete!

12 Three Foot Blues



36 Responses to “LFA LIVE! IWU 1991”

  1. The Gecko Says:

    Bob, did you download the mp3s yet? Is the concert as good as you remember?

    I read your “memories” of the 1992 bandshell show, but since I have no myspace account, I can’t comment. I wish I had that video. That would be pure nostalgic bliss!


  2. Serpentuh Says:

    I did download the songs. I didn’t think they were “as bad” as you did…but yes, for the most part it was a bad mix of a band that was playing live 3 months too soon. All in all, though, you still get an idea of how much fun we (& the audience) were having.
    I’ve always cried over the fact that Runt was cut-off, because I contend that it is the best performed song in the set.

    I have a copy of the video somewhere…as do my parents. I wish I knew how to digitize from VHS and I would do a few songs and put them up on the site.

  3. Good lord, having a video up here would be against some kind of international protocol, wouldn’t it?

  4. The Gecko Says:

    Runt was, indeed, excellent.

    I have to agree with Gator: I’m not sure we’d be doing ourselves a service by posting the video. I’m sure it would be high comedy, though. Or maybe it would just be ho hum comedy. I don’t recall rockin’ out much during that concert. I think I’ve rocked more while playing classical guitar.

    I do recall rebelliously changing the chord structure of “cigarettes” from majors to 7ths in the middle of the tune which I believe ticked Chopper Newt off (which, of course, was the point!).


  5. I say screw international protocol. The only protocol I am interested in is LOCAL!

  6. The Gecko Says:

    I would love to see/hear CN’s version of “Going to California” from the bandshell show.

    And did we really do Three Foot Blues without Carm? I can’t remember that at all. In fact, I remember very little of that show–other than I started it with a version of the Star Bangled Banner, a la Hendrix. I do remember that.


  7. Yes we did do 3 Foot sans Carm. I believe Dave Zimmerman joined us on stage for sax and the Girls with the Vroom for backing vocals. It’s hard to remember as I haven’t watched the tape in many years. (I should dig it out or have my parents send me their copy.)

    I have another friend that supposedly can convert video to digital and audio. Maybe I’ll have him do both.

  8. OK. Update.
    I found the VHS of the concert at the bandshell.
    Not only is it in really good shape, I don’t think it’s that bad of a recording!
    Actually, the worst part is DEFINITELY that NOBODY was saying anything between songs. Gator started the last 2 or 3 songs…and working the crowd pretty well…but at that point is was almost too late.
    The funny part for me was that Chopper was complaining that nobody was speaking…and if you listen to the concert on the quad he couldn’t STOP talking between songs…

  9. I contacted my friend (actually my brother in law who also happens to be the oldest friend I have…known since kindergarten) and he is going to loan me his system for getting VHS to digital.
    So, hopefully, within the month I should have some videos up on the site AND mp3s of the entire concert to share with you guys!

  10. The Gecko Says:

    May the godz have mercy on us!

  11. Serpentuh Says:

    They will not…

  12. i think i remember that show.. at MacPhearson Beach, right?

  13. lfagecko Says:

    Yes. We played there again in 1992 or 1993 (I forget which, but Tom, aka Komodo Dragon was with us then), opening up for a much better band, as I recall. I don’t remember much good about the show, other than that my acoustic guitar string broke in the middle of a song.

    Anyone have memories of that show? Do we have a recording?


  14. Serpentuh Says:

    I believe McPhearson Beach is a nickname for the Theater Bandshell. So that was the one I think Gordon is asking about…and I will soon be able to publish audio and video for. (Got the stuff to do it this weekend but haven’t had a chance to hook it up or try it out yet.)
    I’ll post here when it is available on the myspace page.

    The show Gecko is talking about was an acoustic show we did a little 1/2 hour set for opening for some “bigger” band. There was some kind of (let’s call it) festival on the quad and we played in the same spot we did for the original LFA concert.
    It did not go very well to my recollection…we weren’t very rehearsed at all. Gator sang a bunch of the stuff originally sang by Gila since Komodo didn’t want to do it. (It would’ve been a 15 minute set otherwise.)

    Maybe I’ll do a blog on this performance with my memories…

  15. I did the blog.

  16. The Gecko Says:

    I read the blog.

    Kind of depressing reading, though. Although Komodo Dragon (aka, Tom) had a great voice and was an excellent addition to the Lizards, we definitely lost something without Gila and Chopper–we lost our chutzpah, I guess. I remember plenty of other problems and issues, but I’m not sure they’re worth talking about–although the godz of comedy certainly demand that we mention the AIDS benefit we played in which Tom tried writing some of the lyrics on his arm because he couldn’t remember them, but then couldn’t read them during the gig.

    Sorry I’m not posting comments on your blog, Bob. I don’t feel like having a Myspace account. They should allow comments by non-myspace members. Anyone can post on my wordpress blog–I just have to allow it first.


  17. Serpentuh Says:

    I’m going to try and post a “Lizard Memories” blog weekly about different things we did. I’m concentrating on performances right now. (Coming up: AIDS benefit, acoustic performance at the Wesleyan coffee house, show at the Gallery.)
    Then I’ll get into the recording process for each album. (Might ask for your memories ahead of time for some of it.)
    Then some more misc. (Designing/Printing & hand-cutting album covers for example.)

    This last one was a tad depressing, but that’s my memory of it. (Not sure if yours is the same.) It was just a lame show.

    I agree. I wish I could allow anyone to comment…a lot of myspace is a little goofy. I started using myspace because some family and friends were on it and it was very easy to start. It seemed like a good place for the LFA because of the number of people on it.

  18. Serpentuh Says:

    Bad news and Good news on the Concert at the Bandshell…

    – Bad, I could not get the video capture software to work properly

    -Good, in frustration I took it up to a place near where I work and asked them to:
    1) Convert the whole concert to DVD
    2) Save out mpegs of JUST the individual songs (cutting out the long, awkwards silences and tuning breaks)
    3) Save out the mpegs as MP3 files

    And it was surprisingly reasonable.

  19. Chopper Newt Says:


    I should have said “This is a song Magilla Gorrila stole from El Cabong… we’re stealin’ it back!”

    I used to have endless exchanges with Mark Hisler where all we did was quote that line from Rattle and Hum, putting different random names in the to and from slots.

    Ah, good times.

  20. Serpentuh Says:

    I was just happy that someone said something to the audience…

  21. Chopper Newt Says:

    Like Gila at the Boathouse. “That’s right, we’re f—— f——s. Here’s a song about a– f——.”

  22. Precisely…but with more f_ _ thrown in. (Remember, Chuck was in the audience!)

  23. i recall an LFA gig at the memorial center. i think it was post-Gila.. not sure. but you had Eric (someone) playing violin on “devil”.
    the jazz combo i was in opened for you. Dave “Salvatore” Zimmerman and i stuck around until you finished.. and i remember thinking.. damn.. what am i doing in this boring jazz band??

    p.s. 20/20 hindsight report: you should’ve had a young fiddle player named , who was at IWU at that time. ah well.

  24. crap! no edit button? what gives, wally?

    aw, just mouseover the thing. gordon can’t handle simple html closers.

  25. The set we did at the memorial center was an AIDS benefit, and you’re right, there was a combo on before us.
    I hadn’t recalled…at all…having a fiddle player until you just mentioned it. We did have a guest player and I think it was someone on fiddle.

  26. The Gecko Says:

    Wow, I have no memory of any guest musicians at that show. What was I doing that I didn’t notice a violin player?

  27. Unless there is some kind of “power of suggestion” kind of thing happening, I actually kinda remember that. Like it was an unrehearsed thing, he was there and jammed with us.
    (I would default to Gator…but he never remembers anything.)

  28. I contacted Andrew Bird’s agent and asked her if she would ask him if while he was at Wesleyan if he ever played with a band called Lizards from Afar.
    She said it was no problem and that she would ask and get back to me!!
    (i’m such a loser…)

  29. Well, his agent must’ve forgotten about me. I did find Andrew Bird’s myspace page and asked to be linked as a friend. If he says yes, I will ask through the website.

  30. ok i remember the fiddler’s name.. it was Eric Hansell.

  31. Never heard of him.

    By the way, has anyone ever heard from Komodo Dragon? I thought we found him?

  32. I found a couple of leads that HAD to be him.
    Same name.
    Went to Wesleyan while we were there.

    I e-mailed him at both different addresses. He never responded.
    He either didn’t get them or doesn’t want to talk to me.

    BTW-Although not true at all, I found out years later that he thought I was having an affair with his then girlfriend, Marcie. (She told me.) And believe it or not, he thinks the LFA song CROSSROAD was like my secret confession…

  33. That’s just silly.

    I was listening to Last Train again after Gordon’s little paean to it and it made me reevaluate the whole TP recording. Especially with some of the noise removed, it’s not a bad little collection of tunes at all. I liked Tom’s voice.

  34. By silly, what do you mean:
    – Marcie wouldn’t have “had” me? Because I would like to think otherwise? (& never would’ve while she was with Komodo…that’s just wrong.)
    – That CROSSROADS couldn’t have a hidden message? (It’s deeply hidden message was ‘use a condom’.)

    – – – – – – – – –

    I agree about the TP tape. I have gone through stages where I didn’t like it, but that’s mostly the recording of it, not the songs. I dig Gator’s stuff. I wish I hadn’t tried so hard writing songs like “Crossroads” and “Middleground”. (Although my drum part in Middleground is awesome…listen to the double-bass action!!) I just hear those and think that those songs aren’t/weren’t really me. I was trying to write what I thought Gator or Chopper would write. The only song that reflects who I really am is Hey Bert. [that’s just sad…]

    That whole album suffers from ‘little brother syndrome’. We could’ve written and recorded the best album in the world, but without Chopper and/or Gila it wasn’t going to be embraced. Their legend at IWU loomed too large.

  35. Crossroads was pretty clear to me, in terms of its meaning. Use a safety belt or you’re gonna die!? Anyway, I just heard more people are dying of MRSA than AIDS in the USA now, so…. I don’t know what that means.

  36. I think it is pretty clear what that means.
    People listend to my song and AIDS has all but been wiped out…

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