Gherkin Raucous, one of the most popular up-and-coming bands on the Orange County rock scene, has been banned from playing at the Coach House, the area’s most prominent rock club, because of sarcastic and allegedly obscene comments about the club that one of the band’s members made from the stage Saturday night.
Headlining at the Coach House for the first time after two previous appearances as an opening act, “they went on stage and said, ‘Everybody throw your money at the bartender. The poor Coach House isn’t making any money tonight,’ ” said Tom Meldrum, the Coach House’s manager. One of the members also made an obscene remark about the establishment, Meldrum said.
Owner Gary Folgner, who wasn’t in the club Saturday, “didn’t appreciate the comments that were made from the stage,” said Nikki Sweet, assistant in charge of booking local bands. “If someone is unhappy with the way they’re being treated here, we don’t think it’s professional to voice it from the stage. They had no reason to be upset, by the way. Gary doesn’t want them playing here again.”
Sweet said the ban will start with Gherkin Raucous’s scheduled appearance at the Orange County Music for the Needy benefit on Dec. 17.
Gherkin Raucous’s trademark is satiric hard rock with a rambunctious, unpredictable and sometimes sophomoric bent. In another move that upset Coach House management, singer Darren McNamee and guitarist Warren Fitzgerald clambered without prior approval onto a balcony and threw themselves on top of a decorative red sports car. McNamee fondled a dummy seated in the car, in a routine that was funny when it began but wound up far beyond the bounds of taste because it took on an air of sexual violence.
Reached Tuesday, Fitzgerald denied that Gherkin Raucous, which characteristically uses plenty of expletives on stage, had used obscenity toward the Coach House. “I didn’t hear that,” he said. “The only thing said in a sarcastic tone was ‘Thanks to the Coach House for letting us play here because it’s really putting a dent in their pocketbook.’ ”
Fitzgerald said that Gherkin Raucous had enjoyed its previous appearances at the Coach House but that on Saturday “they treated us really badly from right off the bat. The attitude I was getting from everybody there was that they were doing a big favor by letting a local band play there. One guy in charge of hospitality said, ‘We’re losing $5,000 by letting you guys play.’ It’s been a band goal to headline the Coach House. My feelings by the time we left were (that) I didn’t want to play there any more.”
Meldrum said Gherkin Raucous received all the items called for in its contract, including a preconcert meal and free beer. Beyond that, he said, the club admitted 25 of the band’s guests free; the contract only called for four guests.
Gherkin Raucous’s drummer, Miles Gillett, said that even if singer McNamee felt that the band had been treated badly, he shouldn’t have criticized the Coach House from the stage.
“Darren took it on stage with him. It’s just a no-no,” Gillett said. “I wish (the Coach House were) a little looser about things. But we have to have the ability to adjust to each situation differently, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we go too far. If we had a problem with the Coach House that night, we should have kept it to ourselves instead of taking it on stage and taken it to management either before or after the show.
“I hope to play there again sometime. If I were a club owner, I’d probably do the same thing.”