Well, I got gig scars that will never wash
As soon as I do another stamps the spot
Another pub, another band
Another night dancing with all the fans
But then one day the man said, now what’s this noise
I gotta shut you down so then men and my boys
Can save a little face and save our skins
When it come to the election
But hey! Stop bringing down the neighbourhood
You’re complaining like my mother would!
I remember the first time I went to The Tote Hotel. Zoe and I rocked up, dressed like teenyboppers, with tickets that I had won. We had no idea of the legacy, or where it was, and when we eventually found it, it was like walking into a whole new, sticky world. That night The Vandas played and our love for rock ‘n’ roll has never been the same since. We never could wash The Tote outta our hair and nor did we want to.
Since then, we’ve seen so many bands there — The Hovercrafts, The Wellingtons, Mach Pelican, Matt Kulesza and The Good Intentions, Ben Birchall and The Corrections, Bowling for Jesus, Jane vs World, The Crustaceans, Kids from Russia, Red Ink Spills, Dave Rogers, Skybombers, Swayback, Little Red, The Cheats… I’m sure there’s so many mores, bands come and go in this town, but The Tote Hotel was always there.
I remember Movember benefits, creating the actions to ‘Shake Some’, buying Zac Wellington birthday double shots, meeting boys and lovers, watching the crowd mosh and crowd surf to Mach Pelican, being thrown out at closing time, being invited back in week after week, and all the other hazy memories spent with my girls and the boys. One thing The Tote has never been is a violent venue. However, due to blanket liquor licence laws, this infamous rock ‘n’ rolll haunt has become a business that runs at a loss, with an owner that is financially and emotionally spent trying to keep up the fight against a government that would rather a quick fix solution to “alcohol fuelled violence” than actually putting any thought into a decision.
It’s a sad day for rock ‘n’ roll in Melbourne, but we must not stop the noise. Continue to patron your favourite live music venues and show your support, along with signing the petition – http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/petition . We may not be able to save The Tote, but we have to save what makes this city great.