The Purple Onion

Our shrine to the Tom Guido era of The Purple Onion - the greatest live music venue that ever existed...

Tom Guido's The Purple Onion
140 Columbus Ave., San Francisco

HistoryThe Purple Onion in its hey day
We couldn't write a better background piece if we tried, so here's a little write up on The Purple Onion during it's heyday and during the Tom Guido days from "Karen Eliot" -

"The Purple Onion has been a centre of San Francisco culture since its founding by Bud Steinhoff in 1952. The club is a small, dark, basement on Columbus Avenue in the North Beach area. The name came from a friend of Steinhoff's, Hungry I owner Rod Banducci.

Poet Maya Angelou debuted there, singing and dancing, in the early 1950s. Folkies The Kingston Trio got together and debuted there in 1957, as did Phyllis Diller and The Smothers Brothers (in 1959). Through the 1950s and 1960s the club was well-known for live performance, mainly folk music and comedy. It was the site of comedian Jonathan Winters' famous freak-out in which he took off his pants and was as a result hospitalised for bipolar disorder. Other famous performers included The Mamas and the Papas, Lenny Bruce and Barbra Streisand.

In 1989 Bud Steinhoff died and the club was taken into its second incarnation with Tom Guido at the helm. Guido continued the tradition of giving a chance to new groups, and as a result has put on some of the most enjoyable and lively shows in the city. Through the 1990s the Onion was home to multiple overlapping Bay-area subcultures, most notably mods decked-out in perfect vintage gear.

The club is dark and hot, with a primitive sound system and décor reminiscent of some cheap 1950s dance in a high-school gym, with minimal lighting and tinsel hanging behind the stage. The bar offers one, sometimes two, varying brands of beer, one cheap, one expensive, and earplugs.

While owner Tom Guido is always willing to give a new band a chance, his favour is capricious at best, and he has been known to turn the sound down or off on bands he doesn't like. He is maybe best-known for his antics, tormenting audiences with endless bad jokes or meaningless rambling monologues between sets (depending on his level of intoxication). Previous favourites of the Onion often seem to find themselves in bitter feuds with Tom.

The Onion has been host to a large variety of underground music, mostly local, but number of Japanese bands have also played there. In the late 1990s Davie Allan (legendary surf guitarist who, with The Arrows, recorded soundtrack music for teenploitation flick Wild in the Streets, among others) returned from retirement there...

Other bands that have played at the Onion [in this era] include Estrus Records' The Makers, surf groups like The Aquamen, The Phantom Surfers and L.A.'s The Bomboras and The Neptunas; garage rockers The Trashwomen, The Dukes of Hamburg and the Count Backwards; punk rockers The Ripoffs, The Loudmouths and Texas' The Motards; indiepop Go Sailor and Poundsign, ukelele duo Pineapple Princess."

Our Experiences
We moved to San Francisco from Detroit in January 1994 and quickly became hooked on The Purple Onion. Our brother, who moved to SF a couple of years before us, brought us there to see a Mingo 2000 show. We were instantly hooked on the band and the venue. Not only was it this great place to see underground (literally) music, but it was conveniently located only a couple of blocks from our apartment.

It quickly became our default weekend hangout, with a typical evening going something like this: It's 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night in SF. We'd leave our apartment on Taylor St., turn the corner on to Broadway and walk down Russian Hill sipping from a fresh Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for the road. Down across Mason St., quiet at this time except perhaps a late night cable car cruising by. Past the entrance to the broadway tunnel it starts getting busy as you reach Chinatown. Continue walking down Broadway - past the fabulous Royal Pacific Motor Inn, a kitch filled, fully functioning mid-century motor lodge that thows back a nod to the 50s & 60s as well as the Onion does - then three more blocks and you're in the heart of North Beach at Broadway and Columbus.

We'd turn right on Columbus and walk past the tourists. Past SF icons Tosca, Specs and Vesuvio, past the SF Brewing Company, past House of Nan King, cross the street and we're there, at the Purple Onion. We bargain down the $5 cover (Tom once told the doorman we could come free anytime we wanted so we don't feel bad doing the bargining), walk to the bar and order a $2 Pabst Blue Ribbon (this was before SF hipsters made PBR ubiquitous at every bar) and enjoy the show.

Above is a photo we took of host, bartender, light man, sound man, and entertainment provider Tom Guido engaging the Neptunas at the Purple Onion. It shows some of the features of the joint, including the tinsel behind the stage, the instruments from the other bands just scattered around, the cheap wall decorations, and my favorite - the purple/yellow lamp shade hanging from the ceiling by a string. When there was a band Tom liked, he would go over to that lamp shade and spin it to create some mood lighting. If the band was really good, he'd also get the disco ball going - those nights were magical.

We caught this show on March 28, 1997

Tom took a liking to us early. We played a couple of songs that he really liked on the jukebox - which wasn't too hard, the jukebox was a masterfully curated collection of 60s era garage rock sounds, including music from many acts that played at the Onion. One night after 2am and bar close, as he was kicking people out, Tom asked us if we wanted to stick around. Giddy as schoolchildren, we joined him and a couple other folks - members of one of the bands - sitting around talking music, drinking cheap beer and smoking a joint. For a while we were on Tom's good side. That's when he told us we can come in for free whenever we wanted. But Tom was fickle with the company he kept and a couple of months later Tom thought we were the cops. No more invitations to hang out after hours.

Tom Guido
A couple of photos of Tom from Leaders of Men

Tom Guido
This shot of Tom is in front of 101 Records


Another staple of the Tom Guido era Purople Onion was the DYI flyers, the one below being a classic example. Notice the "TEENS" label at the top! Priceless. Tom Guido's Purple Onion also had artists record live performances at the venue, just as the Smothers Brothers had done during the previous incarnation of the joint.

The Trashwomen

Tom Guido at the Purple Onion

We caught the show on Jan 10, 1997 from the poster above. Los Infernos put on a great show, as expected, but One Man Army was a pleasant surprise. Some of the other notable shows we caught there include Guitar Wolf from Japan and Anton Newcomb from Brian Jonestown Massacre (playing solo after his band left him while they were on tour).


Purple Onion flyer - Monoshock, The Humpers, Natural Fonzie, Spider Babies, Headhunters

Monoshock promo at the Purple Onion
Back cover of an issue of Superdope, Jay Hinman's SF based 'zine

The Stories
Below is a little compliation of stories and anecdotes from us as well as other various sources on the interwebs about the Tom Guido era Purple Onion...

Tom Guido at the Purple Onion

"The best moments were Tom grabbing the microphone to croon his compositions such as 'Lesbian Punching Machine' and 'I Don't Get Hangovers, (and When I Do I Like It)' or to interrupt a band's set (to the Hentchmen: 'Hey, didn't you used to be in Eastern Green?' to audience: 'Doesn't he look like that guy from Eastern Green? You remember Eastern Green?')." - Peter Borel

"There are many great onion favorite is when the rip offs played there of course, when somebody set off the fire extinguisher while we played, prompting Tom to jump on stage with the extinguisher, and belting out one of his classic lines, 'whoever did this, i'm going to kill you'." - greg lowery

"In mid-90's San Francisco the most unhinged place to witness rock'n'roll was the Purple Onion, run by Tom Guido. It was fashioned out of the remains of a famous 60's comedy club in North Beach, and the 60's theme certainly ruled here. Tom had a bit of the lunatic in him, for sure, but the place would have been just another club without him. He was always willing to give bands a chance, but he might decide mid-set that he didn't like them and pull the plug like that. Between sets you would often get a good dose of Tom's stream of consciousness rants (without having to pay extra). Legendary performances from the likes of Guitar Wolf, the Rip Offs, Phantom Surfers and Monoshock ensured that the Purple Onion will always have the status of favorite rock club of all time in my book" - Michael (image at right from Michael)

From Dan Geddes, 1999: "Hey folks, just thought you might like to read the new "rules" posted outside the Purple Onion in San Francisco. Tom Guido: insane but never boring. All spelling and syntax is identical to the original. Enjoy.

1. MEMBERS ONLY (Unless accompanied by a member.
due are paid.
3. YOU will behave in the club!
4. BE Careful. and take care of others.
5. when finished with your beverage or food deposit the empty in appropriate
recepticl cans in can holder, glass in glass etc. i don't think i have to
explain that subject any further.
6. new members must be approved by the entire group. majority rules.
7. chief has power to veto all group decisions.
8. wait for more rules.....

thank YOU


"I've been thrown out of clubs. I've had friends thrown out of clubs. But Tom Guido's Purple Onion... The only place where I've ever seen the owner throw the band out of the club!" - Dana Gier

"It was down a steep flight of stairs and felt like a speakeasy for lo-fi, garage rock misfits.Tom Guido, was part of the show. In between bands like The Loudmouths, Teen Generate and The Rip Offs, Tom would take the microphone and just rant. At the end of the night, he’d kick us all out, sometimes hurling insults." - Tony DuShane

Here's the obit from the Dec 8, 1999 SF Chronical: "Looks like legendary subterranean North Beach club The Purple Onion has finally shut its doors. Those familiar with the spots' notorious proprietor, Tom Guido, have sadly seen it coming for years. It was always part of the fun when Tom unplugged band's amps mid-show or supplied spontaneous rants in the middle of someone's song. Unfortunately, the club also became unreliable in terms of plumbing, beer supply and the bands getting paid. Lenny Bruce may have put its name on the cultural map, but The Purple Onion's known by punk and rock bands around the country for the seven-year run of the Tom Guido show."



The Bands
While "Alternative" was ruling the mainstream airwaves at the time, the SF Bay Area was fostering a scene of underground bands with sounds which hearkened back to the 60's, but had a raw edge straight from 70's punk. This Mojo magazine piece highlights the Monoshocks, one of the bands which frequented the Purple Onion around 1994.

A couple of photos of The Astronauts performing at The Purple Onion from Kevin Maeder:

Tom Guido Purple Onion

The Astronaunts at The Purple Onion

The Astronaunts at The Purple Onion


The Monoshocks at the Purple Onion circa '94:

The Monoshocks at the Purple Onion

The Monoshocks at the Purple Onion

The Stitches at the Purple Onion in 1995. Pictures from by Kym Agresti from the Bruce Roehrs collection, sent to him from the band.

Tom Guido Purple Onion

Tom Guido Purple Onion

Tom Guido Purple Onion

Tom Guido Purple Onion
Johnny Bodies, Scott Bodies and Tom Guido circa 2011 at Bottom of The Hill


The Gigs
Below is a list of acts which played (or were at least booked to play) at the Onion. This comes from the wonderful "The List" compiled by Steve Koepke with edits/corrections based on submitted info and our research:

july 2, fri -- Blank Pile, Four Point Star
aug 21, sat -- The Witchdoctors, Walter, Count Backwards
aug 27, fri -- Spoiled Brats, Johnny Pissbucks & the Swingin Utters, and Elka from Trashwomen
aug 28, sat -- Icky Boyfriends, Spider Babies, The Rip Offs -- The Rip Offs first show ever, confirmed by Greg Lowery. Set list here

jan 29, sat -- Red Aunts, The Rip Offs, Monoshock
feb 11, fri -- Natural Fonzie, Blank Pile, Monoshock
feb 12, sat -- The Humpers, Spider Babies, The Headhunters
july 16, sat -- The Rumble at the Purple Onion, featuring The Rip Offs and The Makers
sept 23 fri -- The Hairdressers
oct 28 fri -- Prodigals, Carlos, Baby Carrot -- 10pm
oct 29 sat -- Demolition Doll Rods, Monoshock, Icky Boyfriends
nov 4 fri -- The Makers -- *note: the band did not show up
nov 5 sat -- Wankin Teens, Swingin Doors
nov 11 fri -- Sheep Head, Jeff Brights Sunshine Boys, Paddlefoot -- 10pm
nov 12 sat -- Registrators (Japan), Randumbs, Buttafuoco -- 10pm
nov 18 fri -- Frenchy, Mingo 2000 -- 10pm
nov 19 sat -- The Kindred, The Dandy Warhols
nov 25 fri -- O'Grumblies, Trackstar, Pluto (Canada) -- 9pmdoor
nov 26 sat -- Panda, Broom, Panic Ear Service, Bomboras -- 10pm
dec 2 fri -- Seizure Boy, Loudmouths, Action Family -- 10pm
dec 3 sat -- Boss Martians, Troublemakers, The Smugglers
dec 9 fri -- Marzipan, Treblemakers, Hairdressers -- 9pmdoors
dec 10 sat -- Tanner, Pee, Cordoroy -- 9pmdoors
dec 17 sat -- Davie Allman & The Arrows -- 9pmdoors
dec 31 sat -- Ne'er Do Wells, The Scheme

jan 7 sat -- The Loudmouths, The Rip Offs, Skull Control
jan 20 fri -- Makers, Troublemakers, Treblemakers
jan 21 sat -- Blue Eskimos, Ultra Violet Candy, Daisy Spot
jan 27 fri -- Blank Pile, Walter, Icky Boyfriends, Blacktop
jan 28 sat -- Count Backwards, Spider Babies (Portland), The Shock -- 9/10pm
feb 17 fri -- The Dandy Warhols
feb 4 sat -- Men's Club, Crutch, Garbage Night -- 10pm
feb 25 sat -- Rakes, Bomboras (LA), Trashwomen -- 9/10pm
mar 3 fri -- The Boo, Candy Snatchers -- 9/10pm
mar 4 sat -- The Scheme, Evil I (San Diego), Black Diamonds
mar 10 fri -- Queers, Mr. T Experience, Red #9 -- $5 9pm
mar 11 sat -- Rakes, The Burners, Elmo -- 9/10pm
mar 17 fri -- Pluto -- 9/10pm
mar 18 sat -- Daisy Spot, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Dandy Warhols, Panda
mar 24 fri -- Paddlefoot, Molehill, Tucker -- 9/10pm
mar 25 sat -- Cherries, Loudmouths -- 9/10pm
mar 31 fri -- Fallouts, Troublemakers, Ditch Kroker -- 9/10pm
apr 1 sat -- Cockpit, Crutch, Solid Gold -- 9pm
apr 7 fri -- Marzipan, Dying Echo, Burners -- 9pm
apr 8 sat -- Three Stone Men, Orbit And The Purple Knifs -- 9pm
apr 14 fri -- Henrys Dress, Bimbo Toolshed, Seizure Boy -- 9pm
apr 15 sat -- Maybellines, Tiki Men -- 9pm
apr 21 fri -- Natural Fonzi, The 13 Infinity -- 9pm
apr 22 sat -- Tina Age 13, Trackstar, Starpower -- 9pm
apr 28 fri -- Frenchy, Tzamboni -- 10pm
apr 29 sat -- Evaporators, Hi Fives, Sinister Six -- 10pm
may 5 fri -- Face Down, Carlos!, Gasolean (Seattle) -- 10pm
may 6 sat -- Mumblin Jim, The Boo -- 10pm
may 12 fri -- Surf Trio (Seattle) -- 10pm
may 13 sat -- Swingin' Utters, Moist, Groovie Ghoulies -- 10pm
may 19 fri -- Boss Martins, Tikimen, Hentchmen (Detroit) -- 10pm
may 20 sat -- Hentchmen, The Drags -- 10pm
may 26 fri -- Squirt Gun, Garbage Knight, Parasites -- 9/10pm
may 27 sat -- Natural Fonzi, The Scheme -- 9/10pm
jun 2 fri -- The Boo, Panda, Brian Jonestown Massacre -- 9/10pm
jun 3 sat -- Solid Gold, Mumblin Jim, Marzipan -- 9/10pm
jun 9 fri -- Ultra Violet Candy, Henrys Dress, Pen Pal Letterbomb -- 9/10pm
jun 10 sat -- Monarchs (S.F.), Los Hooligans -- 9/10pm
jun 16 fri -- Aquamen, Pollo Del Mar, Aquavelvets -- 9/10pm
jun 17 sat -- Hilander II's, Bomboras, Iron On's -- 10pm
jun 30 fri -- Submachine, Brain Transplants, Seizure Boy -- $5
jul 1 sat -- Count Backwards, The May Bellines, Trouble Makers
jul 6 thr -- The Rakes -- $5 9/10pm
jul 7 fri -- Pieces Of Eight, The Scheme, Carl Rusk, Black Diamonds -- $5 9/10pm
jul 8 sat -- The Burners, Mumblin Jim, Clowns -- $5 9/10pm
jul 11 tue -- The Woggles, Solid Gold, Hi Fives -- $5 9/10pm
jul 14 fri -- Jeff Krebs, Action Slacks, Clockbrains -- $5 9/10pm
jul 15 sat -- The Stitches, The Lowdowns -- $5 9/10pm
jul 20 thr The Rakes -- $5 9/10pm
jul 21 fri -- The Brain Bats, The Flys -- $5 9/10pm
jul 22 sat -- Neptunas, Mens Club -- $5 9/10pm
jul 27 thr-- The Rakes -- $5 9/10pm
jul 28 fri -- Carlos!, Baby Carrott, Pee -- $5 9pm
jul 29 sat -- Rip Offs, Feelers, Leather Uppers -- 9pm
aug 3 thr -- The Prodigals
aug 4 fri -- Ultraviolet Candy, Hyperdrive Kittens -- $5 9pm
aug 5 sat -- Pomeraneans, Trackstar, Tina Age 13 -- 9pm
aug 10 thr -- The Prodigals
aug 11 fri -- Leftys, Mystery Girls, Solid Gold -- $5 9pm
aug 12 sat -- Stallions, Stitches -- 9pm
aug 17 thr -- The Prodigals -- $5 9/10pm
aug 18 fri -- Vulcaneers, Titians (Japan) – 9pm
aug 19 sat -- Lazy J's, The Scheme, Pieces Of Eight -- 9pm
aug 25 fri -- Action Family, Tight Fits, Satan's Pilgrims (Portland) -- $5 9/10pm
aug 26 sat -- Sukia, Tucker, 5 Ticket Ride -- 9pm
sep 1 fri -- Marzipan, Count Backwards, Bomboras (L.A.)
sep 2 sat -- Clem, 3 Stoned Men --
sep 7 thr -- The Boo
sep 8 fri -- Daisy Spot, Ida
sep 9 sat -- X-Teens, Cameltoe, Count Backwards
sep 14 thr -- Dead Bolt (San Diego), The Boo
sep 15 fri -- Action Slacks, Grady Sisters, Pee
sep 16 sat -- Chix Dig It, Solid Gold, Fastbacks
sep 21 thr -- The Boo
sep 22 fri -- Trace, Submarine
sep 28 thr -- The Boo
sep 29 fri -- Myopics, Hat, Budderball -- 10pm
sep 30 sat -- Hell Mach 4 (VA), Blankpile, Ida -- 10pm
oct 6 fri -- Actionslacks, Frenchy -- 10pm
oct 7 sat -- Smugglers (Canada), Neptunas (L.A.) -- 10pm
oct 13 fri -- Stitches, Lowdowns, Regestrators -- 10pm
oct 14 sat -- Bay City Roller, Ian Mitchell, Hilander 2's -- 10pm
oct 20 fri -- Henry's Dress -- 10pm
oct 27 fri -- The Pebbles (Japan), Maybellines, Panda -- 9pm
oct 28 sat -- Evil Hoodoo (Japan), Count Backwards, Lazy J's
oct 29 sun -- Ida, Harvey Danger -- 9pm
nov 3 fri -- Baby Carrot, 5 Ticket Ride, Pepper Corn -- 9pm
nov 4 sat -- Virgo Snakes, Troublemakers, Tiki Men -- 9pm
nov 10 fri -- Ida, Garbage Knight, Purse (L.A.) -- 9pm
nov 11 sat -- The Mutilators, The Loudmouths -- 9pm
nov 17 fri -- Trace, Robots In Disguise -- 9pm
nov 18 sat -- The Scheme, Woodies -- 9pm
nov 24 fri -- Invisible Men (San Diego), The Torpedos -- 9pm
nov 25 sat -- Disturbing The Peace, Spinning Jennies, The Resonars -- 9pm
dec 1 fri -- Teen Generate (Japan), The Lowdowns, The Reducers -- 9pm
dec 2 sat -- Brian Jonestown, Marzipan -- 9pm
dec 9 sat -- Lunchbox
dec 15 fri -- The Wynona Riders, Actionslacks
dec 16 sat -- Trashwomen -- 9pm
dec 29 fri -- Spoto, Natral Fonzie
dec 30 sat -- Blow Up, O'Grumblies, Lucky Pierre
dec 31 sun Dura Delinquent, Your Precious You, Hi-Fives

jan 5 fri -- Mensclub, The Burners
jan 6 sat -- The Scheme
jan 12 fri -- The Ravens
jan 13 sat -- Frenchy, The Reducers
jan 19 fri -- Tantrums, The Mutilators
jan 20 sat -- Screaming Bloody Mary's, Tongue Twist 69
jan 26 fri -- The Letdowns, The Loons, The Count Backwards -- 9pm
jan 27 sat -- Robots In Disguise, Blow Up, The Ravens -- 9pm
feb 2 fri -- Ultra Violet Candy, The Wingnuts, Pete
feb 3 sat -- Poundsign, Galaga, Creeper Lagoon -- 9pm
feb 9 fri -- The Makers -- 9pm
feb 10 sat -- Baldilocks, Myopics, Hat -- 9pm
feb 16 fri -- Dura-Delinquents, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Torpedoes -- 9pm
feb 17 sat -- Duster, Lunchbox -- 9pm
feb 23 fri -- Spinning Jennies, The Hairdressers, Mashie Nibblick -- 9pm
feb 24 sat -- Postal, Good For You, Automatics -- 9pm
mar 1 fri -- Land Of The Blind, Bond Bergland, Robts In Disguise
mar 2 sat -- Ultra Violet Candy, Granite Path, Tantrums
mar 8 fri -- Hilander Twos, Paddlefoot
mar 9 sat -- Pomeraneans, Henrys Dress, Poundsign
mar 16 sat -- The Count Backwards, The Gashouse Gorillas, The Mud-City Manglers (trash/rock/surf)
mar 29 fri -- The Loudmouths, Infections, Motards (Austin), Frustrations
mar 30 sat -- Tiki Tones, Neptunas, Wavos Rancheros
apr 4 thr -- The Ravens, The Spivies
apr 5 fri -- Fables, Saturn V, Groovie Ghoulies
apr 6 sat -- Brian Jonestown Massacre, Sweet Cream U.S.A. Dura Delinquent
apr 19 fri -- Action Slacks, Grady Sisters
apr 26 fri -- Dime Bag Child, Rrope, Fuck -- $5 9pm
apr 27 sat -- Elfin Magic, Queer Pills, Creeper Lagoon -- $5 9pm
may 3 fri -- Berserkers, Torpedos -- 10pm
may 4 sat -- Lunchbox, Portashrine, Duster
may 10 fri -- Noisestar, Zmirlinita, Trace -- $5 9pm
may 11 sat -- The Pants, Count Backwards, Phanton Surfers -- $5
may 16 thr -- Peechees, Dura Delinquent, The Drags -- $5 9pm
may 17 fri -- St. Andre, Scenic Vermont, Trackstar -- $5 9pm
may 18 sat -- Low Sperm, Dragon Rojo, Counts -- $5 9pm
may 24 fri -- Pomeraneans, Your Precious You, Pete -- $5 9pm
may 25 sat -- Decal, Betmars, American Sensei -- $5 8pm
may 31 fri -- Donkey, The Infections, Boris The Sprinkler -- $5
jun 1 sat -- Carlos, Keeners, Uberhund -- $5
jun 7 fri -- Panda, Dragon Rojo, Noise Star -- $5
jun 8 sat -- Electrolux, Good For You, Mashie Nibblick -- $5
jun 14 fri -- Maybellines, Saturn 5, Tilohs Band -- $5
jun 15 sat -- Monkey Box, Spider Babies -- $5
jun 21 fri -- Toiling Midgets -- $5
jun 22 sat -- Demonics, Spastics, Mutilators -- $5
jun 28 fri -- Ida, Creeper Lagoon, Wingnuts -- $5 10pm
jun 29 sat -- Dream Date, Robots In Disguise, Book Mobile -- $5
jul 5 fri -- Rrope, The Pants, The Culprits -- $5 10pm
jul 6 sat -- Torpedos, Drivin' Wheels -- $5 10pm
jul 12 fri -- Berserkers, Woodies, The Burners (ex Rip-Offs)
jul 13 sat -- Loli And The Chones, Spastics, The Infections -- $5
jul 17 wed -- Motards (TX), The X-Rays, The Loudmouthe -- $5
jul 19 fri -- Good For You, Carlos!, Me First -- $5 10pm
jul 20 sat -- Count Backwards, The Loons, Maybellines -- $5 10pm
jul 25 thr -- Electric Frankenstein (NYC), The Stitches, Lowdowns -- $5 10pm
jul 26 fri -- You Precious You, Dora Flood, Mover -- $5 10pm
jul 27 sat -- Shakes, Penetrators, Torpedos -- $5 10pm
aug 9 fri -- Fells (AZ) -- $5 10pm
aug 31 sat -- The Pants, Infections, Bobby Teens, Retards
sep 1 sun -- Lowdowns, One Man Army, U.S. Bombs
sep 6 fri -- The Vectors
sep 13 fri -- Weeklings, Loudmouths
sep 28 sat -- The Saturn V
oct 25 fri -- Laughing Sky (L.A.), 50 Million, Static Faction
oct 26 sat -- Uncle Dad, Maissa, Torpedos, Hyperdrive Kittens -- 9pm
oct 31 thr -- Torpedos, Your Precious You -- 9pm
nov 1 fri -- Reva, Kirby Grips, Matt Roth, Ida -- 9pm
nov 2 sat -- Fried To A Crisp (L.A.), Subincision, The Merciful
nov 8 fri -- Knittles, Umami, The Wingnuts -- 9pm
nov 9 sat -- Vaticans, 4 Nurses, Count Dante -- 9pm
nov 15 fri -- The Beautiful Uglies, E.coli, The Starlite Desperation -- 10pm
nov 16 sat -- Trace, Static Faction, Burners -- 9pm
nov 22 fri -- Torpedos, 50 Million, Towel, Lost Goast -- 9pm
nov 23 sat -- Decal, Odd Numbers, Gain, Heebee Jeebees -- 9pm
nov 24 sun -- The Spent Idols, The Loudmouths, One Man Army -- 9pm
dec 6 fri -- St. Andre, The Starlite Desperation, Vatican -- 9pm
dec 7 sat -- Demonics, Chineese Millionares -- 9pm
dec 27 fri -- Playing Field, Optimist International, The Distractionz -- 10pm
dec 28 sat -- Big Rig Inc., Hammerlock, Lost Goat, The Idiots
dec 31 tue -- The Merciful, The Starlight Despiration, Hi-Fives, Scared Of Chaka -- 10pm

jan 3 fri -- Spinning Jennies, The Suspensions -- 10pm
jan 4 sat -- T.N.T., Count Dante, The Champs -- 10pm
jan 10 fri -- The Randoms, Creeper Lagoon, One Man Army, Working Stiffs -- 10pm
jan 11 sat -- Kirby Grips, The Bobby-Teens, Vectors
jan 17 fri -- New Later Day Saints (Vulcaneers)
jan 18 sat -- Family Scott, Lielythe, Mens Club, The Pants -- 10pm
jan 24 fri -- The Tuesday Weld, Starlight Desperation, Distractions -- 10pm
jan 25 sat -- Odd Numbers, The Gain, Dura Deliquent -- 10pm
jan 31 fri -- The Workin' Stiffs, Reducers, The Stitches
feb 1 sat -- Reveltos, Pollo Del Mar, Berserkers -- 10pm
feb 7 fri -- The Suspicions, Tuesday Weld -- 10pm
feb 8 sat -- Pomeraneans, Me First, Decibels, Heebe Geebees
feb 21 fri -- TnT, The Pants, Botulism -- 10pm
feb 22 sat -- The Tantrums, The Mutilators, The Smoke Jumpers -- $7 10pm
feb 27 thr -- Dropkick Murphys, Reducers, One Man Army, The Randumbs
feb 28 fri -- Badassturds, Count Dante, Jumbo Shrimp -- 10pm
mar 1 sat -- Maybellines, The Saturn V, Rattlecans -- 10pm
mar 7 fri -- Undefeated, Spinning Jennies, Love Is Laughter, The Starlite Desperation -- 10pm
mar 8 sat -- South Bay Surfers, Chucks All Stars, El Quako -- 10pm
mar 14 fri -- Count Backwards, Retardos, Latter Day Saints -- 10pm
mar 15 sat -- Your Precious You, Pete, Good For You -- 10pm
mar 21 fri -- Torpedos, Hyperdrive Kittens, Nellie Blie -- 10pm
mar 22 sat -- The Randoums, Disrupters, One Man Army -- 10pm
mar 28 fri -- Petro, Junk Sick Dawn -- $5 9:30pm
mar 29 sat -- Creeper Lagoon, Tuesday Weld -- 10pm
apr 4 fri -- Kindred, Wrestlers -- 10pm
apr 5 sat -- The Loons, Dukes Of Hamburg -- 10pm
apr 11 fri -- The Pants, Champs, Botulism -- 10pm
apr 25 fri -- Barfeeders, K Car -- 10pm
may 2 fri -- New Mosquitos -- 10pm
may 3 sat -- The Spooky -- 10pm
may 9 fri -- The Hi-Fives, The Smokejumpers -- 10pm
may 10 sat -- Lunchbox, 7th Betty, Wingnuts -- 10pm
may 17 sat -- Saturn V, Maybellines -- 10pm
may 23 fri -- The Faggz, Junk Sick Dawn, The Muggs -- 10pm
may 24 sat -- MK Ultra, Creeper Lagoon, The Honeys -- 10pm
may 30 fri -- The Diabolics (England), Count Backwards, Maybellines -- $6 10pm
may 31 sat -- Laura Jaggar Band, Rattlecans -- 10pm
jun 1 sun -- The Lechers -- 10pm
jun 6 fri -- No-No Boy, Passive Agression, Queen Cobra, The Beautys -- $6 10pm
jun 7 sat -- Static Faction, Your Precious You -- $6 10pm
jun 13 fri -- The Starlite Desperation Show, The Lowdowns, The Drastics
jun 14 sat -- Saber Tooth Kittens, Bombastics, Jumbo Shrimp, Hi-Fives -- $6 10pm
jun 27 fri -- Kirby Grips, Kent 3, The Heebee Jeebeez -- $6
jun 28 sat -- 20/20 (Japan), Antonio 3, Bobbiteens, Count Backwards -- 10pm
jun 29 sun -- Mo Tucker, Magnet, The Deeds
jun 30/jul 1 -- Dandy Warhols
jul 5 sat -- Mark Downs, Malcontents
jul 11 fri -- The Mutilators, The Smokejumpers
jul 12 sat -- Dropkick Murphys (Boston), One Man Army, Workin' Stiffs, The Randumbs -- 9pm
jul 26 sat -- Pomeraneans
jul 27 sun -- The Deeds, The Dandy Warhols
aug 15 fri -- The Fells
aug 29 fri -- Neptunas, Kirby Grips, She Mob
aug 30 sat -- Neptunas, New Mosquito
sep 5 fri -- Dope
sep 6 sat -- One Man Army, The Bodies, The Forgotten -- 9pm
sep 12 fri -- Muddy Frankinstein (Japan), Flathead, Four Fiends
sep 19 fri -- Saturn 5, 5678's (Japan), Accel 4 (Japan), Maybellines
sep 26 fri -- Dura Delinquent, Heat
oct 3 fri -- One Man Army, F Minus, The Bodies
oct 4 sat -- Neptunas, Kirby Grips, Vinaigrettes
oct 17 fri -- Room 4 (Japan), Gyogun Rendes (Japan), Go Devil (Japan)
oct 31 fri -- The Torpedoes, Kent 3 -- 10pm
nov 7 fri -- Aquamen, Berzerkers, Tea And The Crumpets -- $6 9:30pm
nov 8 sat -- The Electrolettes, Sta-Prest
nov 14 fri -- The Filth F.C., The Reducers, The Burdens -- 10pm
nov 15 sat -- The Ray-O-Vacs, Bookmobile, The Loons
nov 28 fri -- Petrol, The Letdowns
nov 29 sat -- Dura Delinquent
dec 5 fri -- Tube Sharks, Pollo De Mar, Berzerkers, Poontwang
dec 6 sat -- Pollo Del Mar, The Berzerkers, Poontwang, The Tube Sharks -- 9:30pm
dec 12 fri -- Kirby Grips -- 9:30pm
dec 19 fri -- The Giraffe Had A Voice

jan 30 fri -- Queen Cobra, Resineators, Patchchord -- 9pm
jan 31 sat -- Me First, Black Scrap, 3rd Grade Teacher -- 9pm
feb 5 thr -- Maxx Average Corp. -- 9pm
feb 6 fri -- Tee & The Crumpets, The Dukes of Hamburg -- $6 10pm
feb 7 sat -- The Odd Numbers, The New Mosquitos, Clay Wheels
feb 13 fri -- Vida, Pete -- 9pm
feb 14 sat -- Dura Delinquent, Electrolettes, The Pantz -- 9pm
feb 20 fri -- Aquamen, Astronauts -- 9pm
feb 28 sat -- Dealership, BlueBlackRed, Electrobetty -- $5 10pm
mar 6 fri -- The Hamicks (Austin), The Lizards -- 9pm
mar 14 sat – Andalusia -- 9:30pm
mar 27 fri -- The Kirby Grips, Tee And Crumpets -- $6 10pm
mar 28 sat -- Electrolettes, Ngueyns, Calculators -- 9:30pm
apr 3 fri -- Blue Black Red, Electro Betty, Devil James, Heads -- 9pm
apr 4 sat -- Andiamo, Bodhicat, Chantigs -- 9pm
apr 10 fri -- Low Rent, Hat -- 9pm
apr 11 sat -- Dealership -- 9pm
apr 17 fri -- Dukes Of Hamburgh, Saturn Five, Hi-Fives -- 9pm
apr 24 fri -- The Cogs, The Bodies, The Make Love Traveling, 4 O'Clock Jug Band, Blues Revival Family, The Pants -- 9pm
apr 25 sat -- Cottonhead, Petrol, Blueland -- 9pm
may 1 fri -- Neanderdolls, Deep End, Jumbo Shrimp -- 9pm
may 2 sat -- Chicklettes, Mauser, 17 Evergreen -- 9pm
may 8 fri -- The Audience, The Heat -- 9pm
may 9 sat -- Piltdowns, Ravovacs -- 9pm
may 15 fri -- Planet 7, Gas Daddies, Berzerkers
may 17 sun -- The Stiches, No Talents -- 9pm
may 23 sat -- Devil James, Rouletes, Starlight Despiration
may 29 fri -- The New Lows, The Deepthroats
jun 26 fri -- Nema 7, Piltdowns -- 9pm
jun 27 sat -- Planet 7, Berzerkers -- 9pm
jul 3 fri -- The Sugarcoats -- 9pm
jul 31 fri -- Latest Flames (Las Vegas), The New Lows, The Shifters -- $5 10pm
aug 7 fri -- Tee And Thee Crumpets, The Tonebenders (Texas)
aug 22 sat -- Aquamen, The New Lows -- 10pm
aug 28 fri -- Elements
sep 5 sat -- The Pressure
sep 12 sat -- Kirby Grips, Torpedos -- 10pm
sep 13 sun Mt. McKinnleys (Pittsburgh), Tee & Thee Crumpets
oct 2 fri -- Botulism, Mouthful, Cherry Valients
oct 30 fri -- The Resineators

feb 6 sat -- The Dr. Explosion (Spain), The Flakes, Tee And Thee Crumpets
feb 19 fri -- Tee And The Crumpets, Dolly Dearest, The Dukes Of Hamburg
feb 27 sat -- Reducers S.F., The Authority, The Burdens -- $5 9pm
mar 6 sat -- The Weaklings, Jack Saints, Bastard Kids Of The Roman Empire
mar 20 sat -- Upsets, The Spooky
apr 2 fri -- The Torpedoes
may 1 sat -- The Loons (San Diego), The Dukes Of Hamburg, Tee And The Crumpets
may 15 sat -- The Kirby Grips, Sleeting Trance -- 9pm
may 28 fri -- Pressure Point, The Randumbs, Beltones (FL)
jun 4 fri -- John The Conqueror, The Mean Reds, The Pretty Girls
jun 19 sat -- The Bobbyteens, The Shortfuses (St. Paul), The Fevers -- 10pm
jul 31 sat -- The Red Barons, Crawford And The Rootbeers, Sir Dancealot And The Prancing Romanceateers -- 9:30pm
aug 14 sat -- Black Cat Music -- 9pm
oct 8 fri -- Petrol, dj Britrock
dec 10 fri -- The Roofies -- $5 9:30pm
dec 11 sat -- Dolly Dearest -- $5 9:30pm




We have some audio of Tom's rants captured live and songs inspired by Tom....


Live Riot at the Purple Onion 1997
Tom gets angry at something during a gig and, as was not untypical, grabs the mike and starts laying down the law. This is a great capture of Tom at his best berating audience members and kicking folks out of the bar.


Tom Guido Philosophically Stoogely by Monoshock
"Appearing on our double album, Walk to the Fire, this song is partly about and partly inspired by the experience of observing and interacting with TG. On the one hand, there’s the line 'I’ve got Tom Guido’s hair rushing over my shoulders, I said running down my extremeties' which turns his hair into a symbol for him, and then there’s 'I’ve got a corn cob under my sleeve, you know it burns me so easy' which refers to the time TG told us a lengthy story about some bbq he went to when he was holding two corns on the cob and had to take a leak. So he put one corn on the cob under each arm pit without thinking about how hot the corn was. But that song was totally inspired by our experiences at the Purple Onion and our interactions with TG." - Rubin Fiberglass


Maybe Tom Lost It by The Exciting Sounds of Savo
"Tom wasn't too good at dealing with crowds or situations. We had a friend visiting from out of town and we took our friend to catch the The Makers show at the Purple Onion. The band didn't show. Usually there are a couple of bands playing in an evening, so one not showing is not that bad ... it happened from time to time. But this night The Makers were the only band, and they actually drew quite a crowd, despite not showing up. So people starting demanding refunds. Tom freaked out and hid in the closet. The bartender chica tried to get him out, but he had locked himself in and stayed there all night until everyone left. We thought the scene was so funny we cut a tune on our 4 track later that night to commemorate the event." - Savo

"Maybe Tom Lost It" by The Exciting Sounds of Savo





Purple Onion flyer - Count Backwards, The Witchdoctors - Walter

Purple Onion flyer - Demolition Doll Rods, Monoshock - Icky Boyfriends

Purple Onion flyer - The Hairdressers

Purple Onion flyer - Demolition Doll Rods, Monoshock - Icky Boyfriends


2019 Jan 7
Rest In Peace Tom Guido


Have anything to contribute? Send me an email at c at tunefilter dot com.

Special thanks to Greg Lowery, Kevin Maeder, Mitch Fogelman (aka “Rubin Fiberglass”), Carolyn Keddy, Mike Desert, Ryan Daley and everyone else who contributed!