witchtheband.com

1988
January 15, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Acts: Hyde, Alaska

SET LIST:
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Fight Dirty
Keep the Light On
Love, Love, Love
Take It All Away
(No More) Suffering In Silence
Can't Take Our Rock
Take Me Away
Victory Without Pain
You're Not Loud Enough
Come Together
Jailhouse Rock
Saboteur
Wet n Wild

January 16, 1988
Anaheim, CA
Jezebel's
SET LIST:
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Fight Dirty
Keep the Light On
Love, Love, Love
Take It All Away
(No More) Suffering In Silence
Can't Take Our Rock
Take Me Away
Victory Without Pain
You're Not Loud Enough
Come Together
Jailhouse Rock
Saboteur
Wet n Wild

These two Jezebel's shows mark an odd point in the band's career: it would be the only occasions where they performed as a six-piece.  The previous year's lineup of Punky, Peter, Jim, Scott and Davin was in place, but now the band included ex-Lita Ford keyboardist David Ezrin.  Both of these shows were recorded on the in-house video system, but the quality was so poor that they were unwatchable and thrown away.  These performances marked the last appearance of guitarist Davin St. John.  Prior to these shows he told Punky he was going to quit, and following the show on the 16th Punky refused to pay him.  This caused Davin to drive away from the club with hundreds of copies of NOBODY SLEEPS in his car, and Davin and the albums were never seen again as they left for Oregon.  The photo above shows Davin at Jezebel's.


February 26, 1988
Hollywood, California
The Roxy
Opening Acts: Ruthless, Drive
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:

"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Fight Dirty
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Love, Love, Love
Take Me Away
You're Not Loud Enough
Take It All Away
Victory Without Pain

Can't Take Our Rock
AC/DC
Wet n Wild


The five-man WITCH lineup was back in place starting with this show: Punky, Peter, Jim, Scott, and David Ezrin.  A wet t-shirt contest was held on stage immediately following WITCH's show.  Hosted by disc jockey Thrasher from KNAC, it didn't take long for all of the contestants to remove their shirts completely.  The winner was a girl named Wendy, who ended up with Punky for a while.

February 27, 1988
Hollywood, California
The Whisky
Opening Acts: XL, Wet, Entice

These shows at the Whisky and Roxy were advertised as the "Wet n Wild Weekend."  Special T-shirts were made by the promoter (pictured at right) featuring the logos of all the bands that played, and included the dates and locations of the shows.  The shirts were printed in multiple colors, including black, white, and blue, and were given to the bands and crews.  The February 27 show was originally advertised for Club Lingerie in BAM #277, but the show definitely took place at The Whisky.

March 19, 1988
Hollywood, California
Gazzarri's
Opening Acts: Bullit, On Cry, The Mob

Pictures from this show were published in the March 25th issue of LA Rock Review newspaper. In the photos the paper wrongly identifies Peter as "Witch boss and singer Punky." As of early 2016, the creators of LA Rock Review were in the process of posting online scans of every issue of the newspaper. You can check them out at LARockReview.com.

March 27, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Acts: Armed n Dangerous, Immortal Axe
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Fight Dirty
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Love, Love, Love
Take Me Away
You're Not Loud Enough
Take It All Away
Victory Without Pain
Can't Take Our Rock
AC/DC
Damnation
Wet n Wild

The last confirmed performance of "Take It All Away."

April 9, 1988
San Pedro, California
The Dancing Waters Club
Opening Acts: Ripped, Ruthless, Prodigy

This is the seventh and final time WITCH and RUTHLESS played on the same bill together.

April 11, 1988
Huntington Beach, California
Faces Nightclub
Opening Acts: Spoiled Rotten, Danger City
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:
Toys In the Attic
Jane
Come Together
AC/DC
All Of My Love
Highway To Hell
S.O.S.
Jailhouse Rock
Night Train
Wild Thing
Can't Take Our Rock

This was a special show of all cover songs--with the exception of the original "Can't Take Our Rock"--to celebrate Punky's birthday.  Punky wore a shirt that read "Sex-N-Drugs-N-Punky Peru."  It was made by a female fan and given to him at the previous Jezebel's show.

April 22, 1988
Hollywood, California
The Whisky

Opening Act: Entice
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Can't Take Our Rock
Love, Love, Love
David Ezrin intro/solo
Take Me Away
You're Not Loud Enough
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty

This was a showcase for Atlantic Records and was one of the best WITCH shows ever.  In the dressing room just before the band took the stage, Punky told Peter to sing the lyrics as clearly as possible because the A&R guy really wanted to understand the lyrics.  Peter complied and this show exemplified Peter's great heavy metal voice.   That being said, the club's sound engineer shut off the stage power as the band came back  for encores (two cover songs: AC/DC and S.O.S.)  The band attempted to play--but without power it was impossible--then tried to persuade the engineer to change his mind.  He said the show had run over time so it was over.  Another showcase was planned for the summer, but in the end it was all for nothing: Atlantic passed.


April 29, 1988
Pico Rivera, California
The International
Opening Acts: Foreplay, Black Sheep, Kid Comet
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Can't Take Our Rock
Love, Love, Love
David Ezrin intro/solo
Take Me Away
You're Not Loud Enough
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty

This was the grand opening concert of this club.  Fred Coury, Kevin DuBrow, Carlos Cavazo, and members of ROUGH CUTT were in attendance.  Earlier this same day, WITCH did their very first in-store record signing at a record and clothing store in Montebello called Wild Rags.  Promoting the Nobody Sleeps single, the band rented a limo and signed records for approximately forty fans.  A video of the signing does exist and was used as part of a promotional video assembled by Tawn Mastrey.  The band signed the photo above, which was produced especially for the in-store.

May 13, 1988
Hollywood, CA
The Roxy

This show appears on a WITCH press release for Spring 1988, although no other documentation has been found.  Since it seems that the release was indeed sent out, it's likely that the show happened.

May 21, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Act: Layden

This was the final performance for David Ezrin as a member of WITCH.  He quit the band to continue writing, producing, and touring with Lita.  Immediately following this show Punky invited original guitarist Ronny Too to re-join the band.  Ronny, Jim, Peter, and Punky put their differences behind them, made peace, and Ronny returned to WITCH, playing dual-lead guitar with Scott Rickett.  Rehearsals were held at Bandwest Rehearsal Studios in Anaheim as early as May 26.  An audio recording of the band's rehearsal on May 26 has recently surfaced and reveals a forgotten song entitled "I'm On My Way."  On the tape Ronny begins playing a riff that Punky finds familiar, and he realizes it is a WITCH ballad that replaced "Spinning" in the live set.  "Spinning" was still in the set as of February 7, 1985, but disappeared soon after.  It's likely "I'm On My Way" found its way into the set around March and disappeared by the end of June.  A concert recording of this song is not known to exist, so the partial performance on this tape is all there is.  The track list for the rehearsal recording is as follows:

Welcome On the Night
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Damnation
(No More) Suffering In Silence
Keep the Light On
1:45
Fight Dirty
The Chosen One (partial)
I'm On My Way (partial)
Love, Love, Love

June 4, 1988
Pasadena, California
Perkin's Palace
Headline Act: Warlock
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:
Welcome On the Night
Fight Dirty
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
Love, Love, Love
Can't Take Our Rock
1:45
Damnation

For perhaps the first time in their career, WITCH took the stage without an intro tape.  Instead, Jim's bass tech, Ninja, introduced the band.  Punky took the opening slot for this show only because he wanted to open WARLOCK singer Doro Pesch, but he didn't succeed--she wasn't interested. (photo courtesy Punky Peru)

On June 11 I took new publicity photos of the band at Bandwest Rehearsal Studios (below).


June 17, 1988

Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Act: Noize Toys
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Love, Love, Love
Can't Take Our Rock
Take Me Away
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty
1:45
Toys In the Attic
Damnation

Tawn Mastrey brought in a professional videographer to record parts of this show and to get fan reactions of WITCH following the gig.  Filming primarily from onstage right and in the pit, the cameraman from Evil Eye Productions recorded parts of "Cinderella (In Black Leather)," "Love, Love, Love," "Can't Take Our Rock," "Victory Without Pain," "Toys In the Attic," and "Damnation."  While filming the fan segments, Punky and Ronny were also interviewed, and so was Bandwest Rehearsal Studios owner Todd Cashman.  Todd said he wished WITCH would get signed so they would "Get the hell out of my life!"  Tawn conducted a more formal interview of Punky backstage, and all of this night's footage was apparently being assembled for inclusion in a local cable TV show entitled ROCK TO THE TOP.  Just before "Damnation" Peter told the crowd that the TV show would air on July 4th at 3pm on channel 18, and that "You can all see yourselves on live TV."  It is not known if this TV show--or WITCH's segment--ever aired.  However, during the week of June 22, Tawn and Punky edited the Evil Eye footage into two separate, ten minute WITCH documentaries that Tawn would use to shop the band to record labels.  One more interesting note about tonight's show: from the stage Peter announced that WITCH would be playing with DIO on June 30th at the Celebrity Theater in Anaheim.  Not only did WITCH not play this gig, but no known DIO performance was ever scheduled on that date or at that venue.  It's possible that, in the weeks or months prior, a "temporary hold" was placed by a local promoter (probably the Schultz family) for DIO to play and for WITCH to open, but the show was never booked and Peter simply misspoke.

In 2008 Scott Rickett sent me three pictures that have proven to be yet another WITCH mystery.  The pictures were definitely taken at Faces in Huntington Beach (the low ceiling and a video screen mounted directly over the stage are a dead giveaway).  However, there is only one documented WITCH appearance at this venue (April 11, 1988) and pictures from that night show the band wearing completely different costumes.  This can only mean that the band performed at Faces twice, but this second date is elusive.  An interesting fact about this mystery show is revealed in the photos: at one point during the gig Scott sang lead vocals, Jim and Peter played guitar, Punky played bass, and Ronny played drums--a very unique lineup not known to have happened at any other time.  This suggests--but is not necessarily proof--that the band performed "Wild Thing."  That song had not been a part of the regular encore set since 1984 (only being performed twice since then, and one of those times at the April 11 Faces show), but it does start showing up again this summer (July 27 to be exact).  Because Ronny Too and David Ezrin never played in WITCH together, this gig must have taken place sometime between May 22 (following David's departure from the band) and July 9.  Until a date for this show can be tracked down, it will not be included in the final concert stats.  UPDATE: August 22, 2011 - The date on this mystery show has been tracked down.  See the listing directly below:

July 3, 1988
Huntington Beach, California
Faces Nightclub

On August 22, 2011 I called Punky and told him about the mystery photos I had received from Scott years earlier.  After a few minutes of memory jogging Punky began to remember this second Faces show.  He remembered
it well because his Mom showed up to the club unannounced just before show time, probably wanting to celebrate her birthday that fell on the next day (July 4).  However, he did not recall the very unique instrument switch for "Wild Thing." It was easy for a show like this to become "lost" over time: if a flyer was produced for the gig, no one involved with WITCH kept one; the club did not advertise in BAM magazine (or apparently any other music paper in Southern California); I was not at this show so it did not go on my "gig list"; and no one in the band remembered playing here a second time until evidence to the contrary showed up (like Scott's pictures).  There are definitely more undocumented shows, particularly prior to 1988, that have yet to be "found."

July 10, 1988
Hollywood, California
The Troubadour
Opening Act: Julliett

This was Scott's final show with WITCH.  He was fired by Punky during a rehearsal at Bandwest Studios the following week.  The classic line up was now back in place: Jim, Peter, Punky and Ronny.

With Scott's departure, new publicity pictures were taken by me on July 26 at Bandwest. 

July 27, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Act: Presence
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ Intro Tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" Intro Tape
Take Me Away
Love, Love, Love
Can't Take Our Rock
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty
1:45
Wild Thing

On August 2 yet another set of publicity photos were taken by me at Bandwest Studios (above).

August 6, 1988
San Pedro, California
The Dancing Waters Club
Headline Act: L.A. Guns
Opening Acts: Warrant, Gypsy Lover
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:

Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Take Me Away
Love, Love, Love
Can't Take Our Rock
Victory Without Pain
Hit the Road
1:45

The LA GUNS crowd was kind of tough on the band and not very receptive, especially a large group of bikers who made their presence known at the side bar.  Jim remembers the band having a conference on the drum riser following "Cinderella" where they contemplated cutting less heavy songs "Love, Love, Love" and "Victory Without Pain," but the homemade recording of the show proves that the songs were not cut.  During the load-out, one of Ronny's trap cases loaded with guitar gear was stolen and never recovered.

The week following this show, WITCH loaded into Cherokee Studios in Hollywood to demo two songs: "Take Me Away" and "Hit the Road."  They recorded in the same studio where MOTLEY CRUE had recorded their 1983 SHOUT AT THE DEVIL album.  Todd Cashman, owner of Bandwest Rehearsal Studios, put up $5,000 to pay for the sessions.  Produced and engineered by Mikey Davis, the demos appeared as a promo cassette that also included "Can't Take Our Rock" and "Victory Without Pain" from the NOBODY SLEEPS 12" single.  Ronny used Traci Guns' Marshall 100 watt head instead of his usual Randall amps for this session.  (The picture at right was taken August 8, 1988 at Cherokee Studios.)

August 22, 1988
Fullerton, California
Goodie's
Opening Act: Tarrga
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Take Me Away
"Happy Birthday To Tawn"
Love, Love, Love
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty
1:45
Wild Thing

This show was in celebration of Tawn's birthday.  Just before "Wild Thing," Tawn came on stage and presented Punky with his R.I.A.A. gold album award for Lita Ford's Lita album, on which he co-wrote the song "Fatal Passion."

At the end of Summer WITCH was considered for the starring role in a movie entitled SMASH, CRASH, AND BURN.  Directed by Roman Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola, and produced by Commercial Pictures, the film was hyped as being a heavy metal version of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT.  However, according to Ronny and Punky, Coppola despised WITCH's audition and instead went with BRUNETTE.  Slated for a Summer 1989 release, the film has never seen the light of day.

September 8, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Act: El Kabong
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Take Me Away
Can't Take Our Rock
Victory Without Pain
Fight Dirty
1:45
Wild Thing

Another showcase performance for Atlantic Records.  I knew things weren't going well when I saw the Atlantic A&R rep literally twiddling his thumbs during WITCH's show. At the band's previous show (August 22 at Goodie's) Punky did not use any bass drum skins.  Tonight he had brand new black PEARL skins with "Punky" added to the right skin and "Peru" added to the left, and the entire kit was covered in fake cobwebs (the cobwebs were used for the next few gigs but were dropped before the show on November 23).  Another first at tonight's Jezebel's show: Peter began playing guitar on "Victory Without Pain."  Over the summer Peter's interest in the guitar peaked, and with WITCH back to a one guitar lineup the band thought it would be a nice touch to have Peter play the second guitar part in the set's only ballad (the photo above was taken at the November 23rd Country Club show).  The guitar amplifier and speaker cabinet Peter used belonged to Ronny (a Randall RG100HT rack mounted head, and a Randall 4x12 cabinet).  I purchased this equipment from Ronny in early 1989, and still have it to this day (pictured at left in 2011).

October 1, 1988
Anaheim, California
Jezebel's
Opening Acts: Rags, Vexx
Archived: Video
SET LIST:
Organ Intro Tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" Intro Tape
Take Me Away
Can't Take Our Rock
Victory Without Pain
Out On the Streets
1:45
Wild Thing

Earlier in the day, Punky and Tawn moved into a house together on Los Feliz Drive in the Hollywood hills, just two doors down from Slash.  Near the end of this show, Punky ripped an eight-inch gash in his leg as he climbed atop his drum kit.  This was the debut performance of "Out On the Streets."  This was another showcase performance for Atlantic Records, and just before "Wild Thing," both Tawn Mastrey and Punky asked the A&R rep from the stage how he liked the show.  Jim has confirmed that this same Atlantic rep had attended all of the Atlantic showcases by WITCH.  He had been flown back and forth from New York multiple times, all paid for by Atlantic, because the label was very interested in the band.  At this time Atlantic was also paying for WITCH rehearsals, equipment, stage clothes, and anything else they might need.  Negotiations for a deal took place at the Atlantic offices in New York, with WITCH represented by Punky and Tawn.  However, in the end a deal was never reached because neither side could agree on a price.  Negotiations broke down and WITCH, once again, was left without a record deal.

October 8, 1988
Hollywood, California
Gazzarri's
Opening Acts: Jaded Lady, Hurricane Alice, NRG
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:
Tawn Mastrey Intro
Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Hit the Road
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Take Me Away
Can't Take Our Rock
Victory Without Pain
Out On the Streets
1:45
Wild Thing
Opening band JADED LADY included former members of LEATHER ANGEL and OBSESSION.  Above are the two who started it all: Punky and Peter in the Gazzarri's dressing room just before the show.  The picture at left shows Punky and Peter on stage at Gazzarri's during "Wild Thing."  As early as 1984, whenever they played this song, the band would switch instruments: usually it would be Punky on bass, Peter guitar, Ronny drums, and Jim on vocals (and Jim would change the words to "Wild Pig.")  I almost got WITCH kicked off the bill on this night.  I drove Jim and his bass rig to the club in my truck.  Gazzarri's owner Bill Gazzarri--who was a character straight out of The Godfather or Goodfellas--had just installed a decorative arch over the parking lot entrance, and he was standing there admiring it as I drove in.  The antenna on my truck scrapped the underside of the arch, and Bill yelled at me to stop.  The antenna did absolutely no damage at all, but Bill was really pissed.  Calling me all kinds of names, he asked who I was with, and that's when he threatened to kick WITCH off the bill.  He slammed his giant hand down on the hood of my truck, denting it, and told me to watch myself or "it's over."

Around this time Gene Simmons of KISS rejected WITCH from his record label, Simmons Records.  Upon its completion, Tawn Mastrey sent Gene the four-song WITCH demo recorded back in August.  After giving it a listen, Gene called Tawn and left a message on her answering machine (and luckily the recording of his message has survived).  Gene's summation: the band plays great, looks great, the demo sounds great, but their song writing is just not up to par and does not separate them from any other band.  In this respect he compares them to D'Molls.  A few months later Punky confronted Gene at a show somewhere in Hollywood and asked him again for his opinion.  Gene asked Punky, "What do you think of your demo?"  Punky, a little drunk and maybe a little too honest, said, "I don't know.  It probably wasn't our best."  Gene angrily replied, "Then why the f*** did you send it to me?"  That was the end of the conversation and any potential interest from Simmons Records.

A demo was also sent to Ted Nugent.  Although nothing came of it for WITCH, he, too, left a phone message and it's a fun listen.

October 28, 1988
Hollywood, California
The Troubadour
Opening Acts: Thunderball, Ferrari, Rio

WITCH's 20th and final performance at The Troubadour, and the last time they played in Hollywood.  Opening band THUNDERBALL included Rik Fox--formerly of WASP, SIN, and STEELER--on bass.  It should be noted that both Punky and Jim believe that Jim did not play with WITCH at this gig.  They both remember that--for some reason--Jim was replaced for just this one show by Punky's friend Tristan.  I was at this Troubadour show and do not remember this at all, and neither does Ronny and Peter (for some reason I did not photograph the band on this night or else there would not be a mystery at all).  It's likey that if Tristan indeed played with WITCH , it was on another date around this same time--it is believed the band played a show at The Marquee in Westminster in early November--but that date is currently unknown.

On October 31 Punky and Tawn attended a Halloween party at Bobbie Blotzer's house in Palos Verdes.  Dressed as caveman and woman-- complete with loin clothes, no shoes, and covered in real mud--they were joined by Stephen Pearcy dressed as a gorilla, Robbin Crosby dressed as Caligula, and Jack Russell as a pirate.  At 6am Punky took up a collection from the remaining party guests and walked down the street to the liquor store.  Still dressed as a caveman, he bought a huge bagful of alcohol and began the walk uphill to Blotz's house.  However, he became lost and started zig-zagging through the neighborhood trying to find the right house.  After leaving bottles of alcohol on every corner to mark where he had been, he finally gave up.  He went back to the liquor store, called a cab, and took the $85 trip back to Los Feliz Drive in Hollywood.  Tawn returned home shortly after, frantic but thankful Punky was all right.

November 23, 1988
Reseda, California
The Country Club
Headline Act: Animal
Opening Acts: Misguided, WWIII
Archived: Audio
SET LIST:
Organ intro tape
Welcome On the Night
Cinderella (In Black Leather)
"Pricking Of My Thumbs" intro tape
Take Me Away                                 (photo by Dan Starr)
Out On the Streets
Victory Without Pain
Hit the Road
1:45

Peter played guitar on "Victory Without Pain" for the final time at tonight's show.  Headliner ANIMAL featured former WASP guitarist Randy Piper.  Of all the bands that played on this night, for some reason WITCH was the only band that had an assigned dressing room and their logo on the dressing room door (all done for them by the promoter).  Following soundcheck one of ANIMAL's crew got angry at this and tore down WITCH's logo from the door.  I grabbed the guy and threatened to hurt him.  He whined that ANIMAL was the headliner and they should have their logo on their door, too, but Randy Piper saw the whole thing and told the guy to shut up.  The crew guy put the sign back on WITCH's door and went away.  This kind of petty stuff goes on all the time with bands.