The band connected musically and emotionally and we found a collective focus. We were packing smaller clubs like the Nightbreak and began moving on to bigger clubs. Positive reviews of our shows helped us gain momentum. Dawn Holliday at The Paradise Lounge gave us a gig – I will never forget her saying “I don’t really understand the extent of your appeal, but you have it – so you get a gig here”. The I-Beam, and the DNA Lounge soon followed suit.
We all had “day” jobs: Wanda was a chef, I did bookkeeping for a computer dealer, Shaunna did administrative work at a car dealership, and Linda was a waitress – although i use the term loosely – at the Spaghetti Western in the lower Haight. Because of large turnouts, our gigs had begun to pay a little bit of money, which helped cover the studio rent.
After gigs I would sleep in my clothes and then go to work in them the next day. The smell of the bar lingering in the fabric served as a reminder of the previous night’s show – and fed the hope that I wouldn’t have to pull a 9-to-5 job forever.
We recorded a demo (cassette) tape and sold them at shows. I created artwork and posters by hand, which were made into flyers at a copy shop on Market & Castro. Soon we had some reviews in print and we put together a press package.
Audio Tracks from first demo:
San Francisco was buzzing. The Nightbreak, I-Beam, DNA Lounge, Paradise Lounge. and Slim’s provided the scene, and Sister Double Happiness, The Sextants, Honeypot, The Jackson Saints, Spokepoker, Enrique, and Stone Fox are just some of the bands you could hear spilling out onto the streets of the Haight, Folsom, or 16th Street on any given night.
We didn’t just play in clubs; we lived in them. I remember going out every single night: to rehearsal, then out to clubs; just out to clubs to meet friends; at a gig at a club, either our own or another band’s. All of ourfriends were in bands, we played shows together and hung out together and had done so for years. Initially I didn’t feel any battle to get signed; we were all trying to, I suppose – and the vast community and exceptional music (and art generally) was intoxicating.
4 Non Blondes 7/11/90 Nightbreak -San Francisco
“Dear Mr. President” (L. Perry)
Linda Perry: vocal
Shaunna Hall: guitar
Christa Hillhouse: bass
Wanda Day: drums
Pretty bad audio on this but it’s the earliest video of the song I have.