Part One: before June 1981
The band had a life before Tom and Eric joined.
John & Helena had been playing together, and worked for a while with local blues guitarist legend Isaac Scott.
They'd also performed improv music and poetry with an eclectic group of folks on local eclectic, anything-goes FM radio station KRAB.
Their very first performance was during a break in the set of one of singer Annie Rose's bands at the Rainbow, where they borrowed instruments and played 3 quick ones.
John recalls the very first gig - some underground place in Ballard, opening for The ENEMY. He remembers nobody there, and they were very nervous. Unfortunately, this place was run by the guys who subsequently formed Modern Productions and brought all those cool bands: The Police, The Jam, XTC, Tom Robinson, to the Showbox.
They hated it, and never gave Student Nurse as second chance. John dropped by their office a couple years later to make his case, and they still weren't buying. So: life lesson. Your first gig will be terrible, so do it in secret. :)
Aside from just band performances with songs, there were other, outside-the-box events.
Be-in type events, with improvised dancing, painting, and music. Stuart Dempster, UW music professor, would sometimes sit in. Sharon Gannon did a lot of the arranging, and billed the dance group, featuring her friend Kathleen Hunt and others, as “Moon Food”. Fellow traveler bands Audio Leter (with Sue Anne Harkey, James Husted, Bob Jenkins, and Jeff McGrath) and FRED (Jeff McGrath, Brad Stevens, etc) often shared the bills. Moon Food would transform into “Louise” for “FRED and LOUISE” performances.
You can read more about Audio Leter, Sharon & Sue Anne & Kathleen, and Moon Food here.
" We are gods in black,
we are dust in black..."