Le Medecine Cabinet was a Santa Cruz house that served as a venue from autumn 1994 to 1996. It was located at 304 Gault Street where now stand about five townhouses. The venue was also known as The Medicine Cabinet and Gault Street. It was so named because there was an unfortunately high incidence of recreational Robitussin ingestion by residents and assorted company.
Over the year and a half of its existence, some great bands came through: Kicking Giant, Tattle Tale, Three Mile Pilot, and Sleater-Kinney (on their first tour). Le Medecine Cabinet was also a regular venue for The Fisticuffs Bluff, Nuzzle, and Portraits of Past.
The house was rented in autumn 1994 by Bean, Carrie Brown, Skip McBride, Zach von Joo and Carrie Hansen. They started putting on shows there almost immediately. It was one of the few houses in Santa Cruz that actually had a basement. They were originally going to have shows in the basement, but for some reason the shows took place upstairs. It may have been that after the winter rains, the basement flooded and was an electrical hazard.
After about a year of glory, Le Medecine Cabinet just sort of fell apart after Bean went on tour with The Fisticuffs Bluff. No one really took care of anything and the house got really gross. No one wanted to be responsible, etc.
After they moved out, the landlord kept his deposit because the house was decrepit, but quickly sold it to developers who ended up putting about 5 townhouses on the lot. All in all, it was a case of the usual punk house rot. One person felt they were doing all the work; people who lived there got sick of people who didn't live there trashing the house every other weekend. Day to day life was impossible when rock'n'roll was walking through it all the time.
A lot of different people did some amount of booking, but Bean took it upon himself to try and do a lot of work (soundproofing before shows, PA aquisiton, cleaning up enough for the bands to sleep, talking to cops, etc). The Santa Cruz Music Collective kind of used Le Medecine Cabinet as a home base, but they also booked shows at Bixby, the Santa Cruz Vets Hall, and other places.
It seemed like nobody that lived there could get anything off the ground despite the plethora of talented folks. Alphabet of Daggers kind of got their start there, but only Von Joo lived there. Dillon L. was kind of a premanent house guest. In any case, Alphabet of Daggers didn't really turn into anything until they all re-met in Portland.
One of the most amazing show there was when Kicking Giant played (early summer of 1995). The line up was Kicking Giant, Hundred Holiday (Pee-Chees/Cars Get Crushed side project), Solid Gold, Henry's Dress (Amy Linton from Aislers Set and Matt Hartman from Coachwhips) and maybe the Lefties (Chris & Rop from the Pee-Chees). It was a long show and a beautiful day. It got kind of late and Kicking Giant had just started when a cop came to the front door. While Bean went to go out and deal with him, Tae Won Yu turned off his amp, and Rachel stopped drumming. They finished "She's Real" with Tae just strumming his unamplified Rickenbacker guitar and Rachel clapping and singing back up vocals. Even with the cops breaking up the show two songs into the headliner's set, no one felt that they didn't get a worthwhile show.
Probably the worst show that ever happened at Le Medecine Cabinet involved Team Dresch. There was always a feminist presence in the Santa Cruz underground in the mid-1990s, which was a positive thing of course. But there was one show/tour that was booked at Le Medecine Cabinet that really caused some bad feelings to come out; maybe it was also an example of disturbingly misguided politics. Some ridiculous rule was made up for this show, something like either boys had to pay more, or they could be at the show but couldn't talk or something totally out of hand. The mid-1990s was a heady time, and any riot grrrl will tell you that the "movement" made a lot of mistakes that in hindsight seem obvious. Well, this caused a big problem considering the house was a house where people lived and excluding half the people that actually lived there from the show for reasons of plumbing sure didn't make anyone happy. Nothing untoward happened, and the show went off well, but a lot of feelings were hurt in the name of making a political point to people who really weren't the problem.