Three Hour Tour Returns to CoCo Club

By Joel Selvine
Fake Chronicle Staff Writer

Rock and roll aficionados reacted with jubilation this month when it was announced that riot grrrls Three Hour Tour will be returning to the CoCo Club in mid-April.

Three Hour Tour, underground San Francisco's coolest retro group, disappeared from the club scene two years ago without explanation. Speculation ran high that the band members were bickering about volume levels, but nothing was ever confirmed.

Rumored band sightings have proliferated over the last couple of months - indeed, one fan reported that the group was spotted playing an unannounced gig on a llama ranch in Petaluma. "We did play there," says drummer and band founder Paula Bocciardi, "but I really don't remember how the hell we got that gig."

The band has now taken on rhythm guitarist Toby "Boll Weevil" Bielawski, who teaches college English in addition to strokin' the strings on a vintage Fender Jazzmaster. Relegated at first to playing through a minuscule, tinny-sounding amp, Boll Weevil is now using a Twin-Reverb Fender that can handle - shall we say - a bit more volume.

"The first time she turned that thing on, my face blew back like one of those astronauts at a billion G's," recalls Paula. "I couldn't even hear my drums. Ridiculous."

Julie Riffle, lead guitarist with a reputation for stoicism, seems to have abandoned that demeanor to mimic the persona of an old bluesman. In addition to mysteriously adopting the nickname "Snooky," Ms. Riffle has developed a shuffling gait and a habit of mumbling "good lawdy, mama" on occasion in a gravelly voice.

Enduring bassist Cole Rowan, whose fingers run effortlessly through a bewildering array of notes, seems to remain perpetually bewildered herself. "I never seem to know what key we're supposed to be playing in," admits Cole. "And I just had to draw myself a 'note chart' with crayons. Plus I can never hear my bass, what with those damned guitarists cranking up the volume like that. Sheesh."

Singer Terry "Bulldog" Alvey has never appeared with Three Hour Tour on a real stage. (Well, there was the makeshift stage of rotten boards on the llama farm, but that doesn't count.) Ms. Alvey has a pristine rock and roll voice. Oddly, though, the stress of her frenzied workdays at Federal Express has caused her to develop a nervous tic - most often interpreted as a wink. Apparently after Three Hour Tour's last private party, 40 people confided separately to Paula that they were convinced Terry was flirting with them. Not true at all, eh, Terry?

Fans who saw Three Hour Tour's last paid gig at the CoCo Club in July of 1995 know that this April show won't follow suit. "That night was a travesty of a mockery of a sham," recounts Ms. Riffle. "It was 103 degrees on stage, Paula's arms seized up like a dead person, and Cole threw up in the gutter. And that was after only two songs."

The buzz is that the band has vowed to make up for that debacle. They will pull out all the stops, spare no expenses, leave no stone unturned. [Paula, quit mixing your metaphors - Toby.] Rumors have it that instruments will be exchanged (Bulldog on rhythm guitar? Snooky on harmonica, and even drums?); that another Bocciardi will share the stage; that someone will play surf music; that medleys will abound.

Date: Saturday, April 19

Time: Doors open at 8:30; Three Hour Tour plays at 9:30, followed by Midnight Picnic (a band, not a meal)

Cover charge: $5

Place: CoCo Club, 139 8th Street at Minna (between Mission and Howard)

Three Hour Tour Web Site:

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