It Crawled From the Vault #35

San Francisco’s most famous bike messenger band, L. Sid and their only ‘official’ release, Alive ’95.

update, there’s another blog post about this same band and more info at Tapewrecks

L.SID, Alive 1995, appr 1 hour

tape courtesy of Jack Chandler, the saxophonist


In memory of Markus ‘fur’ Cook

San Francisco Bike Messenger Memorial

The Markus ‘fur’ Cook Award

from the SF Weekly, May 1996

Of the many bands spun out of the San Francisco messenger community, L. Sid was the biggest. The name was a verbal mutation of LSD and El Cid. Markus started it with Phoenix friend Jack Chandler, and other members came and went throughout the years, including Markus’ wife, Jennie, and big band leader Timmie Hesla. Blending country, folk, Middle Eastern jazz, hofbrau polka (yes, the band had a tuba), and ska, L. Sid played intelligent and quirky music, and if they made any money, all the better.

This was the Markus people remembered, a lanky, wild-eyed man in garish clothes, arm in a sling, leaping about the stage enunciating Zappa-esque asides — whatever came to mind.

“If you went to see us live, you wouldn’t be able to keep your eyes off him,” says Chandler.

“He was the antithesis of the stoned musician who just hangs out,” remembers Adam Kahan, a former messenger and original L. Sid bassist.

L. Sid’s audience, primarily messengers, was loyal — and participatory to the point of jumping onto the stage with a harmonica or tambourine to play along with the band. Markus had a bum shoulder that would routinely dislocate whenever he horsed around. A couple of times it went out before a show, and the audience would forgive the delay while somebody drove him to the hospital and a doc popped the damn thing back into its socket.

After playing the messenger championships, L. Sid continued a grueling European tour through Germany, Switzerland, and then-Czechoslovakia. The tour was shoestring, day to day, and chaotic, and though the shows were satisfying, spending so much time together took its toll. At the same time the band decided to give it a rest, Markus and Jennie’s marriage exploded.

“It was like an acid test,” says Chandler of the tour, and for Markus, the added stress of a broken relationship “was like a double whammy.”

When L. Sid prepared to board the plane in Berlin and head back to SFO, Markus couldn’t find his passport. He frantically dumped the contents of his bag on the airport terminal floor, pawing through his possessions, but it was too late. The others left without him. Markus spent the night in the terminal, eventually found his passport in another pocket, and grabbed a later flight.

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