One of the last memorable gigs as a band was at a benefit party. The party was being thrown by some slick, over priced arty magazine.
It was one of those functions guaranteed to attract a lot of A & R people, heavy weights, stars etc. Plus the magazine was certain to give itself serious coverage. A cover story. What was amazing was that nobody in the band objected to any of the details or even the pay. It was the bands usual tact to find some highly objectionable reason to not doing these career boosting gigs . . . We had all been in too many bands and the music excited us but the business was something that just seemed to be in the way.
It was sort of miraculous that with our lack of promotion and ambition that the party promoters had even found us. Like we once got it together to mail out ONE CD of demo’s to a magazine. They picked it as the CD of the month. Wrote quite a bit about it. We all read the article, tired to take it with professional maturity and then basically did nothing. We rehearsed more and got together when we felt like it.
But we got this gig and agreed to it. I don’t know who set it up. The venue was huge, very nice. Had a full pub as sort of an attachment, It had two separate stages and an outdoor amphitheater that could hold a few hundred. We were scheduled to play in the amphitheater, the fourth act. I was irked we weren’t the closers but the band that was closing had a single in the charts and had a brief appearance on “Top of the Pops”. They were a techno-dance band and fought for closing.
I was standing at the bar, not drinking quietly, when this fellow started talking to me. I’m used to that. For some reason a guy not drinking at a free bar attracts more attention that a rowdy drunk.
This fellow was as tall as me, fair haired going to baldness. He wore khaki shorts, broken aviator sunglasses, a too large hawaiian shirt, white socks and Doc Martin boots. He was drinking tonic water and bitters.
He was excited about an act in one of the smaller stages. The act was some girl who shot sparks out of her body . . . he was so excited about it that it was contagious. I had no idea why it sounded exciting but he made it seem that way. We made a date to go see the woman’s act. Then our attention got diverted by the cute little hostesses who wanted us to stop our not drinking and do our sound checks. The guy in the hawaiian shirt was in a band too.
The little hostess who was assigned to take me to the staging area explained that he was the guitarist for “Siouxie and the Banshees”. She made it clear she wished she’d had him to baby sit instead of me as she explained he’d also played on some of the “Little Furry Creature” tracks. My only thoughts were that he sure didn’t come off like the original Goth guitarist, he was too likable for that.
We did our sound check and then did whatever we could to stave off boredom. The Hawaiian shirt Goth guitarist came and found me. The acts were starting on the inside stages and the spark girl was starting soon.
Spark girl was the opening act. Big mistake. The woman walked on stage to some nondescript acid trance music. She wasn’t very pretty but she was fit. She knew how to appeal to guys. She was mostly nude. To keep it legal she had strips of black clunky metal pasted to strategic places on her body. On her head was some sort of clunky Grace Jones geometric thing. What was interesting was a high speed/power grinder in her hands.
She did some mildly salacious poses on a chair while she revved the grinder in time to the music. Suddenly she touched the grinder to her body which let off a huge shower of red and white fiery sparks. She then danced around some touching the grinder to the black strips and shooting sparks all over the place. It was great!
She ended the act by lying back on the floor and touching the grinder between her legs shooting a twenty foot shower of sparks over the audiences head.
I was pretty slack jawed. I was also starting to write songs that required an electric grinder accompaniment . . .
My time for being put in my creative place wasn’t over. The Hawaiian Shirted Goth guitarist was opening the show. He had a trio he’d put together just for this gig. They were a little raw but very competent.
The Goth guitarist took the stage in exactly what he’d been wearing. He played a pink Fender. It looked customized and had a lot more sustain than you usually get from a strat.
There were about 300 people there and he treated the audience like they were guests in his living room. He was the most relaxed entertainer I’d ever seen and he was totally chilled and, of course, great!
My memory of his set was just of it always being casual, friendly and driving. But his finale was shattering. He soloed on electric guitar doing a mind blasting cover of the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight To Party”. It is now one of my primal memories defining rock & roll.
Relaxed, self assured and able to get a few hundred people dancing to just your guitar. I was humbled, jealous and thoroughly enjoyed myself.
The only negative was thinking we have to follow that!
Out of the two bands that were supposed to play, one refused to follow him and the other had a late running drummer so suddenly we had to follow that!
We did okay. Had to work is all. Made for a great show. Everything was well received.
After the set we got approached by a few managers and A & people. Signed with a manager too but at the moment Goth Guitarist and I were anxious to get to the smaller stage. There was going to be a female fire eater! We hoped for something similar to spark girl.
The fire eater was just okay. She wore a black bikini, was covered in interesting tattoos and did an interesting fire eating routine but she didn’t shoot a tower a flame 20 feet over the audience’s head from her vagina and after that precedent we couldn’t help but be disappointed.
Oh, yeah. The magazine came out. The article was big. Opened with a double page spread of the spark girl. I think she deserved the coverage. They ran three pix of the band and wrote about a page and a half about us. I thought it weird that they only gave Goth Guitarist two columns.
The new manager got us a couple of gigs and got us into a recording studio, We laid down about a half dozen tracks and had some fun but the drummer got married, the lead singer got a job and discovered that he enjoyed not sweating the rent and eating regular. The bass player and I got this game for the Playstation and it seemed life or death to us that we get it finished . . . So another rock and roll fantasy laid to rest there.
Working the graveyard shift is killing me. Not the jobs fault. I think I’d be having the same problem working any hours. I can’t sleep. The pain in my right arm just won’t allow it. The latest wrinkle is that I wake up and my right hand is vibrating wildly. Vibrating faster than I can consciously will it to. I’ve tried to convince myself that this is a good thing, that it means the muscles are loosening up or something.
The arm was miserable the first two nights of work. Hurt constantly. The two numb fingers felt like they were filling up with blood and were fixing to explode. They don’t look swollen or anything so I’m lost as to what they might mean with all the hurting.
I’ve worked 10 straight days. This is the first day off. In that time I learned to fulfill my work duties and keep my arm protected enough that its only a distracting issue with the occasional burst of screaming agony.
The walking and being on my feet is tiresome. I have a 3.2 mile walk to and from work, which is probably a good thing for me. Except the final mile and a half coming home I discover that I’m almost crawling up the hills. I find that annoying.
Not walking on my day off I can feel my legs having a chance to recover and heal.
The job itself is inconsequential. I have little contact with my co-workers. I only deal with them at shift change. One is fine and the other is a nightmare, but I only have to see her for 15 minutes a day so it doesn’t wear too thin.
One thing that bugs me is the ever present cameras. I don’t like being looked at quite that much.
As to the job. Its just that a job. I have no feelings about it at all really. Maybe just too tired to know what I might feel.
The only drag part is after the shooting incident of my first day the landlords have evicted them! They plan to move the place but everywhere they’ve talked about moving would be impossible for me to get to. So its now a temporary job. Rather annoying.
So I’ll get about 6 weeks in. I’ve restarted my job hunt, lightly right now but will step it up this week.
My puppy is now scheduled to be with me on Labor Day weekend. It think about that a lot. I want her with me. I keep seeing things that would interest her. I think about how how much faster my walk to work would be if she were there to help me along.
One interesting thing is that no one at my job has recognized me as her companion. Its about the only place I’ve been in this town where that’s happened. Too tired to make anything of that.
After she’s settled in and feeling comfortable I’m going to bring in a foster dog.