Look: I imagine working in a gas station in the middle of Godknowswhere Ohio is your preferred vocation. I understand this. But when I come in for a cup of coffee to fuel my all-night drive, I really don't want to chit-chat. Sure, I could handle a "how 'bout them Bengals?" or a "sorry about crushing your '04 election fantasies" or a "you know what? just take that coffee for free. It's the end of the pot." What I don't want to hear about is your favorite hate metal bands.
"Have you ever heard of Hansel und Gretel?"
"No. No, I haven't"
"My favorite song by them is 'Third Reich from the Sun.' Have you ever heard that song?"
Excuse me? Did I hear that? I don't remember walking in here with a tiny Chaplin-mustache, wearing a white hood, carrying a flaming crucifix. Do you? No? Then why assume we share some sort of communal nostalgia for Hitler's German government? What? I don't know either. Excuse me? Okay. I'm just going to walk out this door over here. Yeah. Good luck with...no. Enjoy your midnight to eight a.m. shift at the Exxon. Here's a tip. Drinking petrol: surprisingly delicious. Just so you know.
Those of your who remember our last trip to Ohio will remember our outing at Peabody's, wherein we were surrounded by bad metal and worse white-boy-rapping, where said rappers sounded almost exactly like the Insane Clown Posse, except without the inherent shame of goofy clown make-up to hide the lack of skills and common decency. This time, well, this time was different. I won't say worse or better, necessarily. I'll just say different. Let me explain.
It was better because, well, no ICP wannabe's. Always a good thing. It was worse because there were a few less folks there. Including the other bands, the bartenders, and security guards, there were ten people in the audience. Not counting people paid to be there there were, um, zero. Yes. The big donut. A highlight of every band's career, really. But we made the best of it. In fact, we all did. La Rocca did a set positively drenched in covers, from some ABBA* song I can't recall to "Help Me Rhonda," while La Rocca did a cover I never knew in the first place and wore a whole shit-ton of sequins. We went on, played a new-new ditty we had no business playing, Springsteen's "Atlantic City" and, on La Rocca's prodding (after they bought us a shot---ingredients: brandy, vodka, red wine; taste: reminiscent of rubbing alcohol), the first song we ever wrote together, essentially a bastardization of twelve bar blues I remembered how to play two minutes into the two and a half minute song.
We finished our last song with a majority of the people in attendance onstage, banging cymbals, tambourines, and each other's more percusive body parts and I decided, for no reason at all, to begin a solo, sloppy-as-all-get-out "Down on the Corner" bassline. Why? Because I'd just had brandy-vodka-white-wine horror poured down my throat, that's why. And suddenly, everyone was back onstage, (or a least eight of us), running through a slurry, drunken rendition of that Creedence classic, much to the bartender's chagrin. Let me go home, she was obviously thinking. You live in Cleveland, I thought back. I'm doing you a favor. (Sorry Cleveland. Sorry, LeBron. Sorry that Band song about the storm coming through.)
Now? I'm at an ancient iMac, working on the second draft of this here entry, since the last one was devoured by the ether of dial-up internet. Tragic, I know. I've got a three-week old beard I have to shave into Prince-esque facial hair and I just finished critiqueing my bandmate's Hallowe'en costumes. Dave looks a mean Joe Perry, while Pete is a picture perfect 80's Springsteen, red bandana and all. Zach...well. He'll remain a mystery. Tomorrow, we begin five days in New York, at a festival, which means: a) lots of shows, b) lots of scamming free schwag. If I come back in new pants, listening to new CDs, riding a brand new centaur, you'll know why. Godspeed & La'Chiam.
* Today's cool factoid I learned from a crossword puzzle: ABBA is the only palendromic band with a palendromic hit single: "S.O.S." Now, don't say I never taught you nothing.