Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to take you on a journey…a journey through my severe and debilitating illness. Oh, I was bad off, people. It all started on Tuesday, when I had to go to a client site. Now, I won’t tell you where I work, but I’ll tell you that my client was a physician’s office, jam packed with sick people. I know that’s where I got it from. As soon as I walked INTO that place, I could feel the germs gathering around the front desk, drinking Sanka and talking about Sanjaya. They saw me coming, popped their little germy collars, and decided to hitch a ride straight up outta there with the black man. If it wasn’t THOSE germs, then it was the grimy punk germs that routinely follow my sons home from school and daycare, like some stray neighborhood kids. They don’t even take off their muddy germshoes when they walk in. Bastards.

So, I was on my ass, people. I don’t get SICK sick often. I usually tough it out, but this particular sick tapped me on the shoulder Wednesday afternoon and said “Take your black ass home early. Now.” I listened, begrudgingly. On Thursday, I popped Advil and Halls and tried to tough it out. Tried. Around noon, sick tapped me on the shoulder again and said “Take your black ass home again. Now. Or I’ll give you a fever and chills and make you wish for the sweet embrace of an electric blanket.” This time I ignored it, and tried to push on. Tried. At 2, I realized that (1) keeping my head upright was a challenge I couldn’t meet; and (2) Halls and Advil weren’t cutting it. I told my boss that I had to leave, and he allowed that, ’cause I NEVER get sick. I went straight home and slept for about 4 hours, rising in time to pop more Advil and Halls and go to band practice.

Having a show that weekend meant I didn’t really have the luxury of laying out that night, so I took a folding chair to sit on and dragged ass over to the rehearsal room. When I got there, another guy pulled up at the same time, acting all friendly. Now, I’m a friendly enough guy, but when I’m sick, I just want to be left alone, especially by people I don’t even know. And this guy? Chatacular. By God this man talked. As I began walking toward the main door, he commented that he didn’t have his key. Folks, there are hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment in this building, and the security is tight. I didn’t know him, and wasn’t ABOUT to let him piggyback into the building from me opening the door, so I asked a few basic questions to make sure he was in a band. Satisfied, I let him in. This cat followed me all the way to MY rehearsal room, talking about goats or Lithuania or fiber optic cable or whatever else fell out of his open trap. He immediately began asking if the guitarist would sell one of her guitars to him (no), and if I’d maybe wanna buy a cheap bass from him (no) or if I’d give him a kidney (no). Finally he left, the gang arrived, and we rehearsed. About 2 hours later, he showed back up, and chilled while we played, which was fine because at least THEN I couldn’t hear him. Afterwards he whooped and hollered and said we sounded like a cross between The Toadies (um, okay) and Rage Against The Machine (sure man, whatever). His band was slated to play with us Saturday night, so he finally left. Overall though, he was a Nice Guy.

Friday was spent on my ass and at the doctor. Once my fever hit 101.7 and decided to camp out there, I went in and got all sorts of prescriptions. I also saw “40 Year Old Virgin”, and damn near got whooping cough from laughing so much. Great movie. The rest of Friday was a blur, but I was horizontal a lot.

Saturday. Still sick, but I knew I had to get rested and ready for the show. I did virtually nothing all day except watch crime shows and lay on my ass. It was cold and rainy, and both things seemed like capital ideas to me. Around 4, I left to get the U-Haul trailer and made my way to the rehearsal space. As I was walking to our room to start loading equipment, I heard a voice yell “HEY! Get in here!” Now folks, let me tell you something. I’m not a child or an animal, so don’t be hollering me down like I AM one of those things. It pisses me right off. So I paused, looking for the speaker. It was our new buddy from Thursday. At that moment he went from Nice Guy to Slightly Annoying. I told him we had to load up, and we’d swing by later. After we finished, we were all walking past his room again and he yelled “NONETHELESS! Get your asses in here and talk to me!” Oh. Hells. No. We were out of his sight line, and we all looked at each other like “I know he didn’t.” He popped out and asked to eat dinner with us later, refusing our first suggestion for a different place. Slightly Annoying —> Somewhat Annoying.

We got to the bar, waiting in the cold for the owner to show up and open the door. And just WHO should come along but Mr. Friendly. He held court in the parking lot, showing his master of all subjects and being the center of his own attention. Somewhat Annoying —> Pretty Damned Annoying. We finaly get in, get backlined (meaning we put our shit onstage first, since we were one of the last bands playing), and chill out a bit. Mr. Friendly continues his verbal vomit, and then signed the deathknell on any potential redemption. He walked over to the girls, and repeated his compliment about the band, but added “…but your lead singer needs to step it up a notch.” Allow me to hip you to the rules of band etiquette. You never EVER tell another band areas where they can improve unless (a) you know them well; (b) you’ve heard them play out somewhere, and (c) they ask you directly. He heard 2 songs in a practice where we were intentionally NOT going full out, saving our efforts for the actual show. Somewhat Annoying —> Persona Non Grata, A.K.A ‘Fuck that guy’. His band was the opener. We were main support. Recall what I told you about the pecking order at shows? That means, quite bluntly, that we’re better than them, so forgive me for sounding like a rock star when I say that we don’t have to take that nonsense from someone begging to get on the schedule. At that point, we decided we wouldn’t be dining with him after all, and we ditched him while his band was doing soundcheck. Maturity at its finest, I know.

While we were chowing down on tacos, who should walk in but Mr. Friendly. He tracked us down! By then it was about 8:45, and when he and his girlfriend (surprised about THAT, lemme tell ya) sat down, we looked at him and said “Uh…what’re you doing here?”

Mr. F: “I said I wanted to eat with you guys!”
Us: “Um, it’s 8:45. Your band starts in 15 minutes, dude.”
Mr. F: “No, we don’t go on until 9:30.”
**Note: never argue the schedule with the people who set the schedule. Resume.**
Us: “We’ll just see about that.”

Our drummer picked up the phone right then and called the bar owner, who gave the funniest reply to him. He said “Tell him the band’s start time is certainly negotiable, but the end time is set in stone. Tell him to chew on that.” And you’ve never seen someone clear a bar so fast. When we finished and got back to the bar, that band was on their last song of their set. And Mr. Friendly? Where was he? At the damn BAR. He’s not even a FULL-TIME member! He just plays on a couple of songs! I wanted to hit him. When he saw us, he flipped us the bird and yelled about us leaving him to go eat. We ignored him from that point on, because Persona Non Grata —> Fucking Asshole. And we don’t need that. Funny how a guy can rise and fall in a matter of maybe 48 total hours.

The show went well. Except for when I nearly passed out. While I had been careful to rest all day, I expend a LOT of energy at a show. A lot. Usually I go through a bottle of water on stage. By the 4th song (of 10), that joker was close to being empty. And it was infernally hot up there. I was getting woozy the whole time we were playing, but I fought through and gave a good show. The moment we hit the last note and said “Goodnight!”, my knees buckled and I went down like a Thai hooker at a military parade. Good times. Check me out:

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Oh, I was hot that night. Literally. I think I was baking at 220 degrees up there. Someone hung a pineapple ring on my bass head.

So anyway, I’m fine now. I’ll get to ‘tribing later this week, maybe Friday. Hope you missed a brotha.

Peace.

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