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[Fun Title About How This Blog Is Fluff]
I had a gig in Sea Isle City last week. For those not from Jerz, it’s a shore town. It’s a pretty groovy island, and on it, twenty-somethings flock at the first sign of summer to rent houses, drink copious amounts of booze, and do naughty things with people they just met that night at a bar. Summertime down the shore. And no, it’s nothing like Jersey Shore. There are a billion little shore towns where people go in the summer that are exactly not that show. Sea Isle is a good example, actually. I’m not sure those Jersey Shore morons would be allowed in Sea Isle. It’s one of those rich kid vacation spots. Not as uppity as Avalon, but a tit nicer than Stone Harbor. Raise your hand of you don’t care about any of this.
We gigged at a joint called the Springfield (this is going to be a story time blog, by the way). Big place. Probably huge by some standards. They have a giant stage on one side of the space, and an teenie weenie stage within the centre of the bar. (It’s a story time blog because last week’s was long and a little heavy.) Think of the teenie weenie stage like this: The bar is long on all sides, and in the centre of it where the bartenders would be scurrying back and forth to grab the bottles of whatever poison it is you want to mask with juice and Red Bull, there is a raised stage shaped like a triangle. Drum kit, amps, mic stands. The stage is penned in by bar, and if you’re over six foot two, maybe, your head will hit the ceiling when standing on the stage. Ask me why we weren’t on the giant, pretty stage and I’ll tell you, “I have no idea, bro. Let’s eat some Sicilian pizza. On you, of course.” (See, I think that sometimes a dumb blog is in order, to keep things light.) We piled on this little stage and had the longest sound check I ever had in my life. The sound guy was good. We sounded great, but man it took him forever. As a side note, leaving the bar I was driving behind the sound guy’s van which had a room air conditioner duct taped and jury rigged into the rear window.
Between sets I try to be available but not available. I don’t seek out people to talk to, unless they are people that directly affect my pay, like bartenders and club owners, whose asses I kiss in the most nonchalant way. (And these kinds of blogs sort of let you in on what I do on a day to day.) We in my band all wear matching outfits. Blue shirt, black tie, black vest, black slacks. I get to wear black shorts because I’m that asshole who wears shorts all year ‘round. So the people in the place know that we are in the band in between sets. Walking through the scores of people who are either drinking their troubles away, or drinking to become more attractive to the sluts across the bar, or drinking just because and it’s my night and woo! outside to smoke is my goal, and I make it there relatively safely.
Peace and no quiet, and it’s good enough I suppose. Funny thing about my job is that we are selling a bar and a good time in which we have very little stake. (I mean, not all the blogs can be hugely heavy or controversial. Not all the time, anyway.) The club owner has signed a contract with the amount he’s going to pay us, so in theory, we get paid the agreed amount no matter what. That doesn’t always happen, but it often does. But when you’re outside sucking down as much nicotine as you can in the fifteen minutes before your next set, you have to be selling a thing you don’t own. ‘This place is awesome, we love it here,’ kind of shit. On the whole, it’s kind of irritating, but it’s part of the job. (And don’t worry, this blog will relate to mod. Just give me a sec.)
So I smoke and wait for someone to talk to me, or if I’m lucky, wait for the break to end and go play some more dumb songs that girls like to sing along to in the faces of the girls with whom they came in between sips of their Miller Lite vortex bottles. An important element to this story too is that the plugs I wear to gigs in my 1 ⅛” lobes are handicapped symbols, like what’s on the parking signs. It matches the outfit. Thanks, Dave; www.mysticmetalsbodyjewelry.com. Some drunk, stylish cats approach me. It’s never the girls, is it?
“Dude, your ears are fuct up, man,” the one says in the nicest possible way.
“What gauge are your gauges?” the slightly less drunk companion says.
“Nah, dude; they’re called something else,” the first drunk cat says to the second drunk cat.
“They’re 1 ⅛”,” I respond respectfully.
“Is that bigger than double zero?” one of them says; the one who said it is really not important, is it.
“Quite a bit,” I say.
“Why do they have the handicapped thing in them? Did you get hurt or some shit?” one says. Here I stand, sweating as if I had just outrun a werewolf, leaning heavily on my cane so much that the cane is bowing, and dragging hungrily on my delicious cigarette. (We need a fluff blog once in a while too. It’s fun. Or I think it’s fun.)
“Nah, man. I’m crippled,” I say. I light another cigarette with the remnants of the last. There’s a wonderful sizzle of the paper when you do that. I like that sizzle.
“What do you do for work? You get disability, right?” one cat says, and honestly, their voices are so blended together now that I can’t tell which dumb voice is coming out of which dumb head.
“I don’t get disability. State won’t give it to me. I’m in the band, though.”
“Wait you’re in the band?”
“Yeah. I don’t dress like this for fun,” I joke.
“What do you play?”
“I’m the bass player, bro.”
This is where the two cats started asking me to play certain songs. Yes, “Free Bird” was one of them. Any Sublime was another request, though our first set included a Sublime song, and another request for “that one, shit how does it go? [the singing of a song I’ve never heard]”
Why am I writing about this? Well, I could go on about being cool when people ask dumb questions. But I won’t. I could go on about knowing when a stranger’s misinformation about the culture ought to be corrected. But I won’t. I could go on about how I hate drinking, hate to be around it, hate every stupid behavior of stupid people and their stupid friends when they’re on it. But I won’t. I just wanted to write a little Polaroid of my nights. This story, though accurate to the Springfield gig on Friday, happens to me three times a week. Four, if we have a good scheduled week. I was considering writing a memoir of gig stories, but I’m very lazy. I’m writing this because I think it’s important to contextualize everything. Yeah, modification is a huge part of my life, but it’s not all of my life; and in the end, the very important shit rises to the top. Gigging down the shore and answering questions about my handicap as precipitated by the image in my plugs isn’t really that very important shit. But it’s an entertaining scene in the sit-com of my life. But it’s strange the way, even in that setting, the handicap is the thing that manifests itself out of everything else. Maybe it is the very important shit rising. In the end, however, I probably helped a ton of douchebags hook up with drunk sluts just by playing “Stronger,” and “Womanizer,” and “Bad Romance,” and “Rapper’s Delight,” and “Use Somebody,” and “Sex On Fire,” and “Runaround Sue.” So you’re welcome, drunk douchebags. (Not all of the blogs are going to be good, but they’re free, so there’s that.) Stay beautiful, kids.
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