Monday, March 24, 2008

Road Story

This is one of the more epic moments of a Minstrel Boy's career. It had a little bit of everything.

I was excited about this show to begin with. I was playing with a southern rocker who has been around for a long time and written some great grits boogie stuff. His music really showcased some of the things I do best. Swooping and snotty slide guitar licks, fatback rhythm guitar. Even some times in there for me to turn it all up and soar. We were the second of three acts, our job was to get the crowd ready for the headliners. We were given free rein to go out and kill. The blowoff band didn't care, they were perfectly willing to wait until the crowd quit yelling for us and started yelling for them, no matter how long it took.

We were also playing the Murph (the football stadium in San Diego). It was very close to a hometown gig for me. I had spent heavily on making sure I had a lot of my friends in the audience, and they were throwing a full on beach party for us after the show. It was stacking up to be one of those peak performance nights. Everything was looking great.

Usually before a show I've very quiet and contained. I keep to myself saving it for the stage. This time though I was almost jumping outside my skin. It was all starting to climb up my ass. I left the green room and went around the back of the stage to take in the crowd and check out the first band.

They were doing alright. Not shining but not sucking either. I was looking out over the folks in the standing room area and I saw HER. Everything you would dream about on a California afternoon in the early summer. Blonde, no wait, that really can't explain this girl's look. Beach Blonde, California Blonde, Look at this girl and Jan and Dean songs start playing in your head blonde. Tanned, together, totally drop dead gorgeous. If this girl was carnival food she'd be babe on a stick.

Normally I don't get noticed much in situations like this. I'm nobody's poster boy anything. One of the reasons I started playing was that I took an honest assesment of myself in the mirror one day and said "Dude, if you don't learn to play an electric guitar, you're never going to get any." Most of my assignation and even first contact stuff comes after the show. After they've seen me in action.

Out of somewhere in serendipity she noticed me. She smiled and beamed. Maybe it was the backstage pass thing hanging off my neck, maybe it was that I was flanked by a couple of security guys, who knows? Something made her look at me and smile. I beckoned her to come over and talk to me. She asked if I was with a band and I told her my band was on next. I told her that I would get her up closer and that I would get her a pass for backstage if she would like one. She explained that she was with a friend and before I saw that the friend was just as beautiful I said that there woudl be no problem with that told the muscle head in the tight tee shirt to rustle up two backstage passes and then I asked his running mate to please clear the two ladies a path to the lip of the stage.

Once everything was all arranged, names (now long forgotten) were exchanged, and an invitation for the beach party that was expected to go late into the night and deep into the weekend was issued I excused myself and told her I needed to get ready for my set.

Backstage I deal with my stage fright with a lot of ritual and routine. Going through the same things night after night gets me ready for the action to come. Having a familiar pattern focuses me in the ever changing world of performance. I sit by myself and go over the proposed set list, making sure I have each guitar voicing and tuning all ready to go. I go over the cues and licks of each song. This was long before I sobered up so I also got my dope ritual happening. A shitload of coke and an equal dose of heroin. Then it's time to throw up. I can't blame that on the dope, most of the time I still throw up before a show at fifteen years clean and sober. It's more a stage fright thing. I throw up, brush my teeth and feel better.

This time, I threw up, brushed my teeth and threw up again. There was plenty of time for another tooth brushing, but I figured I might have mixed a little too heavy on the coke end so I hit half a joint and down a couple valium with a double shot of irish whiskey. Things settled down a little bit and I chased it with a club soda and started feeling ready to go.

Right before I went on I did one more little booster shot. Not the monster I did a half an hour ago, just a little booster. I always felt that heroin and coke together was a perfect performing dose. I could ride the coke rush out onto the stage and then the heroin would even things out and let me play. Fuck it, it worked for me. Being the professional that I am I made sure to wipe the blood off my arm and roll down my sleeve. Appearances must be kept up don't you know. . .all about the presentation baby.

Our set was going great. Halfway through the first song I look over the front of the crowd and see the California Blonde and her buddy the Other California Blonde right there at the front of the stage, right in front of me. I smile, they smile back. I spend the rest of the song paying attention to my performance enough to keep things rolling. I also spend my spare moments working the Blondes.

We get into one of my favorite songs. I really get to do some totally rude slide guitar licks. Tonight, I'm on. Even the singer is amazed. Normally I'm a real lunch pail kind of guy. Get the job done is what I do. Tonight though I'm all over it. I'm roiling in between the phrases, growling and threatening musical violence, sounding like I'm ready to explode at any moment. When my solo comes I'm all over the first few notes like Mike Tyson on Michael Spinks, it's out there full bore from the starting gun and halfway through the first verse I'm showing no signs of letting up. By the time the chorus rolls by the singer is jumping up and down pointing at me to take another. I take another phrase and it's even better. I'm all over this, I look at the Blondes and they are beaming at me, glowing and stuff. Usually I don't get much looks, even when I'm soloing, a lot of the time I play with my back to audience or I'm focusing on the rest of the band. Not this time, I start moving over to the girls, slinging my hips and my licks all over the stage. I lean into the girls who reach for me. I lean a little closer, wailing away on the guitar the whole time, leaning closer and closer, almost touching.

Then I threw up again.

big brass blog


Anonymous ta hussain ta said...

Hot dog, you've offended the weakest link.

I'm almost jealous!

5:22 AM  
Blogger Sherry said...

wow, you pushed someone's button!

back to the story-

this was just too much. oh my i didn't know if i should laugh some more or feel awful for you.

i could see it tho and that's the mark of a good writer!

you should be careful of the throwing up all the time. causes damage to more than just an evening's plans, ; )

5:30 AM  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

Man, I hate it when that happens.

6:31 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i fucking love trolls. oh, my, he's talking about my mama! oh, it hurt his little troll feelings that i talked shit about his pretend fucking god and his pretend fucking preznit. he's mad at me. oh, mercy mercy now my whole week is simply ruined.

note to trolls. fuck your god and fuck you.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous ta hussain ta said...

Who cares who wins, troll, so long as you lose.

Woman president? Bring it!

7:32 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

i would prefer hillary in the white house to any republican in history, wait, no, i take that back. lincoln and teddy roosevelt were cool republicans, they can stay.

trolls: begone. behold my power poof! you never existed.

8:09 AM  
Blogger jurassicpork said...

So I guess that queered the threesome, huh, Stevie?

Jesus Christ, this is worse than any dating nightmare that either I or Abby Taylor had ever put on Pottersville or Falafel Sex.

So what inspired you to share this, er, visceral road story? It couldn't be a certain wouldbe novelist who's trying to cobble together a rock-n-roll novel without any direct experience in the business, could it?

I'm glad you're sober these days. Trust me, your mind and stomach are in a happier place now.

Oh, before I forget, ta hussein...

Go fuck yourself.

Thank you. We now join our regularly scheduled blogging.

2:10 PM  
Blogger seventh sister said...

What a story...I could almost see it coming, but I figured it would end with them taking up with the drummer and lead singer or someone from the headlining band. I was thinking about that Jackson Brown song.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Angelos said...

I remember your condensed version of this in a comment at Shakes, at least 2 years ago.

I also remember litbrit's comment:
S.... B....., you are a god!

Great story, well told.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

So, I guess that put the kibosh on the hoped-for festivities?

Though a wretched experience I'm sure, I do smile at the restraint of the telling: "Most of my assignation and even first contact stuff comes after the show". . . a refined reference to the ever-present groupies?

You have much to tell--I imagine you will write book (?) I humbly offer myself as editor. I s'pect I'd learn a thing or two.

7:59 PM  
Blogger jurassicpork said...

I just emailed Stevie to make such a suggestion, lisa. You wouldn't believe the guys and gals he's played with.

4:47 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Good morning, jurassic,

I think it'd be great fun--after I adjusted to the fact I'd be turning several shades of purple upon the tellings!

5:24 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it couldn't be a "tell all" fuck dudes, i'm a grampa!

7:05 AM  
Anonymous oddjob said...

Then I threw up again.



11:22 AM  
Blogger litbrit said...

Hahahahaha! I totally remember this story, too, the condensed version, that is.

We were sharing our "tales of misspent youth" bits with each other in a Question of the Day thread.

Mine had to do with getting plastered with a group of friends and going skinny dipping, swimming halfway across a huge sinkhole, and hearing the voice of one of several policemen, via megaphone, saying, Come. Back. To. Shore. Right. Now.

So, so embarrassing. Luckily, they didn't arrest us, just made us put our clothes on and escorted us off the property, which wasn't exactly ours. :-)

In the islands, one can go on another person's land and swim in a collapsed volcano or sinkhole, and even eat a guava or two from their trees, as long as one respects the place and doesn't leave rubbish everywhere. The attitude is much more "the land and the fruits belong to Mother Earth" than it is here.

I'm really glad you're not throwing up as much these days, MB. That shit is hard on the body. The throwing up, I mean. But yeah, the cause of the throwing up, too.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...


It has to be a little juicy, but with decorum. You of all people can walk that fine line. You may not have a nom de plume, but you may create names for others.

I see it as a story of redemption, featured in the self-help section and Oprah's Book Club. The apres-Spinal Tap. Consider it.

5:32 PM  

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