One thing you have to remember about most of these road stories is that they happened a long time ago, before I got clean and sober and my memory, well, shall we just say, it's spotty
, for the most part, and let it go at that. There. That's better.
One of the things people always want to ask about is the cookies. Road cookies. Some folks call them groupies
but I prefer cookies. It's a much nicer metaphor and summons up images of sweet smells and enticing flavors and a nearly endless variety of little snacks.
That's all it is too. Little snacks. Diversions. Treats. It shouldn't be something viewed as exploiting or degrading. Those kind of things ruin it all. I'm talking about consensual, adult (or close enough for plausible deniability), goofing around. Where nobody gets lied too or about, nobody expects more than what is there present and visible.
It works both ways too. Usually there are only two reasons somebody picks up an electric guitar and puts in the time and effort it takes to learn how to play it well enough to approach making a living. Sex and revenge. Anybody tells you different is probably a lying son of a bitch. Sex and revenge. Primal and powerful stuff. While the football heroes and class king and his court were all getting the shit beat out of them on Friday night my band and I were setting up to play the dance. More than once the cheerleaders ended up in our van while the boyfriend was in the ER getting his stitches done or the cast cured. Nights like that were among the best because they involved sex and
revenge. Most of the time it involved a beating or two come the next school week, but most of my school weeks involved that shit anyway so it was just one more little point on my side of the scoreboard.
Once the road started being involved it got even cooler. There was a transactional thing that goes down between a traveling musician and the road cookies. We provide them an opportunity to act out their best mainstream pornolit Erica Jong zipless fantasies and then poof!
we're gone. Nobody left behind in town to tell their mommies, daddies, and friends at church what depraved little minxes they are. All the dirty little secrets and desires are allowed to run rampant around the cheap little hotel room or the bus's back room for a little while and then they all get safely tucked away back inside their nice, dark, safe little closets. And, we're gone.
It's like an adolescent version of peek-a-boo. When we're out of sight, we don't exist on the physical plane anymore.
Every once and a while though, local stuff would rear its ugly head. Sometimes things we thought were all about some good clean dirty fun would turn ugly in a southern gothic sort of way.
I was playing with, shit, I don't even remember. We were a great big hit that night though. There was a whole passel of local talent who talked their way into our breaks. Some of them even broke out some pretty good local swamp grass (hey, it might have been Florida or Mississippi) to compete with our 1 toke Maui stuff. We were having a great time. The ratio of girl to band guys was working out to be around three to one while at the same time showing every indication of expanding before the night was through. On our way back in to play the drummer and I were talking about seeing Superfly Jimmy Snuka and some other "tag team" greats of wrestling. I was going to need a drool bib to get through the next set without shorting my gear.
The last break showed an increase in the number of young women on the tour bus, along with some pretty telling asides. There were references to starting rosters, second strings, and props. Yes sir, this was shaping up to be a legendary performance back at the old hotel.
It was an old hotel too. Every deep south town has at least one of them. It's not a chain, it's local owned and operated. There's somebody at the desk all the time, usually chatting on the phone, but eager and willing to assist a guest.
I don't know what it was that set the inbred kid at the hotel desk that night off. I don't know what rang his bells. It might have been seeing five of us going up to our rooms with nearly fifteen local girls. It might have been the fact that two of us were "colored" to use their most polite terms and the girls were all very, very white. We'd been playing a place that served liquor so any questions of underage were not on us. The bar's supposed to check that shit.
We weren't even being that loud. Or kinky. At least not in my room anyway. I figure three to one odds is about all the kink this old boy can manage. It's a lot of work trying to make sure that nobody feels left out or neglected, it takes sensitivity and common sense. All of which can be in short supply after a long night of music and debauchery both imagined and executed.
About an hour and a half into the festivities the knock at the door was followed by a voice proclaiming that owner of the hotel was on his way. We figured "So what? There's plenty of beer and dope for one more." The owner arrived and said that he needed to check the place out for damage. We said cool and offered both beer and dope. Satisfied that there was no property damage being done he left to consider his next move. After another thirty minutes or so, and extra paragraphs on some small town girl's penthouse letter, the knock on the door was followed by a loud voice saying:
"If you don't have this sinner's convention wrapped up and over in fifteen minutes I'm going to go get the Sheriff!"
It didn't help matters that when I opened the door to the room the first thing I said was "Well Goddamn Mr. ------, I thought you said you didn't want to come up here again tonight."
What chilled me to the bone was the little girly voice coming out of one of the rooms where at least eight commandments were being gleefully and happily broken. "Well you just go ahead you old fart. Call my Daddy! See how long you get to keep this fleabag shithole open after that bullshit!"
A firm grasp on what constitutes the better part of valor had the whole band, mostly clothed and semi-packed, on the bus, on the way out of town in less than ten minutes.
Two stowaways were discovered at the pancake stop and left behind.
This wasn't 'Nam, there were rules.3beez