My best friend is in a band called Pure Rubbish. Their guitar player is a fifteen year-old Eddie Van Halen without the talent, charm, or endearing alcoholism. He slams a door in my face at some point in the evening. I think he’s the biggest prick I’ve ever met. Their drummer is… well… ten. Their singer is the father of the two naivetes, and my poor friend is the bass player stuck in between.
They play Numbers, a pretty big gig for a family band that relies heavily on AC/DC covers. They open for some touring band called Nashville Pussy. I highly dislike the headliner’s set. I say as much to my friend seconds before he says, “They’re getting signed backstage, and they want us to tour with them.” Without hesitation, I follow him into the green room.
Nashville Pussy’s singer is holding court in a folding chair near the back. The ten year-old from Rubbish is practically sitting on his lap. I stand awkwardly against a counter while the entirety of the Houston rock scene approaches the king one at time over the course of an hour, each with a demo tape in hand, blubbering false praise. I’m utterly disgusted.
Bored, nauseated, my eyes float toward Nashville Pussy’s Amazonian bass player, this absurdly tall and beautiful blond removing her makeup at the mirrored counter opposite my own hiding spot. Some stereotypical dick in a suit is rubbing her shoulders. In the mirror, I catch her flinching, sneering, acquiescing. I feel a mixture of sympathy and abject disappointment. Silently, I vow to devote myself to the visual arts, to leave this rock and roll schmooze show to the apparently spineless, to never, ever engage in an activity that might lead to this level of creative hypocrisy and physical degradation.
I join a rock band.
Rhode Island, 2004:
I join another rock band.
Rhode Island, 2016:
I have now completely abandoned the visual arts and have been in five rock bands.
Next week: I discover a group of musicians who do not schmooze, mostly because they are also incapable of/unwilling to kiss ass. We smoke a shit-ton of weed, never find an audience outside Western Connecticut, Indonesia, and the Mexican cartel, and Jerry Only tries to seduce me. ‘Night, folks!