Friday, March 26, 2010

first nite

Andy didn't even look around or give a cue, just sucked in a big breath across the mike then let it rip -


Thankfully Jake was able to whip out the first chord, but my bass wasn't even turned up and I had to maneuver around the bottom to manage a crude fade-in. Way to keep us awake, dude.

It was obvious we hadn't done a lot of sound checking, and the whole idea was just to get our feet wet tonight - hell, we're not even getting paid - but I'd hate to catch a whiff of how this sounds in the crowd. All I can hear is the massive rented Ampeg behind me and hopefully Donnie can keep us going on the skins. We had to set up around the piano and the old Hammond that doesn't even work, and they weren't able to take the pool table out of here so it's just pushed to the wall. For some reason I'm surprised there's not an old cigar store Indian standing next to me.

I feel Don's kick and crack, and hear lots of brass over my rumbling BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM-BOM, but not much else.

It doesn't help that Jake's old deuce combo is seriously underpowered and I have to keep watching his hands, but still, the crowd seems to be getting into it. Andy has a way with things up front and he's probably our best hope at the moment. I suppose if I'm the perfectionist in the mix then we need some charm and abandon to balance it out. It was his idea to mix in some party stuff and I had to agree, but I still can't wait to dig in to the rest of the set. Man, if we could only bring that B3 to life I'm sure it would share some timeless wisdom on the classics we do later on.

So we reach the big finish, everyone balls to the wall, and Andy's soulful wail to bring 'er home, then through my ringing ears I could make out the small crowd sounding fairly worked up already. As he starts in with the opening spiel I was hoping he'd ask how we sound but it would seem he's got his groove on already, the train has left, no sleep till Albuquerque.

"Is it gettin hot in here already? Ohh yea-yahh, babies we are burnin UP! Time to call tha FI-YAH HOWSE!"

Sure wish we could have put some reverb on him at least, kind of a sharp slap when he projects.

But at least it's comforting to really feel the riff take shape over there when Jake starts churning it out. He's really coming along even after just two or three years, kind of a natural.

For better or worse we do a few more rockers as people loosen up, and to my amazement, Andy turns around and says "alright boys and girls, we gonna take tee-yun to give y'all time to pre-PARE yourselves forrrr...what comes next, so play nice out there!" and then tries to put the mike on a stand as it threatens to feed back.

Everyone grabs their ears as they watch his attempts to shield the mike, with varied results, then I realize I'm closest to the cord and run to unplug it while trying to keep my instrument from banging into stuff. What no one bothered to tell me is that my right hoof is wrapped in a cable.

Somehow I am able to stagger the other leg gradually and come down into some kind of lunge, but not without manhandling the strings before I'd had a chance to turn down the pot. Since I was still in front of my amp, the ensuing thunder quickly goes epic, a giant saw ripping through my body as I fumble for the plugs. I reach them after a month and three days.

As I ooze onto the floor with the bass on my chest I faintly hear fits of laughter. My head feels like a throbbing potato baked in a reactor meltdown. I'm pretty sure the buzzing in my teeth is actually to the point of emanating its own sound.

Pretty soon Andy comes into my field of view, hovering above rubbing his ears, nothing but grin in between 'em.

Someone in the seats yells "PLAY SOMETHING BY SPINAL TAP," stoking the crowd's laughter.

Andy glances out there and then back to me. "I think we're a hit, boss," he gloats with batting eyebrows.

With my left hand still grasping the neck of my bass, I close my eyes and slowly lift the middle finger.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

sometime that summer

my first driver's license is just starting to get some rub wear in the laminate, and after a torrid heat spell, the rains return life to the cradle garden with some irresistible evenings along for the ride

i call her up on a whim and she answers, just gonna read tonite, well, unless...

next thing i know i'm picking her up in my parents' 1984 ltd wagon, a verifiable tail magnet

i had nearly asked her to walk over, since we live close but for some reason that didn't seem right

after i manage to choose the most awkward spot in the middle of the driveway her mom appears out of thin air, like a NEEEN-ja, grinning ear to ear, camera in hand

wispy clouds line the horizon like molten silver and the breeze caresses with a mother's touch, it blows her reddish-brown hair around as she emerges from the front door, she looks away when i first glance at her, denim skirt, button-up top and arms crossed as if shivering, then the smile lights up her face when our eyes meet again

we get to the corner stop sign before either one of us realizes we hadn't really decided where to go

i have ten bucks in my pocket thanks to dad, but it's too nice out for the mall and neither one of us are hungry yet, then a poignant HONK from behind makes me jump a foot

half a mile later she's still laughing when we finally decide just to hang out at the elementary school playground, where there was not another soul around save passing cars, not that i would notice them

first we did the teeter totter as she rides side-saddle, out of time and place, here at the school during summer break, and she had gone to a different grade school to boot

then as we sat there on the swings just looking around my mind's eye somehow shifted to a wide angle, better bookmark this page where two kids, good friends, are finally granted a measure of freedom, and so, what would we do with it?

as she turns my way mid-sentence i notice her smile as her eyes dance around, green as the summer grass, the same ones that once struck dark fear in my bones as she stood at my back door with the neighbor girl, and we just stay that way for a moment, as i wonder whether it's ok to keep staring and not sure if i can stop

then a cloud crosses the sun and it suddenly seems late, we each look around, seconds pass, my tummy growls

i ask if she wants to grab something to eat and that smile encores, brighter than ever, reaching the silver clouds for all i know

thankfully mickey dees was still open by the time we found our way there, we joked

as i drift to sleep that night i realize that i hadn't played the car's radio all evening

it's funny how some things don't have to be grand to be perfect, and how the best relationships aren't defined just by moments