Saturday, January 14, 2012

Call Me Pigtail 6/20

It's like Christmas, literally like Christmas. We can't wait...

At the club: Load in. One bass amp, one guitar amp. A guitar, a bass, a "drum set," really only enough for one or two trips. That's it. Bare bones. Then comes two big fat garbage bags of yard-sale plunder, hauled in and dumped smack in the middle of the dance floor in front of the stage. Except for the vodka-cranberries in our hands, we could be children on Christmas morning, laughing and playing with our new toys. Who cares if they're all used or broken or stained with something? To us these things are now valuable possessions. How is it that the useless refuse of a road-side Kentucky family can be so precious to us? Well, who's us?

The best part is putting everything up on the stage. Everything, more or less, fits somewhere: The Twister board we tape up behind GT as a kind of a backdrop; the grimy stuffed animals we lovingly array around the amps and drums. Christmas lights, the half that actually work, we drape all over everything. The Halloween masks, broken and too-small, will be worn by GT at random moments behind the kit. The Fashion Barbie head, the one that some child made-up with markers before sawing off the synthetic blond hair with a kitchen knife, is propped up in a place of honor on Skipper's amp. The torn Farrah poster, the big ugly wall clock, the light-up Pabst sign, the scummy blow-up pool toys, the spinning table-top disco light that keeps getting stuck -- it all goes on stage, and holy fuck it all looks SO amazing. Happy in its new home. When we hit the stage, exhausted from spelunking, wobbly from vodka, snazzy in sport coats and helmets, when we start the set amid this debris, somewhere the Rock Gods smile. The thundering rock and the blazing stupidity of the band and its music, the trailer-park-after-the-tornado stage set up; it's senseless, it makes perfect sense. The twenty people there are going bananas. We are beyond thinking; we know. This is it. The Rock Gods have cracked open the door, and we have shoved in a big white patent leather slip-on.

The first set is over, and the room is vibrating, and then one of us, who knows who, has an idea that pretty much guarantees that this show, if it didn't already, will go down in history, or at least our history. "OK!" shouts Skipper, unsteady in the middle of the dance floor. "We're taking you fuckers out for White Castles. Everyone in the van!" Seriously? The crowd wavers. All of us? Yes, all of you. Into the van. We have to get back in time for the next set. Five minutes later and I am heels-over-ass in the back of the van, packed in with over a dozen drunk strangers, laughing, rolling with the turns, GT driving I think, on our way to the White Castle three blocks down the street and around the corner. Now we're there, stop the van, everyone spills out, and Skipper leads us into the ungodly bright fluorescent interior of the restaurant, and at the counter the hopeless dude in the paper hat says "may I help you?" and Skipper says, and I will always love him for this, and it fits him so perfectly: "One slider, please." "One slider?" says the dude. "Yep," says Skipper, and three minutes later we are all back in the van, all of us, the band and its audience, rolling with the turns and passing around that one single slider, that tiny hot package, and everyone takes a little bite and hands it on, all of us brothers, all of us sisters, and the love we have been holding in for years flows between us.
The second set, if indeed we played one, is lost in the fog...

Next: Solos...

1 comment:

Bookmark and Share