Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tales From Future Rock Stars Pt. 1 (of many)

(From the eventually-to-be-released autobiography of Of Mirth and Matter:)

We should’ve filmed it.

The opening shot was beyond cinema-ready: It’s a beautiful late spring Monday afternoon in Athens. The sun’s shining, the clouds are sparse and serve only mildly decorative functions at best, and there’s a parking spot on Lumpkin a mere twenty feet from the entrance to the Georgia Theatre.

And this was an entrance suitable for a triumphant rock and roll moment: the front door stood open and the opening, Rolling Stones-sampled-strains of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” are blaring over the house PA. Was it wrong to slow down and practically strut in as if I owned the place while Drew went down the steps to greet Mikey E.?

Maybe, but damn it felt good.

After that it was a brief interlude where I wished we were famous enough to have roadies. Early 80s Mercedes-Benz sedans didn’t have trunks big enough for a 4x12 cabinet, but their back seats honestly aren’t that better a fit. On its side, my cabinet was just slightly larger than the actual area between the door and seat, so to get it out involves a pressing on the backseat cushion coupled with a pulling motion far better suited to a horny teenager at make-out point than a guitarist. But a brief while later the grunt work was done, and since the soundman didn’t seem to either be there or in any hurry to have the second-to-last band set-up, we went off in search of libations.

But that’s not exactly how things went down.

I finished unloading and saw neither Drew nor David in the Theatre, and as far as I knew, Alliene had yet to show up. So I headed out the side door and spotted them at the Globe. One day everyone in the band will have a cell phone and I may piss myself with joy. Or we’ll just do shots. You know, whichever comes first.

Mindy and her roommate were there along with the rest of the band and some Smithwick’s. Pleasantries and vulgarities were exchanged and then we heard a loud ruckus emanating from somewhere around Broad St. A few mintues later the first of the protesters came marching past. I was somewhat dismayed that my three semesters of collegiate Spanish had so ill-prepared me for all this, but one of the cheers was more or less “Bush, listen.” I think. No hablo espanol bein. But they had great rhythm. Drew then half-seriously suggested getting flyers to hand out and we were all a little surprised when our friend Geoff came walking past.

“If you have time to protest, you have time to come to the show!” Drew said.

Meanwhile, I busied myself by sending out a mass text message to everyone in my phonebook in the state of Georgia (which took a while because apparently I’m the slowest texter in the city. It didn’t help that whomever programmed the word-populater suggested after merely a “G-e” the word “Gerhvogsky” or something similarly eastern European, instead of “Georgia.” Sometime during all this Alliene ventured off with Bryan to either snap pictures of the protesters as they marched under the marquee or unload his drums. Probably both. Then David, Drew, and I wrapped up our Smithwick’s and went back to the Theatre to check on things.

I didn’t find out until later that while the owner was away, and the regular soundman was out, the substitute (or back-up, or understudy, or whatever the proper term is) soundman took his sweet time showing up and was somewhere around two hours late. It seemed like Beyond Tomorrow had been milling around on stage for hours (though at this point it was really only an hour, but still). So I grabbed my bookbag and headed towards backstage.

The promised Papa John’s never materialized, but there was still plenty of vittles: multiple trays of Subway sandwiches, 20 dollar fruit platters, Cheesey Puffs (which I loved as a kid when my family would go out on the lake and hadn’t had in years), KC Masterpiece Lays, a veggie trey, and stacks of Coke products. Plus my bottle of Jack, David’s bottle of vodka, and Drew’s half-full bottle of Maker’s Mark. Erok from GrooveStain had made it in by this point too, and had joined us backstage.

And then time slowed down…

Beyond Tomorrow was still (!) setting up, though it looked like some Georgia Theatre staff was finally there, so I figured I would try and plug the show one more time in person to a friend and hook her up with business, so I left backstage, found Drew near the front with David and Mindy, met the sponsors or counselors or whatever the title is for the folks who were in charge of Delta Gamma, and then suggested we venture somewhat across the street to Cutter’s pub in hopes of seeing my friend Katie. (The sponsors, obviously, didn't join us. But I hate unclear antecedents.)

And Katie lost out on some serious bar bucks. The final tally for my “entourage” was me, David, Drew, Bryan (who brought in an outside drink—bottled water—without incident so go Cutters for being cool about that), Mindy, Mindy’s roommate, Sally (Delta Gamma’s social chair), and one or two of her friends. But Katie was either sick, or studying (which, given that it was reading day I think requires a kind of sickness…especially for an English major—cramming for a class where you have to read multiple novels and thousands and thousands of pages of material always struck me as major fool’s errand if you were cramming for an English course, perhaps it wasn’t really the right major for you) or just shifted her schedule and wasn’t working this Monday.

Whatever it was, it sucked that she wasn’t there (my superstitious side was remembering a great show we played on a Monday at the Georgia Theatre where I spent a half or so hanging out at El Centro where she used to work, trying to convince her to take a “longer than usual” break from bartendressing in between her fielding calls from her little, and recently dumped brother. More or less repeating things I’ve done before shows is, to me, no more or less weird than my hair superstition during football season. More on that one at another time.) But we took care of Jo, who was apparently the only one working the bar at quarter of 7 on a Monday. David, Drew and I each went moderately high-class with our pre-soundcheck beverages: a shot of Jack and Stella Artois for me, Smithwick’s (which our bartender and Drew differed on the pronunciation of) and a shot of Jameson for Drew, and Guiness and Maker’s for David. We toasted, and settled into our beers as ESPN’s coverage of the inaugural meeting in 2006 between Boston and New York started on the TV. Some quick bantering of insults was exchanged between Drew and I over the game, with David slyly backing me up on my claim about the beauty of Fenway park. I then flipped of the projection screen when they showed Johnny Damon and every few minutes would say “Johnny Damon” in the same whiny inflections as the Matt Damon puppet in “Team America: World Police”.

Then we all had to wrap up our beers and head back for soundcheck.

Except that Beyond Tomorrow was still milling about and it seemed like the main soundguy had only just then shown up. The longest bass drum soundcheck ever was the background for my changing from t-shirt to stage attire, while our pink t-shirts were delivered and David, Alliene, Drew and Bryan attempted to get the foosball table operational.

Sadly, foosball is very difficult without an actual ball.

(Sit right there—we’ve got more on the way soon...same bat channel)


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Jamie said...

Hey look Will, we wasted 4 years of our lives at UGA, when it could have only taken 2 weeks!

Love it, now I don't feel as bad that I couldn't make it. Not surprised about Geoff protesting, but I am curious of Drew's pronunciation of "Smithwicks."

Jamie said...

We're making Geoff famous, 2 posts in 2 days!

Will Mosher said...

Well, don't feel too good about missing it yet...I haven't gotten to the flying panties and half the band playing half naked yet. Or the suitcase of beer, the bottle of Jameson and the photographers...

Jamie said...

Hmm, flying panties don't affect me and I think I've already seen the band half naked, individually, not collectively because I wasn't at that party...