Tuesday, July 28, 2009


So let's wind this shit down shall we? Sunday came like a hangover. I couldn't sleep Saturday night, things felt good, outdoors in the middle of a strange town, smoking cigarettes in a parking lot overlooking a dimly lit parking lot. It was a nice scene for some 16 year old over-hormoned and neurotic. I was wired all night, I got home and felt like writing a book or an opera or just doing something, anything to keep the weird rush of energy I had going.
But I eventually just watched the Doors movie on TBS and got really depressed and fell asleep just before the sun came up.
Sunday was a bigger show, the biggest show as far as I was concerned, The St. Joseph's elementary Battle of the Bands.
This event had been going on the last few years and always had a pretty enormous turn out. Some youth organization ran it and did a great job promoting it.
Battle of the bands, if you don't know are pretty much just a bullshit way to get you to beg as many of your friends to come out to a show. Any organized Battle of the Bands I've ever been involved in the organizer has always said: "remember the more people you get out the more likely you are to win" which is kind of a defeatist attitude to go in with; like you won't convert anyone. Everyone is coming here to see their friends bands and even if you whip out some kind of wizardry not yet known to this planet it won't make any difference because they're not here to see you.
This was different. Apparently there were judges. I never figured out who they were and maybe that was the point, but they were the governing body as far as who won.
And what do you win?
Well normally it would be something like a free hour at whatever rehearsal studio was sponsoring the event. Or maybe a free package of Blue Steel guitar strings. Nice, helpful things to have, but not exactly a gold medal.
The St. Joe's thing was giving away $200, which seemed a lot better.

A few years back when I was probably 12 or 13 I remember very vividly being a giddy as a the schoolboy I was when the last band that played finished off with Enter Sandman. By the time the next year rolled around, I was kind off Metallica and got really into the second to last band who looked more like a reality show than a band. One kid had a mohwak and was punked out like it was 1976 London. The singer looked like 90's Bon Jovi. The girl playing bass looked like she probably took piano lessons. The Drummer might have been in Slayer orginally. They even had someone playing trombone.
I'll call them "Daft" for the simple reason that I'm taking a few liberties with their personnel and I don't want to eat shit on the details. So now they've been fictionalized, and with this comes a new name.
So Daft comes out and they are great, for what I knew at that age they were the best thing I ever saw in my life. They were weird and funny and scary and loud it was everything you want when you're wallowing around unfuckable and awkward in the muck of early teen angst. They played for a about a half an hour and every one was stomping around in half assed attempts at mosh pits while getting dirty looks from the off duty police that volunteered to help.
At the end of the night Daft didn't win the competition, that distinction went to a band that did a fairly terrible version of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Well we weren't going to stand for that and we booed those bastards and started a little "Daft" chant. It was a nice little moment.
But fuck them now. They were back, and likely had the biggest audience in the place. There were only four bands this year which was down from the two times I'd already been there.
It was a weird night over all.
I just realized I can't really finish the story.
I fucked up.
I wasn't in this band the day before this show.
I was going to the show to see Zack's band play, and to be honest I was jealous, but as luck would have it Zack's bass player had to study for his SAT's and wasn't allowed to attend the show. This became my short term gain, he eventually went on to a lucrative career and I think lives in Miami, while I sit in a basement and scratch stories off my Swiss cheese memory.
So I was in, but I didn't know any of the songs.
I had to make notes on the back of the setlist so I knew what to play for which songs.
I was learning how to play half the set on the playground in the back while the other bands played or smoked cigarettes with pretty impressionable girls.
So we played.
And I think it went pretty ok.
Zack went nuts, jumped on my back and brought me down.
There was also a guitar swinging incident in which he swung a guitar at someone in one of the other bands.
There is a video of all of this somewhere but I never felt much like watching it because I'd hate to be disappointed if the reality of it wasn't as vivid as I remember it.
So anyway, Daft won.

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