An inspiration from last night's jam session with Jake.
You know what I hate about the midwest? That every city is named after some other, much cooler, much more exotic city. We're in Stockholm this week, Stockholm Wisconsin. It's almost as bad as when we played Madrid, Iowa or Kokomo, Indiana.
And so instead of being surrounded by nubible blonde swedish vixens that just want to have some fine time in a mineral pool, we're in this club "The Syndrome" (oh you Stockholim-istas...you're sooo clever) surrounded by women who could probably best be described as "sturdy". Still I guess anything is better than Madrid. This new promoter Jake found is pretty good. She's a drunk, but she's spot on when she's relatively sober. I told Jake we needed a sound guy more than we needed a promoter, but I guess after the time I bitched to Jake I'd make more money busking than I did at the Madrid gig, he listened and got us a well paying contract.
Still, why did it have to be with...ugh...Hot Topic?! I knew we had to sell out sooner or later, but couldn't it be for Fender or Orange Amps or even like...Mountain Dew? Still, we all got families to feed, that's what Aborted Abortions is all about. Jake's got his little princess, and I have my bumblebee back home. It makes for a pretty funny picture, two rockers with baby pictures glued to the back of their guitars; but where else would we keep them? Ain't nothing closer and nothing better to remind us of what we're working for, and well...formula's expensive.
We arrive at the Syndrome early, it's pretty usual midwest fare. The spray paint spattered back wall, trying oh so hard to be cool. The smell of stale cigarettes and watered down beer hangs in the air, and everything seems rounded and worn down from having too many bodies touch it. Since there's no sound guy, Jake and I tune up. Goose is drumming (he's got a kid too to feed, but he can't put his pictures on his drum) and Hayley is lugging equipment. Singers get it easy. We've also found it better if a girl hangs the "Aborted Abortions" banner, we tend to get less flak that way. We get a couple of gasps from the townies, a couple of laughs and nervous titters. In Madrid we actually had a couple of peple walk out, and in Paris (Illinois) they got wind of us and an angry mob formed outside. We didn't care. Angry, happy, high, depressed, whatever, just come on inside and have your emotional meltdown, we get 10% of the gate either way.
We finally get started, and the club owner obviously stammers over the word "Abortions" in our intro, Just get off the stage already. Suddenly it's go time, the lights are on, Goose starts drumming and then it's my turn.
I hate it when people ask me if I play guitar. I'm a bassist, there's a difference. The guitar is like the furniture in a house. It's what everyone sees and expects when they come in. It's what they judge a house on and how they look at it compared to other houses. No house is complete without furniture in it. That's fine, but I'm the foundation and the walls that furniture goes into. Lay the bricks of bass chords and let the guitarist do his thing with the squeadeldies and the meadeldies. I am not King Hamlet, nor was meant to be. A simple bassist will do, one to play a solo or two. Haley meanwhile is singing for all she's got, a cover we do of "American Woman" which usually gets people fired up since it's a girl singing and well...you do the math.
Jake is struggling tonight, I can hear he's trying something new with his fretwork, making it more interesting, but more difficult at the same time. These little podunk shops are the best place to try stuff out on, because they're usually disposable and no one cares what they think of you in Stockholm, Madrid or Paris. Tonight is different though, we're playing for Hot Topic's money, and we not only get a cut of the gate, but all of our Merch as well. Now is not the time to be breaking down walls or going to a new level of aristry. "Think of the fans!" Jake always tells me. I always tell Jake to think of the money.
He's finding his groove though and by the time Hayley moves into a round of "That's What You Get', the crowd is on their feet and singing along with us. It's always an amazing feeling, to know you've provoked that reaction in people. It's not the booze or whatever they're smoking in the corner, it's you, and your music coursing through them. It's an incredible rush of power, and more addicting than any drug on the market. We finish with "Chop Suey", which is incredible to watch us play, as so much sound comes out of Haley's little body. The crowd is all frothed up, Haley says "THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT" and with that we head to the merch table. Those Tshirts don't sell themselves.
I gotta hand it to the hose Hot Topic marketers. The crowd was pretty big tonight, and the group that showed up is dead set on having a Tshirt with the band name on it.. I can only hope we give some Stockholm High School Assistant Principal an anyurism Monday morning when he sees it.
The crowd dies town, we have a beer at the bar, and pack up the stuff. Jake gets a call on his cell, we're off to London...Minnesota in the morning. I make a call, tell my wife to kiss our little bumblebee for me, and start packing up the truck.