Friday, December 15, 2023

2 Minutes. Go!

You weren't there, so you can't feel it, but I can try to tell you about it. 

The first thing you have to do is understand the fear. It's a special kind of fear. There is excitement in it. A bit of dread. You are drinking beer to kill the nerves, but it's a slippery slope. You need to maintain balance, you need to drink medicinally. Unfortunately, you aren't wired that way. 

The nerves hide the alcohol until it's too late, and the other guitarist is pissed, and that makes you feel like shit, and feeling like shit is no way to play a show. So, you have another beer.

If the opening band sucks, the energy will be low. If the opening band is good, you will be extra nervous. Extra drinky. That will ruin the set, and there will be some unspoken anger. Or maybe it gets spoken. Maybe there's yelling. Even physical violence.

Sometimes, things will go right despite your failings. These are the good times. It's easy when it's like that, but it is a rare occurrence. Hailey's comet type shit, really. 

If a band plays after you, your set is largely dependent on them. If you sound way different, they might hate you. If you sound too similar, they will hate you for a different reason. The best band to follow is boring but competent. There are lots of bands like that. If you are feeling pessimistic or maybe realistic, you might group yourself amongst them. 

Too many cigarettes. You always smoke too many cigarettes, and it makes your voice dry. Which doesn't matter. No one came for the singing. This isn't The Voice. 

You should move around on stage, but it's hard to play guitar, sing, and be entertaining to look at all at the same time. Still, you hate live bands like this. Like Weezer. All focus, no show. 

Boring shows have to be perfect, and you ain't never going to be perfect. 

The fact that girls come to the shows is a miracle. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it makes it harder. It doesn't matter if you play well. Not to most of these girls. You were on the stage. You have a kind of distant aloofness. That's the important thing. You can boost their status, and they won't be intimidated. You're accessible. Especially after the after-show beers. And basically, you're a feminist. Of sorts. So, it's safe. 

If the show was good, you might not get wasted. If it was bad, you'll be blacked out before they turn on the lights. Start herding people out. Because you are on the bill, you can pass out with the knowledge that someone will keep people from robbing you. Fucking with you. Sometimes, nothing hits the spot like a punk rock pass out on a thrift store couch. 

When you wake up, you'll have regrets. Either you fucked up and feel guilty or someone else did and you're bitter. Like, how does someone break the 'E' string on a bass? That shit should be impossible. Or the drummer broke another snare. Or the backup vocals were shitty. It is rare to feel good after a show. You wonder sometimes about more musically competent bands and what their regrets are. 

Or you might wake up next to a girl you don't know. That can be good or bad. It's a crap shoot. You try not to let it happen, but the beer...

You think, I should just stop drinking. This has happened too many times. It's fucking scary if you think about it. You are among a bunch of people in a place you aren't familiar with and you are at your worst and best at the same time. Sometimes, the drummer kicks a door in for no reason. Smashes a window. You're the only one entertained by this. 

And that's about it. You do that over and over. As often as you can. If it pays, great. If not, great. There will always be another show. Maybe you got hit with a bottle, broke a finger on somebody. If you did, that needs to be dealt with. 

So you deal with it by getting drunk. Rinse and repeat. Punk fucking rock. 

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