Wednesday, January 2, 2008

My Guitar Gently Screams

I used to be in a band. It was one of the most memorable periods of my life. I have a book in my mind titled "The Greatest Band Never Heard." I lived 3 three years of my life in Fargo, North Dakota from 1988 to 1991 and crammed more memories and stories into those three short years than the following decade and a half. There were many girlfriends, wild sex, drugs, band practices, band fights, drinking, writing, and working odd jobs for little pay. It was a glorious time of youth and I think anyone who witnessed a show (and there weren't many who did) observed three young men with chips on their shoulders ready to take on the whole world. We took shit from no one. When they pulled the plug on us (and bar owners always pulled th plug on us in Fargo, when they forgot who we were) we stayed on stage staring out across the bar. "You gonna let us play or what?"... "Jesus fucking Christ, What's the matter with this town?"

"Turn it down and you can play," Kirby, the bar owner, would shout from the back.

The bass player and I would walk back to our amps and crank em all the way up. The electricity would turn back on and feedback would immediately wail from the amps and we'd launch back into the song at an even greater decibels until the electricity would be cut back off again and we'd launch into another profanity filled tirade. None of this won us any respect at the time. We'd carry out our amps, guitars, drums and equipment amidst threats from Kirby that we'd never play there again. Luckily he had a short memory. But, years later we'd hear from people who were there, or even weirder still, underage kids who used to sit outside the bar and listen through the doors, then watch us as we loaded up our equipment, cursing and drinking beer as our breaths emitted frost in the cold night air. They later went on to form bands of their own that eventually created a scene in Fargo that the bar owners tapped into.

Years later, I have a job. I am awaiting a promotion while waiting word from another agency on a job offer. My fellow band member from those many years ago has a job in the computer world making three figures while our drummer still toils away in NYC - reliving our dream/nightmare. We grow up and dreams die. Eventually we take shit quite readily and get laid a whole lot less. Not sure why, but it just happens. we get old and then we become embarrassing - like Shaq these days in Miami.

My friend in the computer business has gotten the bug again and an opportunity to play with another aging musician to go out on the road again. He wants something more in life that we can't get at our mundane jobs. He wants to recapture some of that feeling of rock stardom and ass-kicking take no shit from anybody. I went to their first show a couple of weeks ago. I knew they would be good, because their good musicians. But, there was a part of me that was nervous it would be a little embarrassing, like watching Mick at the Superbowl half-time show a coupel of years ago swing his 60 something year old hips like a 16 year old girl. But, they surprised me. They rocked. They kicked ass. They said Fuck You to the world much better than most 19 year old adolescents can say it, because they could say it with a whole lot more history and mean it. That was Punk rock. I almost quit my job the following morning when my boos said good morning to me. But, I soon fell back into my routine.

We age. We get safe. We grow bored and we cease following youthful dreams. Hey, my friend and his band know that it is inevitable - that eventually they will embarrass themselves. There is just nothing redeeming about saying "fuck you" right up until you step in your grave. Eventually you got to make peace. But, that doesn't mean you have to take any shit. Somewhere there has to be a middle ground. Its out there somewhere near some dreams.

Maybe I should dust off my old guitar...

11 comments:

Richard said...

Dust if off and stick it to the man. Your entry reminds me of the time I single handidly cleared a Farmer's Market of customers by smashing pumpkins with my gitar. Billy Corgan has said that he read about a 'performence' like this in the paper and named his band after it. It was me. My fifteen minutes of fame or whatever. But yeah, hard to beleive Im' a responsable shcool teacher now, is'nt it?

Andy B said...

I got to go out and get some big amps.

That is a pretty fucking amazing story about Smashing Pumpkins. Its almost too good to be true.

Is it really true? I'm going to just believe that it is whether it is or not. I'm going to start telling that story myself, like I was even there its so good (I've done that before with good stories). It will go something like this.

"You won't believe this. My Friend Richard - it was in the early to mid eighties - he was playing guitar at a farmers market. He called me and told me to meet him there. It was in Ohio. I was visiting my Aunt. Anyway, I shoed up late and he's swinging his guitar at these Pumpkins. Smashing them to bits. It was crazy, Richard was great - I should have kept in contact with him, wonder what hes doing now - He had a couple of screws lose, but he's wicked smart. But, he's smashing Pumpkins and this guy is talking into his walky-talky in between telling Richard to cut it out as peopel are walking by giving curious looks and then quickening their pace hoping to get away before catching the apparent maniacal rage of Richard and his guitar. But, I knew Richard was just having fun at everyone elses expense. Just in time, he leaves almost unnotices as the police cars pull up.

Later, I heard Billy Corgan read about the performance in the Newspaper. Really? That was Richard. My friend."

I hope you don't mind.

Richard said...

Their's a write-up about the incidant on my site. You just have to wait for it to swing around. My bio/timeline gives it a mention. The story was picked up by the Asbury Park Press (made bottom of front page), and from there the buzz spread to the alternative rock scene in NYC tho I was oblivius to that at the time and would'nt have cared anyway. I heard years later that Delores O'Reerdan was also influenced by the story, but its here-say and more likey that it was one of her band mates, if its true at all. The Corgan connection is a bit more confirmed.

Andy B said...

Yes, I had actually seen it on your site before and thought it a wonderful story at the time as well. Forgive me for questioning the truthfulness of the story. I'm a big fan of Richard and the site, but there is a lovely hash of myth and reality in the history of Richard Loggins. I sometimes am unsure of what is supposed to be history of Richard - which is a creation of the man behind the curtain - and which is the history of the man behind the curtain that inspired the creation of Richard in the first place.

Either way, its simply fabulous. I really wish I was there to witness it and wish I really did know the protagonist who inspired the rock band with his antics.

Anonymous said...

Wow,
this is bizzare that I come accross this. Where did you play in 1994-1995, I think I've seen you guys. I grew up in Brooklyn Park, then Apple Valley, during the mid to late 90's I spent plenty of time in Minneapolis goin to see local bands; that after an evening at Brown Institute when it was still there on Lake Street.

Richard said...

Happy Easter, dude. Have'nt herd much from you lately. Have you reformed the band? What's happening?
Richard

Richard said...

Happy Mother's day, dude. What am I wishing you a happy mothers day for? I dunno.

Richard said...

Happy belated Father's Day. Hope you had a good one with the kid.

Richard said...

Happy Birthday, dude. I dont' know the egzact day. Although I dont' want the odometer to flip on you any sooner than it has to, I dont' want to be tarty, either.

Hows the book coming?

Richard said...

Happy Belated New President's Day, peaches.

Dam, If it were'nt for me keeping it going, this blog would be dead.

Andy B said...

Ok, I'll try and stick something up here again. I wonder if I still can log in or if I remember my password.

Happy Inaugeration to you too.