[Editor’s note: Another blast form the past (2010)]
Good things don’t last forever.
Part one ended with my mood going into an upswing, finally finding a show that didn’t make me hate myself and the end of my recurring dreams that only served to make me look and feel like an anti-social asshole.
Part two begins as such: my dreams have come back. Like the brooms in Fantasia, they only become stronger and grow in number the more I try to fight them. Lately though, they seem to have changed in terms of the events that transpire. Recently, I actually managed to get the attention of the woman I had been seeking out. Rather, she had found me. A non-chalant stride was followed by a standard, “Hello, James!” My unsure and nervous tone of voice could only respond with a stammered, “H-hello, um, Ella?” Suddenly, she breaks down in tears and repeats endlessly, “James! I’m so sorry, James!” I pretend to not know what she’s apologizing for (“What are you so sorry about?”), instead letting her cry on my shoulder, knowing that everything will be okay now.
And then I woke up, shooting up into a sitting position that’s seen in so many cliched television shows and/or movies. Things are not okay now. I don’t like this. I don’t like having these dreams every fucking night. I don’t like feeling like some kind of creepy stalker who just can’t let things go. That was then, this is now, yet my subconscious seems unable to successfully process this information, leaving me to relive things I would rather not.
Part two continues as such: I went to go see The Maykit again. The venue this time was a super secret underground bunker known as the Meadowlark, a bar so secret and underground it does not even have a front door. Finding this place on a map is a massive pain in the ass to say the least. Unlike my time at the Hi-Dive, this event was a fucking disaster. Upon entering the hidden hotspot, I was treated to the, airquote for sarcasm, wonderful novelty act, Something Something Teflon, a band who’s goal was, another airquote, “world domination.” Something Something Teflon isn’t their real name, of course, I just can’t be bothered to remember the entirety of the group’s name, so Something Something Teflon it is. Something Something Teflon (I know, I know) were a group of fat, bereted jackoffs armed with banjos and ukeleles and those rings that have smaller rings inside them that jingle and make noise (I do not know the technical name) singing songs about ordering pizza and performing terrible uke-powered Sex Pistols covers. I like (some would say love) punk rock music, which means I hate the Sex Pistols. A one-armed bandit telling me to check out his Twitter is the only thing I could possibly think of that could be any worse.
Sitting down and writing this now, I think, “Am I just out of touch?” Somebody, somewhere, thinks that these guys are good. Maybe bands with physical handicaps, barely updated Twitter accounts and poorly thought out plans of domination are the in-thing? Maybe I’m just not part of the target audience?
The reason I think of this now is because, the other day, I had gone shopping for clothes at a local alt-fashion store (I’m a tad embarrassed to admit the name, you see). Silently stewing in my own annoyance waiting for the slow-witted woman behind the counter to stop being fucking retarded and ring up my two (2) t-shirts (one depicting the image of Sonic the Hedgehog, the other some promotional artwork for the hit fighting game, Marvel vs Capcom, transferred onto 100% Haitian cotton), I saw a missing persons flyer hanging up behind the one-two combo of Team Edward vs Team Jacob and Juggalo 4 Lyfe paraphernalia. In other words, a place no normal person would ever think to look (har har, I am sooooo counter-culture). It was obviously a homemade production, with hand-written information with photocopied pictures adorning the top and middle right side of the page. The missing girl in question was Melissa Something Something (again with forgetting names), a.k.a:
A missing teenager with an alias. An alias so awful and corny your average large-breasted, blonde haired and blue eyed pro wrestling valet or porn star (like there’s a difference, really) wouldn’t even consider using it for a single minute. The pictures haphazardly splattered all over the place were heavily-bloomed, perfectly angled MySpace photography. Miss Lovely posed for every amateur shot with one arm “sensually” held behind her head, a head which also sported a pair of lips pursed in a way I haven’t seen since a stripper gave me a (relatively) sensual massage. Said massage was given under false pretenses: she had believed that I was in a band of some sort. Truthfully, I was just a nineteen (19) year old drifter in a rapidly fading Misfits t-shirt. The lips on her face illustrated a feigned sense of comfort as she let me massage her breasts and make finger outlines of the left and right butterfly wings tattooed onto her respective shoulder blades. She was as into it as my bank account would allow.
Melissa Lovely’s photospread had no doubt attracted and conned the hearts and erections of many a man on the internet, up to and most certainly including the one who no doubt kidnapped her, had his way with her and then chopped her up into smaller, easier to manage pieces. He didn’t see through the act and she ended up paying the price. Maybe. For all I know, she’s probably still alive and hiding out at a friends’ place like other teen runaways.
This girl’s name and face etched itself into my mind the same way any dead girl finds her way into the mind of a complete psycho always looking to solve the next great mystery. Here I am, listening to a fat guy play a ukelele and scream out “PSYCHO KILLER! I AM A PSYCHO KILLER!” like something out of a terrible film made by someone who really liked David Lynch yet had no idea what actually makes his work work (see example: Southland Tales, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) wondering just what hell it is I’m doing with my life. And I seemed to be the minority, judging by the roar of applause that surrounded me and shook the walls and floor of the bomb shelter. The surrealism of this novelty act getting a larger ovation than My Bloody Valentine’s reunion show last summer (loaded from top to bottom with cross-armed hipsters bragging about seeing Band X play in front of Y people (Y in this equation was usually less than thirty) and being able to identify with total strangers because THE MUSIC WAS FUCKIN’ WICKED AND SPOKE TO MY SOUL, MAN) made me feel as though I were “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and I just discovered a pair of sunglasses. Said sunglasses allowed me to come to my senses. I was out of touch! The Melissa Lovelies’ of the world might have loved Something Something Teflon, bought an issue of Colorado Music Buzz due to White Leather appearing on the cover and subscribed to Mr. Right’s thrice-updated Twitter. I didn’t! But, it became apparent that I was not a Melissa Lovely. I lived in a musical bubble that contained things like Shoegaze and Japanese punk rock from at least ten (10) or twenty (20) years ago. Also Demi Lovato, but really, she transcends time and taste into something tangible; that inexplicable and indescribable “It.”
Something Something Teflon’s plans for world domination came to a close and Max (the one and only member of The Maykit, if you weren’t paying attention) began to play. As always, he doesn’t disappoint. At least outside of one issue, which I will bring up later. Tonight, though, it didn’t matter. Max, standing on a stage that couldn’t have been larger than 3×3 feet in size, played his heart out in front of apathetic strangers who already got their money’s worth listening to an awful cover of Anarchy in the U.K (which had been HILARIOUSLY called a Lady Gaga cover by “mistake”). The poor guy deserved better. At least better than my bubble.
Weeks would go by. I would see Max and Alan (Baird) again, this time performing on the same night. Finally, I thought, a chance to see my friends up on stage without the downside of listening to their supporting acts. A third act would be introduced: Nick O’Connor, a guitar player who also had the luck of being Nick Fox’s roommate (Fox is the lead guitarist for the Alan Baird Project).
I was wowed by O’Connor’s musical talent. Borrowing the non-Alan parts of the Project, he managed to add some extra spice to what would have been an otherwise solo act. I should also just cut right to the chase and tell you, the reader, what’s up. Nick O’Connor is a man who’s as full of himself as he is full of talent. I might like his music, but I do not like him. I promised my mother that I wouldn’t call him an asshole but, unfortunately for my mother, I’m going to go back on my word and Nick O’Connor is an asshole. The arrogance, the shitty attitude, the self-misconception that he is God’s Gift to Women are all backed up by that talent. He is the perfect villain. I’ll detail him when I get to his douchebaggery in the correct chronological order.
For as much of a no-good prick O’Connor was, Max was and is his polar opposite. O’Connor got the small crowd’s attention with minimal effort. Max, on the other hand, nervously played in front of a bunch of Chatty Cathy’s who would not shut the fuck up the entire time he was up on stage. I try not to let my personal bias show through in these things; Max Winne and the Alan Baird Project (among a select few other local groups, like Old Radio and Air Dubai) are good enough on their own without relying on me to be their mouthpiece. My other defense is that I’ve never heard a single Drop Dead Gorgeous song, even though Alan used to play guitar for them, so there. But this time, I’m going to let my personal bias shine right the hell on through and say: MAX WINNE DESERVES BETTER THAN TO BE SHOWN UP BY FUCKING NICK O’CONNOR. My one small complaint that I mentioned earlier was that he was too damned nervous. This is fine if you’re in a Shoegaze band; not like anyone is there for anything other than the music or the bragging rights anyway, not fine if you’re in a small, intimate bar performing in front of your closest friends. Max, take control of the situation and demand the crowd’s attention!
I finished cheering on Max and had a drink (what else is new?). To my left was O’Connor, not yet on my shit list, hitting on on two young ladies (one of whom will be a future Rock and Roll Strikes Back dot com columnist, I hope) in the most laughably bad, painful way imaginable. Hovering three inches from their faces like a vengeful ghost blowing his rancid breath, a breath that smelled like he washed down a bowl of cole slaw with a can of root beer, directly into the girls and to anyone in the immediate vicinity (read: me). If I didn’t know any better, I could’ve sworn that he upped the creep factor by a good tenfold and, no shit, began smelling the girls’ hair. Can you believe that he’s single, ladies!?
Some time would go by before Alan and company would go on. Myself, the future columnist Alex Olson and two of our friends shot the breeze, as people do. Here comes O’Connor, clasping his arms around Alex and announcing to us and to anyone else in the area: “HEY, HAVE YOU GUYS MET THE HOTTEST WOMAN IN THE BAR YET?” Awkward silence. Confused stares. Alex looking uncomfortable. “HEY, HAVE YOU GUYS HEARD ABOUT THE NEW KANYE WEST ALBUM? I HEARD IT’S GOING TO BE THE BEST, UM, LIKE, THE BEST FUCKING HIP-HOP THING, ALBUM, IN TEN YEARS!” My bubble was threatening to ’sperg out and give me a mental checklist of great hip-hop albums in the past decade. This was followed by more awkward silence. More confused stares. Alex looked like she was going to be sick. As if by osmosis, O’Connor, the class act, got the hint and rightfully fucked off. At least not until he gave me a free CD in exchange for a good review. Here it is: Nick O’Connor can play the guitar like a motherfucker. But when he’s not playing the guitar, he is a motherfucker. Thanks for the CD, you obnoxious douchebag, it’ll make a great coaster.
I would spot O’Connor again at the recent Tom Petty/Joe Cocker concert here at Red Rocks. His idea of enjoying the show was to jump around playing the air guitar, air drums, air keyboard, air bass and probably the air flute, air banjo, air oboe and air triangle too. He also came quite close to smacking my mother in the back of the head (and nearly losing his life as a result) with a dance that can only be accurately described as putting his arms to his side and running back and forth, pretending to be an airplane in mid-flight. I really don’t like the guy, if you weren’t already able to gather. I’d rather stay in my bubble and let the chopped up remains of Melissa Lovely support the guy. Fuck him.
Part two ends as such: I started the first concert “review” (another airquote) due to my reunion with Alan Baird and all the things that I had missed. All the good things in my past that slipped away along with my humanity. Before walking into the Marquis for the first time in two years, I felt as though I wasn’t me. Time would pass and shit would only get worse. My sleepless nights of being haunted by a Croatian office drone, the shitty music that I willingly dive head-first into and the massive writers’ block I’ve been struggling with for some time (you’re not the only person who has noticed that all of my fictional stories have been the same thing repeated endlessly with a few words changed around) have left me wondering about a lot of things. About myself and my future. About my friends and theirs. Nobody has to worry about Nick O’Connor or White Leather, they’ll end up making it in life. I do worry, though, about the rest of us. Wondering if our hopes and dreams will be remembered not by people who are entertained or inspired by the things that we do, but instead will only be remembered by these online entries and my metaphorical bubble?
Hopefully I’m wrong. Hopefully I can get a good night’s rest tonight. I’m hoping I can the reason for these dreams back in my life and come back with a stronger bond than ever before (I miss my friend as much as I resent her). In general, I’m just hoping against hope.