Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Snow can be one of Mother Nature's most calming forces, if you are dressed for it of course, there is no wind, and you are heading into most certain doom. It was the only thing giving my body the strength to continue confidently toward my appointed task despite the fearful objection of my mind. I bent on determined to see my favorite childhood band perform, although I had no ticket, and the show was sold out. Luckily for me desire oftentimes overcomes logic, and with a few quick glances around me, I hopped the short fence leading to the back stairs of a club themed on a 3rd world train station. A yuppie paradise wherein obese midgets serve up fresh lines of primo Colombian cocaine with mescal on the side, and prestigious rock bands perform in an extremely small and personal venue for musicians of stature. I hadn’t seen this group play a small venue since the early 90's and there was no doubt I was getting in. But I still had to fight the demons of fear and try to focus on the epic prize.
I have always found it troublesome to pay for musical entertainment. I feel in my soul it is fundamentally corrupt. Musical ability is a gift from the cosmos and should likewise be given, or taken. Monetary gain will always contaminate the integrity of the suffering artist. Money is responsible for the break up of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, and The Sex Pistols, as well as the brutal endings of Kurt, Janis, Jimi, Jim, John, Billie, Bradley, Elvis, etc. Fortunately my wallet did not fund the designer heroin, booze, and pills that slaughtered these poor rich bastards.
I developed this righteous pirate's mentality early in life. Long before the golden age of free digital music files, music junkies had to get their fix through the mail. The guy who invented the 12 CD'S for 1 cent scam is still being tortured in an Indonesian prison. Me and every 11 year old in the country found all the loopholes in the system and gorged ourselves on a free buffet of the classics, from Nico to Nevermind, as well as the must have Best of The Doors, Creedence, and Tom Petty. This was just a taste of the bounty to come, Arrgh matey, swab the poop deck, Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.
When you justify any kind of theft the world becomes Nottingham. I stole from the rich and gave to the poor, ie. me. Free music was my gateway drug into free concerts. Elvish skill and pure cajones, have allowed me to witness the final performances of Nirvana, The Grateful Dead, and A Tribe Called Quest. But it's not all glory and 20 minute versions of Territorial Pissings, I have received brutal beatings outside of some of the finest music venues in the country.
But I have yet to meet that fate at this club. I have a man on the inside, a woman actually, an essential tool in this game if you want to avoid a savage stomping. Even then your chances are fair at best. I climbed the seemingly vacant stairs and was filled with the warm apprehension of success. As I approached the back door of the club my breath was cut short at the definite sound of concert security brutes. They appeared to be some kind of professional wrestling tag team duo based on Laurel and Hardy. A burly dwarf and a fat giant covered in tattoos and hair. Their shirtsleeves strained at the girth of Neanderthal arms created by the devil himself for pummeling. Despite the soupy night, I clearly saw the tattoo on the beastly one’s forearm of a crude skull chewing on a baby embryo. The large one was clearly not to be trifled with, but I could definitely take the dwarf.
“Erg, Narf Beer grummm” Grunted Laurel.
“Mmmerg, garg bitches beeeelch.” Replied Hardy.
Dear God, I thought. They’re going to eat me alive.
I bolted a flight down the stairs to wait out their nicotine/steroid break and tried to remain calm as cold puffs of snow landed on the back of my neck. Suddenly like a thundercloud they approached, up the stairs the way I had come, a mob of militant, lacrosse playing, blood drunkend future Rotarians, howling and cursing and hell bent on destroying my entire existence.
I anxiously looked up to see the security trolls going back inside. The Hardy fellow pulled the door gently behind him, making certain the door remained unlocked for his beer-swelled comrades. By some strange act of Benzai, the mob had saved me rather than annihilating me, ominous forces were at work.
Dashing up the stairs I lunged for the door and pulled it shut behind me, relishing in the click of the lock. As I said, I feel it is my duty to keep music pure, Rotarian mobs included, whether they saved my ass or not. I walked quickly toward the stairs leading to the restless audience, and freedom, when to my left a large cargo elevator came crashing open. Out walked the rhythm section of 311, and 2 security guards eying me suspiciously.
I looked at P-Nut and said, "Hey man, I think there’s some kind of white supremacist lacrosse team trying to break down the back door."
"Thanks" he said, visibly confused.
Turning back toward the stairs, I walked calmly away not daring to look back. I hit the bottom of the stairs and dived into the frenetic concert energy like a pardoned death row inmate. Ahhh that glorious smell of human flesh, spilled beer, and covert weed tokes. I shoved myself triumphantly to the front of the packed mob, and sweet ambiguity.