Sunday, April 10, 2011

.....And It Gets Worse

Well, the gig went well enough. But none of it matters any longer, because I have bigger fish to fry. Two of them to be exact. The first one came out when Sam Stevens' wife let it slip to Joy that Roger and Ron were only letting me think that I ran the band, and that they'd be hiring Sam to take over the group. This could just be Sam trying to rattle our cages, but it does fit in with his general egomania. And it could also just be a ploy to get me to quit. Which might succeed because I have no desire to work with Sam on a full-time basis whatsoever. But the second problem is far, far worse.

It started innocuously enough, when one of the guys I'd offered an audition to came up to me and told me that he wouldn't be able to take up the offer. Why? Because for one, he was probably going to be leaving town soon. The other reason was far worse. His exact words:

"Joe, people have been telling me to avoid Dirty Joe because they're a meth band."

What the fuck? I don't use drugs at all, and I never have and never will! The rest of the guys smoke weed - and I have no problem with that - but methamphetamine is a whole other kettle of fish, and one that I want nothing to do with. I may not have the greatest rep in the world, but I've worked hard, done what's required of me, and most importantly did it all stone cold sober. And that's not as in "I used to do drugs, but now I'm sober," it's as in "I never started, and I'm not about to start!" Asking a few questions around a few people who knew the guys got - for the most part - the same, rather startling response:

"I thought you knew."

After dropping off John at his place in Carlsborg, the drive home was pretty much silent. And not just because Joy had made arrangements to get another ride home so I could get John back to Carlsborg. She was just as upset as I was when I told her the news. We're already making plans to start our own band once her SSD money comes in, but I have to confront Roger and Ron on this, and soon. I want to give them the chance to come clean, admit to using meth and offer to stop using to save the group. But I have my suspicions that they won't come clean. And I have to get up to Roger's place soon anyway.

I still have a few things of mine up there, so I better go get them if I'm going to bail out on them.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Dredging Up Bad Memories

Well, I'm back from my last run to Nevada for a while, so now I can turn my full attention to Dirty Joe. And I'm glad that trip is over. What I'd originally planned to be a nice trip with Joy to play and publicly celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary turned into a minor nightmare, almost before it really started.

Y'see, after a Monday trip to Seattle to take Joy to the University of Washington's Medical Center about her thyroid problems (which turned out to be almost a total waste of everyone's time), we headed south to stay with her mother in Tacoma before actually starting the trip to the CVI in Minden. On the way south we stopped in Sandy, just east of Portland, to fill the gas tank and refill my giant mug o' Coke. So while the pump chump filled the tank, I went inside with my mug while Joy excused herself to the ladies' room. And that's where all hell broke loose. Unbeknownst to us, the toilet in the ladies' room at the Mt. Hood Arco was broken - well, usable but unstable, to more precise. And when Joy sat down upon it, it lurched to one side and sent Joy to the ground, wrenching her back and leaving her bumped, bruised, contused and confused while by now I'd returned to the truck wondering what the hell was taking her so long. She flagged down the pump chump and told her what happened, and he told her to tell the clerk inside. When she did so, the clerk told her that they knew that the toilet was broken - and chose not to post any warning! She finally struggled back to the truck and told me what was going on, even saying that she'd tried to get my attention, but I'd never seen her behind me, with all the stuff in the back of the truck blocking my view. She concluded by stating that we needed to get her to a hospital because she was in a great deal of pain.

So began a very long night of driving back to Washington, where the nice folks at Vancouver's Southwest Washington Medical Center took good care of her, followed by driving all night to get to Bend, where we stayed at our niece Megan's place. Another day of driving got us to Minden, and while the gig itself went smoothly enough, Joy was scarcely present, spending most of the time in bed in pain while deciding what to do about legal action against Mt. Hood Arco. We're in the opening stages of hiring a lawyer to sue Mt. Hood Arco to recover the medical expenses, and for damages caused by their negligence and incompetence. And as part and parcel of that, I encourage all you loyal readers out there to boycott Mt. Hood Arco until they are brought to justice for their crime. The irony is that the place is temporarily closed while new gasoline tanks are installed. But in my world, boycotts are forever. I won't go there ever again, and neither should you.

On to happier news. Sort of.

On the way home from Minden, I got a call from Roger. It turns out that they've hired a temporary lead singer for our gig coming up this Friday, and wanted me to either confirm or veto their decision. And who is our singer-for-a-night? A guy we all know and don't really love named Sam Stevens. The guys played with him in a previous incarnation of DJ, back when it was called Thin Ice. I played with him further back, in a band originally called Rooster, then In Ten City. He's a good player, and does perhaps the best Bon Scott impersonation that I've ever heard. Problem is, he's got quite an ego, thinks he knows better than you, and usually isn't afraid to tell you so. Plus, he owes us money for a PA system he bought from us and never finished paying us for. Nobody in the group really likes him all that much, but he supposedly just showed up Sunday at Roger's place and jammed with the guys, and they liked it enough to ask him to sit in with us Friday night, and only afterwards did they decide to inform me of this.

While I can see the positives of this, as well as that this is only a one-night-only thing, I'm still pissed off that the guys went behind my back and did this with out my initial consent. I am in charge of this band supposedly, so I think I should have been informed of this a whole fuck of a lot sooner. But it's only one night, what's it gonna hurt?

But something is still gnawing at me. John and I have been talking a lot lately, mostly because I have to drive him from Roger's place down to the Transit Center in downtown PA so he can take the bus home to Carlsborg. He's just as frustrated with Roger and Ron as I am, upset that they won't learn new material, won't even bother to try to learn anything new to them no matter how simple it was - even Ramones songs look like Chinese algebra to them. John has all but invited me to join his original side-project, and band he describes as a cross between Rush and Megadeth. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested, but I'm really just a cover-band guy. Joy would say that I limit myself, saying something like that, but I've known my limitations for a long time now. I know what I'm capable of, and what I'm not so good at. But I look at this band, and I see a band that says that they want to go places, but doesn't really have the desire to actually put the work into it. And while I know that having an absentee drummer/bandleader doesn't help, you'd think that if they wanted to go out and learn new material and break out of playing one night a month at some bar, they'd actually put some effort into bettering themselves instead of kissing the bong, dreaming about entering talent contests, and otherwise talking a good game and not backing it up with actions.

I'm a frustrated man right about now. But I won't let it get to me. I have a gig on Friday, and I'm a professional, goddammit. So come on down to RBar (132 E. Front Street, Port Angeles, WA) this Friday night and see if I can hold myself together for the night, let alone four other guys onstage and a crowd down below. I think I'll manage. After all, I have a saying:

"I don't need therapy to work out my problems. That's what my drums are for."