Thursday, January 31, 2013

Friends With A Benefit

I'm home now, for what that's worth. Back from another cold time in Reno, and switching hats from sideman to bandleader. And I'm doing charity work, after a fashion. I've been trying for months to put together a benefit/tribute show for my lead guitarist here in Port Angeles, Ron DeFrang. He's dying, colo-rectal cancer having pretty much already destroyed him, but he wants to put on one last show before taking that next step in life. And I've finally managed to put a show together. Not that it was easy, mind you.

Since there's just no way he could play four hour-long sets straight through, John Eddy and I have been lining up friends of ours to work with us. John's basically been my point man, making the arrangements while I've been out of town time and again. We set up two shows, the first being this past Tuesday at R Bar, where we pretty much expected nobody to come - and we were pretty much right. But the manager of the place liked what he saw, enough so to offer us the place again for a midweek show later on down the road (weekends are reserved for a contracted DJ). And while I hadn't played with John or Ron, our our friends Eddie Perez and Tom Davis in a while, it sounded good enough for the offer to come - possibly as soon as three weeks from this past Tuesday.

If there was a damper on the show, it was a couple that Ron had invited to the show. The husband was a decent rhythm guitarist, but his wife was a hot mess - not to mention an egotistical bitch who tried taking the show over for herself. While I was setting up, she'd asked me politely enough if I'd set up a microphone for her to sing in, and I told her that there were plenty of vocal mics to go around, and if she wanted to sing, all she had to do was come on up and start singing. And she did at first, but then things went downhill from there pretty quickly.

During a break, I'd been told that this person was talking shit about me, and the show. Why, pray tell? Because I hadn't invited her up to the stage. Uh, waitjustagoddamnminute here. I did just mention that I told her that she was free to come up and sing whenever she wanted to, right? Yeah, I did - precisely one paragraph ago, and a few hours prior to her complaining to everyone other than the person in charge. And she complained to my wife and my father, who'd come down to see me play before taking off to spend the rest of the winter in Arizona in his new RV. ( ........ ) And now she was threatening to take her husband and go home - wherever that was supposed to be, because she'd told me earlier that they were homeless. Go figure.

So in an effort to be diplomatic, I tracked her down to the bar, where she was busy getting plastered. And she had the nerve to tell me that what I was doing was wrong, that it started out okay, but now 'all these other people here were playing and doing their own thing.' I politely informed her that these other musicians (Eddie and Tom) were invited guests, and friends of Ron as well. And that this was my show, and everyone on that stage was there because I'd asked them to be. But I politely neglected to tell them that her husband had been invited by John, and nobody had asked her to be there. I let the drunkard come up to sing a few songs (even inviting her to come to the stage on the mic!), and immediately regretted it - she sounded like someone had shot a moose. Or shoved a red hot poker up its ass, I can't figure out which. The three or four songs she sang were clearly the low point of the night, and everyone agreed with me. To be totally honest with you, perhaps I shouldn't be so harsh. She'd told Joy and I that she'd suffered brain damage, the result of being assaulted by a special-ed student she'd been teaching when she still had all her faculties, so maybe I should give her a pass. Maybe if she'd been sober it wouldn't have sounded so bad. But she wasn't, and it did. So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here's an object lesson for you - play sober. Playing or singing drunk means you clearly don't give a shit about what you're doing, what you're giving out to the audience. And I've never seen anyone give a good performance onstage in my life while drunk.

Oh, and just to add insult to insult, she repeated her claims to me after the show, that what I'd done was a bad thing for Ron. She should count her blessings, because a less forgiving man would've made her swallow her pride for saying that - not to mention a few teeth. Here's hoping she's better behaved at the next show on Saturday at the Coo Coo Nest here in PA. Because if she isn't, I'll just tell her husband to take her ass off my stage and get the fuck out. And if he doesn't, I will.