Monday, March 4, 2013

Friends With A Benefit III: Bacon And Revenge

Since Ron DeFrang simply refuses to die, and that people are actually liking what they're hearing from us, Joy and I went ahead and scheduled two more gigs. But our boy Mike Colgan, better known to the world as "Coog", posted a Facebook listing for a show in the back room of his record store (Coog's Budget CD's) he billed as "DeFrang III: The Revenge" on February 22nd before I could post a listing for the show Joy'd secured for us at R Bar on the 19th, so that became "DeFrang II.V: Bacon!" Seriously, I couldn't come up with a snappy title for the life of me. But the shows were fun. The Tuesday show at R Bar wasn't much more than a warm-up for Friday's show, basically a practice run. But we still had a good time, and the folks at R Bar wanted us to come by and play again in March, after I get back from my current run of shows in Reno and Carson.

The Friday show wound up being a total blast. Coog had his own band MCFD (Mydlyfe, Crysys, Fluffy, D-Ray) open for us, and they ran through a set of punky fun that the very mixed crowd enjoyed. And I do mean mixed. The crowd was split down the middle between punk-rock kids and people of their parents' generation. But the kids enjoyed our set, headbanging like mad, even moshing a bit here and there when not getting off on Ron's solos.

The funny thing is that MCFD could've been MCFJ. I've known Coog for years, and 'Fluffy' is the psychobilly handle of my old friend Craig Logue. Craig and I have known each other since middle school, and we've got deep roots in local music up in Port Angeles, as bands either of us were in used to rehearse in the basement of my mother's house - I called it 'Slimepit Studio' for no particular reason - and we even tried putting together a band of our own, the WrestleManiacs. And yes, we sang about nothing other than pro wrestling. Coog had offered me the seat in MCFD on several occasions, if only I'd bother to stay in town for more than a week or two at a time. But the life of a working musician is a life on the road, so I politely declined. "DeFrang III" was the first time Craig and I would share a stage in damn near twenty-five years.

And it was fun. While Coog would've let us play as long as we wanted to, we settled on playing a tight hour-long set that featured our best material, and plenty of old favorites that even the punk-rock kids all recognized. And then the show got kind of personal for me, because my sister Julie and her husband Charlie showed up. Julie and Charlie are recovering alcoholics, and they simply will not go into a bar or casino, which is totally understandable. The downside of that - from my perspective, at least - was that they'd never ever seen me play with any band of mine over the years. And I understood why, and accepted it. Seeing them at the show, along with my father, and little brother, made this show as personal for me as it was for Ron. And because of that, I played like a house on fire. And Ron, John, and Andy caught that vibe from me, and I do think that this was the best we'd played together as a unit.

But the show kinda ended on a downer for me. Well the downer didn't actually come until well after the show was over. While we were in bed later that night, Joy told me that she'd had a heart-to-heart talk with Ron's girlfriend Angela, and asked her the hard questions about Ron's health. Angela told Joy that she was genuinely worried that Ron might not make it to the next show in March. She actually said to Joy that I was the only thing keeping Ron alive. Needless to say, that knocked me for a loop. It's a responsibility I'm not sure that I want. Don't get me wrong, I want Ron to if not get better, at least be able to go out on top. What Angela said, it really messed me up. I almost feel guilty right now as I sit in a mall near the Atlantis, borrowing wi-fi from a local independent radio station to put my random brain dropping on the web for your amusement. I almost feel guilty that I'm here with Steppen Stonz instead of rehearsing new material with Ron and John and Andy.

I know that I shouldn't feel this way, but I feel like I'm killing the big guy, and not the tumors in his gut.

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