Getting the Hook


The Sound Guy’s voice came through the monitors.  “One more.”  Huh?  “You took a long time to set up.  You’re done!”  An ignominious end to a performance that began with no sound at the Blue Lamp.

By the time that the Sound Guy put a halt to our set, I had overcome the heat, coffee, tacos, nervous energy, and embarrassment of overlooking a zeroed knob on the amp.  We started with Surf Rider because Robert needs a bit of a warm up before launching headlong into our more energetic stuff -- that, in Becky’s words, is “overly revved.”

We hit our stride by Magma Runner.  Nerves and embarrassment be damned.  We were at the Blue Lamp to play some Pup-style rock ‘n roll.  

Unbeknownst to me, Glenn could not hear much of anything.  The stage monitors were not getting much sound back to him.  The time spent figuring out the zeroed knob meant no time to adjust what we were hearing.  Maybe we had counted too much on the Sound Guy, who may have been a drill sergeant in a prior life.

Unlike other venues and the Doghouse, Robert and I put our amps in front of Glenn and the drum kit.  Our sound was projecting away from him.  His only contact with the music was somewhat hearing Sue and watching her rhythm.  Nothing teaches like playing live.  They kept the beat going.  Solid and unrelenting.

Meanwhile at the front of the stage, Robert was playing the Chinese cheapie palermo blue bass like it was a guitar.  I finally was having a good time.  As always, energy and enthusiasm made up for my talent deficiencies.  

The crowd seemed to be having fun.  Up on the stage, we could hear them singing along while we played Runaway.  As part of introducing Link Man, we implored them to chant “Link Wray.”  They did.  “Link Wray!  Link Wray!  Link Wray!”

I introduced Last Date with “This is for Dean Martin.”  Loose and wobbly.  Some folks understood the reference.  A few people in the audience must have heard the Skeeter Davis version and sang along.  Again, loud enough that we could hear on stage.

And then came the inglorious end.  The drill sergeant Sound Guy had to keep to his schedule and shooed us off the stage.

After packing the Prius and parking it where the doorman could watch it, I sat with Robert and a Jameson’s at the end of the bar.  Embarrassed.  Disappointed.  Upset.  “Had I known that we were going to be cut short, I would have . . . .”  Once again, Robert was the calming influence.  “Hey, the Sound Guy’s job is to keep everything on schedule.  He just did what he had to do.  Stuff happens.”

Once the financial matters were settled and all the bands were gone, the Blue Lamp was left to Ben and Gabi and their regular patrons and friends.  Ben -- the former touring punk band member -- assuaged some of my disappointment with, “We’ve got to get you guys back with a punk band.”  Huh?  Do they need old people who can’t move fast enough to get out of the way of whatever is being thrown at the stage?

“The energy.  The movement.  Pure punk.”  Huh?  Ben continued, “Your bass player is a punk bassist.”  One of Ben’s friends agreed, “Yeah, that Andy Warhol-looking guy, really plays punk bass.  I know because I play punk bass.”  

Andy Warhol?  Punk?  The second wave started with Jon and the Nightriders opening for punk bands at the Whiskey and the Roxy.  Those thoughts -- plus the ignominy of getting the hook -- bounced through my head until 3:00 a.m. when the Jameson’s and being awake for 22 hours finally took hold.



 

1 comment

  • Johnny Funicello

    Johnny Funicello

    You guys handled it well, and it's on the storybook of just about every gigging musician. At one gig my amp once repeatedly cut completely out and faded back in at random increments. Really blew the momentum and soured the mood. I rue the day when I get all prepped for a gig and my 43-yr old amp says "no more". See you soon!

    You guys handled it well, and it's on the storybook of just about every gigging musician. At one gig my amp once repeatedly cut completely out and faded back in at random increments. Really blew the momentum and soured the mood. I rue the day when I get all prepped for a gig and my 43-yr old amp says "no more". See you soon!

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