Wildwood Daze – Winter of 1980 – These Fucking Guys

Karma’s a real thing.

I’m busting my ass to work with this band with no name. I’m trying to fit in. I don’t know what Brian the drummer’s deal is. He’s a great singer, showman, and tough leader and we need direction. Jesse is a super talented guitarist way beyond my knowledge. I’m just trying to keep up and happy to be here and learn. Mark’s family owns the practice space and they have money. I just know it. This is successful restaurant that only needs to be open three months a year. I’m sure they’re doing well.

Mark has great equipment. Obviously not earned like me and my dear friend Jim. I’m sure his parents hooked him up with good gear because they’re rich. There’s a difference. I don’t care. I’m just happy to be rocking.

I slowly begin to discover that Mark is tone-deaf.

Our fucking bass player is tone-deaf. How is he a musican? I suppose we should all be proud that he’s a musician. Being tone-deaf means you can’t distinguish between notes in music. What the fuck dude? That IS music, motherfucker!

But you own the space and I’m still the Ronnie Wood in this band so I’ll be cool.

But another thing I learned was there was night I called Brian to see if there was practice and he would say no. I started to get suspicious.

I talked to my dad about it and he said the following:

“just go up to the restaurant one night when there’s no practice.”

I did this one night and walked in on them auditioning another guitarist to take my place.

This was a shocking and heartbreaking moment for me. I knew Brian was a controlling fucker, Mark would go with whatever the majority was and super talented Jesse was just a pussy puppet.

That was this dysfunctional family. A distrustful mess.

I walk in and I see some cunt playing through my Marshall and I’m pissed and hurt. I’ve abandoned my dear friend Jim. I betrayed him and now it’s me that’s getting betrayed.

Karma’s a real thing.

“What the fuck Brian?”

I think back in that moment how me, Larry and Jerry ran Jack out of Renegade to make way for Mike Carlin. We’re all little pieces of shit so I need to be cool.

“You just seemed too mouthy and wanted to take over the band with your opinions and songs. ”

“I’ve been always been honored to play with you guys. I left my best friends band to come play with you guys. I’m sorry if I came on to strong. I was just so enthusiastic to jam with you guys and join your band. I can scale it back.”

Brian looks at me with those blue eyes. Gives me the thousand yard stare. The loser guitar packs up and get out of there knowing there is a domestic about to happen.

“You auditioned these dicks behind my back and let them plug into my amp?”

“Sorry about that man. I just thought you came in here and thought you had too much control.”

“Brian, that has never been my intention. I just am so happy to play with you guys.”

This is the moment I learned that a band is like a marriage and a shitty family all in one. You would think I would have learned this valuable lesson and carried it forth into my future married life.

“Okay. I’m sorry.” (Brian was good like that) “You’re in.”

————————————————————————————————————————————-

Things were great after that. We grew as a band and were tighter than a crab’s ass. (That’s water tight!)

We bonded as a band. We made great music. I was happy. I would hang out and get pizza with Brian. He was a tough customer but a great singer and an amazing drummer.  I almost felt like we should get a drummer and he should be the lead singer of the band. I loved my role in the band. I just played rhythm and they let me do my original songs that I would sing. They actually liked when I would write a new piece and introduce it to the band. We were rocking!

There were nights I would hang with Mark. As fat and gross as he was he had a hot girlfriend. We as a band were all amazed by this, but well done, sir.

At a Styx concert when the band played their hit “Lady” Mark punched his girlfriend in the face. He didn’t mean to he simply thrust out his fists in joy that the band was playing the song and caught her in the nose.

Mark had a car. It was an enormous puke green station wagon that was great for hauling our gear. It had th frostiest air condioning I’ve ever felt. I don’t know what make or model that monstrosity was but it was a great car, It had faux wood paneling on the sides of it, that’s how horrible it was. But I will tell you this: It had a great cassette player in it and I was turned onto the lovely Pat Benatar in that car and have enjoyed being transported to shows not sweating my ass off.

But I do remember some tender times between Mark and myself. Brian was a gruff motherfucker but I was the sensitive Beatle. There were so many nights Mark and I would hang out in his car and just talk about life.

If he was struggling with something, his girl or whatever, he knew he could come and pick me up and we would listen to Joe Perry’s first solo album and had it out in his car. I knew Mark was sensitive and I think when I joined the band he had somebody he could talk to finally. Brian. Prick. Boss. Jesse. Great guitarist and moron.

Mark loved music and reminded me of Larry from Renegade, Guys that made music  just because they loved it so much. We all had different goals. It’s weird … you’re all in the same band but you all want the different thing. I can imagine a band that all wants the same things. What can that be like? Led Zeppelin? Aerosmith? I want that so bad, but that is hard to find on this little island.

We’ll just have to figure it out and make our way down here on this shitty little town.

We’re really good and I love this crazy band. But I’m worried. I feel there is a fragility to this group that could tear it apart at any moment.

————————————————————————————————————————————

“What?  Jesse is quitting the band? ”

“He wants to watch more TV.”

“Are you fucking kidding me, Brian?”

“No man. He’s out. But I will tell you this.”

“What?”

“You know that hatchback Izuzu he drives?”

“Yea. He’s had that for years.”

You know how the whole back door is a glass window?

“Yea. So what?”

He quit the band today and packed up his shit. He put his amp in the back of his car and slammed the hatchback shut.”

“So?”

“The amp is square and it shattered his whole back window when he left today. It was fucking hilarious! His car’s back window is gone because of his stupidity. I couldn’t stop laughing. Stupid fucker!

I laugh with Brian over this crazy mishap but instantly have anxiety about the future of the band. Jesse had all of our songs and all of the leads.

We’re fucked.

“Hey man. Jesse was a piece of shit anyway. I fuckin’ hated him. Do you know anybody?”

My mind reeled at the loss of the greatest talent of my band suddenly gone. But in a few minutes I realized I did know someone.

“I have a guy, Brian.”

“Well, fucking bring him in for an audition because we’re short a lead guitarist. We’re going to have to start from scratch again.”

“I’ll give him a call.”

 

 

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Author: phicklephilly

Copyright © 2016 by Phicklephilly All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. All stories and characters are based on real people and events. The names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation!”

One thought on “Wildwood Daze – Winter of 1980 – These Fucking Guys”

  1. Wow, I didn’t know that you were in a band with Brian Smith. Occasionally, we talk on FB. He and Bruno were my first friends when I moved to Wildwood in January of 76. Without Brian, I wouldn’t have been turned on to some great bands back then. Come to think of it, without you, I probably would’ve never given Priest a hearing!

    Like

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