And now, for something completely different.
This Friday, the Gonnas reunited for a rehearsal. All four band members were there for the first time in nearly two years: Rex, lead singer; Tony, bass; Wendel, drums; and yours truly, guitar. Even though our own opinion of ourselves is only slightly higher than most people's opinion of the Shaggs, nonetheless, a friend of a friend who happens to be a record producer/agent loves our sound and wants to book us at a club like the Black Cat to see how we fare in front of an audience, and if he likes us there he'll put us in a studio and book us at more places. (We're all frustrated actors. Honestly, we're better at performing than playing music.)
So we're rockin' out Friday night. The guy is on the phone with Rex's new wife (our contact person, essentially). (Did I mention that Rex got married? Isn't that supposed to break bands up instead of bringing them back together?) And he says, two bands have cancelled on December 13--7:30 and 9:30 slots for an 11:30 headliner. I've booked you for the 9:30. Oh, and by the way, the headliner is the Cramps.
"THE FUCKIN' CRAMPS?" Wendel and I shout. Rex and Tony don't know why this is so cool. In case you don't, dear readers (though I know at least one of you does), in punk-rock terms, opening for the Cramps is like opening for U2. I'm only familiar with a couple of their songs, to be honest, but their reputation is huge.
Needless to say this injects a bit of energy into the rehearsal process, what with the occasional "We're opening for the fuckin' Cramps!" thrown into random songs. Rex is a little worried, as he has a lunch meeting in New York City that day about his novel, but we shout him down with cries of "THE CRAMPS!" I mean, even if it weren't the Cramps, the Black Cat is a legendary D.C. club in its own right; but the fact that we'll hear Human Fly live (I guess we'll have to take it off our covers list) is icing on the cake. We're so excited we schedule another rehearsal for the next day, since Rex now lives in the Catskills and can't come to DC every weekend.
The next day, I pick up Tony and Rex and we head down to Wendel's place in Virginia. Rex says, "Guys, I have some bad news and some good news. Which do you want first?"
We ask for the bad news.
"Well, the reason those two spots opened up in front of the Cramps... there was a miscommunication. It's not because the original bands backed out. It's because the Cramps bring their own opening bands. So that spot isn't open after all."
Pause, while the air goes out of the day. Crushing defeat.
"... Well," says Tony at last, "what's the good news?"
"Um...," says Rex, "well, I won't miss my lunch appointment in New York..."