After two weeks of being mostly behaved it was the second-to-last night of the gig and it was the night Marcus and Kristy showed up and let’s just start by saying i never intend (I rarely intend) to get drunk, and let us–let ME admit–that I AM a lightweight when it comes to alcohol (as much as I used to think I’m Irish and can handle it) my excuses I’m drinking on an empty stomach I’m just tired,” I didn’t know this pale ale was 8 percent.” Just don’t hold up after awhile and admitting and owning-up are the first steps to adressing a problem right?
I don’t have a problem. I like alcohol. I like getting drunk and I love everybody when I’m drunk.
I know I can’t do that too much or people worry about me
So, let’s talk about the night i got shit-faced at Cowboy Bills.
Probably shouldn’t. Management will advice against.
Fuck ‘em. I feel like talking about it.
So there I was playing Happy hour at the front bar of Cowboy Bills in Key West, it’s called Salsa Loca (i’m pretty sure) and it’s Rick Monroe and me everyday for two weeks doing this and I don’t care who you are, you have to know an awful lot of songs to not start playing the same ones over and over and if i don’t like playing myshit over and over I prob dont wanna hear you play your shit unless your Neil Finn or maybe Alan Whitney and after awhile I feel like I’m sleepwalking through the gig (I was in a tribute band once for three-years-too-many and that’s all I ever did) and anyway there’s me and Rick Monroe and Rick is a stand-up guy and one of those people you feel like you’ve know for years after knowing him five minutes and I’ve run out of George Jones songs and Pogues songs and my songs and i’m really over the gig and then my dear old buddy Marcus (Mertis) shows up all the way from TX with his lovely wife and I’ve had a gin-ricky or two before Marcus gets there and when he shows up he ask Rick “Do you mind if I sit in?” and Rick hands over his guitar and in the hands of someone as talented as “Mertis” it’s a beautiful thing and what was supposed to be an hour of playing with a half-hour break ends up becoming me and Mertis going back and forth singing songs that we’ve written together (“Two Sides to Every Song” “Beer Drinkin’ Girl,” I Want to But I won’t, etc…) and I just love making music with someone who can sing great and harmonize great and play tasy guitar and there we are and it’s one of those “God I wish we were recording this” kind of moments. I mean, we’re both putting some heart and soul into the performance and the drinks are flowing and, did i mention there is not a SOUL in the room outside of us, Christy and Marissa behind the bar?
Not a SOUL.
So Mertis and I throw down at each other and eventually, as much as we would have loved to keep on playing we have to give over the empty room to the next guys and we tear down and Marcus has these friends the Thompson Bros playing down at the Hogs Breath and have I seen them? NO, Well I have to see them and I will be blown away, and so Marcus and Kristy and I make our way down Duvall St and I remember having a good workable buzz going on at ttis tima and me and Mertis gets us some cigars and some beers to walk with and the air is warm and breezy and it’s a beautiful night by anybody’s standards.
We make it down to the Hogs Breath and The Thompson Bros are everything Mertis said they were and more. One brother plays drums and bass and sings while the other plays great guitar and sings and they sing great together and they have some great original songs and it just shows to go you how a band like these can get lost in the shuifflle in Nashville..no let’s call it like it is: Nashville has it’s head up it’s ass.
I’m stone cold sober as I write this. Let’s see if I follow through and publish that part…again I’m thinkin’ FUCK EM. Thery won’t admit to being part of the problem anyway.
Did I mention I got divorced?
And did I mention that, at the time I was dating someone who’d broken up with me over the phone a few days previous?
Did I mention I had been married a very long tiime? And that I really liked the girl who’d just broken up with me?
I guess that, deep down inside myself I was in a kind-of-a-bad place. I’m feeling all these conflicting feelings about my marriage falling apart and more confused feelings about my new, newly ex-girlfriend (I’m not really sure I could have even called her that) telling me how she wasn’t on board with the whole long-distance thing and there I am in Key West surrounded by mosty drunk horny people, some of them women and some of these women attractive. Very attractive.
I should also mention that part of the whole “I don’t know if I’m onboard for the long distance thing” translates into “I don’t know that I trust you out there on the road in places like Key West, surrounded by drunken horny people, some of them women, some of those women attractive women.” A valid concern. One that ate at me. Not so much because I didn’t think I could behave or that I wanted to misbehave or break a promise. More than I felt that I was expected to break that promise and that I hate to ever live up to someones lowest expectations, so while I was ostensibly a single man, I was also consumed with the notion that I’d still have the girl I liked if she didn’t assume that I would behave like a dirtbag and that even though I guess I was free to behave however, I didn’t want to behave the way somebody –i thought wrongly–expected me to, I guess the same way if you’re a crack head who’d cleaned up their act you wouldn’t want to hit the pipe after everyone in your family and friends said they believed you had the strength not to.
So you heard about how that dude with “The Golden Voice” went right back on the junk, right?
But I’m not talking about drinking or crack or anything addictive at this point I’m talking about women, and really, more specificly I’m talking about flirting with them and this is one thing that after having been ,married for a very, very long time I don’t know that I’m good at, I mean, anytime in the years that I was with my wife that I thought I might be putting out “flirty” vibe to another woman, I pretty much pulled punches and figured it was good to stay out of trouble and not be complimentary and touchy-feely and never to look them in the eye, and I wonder know what the hell was wrong with me???
So there I am at Hogs Breath and the beer is flowing and there are most definitelty a lot of horny drunk attractive people, some of them women and it seems like everytime I look over toward the bar there’s this one pretty blonde who is staring at me and after awhile i start staring back and there she is staring again and finally —I NEVER do this–I walk over too say hello and she’s like “I don’t know who you think you are but go back to your girlffriend..” (I guess meaning Kristy who’s standing next to me) and for all the blue-eyed-charisma I thought I had she refuses to believe that Kristy is with Marcus and she’s like “Crawl back in your hiole.”
MEAN. very mean. very NOT Into me
The thompson brothers are playing Neil Diamond, but in my mind AC-DC is singing “Shot Down In Flames”
And i carry my wounded ego back to to where Marcus and Kristy are standing and as I walk over somebody grabs my ass and I turn around and there’s a pretty blonde behind these two dudes and I hope it’s her that goosed me and then she’s standing next to me andf I get goosed again andf I vaguely remember talking to her for a minute and thinking maybe my Kavorka’s back and then again I’m just out of practice at this and I feel stupid and I’m back to feeling conflicted about the ex-wife, the ex girlfriend, the fact that I’m in Key West playing cover songs and I’m surrounded by drunk horny girls and some of them are good looking and ya know, I just don’t even feel like putting it out there and by IT I mean my ego and my sense of who I am an I just don’t think I can take getting shot down and looking back at it now, that is a bad place to be and I’m like “Mertis we gotta get outta here” andf me and him and his lovely wife start heading back to Cowboy Bills and I guess we hit another watering hole or two along the way and I’m not thinking about playing again tonight, I’m thinking about women and my so-called career and I’m alternately having an awesome time interspersed with moments of “What the fuck have I done with my life”
I’m sure you all know what I mean..
So Mertis and Kristy and me get back to Cowboy Bills and If I didn’t think I was drunk when I walked on stage, I feel a bit gooned when I go to sing the first song and I mess up a lyric and I slur another and maybe I wasn’t that messed up at the time ‘cause I really do remember this and then I remember once I forget a lyric that it just keeps happening and there I am messing up words and it’s like okay, I am drunk and then there’s Shaker (who’s done this a few times himself, right buddy buddy?..) and he’s got his guitar so loud in my monitor that it’s all I can hear and I’m asking him to turn down and Rocco (DJ) Is egging us both on with the whole “Good God, y’all are a dysfunctional family right here…” and again how drunk could I have been to remember the details like this? But sometimes it’s like that thing–that effect–that results when you know you’re fucked up and you’re trying to act straight and the more you try to act sober the drunker you feel?
Do you know what I mean??
So…Shaker is ignoring me and I can’t hear and I walk over the the monitor board and turn him down myself and he’s laughing at me and Rocco’s laughing at me and I had just finished reading a Christopher Moore novel that day in which one of the characters calls himself “The Swinging Dick of the South Bronx” and I after I turn Shaker down I look at him andf go “I am the swinging dick of this stage muthf*cka”
I have NO Idea what that is supposed to mean.
I was drunk.
I’m sure NO ONE got what I was talking about.
I was sober enough to remember all this shit. And I remember getting done with the set and Rocco giving me the thumbs up. And I remember thinking I need to sober upand I went and got a cup of coffee and a candy bar and drank a couple diet cokes and and tried to take a nap during the hour break before my next set and I remember being in good shape for the midnight set, but it didn’t matter cause I’d run off my earlier audience.
I could tell ya different.
But if most of this shit wasn’t true, what kind of story would it make?
I know I was drunk.
What I didn’t know was that I’d had a booking agaent in the audience out to see me.
Question five on the “Are you an alcoholic” quiz: “Does drinking affect your job or has it caused you to lose a job?”
Um I’m in a band….but. YUP.
So the agent goes back to the dude who referred him (a friend of a friend) and reports what he saw, which is along the lines of what I just told you, albeit not exactky the same as I remember it. And I have some explaining to do and some soul searching to do and I let it really bother me a for a long time. Rick Monroe told me later he had to do some serious apologizing for me… Hell it happened six months ago and I’m just writing about it know,. But I did beat myself up about and I apologized and made vows and I’ll say to you my readers and my audience that I hope you never see me like that again and I hope you don’t play money to see me like that, but then again, I have two words for the whole affair:
KEY FUCKING WEST.
If you expect me or any other dude with a job like mine to act like a saint in a location like this then think again.
I wouldn’t do that on a big stage in front of a lot of people.
I wouldn’t do it on TV.
Johnny Cash Did.
I wouldn’t NOT show up ‘cause i got drunk before a gig
George Jones did. Lot’s of times.
So I woke up the next day and there was hell to pay and my Manager and road Mgr had to try and excuse things away for me…..And let’s just say looking back that I was drinking on an empty stomach and that I was tired and on medication and going through a rough time in my relationships and this is all true but what it really comes down to is
I’m in a BAND
I hope it don’t happen again.
If I know me it probably will.