She invited us and our pee
It was gig 4/5 of a long holiday weekend. It was a new venue for us this summer and we had become friends with some of the locals since this was our 5th gig there.
After a show it's usually the guitarist and I who play the role of band diplomats by mingling with the crowd and being approachable. That goes a long way with the audience. During the show I'm drinking water and burning calories. Once we're done playing, that's when drummer boy wants his drink and a bite to eat.
But that's when the club is winding down and service is shortly lived or no longer available.
But this time the silence of the night was broken by a female voice... "Hey I have beer at my house!"
Moments later there we were. A seven-vehicle caravan heading off into the night following her to her home. The entire band, all of our gear and a couple of friends, all in, following her into the night like young ducks following their mother.
I glanced at the clock on my dashboard and realized it's after midnight. I'm the last car in line. Every voice in my head says to veer off from the herd, head for the highway and get more than 4 hours of sleep for the first time in as many days. They wouldn't even notice me if I fell back a little and abruptly banged a left turn into the night.
But i like beer.
And you don't want to be antisocial...right? So you fucking go. You are in a band. It's in the unwritten contract when you signed up for all of this. It's a package deal. There's playing and there's partying and they go hand in hand. It's just like your internet provider that gives you TV and internet but they always throw in a phone hard line as well, even though you hardly ever want it. You just accept it and leave it in the corner, unplugged until you need it.
Suddenly you see cars slowing down and pulling into a driveway. We've arrived. Too late now to pull that Irish exit. So I pull in behind everyone else and walk inside a strange house, give myself a tour, drink her beer and get excited when she breaks out hot dogs on the grille at 2am. Because it's rock n roll. And then you apologize to her for your friend when she sees him pissing on her fence along the driveway. But that's what guys do. They pee. Anywhere they happen to be when the urge hits them. After all, she invited us...and our pee. But then your friends and single band mates start hitting on her awkwardly and she's not interested in them and wants to hit on me. That's when it doesn't matter how good the beer tastes or how amazing that charred-to-perfection-2am-hot dog was because you also sprinkled potato chips into the bun underneath the dog as you channeled your inner Gordan Ramsay. It's time to call it a day. Yeah yeah, I know Mr. Inner Voice. You were right all along. I could have been in bed with an hour of sleep under my belt if I listened to you earlier (see beer & hot dogs). Fuck off. So I ignore the awkwardness of the situation and start arm wrestling the biggest guy in the room as a distraction. Because it's funny getting your ass kicked. I don't know why but wrestling my biggest and strongest friends, knowing they could snap my neck like a toothpick between their fingers always makes me laugh so damn hard. My act of self destruction seemed to work because everyone broke away from the awkwardness of trying to hook up to watch me get served physically, for a new York minute anyway.
After the belly laughs dissipated, there was that moment of awkward silence amongst a room full of weary musicians and party goers. An eclectic group of people brought together by extreme circumstances that could never be planned or duplicated.
That silence is actually an alarm indicating it's time to go. It's the bewitching hour and no matter how much fun you're having, you are ahead of the game and it's time to cut your losses. You had an amazing gig, got fed beer and hot dogs and now have a ton to wake up and laugh about when you all show up at the next show tomorrow night. Oh yeah, you feel a lump of cash in your pocket and remember you got paid too!
Time to go.
This is when I usually pretend to go use the bathroom down the hall and then slip out the side door. But this time it was a mass exodus. We thanked our hosts and disappeared into the night.
Maybe that wasn't as "rock n roll" as most of us would anticipate, but we live to gig another day and that day is tomorrow, which technically is today due to the hour at hand.
Bed. Must find my bed.
Rock n roll.