Castor Oil...sickeningly good

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

You're my bro right up until I hate your fucking guts

I have been in lots of bands but up until the band I’m in now I never had to deal very much with the line-up change. Mostly my bands would spontaneously combust into absolute destruction right about the time we had spent every cent we ever earned on pictures and t-shirts.

Once I was in a band that broke up when the drummer pinned me up against a wall by my neck immediately following a show and kicked my ass before choking me into submission, When he was done throttling me he went toe to toe with the singer and wound up brawling behind the bar breaking innumerable bottles of watered down liquor. The cops came but after taking one look at us Johnny Law decided we were way too pathetic to sully their jail and left us to die under our own devices. We would have headed home but our guitarist, who had earlier departed in a huff and hail of drunken dust with our friend Rob, took the keys to the van with him.

It was Easter Sunday, we were stranded in Diehl Maryland after beating up or getting beaten up by each other, and we couldn’t unlock the doors to the mini-van. The only reason we got home is because Rob (R.I.P.) who wasn’t even in the band wouldn’t listen to the impassioned pleas of “fuck those assholes, throw the keys out the window and let them die!” from our guitarist and came back to save us, (or at the very least unlock the doors so we could drive home and live to totally hate each others guts another day).

Welcome to the brotherhood of Rock and Roll motherfuckers.

That story is not the norm though. Most bands go through a pretty predictable series of stages before they deconstruct leaving crappy demo tapes, unverifiable stories of awesomeness at out of town shows and petty but unmistakably inferno like grudges in their wake.

Stage 1 – the hook-up:
You can see it in bars everywhere, dudes in bands that are brand new to each other slow dancing in wonderment at the sheer rockitude of each other. Surely there was more at work than simple fate to bring this illustrious line-up of totally aligned and perfectly matched rock and roll behemoths together. They are infatuated, they are arms around each other slamming brews and gazing at the awesomeness of the ass they are going to kick. There are big plans and everyone is on the same page at all times. This stage involves more time sitting in a booth at Denny’s discussing the magnitude of the shit soon to come than actually practicing. This stage generally lasts about two weeks.

Stage 2 – the tittie twist:
Once the newly formed and awesomely aligned band of brothers plugs in instruments and puts sticks to drumheads there comes the first chink in the armor of fantasticness. The chink formation (what a name for a terrible cover band) almost always involves the principal songwriter who by nature is a completely self-absorbed windbag that wants everyone in the band to be able to perceive exactly how the song sounds in their head and execute it precisely that way the first time through and every time thereafter. This is the role I play in my band. When the songwriter starts getting their titties in a twist about the way the songs sound as opposed to the way they were intended (the most awesome of all ways) the tittie twisted at this stage keeps pretty cool and doesn’t say much because after all this band of brothers is going to be together for a long-ass time and the songs will work themselves out. The songwriter puts aside his personal ego for the good of the band. This stage usually lasts about one half of a nano-second.

Stage 3 – the coalition build:
Inevitably certain members of the brotherhood gravitate towards one another whether by locale, mutual friends, social alignment or degrees of alcoholism. This is where the cracks in the mantle of the band really form. Generally speaking the songwriter finds an ally in the band to further his agenda of being the total dictator and overlord of the brotherhood. There are lots of “you know we’re really on the same page” and “you know I love (insert name of band member not sitting there) but sometimes his take on the songs weirds me out…” and other weasely little shit to further his agenda. The company (statiscally it's bound to be the bass player) agrees because he is a sycophant and the songwriter is buying the pitchers. Thus the coalition is born. The band is now a month old.

Stage 4 – the cold chill:
As the coalition strengthens over hours of IM and repetitive phone calls between members the minor musical disconnects between the leader of the coalition and the non-coalition members strengthen and grow. While love is still professed personally there are “serious” things to talk about and lots of “I don’t want to be a dick about it but” veiled threats thrown around. This translates into a chill in the air at band practice where the non-coalition members who have no idea what the fuck is going on behind their backs start to get the cold shoulder from the leader and blank stares from the coalition underlings. At the end of practice the coalition leader packs up as quickly as possible and leaves with his army in tow. The non-coalition members stay behind and start their brains churning…what is going on…could this be happening…..what did I do…..can I bum a cigarette? The band is four months old and well on the way to firey destruction.

Stage 5- the beginning of the end:
At this point the band is playing shows that are not going as planned in the Stage 1 booth make-out sessions. While of course the lack of a crowd is endemic to the shitty scene and has nothing to do with the balls out wonderfulness of the band or their shitty promotional efforts something is clearly wrong. To maximize the potential the cancer must be excised. This means getting rid of the best musician in the band that is not in the coalition. And here boys and girls is where the real shit gets going. Musical differences are now translated into personal ones. Playing too loud becomes your girlfriend is a meddling bitch and you don’t take this shit seriously enough and you look fat in that ridiculous t-shirt and I can see your nipples popping out in the band picture you goddam prick I can’t believe that YOU are fucking up MY band….errrr….I mean our band. In a blaze of non-coalition inspired sanity the victim usually makes a stand and says “fuck you” and leaves. Thus the coalition has triumphed and the songwriter reigns supreme. Now all that’s left to do is replace the dearly departed with another sycophantic suck-up and glory is assured. The band is seven months old and on the old rusty ventilator.

Stage 6 – all fear the apocalypse and going back to want ads on Craigslist:
To replace the missing link the only guy that the songwriter knew that could play the missing instrument is plugged in without talking to the rest of the coalition. It is an unbreakable rule of the universe that the new guy will not be anywhere near as good as the dearly departed and will be a mope. The coalition is frustrated, after all the shake-up practices have been cancelled for months, the songwriter hasn’t written a song since Stage 2 and the only gigs they can get are at a pizza shop on a Tuesday. The coalition starts to fracture and the songwriter clings to the new mope in a desperate bid for power. The angry coalition members shout and stomp that they don’t care if the old guy had big fat fried egg nipples HE WAS OUR BRO…..WHY DID WE KICK OUT OUR FAT NIPPLED BRO YOU EGOTISTICAL FUCKER?!?!?! At this point hastily called band meetings are arranged and everyone agrees to get their shit together and right the ship. The band is ten months old and pennies are being shined to place upon its eyes.

Stage 7 – the box of t-shirts in the closet, endgame:
After the band meetings the non-coalition members have found innumerable reasons to cancel practice or not be available for gigs. The boxes of 8x10 promo pictures in the corner of the practice room with Fatty mcFried Egg Nips’ glowering sweet face stares up at them like the telltale heart when they finally convene for a halfhearted jam. The band decides to take a break. They hastily say “I’ll call you” and that is the end of the band save for the volcanic hatred for each other that is about to be unleashed whenever sadistic friends offer to talk about it with them. While they were all way too weenieish to talk shit to each other directly the band members now go on a P.R. junket of vitriol against each other. They hate one another except for when they end up in the same room and give each other the bro hug. Then they go back to calling each other fuck-ups and losers.

The band was 12 months old from conception to death and never really did shit but the band members will talk about how huge they were for the next decade…..even though all the other guys were total retards. That’s the great thing about bands, there are so many out there and always have been that it’s almost impossible to verify the lies that ex-band members tell about their past greatness. It’s great how quickly playing to mom and dad on a Tuesday night at Fred’s Pizza Lounge morphs into a Saturday night rock blowout in front of a sold out crowd of bisexual strippers. Thank god there’s not Swift Boat Veterans for Local Band Bullshit out there, we wouldn’t have anything left to talk about at Denny’s with our new and totally awesome bandmates!

6 Comments:

  • i think i saw your band at fred's. you guys rocked.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:52 AM  

  • nipple.wonk.nipple.wonk.nipple.wonk.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 PM  

  • Dude,

    I was at Fred's too. I was the one wearing the Lord of the Rings T-shirt. The one with the picture of Gollum on the front.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 AM  

  • HOLY CRAP!!!! You're the father of my bastard child! His name is Smiegel and he's bad.

    By Blogger Castor OiL, at 8:50 AM  

  • dude, what you just wrote relates to every single fucking band that has ever failed.
    You put it into perspective and with excellent fucking writing skills.
    Thanx for giving the internet community something good to read and ponder on
    P.L.U

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:54 PM  

  • dude, that was very fucking funny.....I've read a few "lifecycles of bands" before but that was great....you can so identify with one of those characters

    best line:

    "you know I love (insert name of band member not sitting there) but sometimes his take on the songs weirds me out"......man, I can't even remember how may times I've said something similar to that....It's pretty funny to be called out on it by someone who doesn't even know you or your band

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:48 AM  

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