Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Worst Band I've Ever Been In

When we all decided to form a band, nobody wanted Steve to be in it. Steve’s really not one of us, he just kind of hangs around all the time. But he’s one of those kids whose parents let him do whatever he wants and buy him anything he asks for. You know the type. Anyway, his parents let him have the whole basement of their house. Steve has his bedroom there and there’s a pool table, an air hockey table and even an old antique slot machine his aunt gave him. Steve said if we let him be in the band we could use the basement to rehearse any time we wanted and even keep our instruments there so I figured we could give it a try.

At the very first rehearsal, Steve decided he wanted to be play guitar and be lead singer. I had a big problem with that. After all, I had written most of the songs we were going to be playing so I had naturally figured I would be the one to sing them. Plus, I feel that I’m a pretty good guitarist and Steve didn’t even own a guitar. But as it turned out, once Steve’s dad found out about the band, he’d gone out and spent about $5000 to buy Steve a brand new Gibson DG-335 and an amp. This was more money than what the rest of us had invested in our instruments combined. The rest of the guys said that with a guitar that awesome there was no way we could NOT let him be the lead. I realized I couldn’t mount much of an argument to that and begrudgingly agreed to play drums instead.

Things went along ok for a while, although Steve couldn’t play very well. It was obvious he hadn’t been practicing and it wasn’t like his parents would make him. And he really couldn’t sing at all. He couldn’t even get the lyrics I’d written right, sometimes changing whole verses, which I didn’t even mind since he was making my songs sound so terrible anyway.

One day, we were in the basement taking a break during rehearsal and Steve announced that he wanted to change the name of the band to The Cincinnati Reds. “You have got to be kidding me”, I said. “That’s easily the stupidest name for a band ever.” Steve (naturally) got all defensive. “It is not! The Reds are my favorite team.” “Exactly”, I said. “It’s the name of a baseball team, not a band!” I couldn’t believe I was the only one opposed to this horrible idea but Steve’s mom had made this awesome barbecue chicken pizza for us and everybody was too busy eating to say anything. I turned to Wayne, our bassist for support. Generally, in any band the bass player is going to be the guy with the most common sense. It’s the nature of the instrument, I guess. “Wayne, help me here. I thought we all agreed our name would be The Destroyed, which is a bad ass, subversive thrash metal band name. How the hell can we be a bad ass, subversive thrash metal band calling ourselves the Cincinnati Reds?” Wayne swallowed a bite of pizza and said, “Well, a thrash metal band named after a baseball team from the midwest is kinda subversive. You know, like ironically.” I just rolled my eyes as Wayne leaned forward and helped himself to another slice. Steve yelled, “Reds rule!” and crashed my cymbal with the head of his outrageously expensive guitar, showing no regard whatsoever for the tuners. Unbelievable, but whatever.

The next day I showed up for rehearsal and as I walked up to Steve’s house, it sounded like they had started already…and I could hear somebody playing drums! What kinda crap is this, I wondered as I ran downstairs. Sure enough, there they all were, playing one of my songs with some other guy as the damn drummer. “Dude!” I yelled to everybody. The music stopped and nobody said anything. So I asked, “What the hell is going on?” Steve piped up and said, “The Cincinnati Reds have a new drummer: meet Ken Griffey Jr.!” Sure as shit, Ken Griffey Jr. was sitting there in Steve’s basement, playing my drums. Wayne stared at the floor, shuffled his feet and mumbled something about Steve’s dad knowing some guy who knew some other guy and Ken was actually a really good drummer and whatever, whatever. “So what now?” I asked. “I’m out of the band or what?” Everybody said “no, no, not at all, you’re still in if you want to be”. Before I could ask in what capacity, Steve tossed me a tambourine. A tambourine? A girl’s instrument! It’s not even an instrument. It’s a noisemaker! I caught it and stood there a second, fuming. But I eventually walked over to them, glaring at Ken Griffey, Jr. who just glared right back at me.

We launched into the song and I’m banging on the tambourine, feeling like a total tool when Steve all of a sudden cuts everybody off and says, “I’m bored. Let’s go outside and play baseball.” They all dropped their instruments and went out into the 42,941 seat ballpark that Steve’s dad had built in their backyard. They told me I could play with them (right field) if I wanted to but by that point I’d totally had enough.

I’m not bitter or anything but I’m glad those assholes finished fifth in the NL Central last year.

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