we have a date with the underground, chapter 8
by Michele Christopher

This is the eighth in a series of true stories about an anonymous ex-punk rock guy. This one was written by the turtle. I just took care of crossing the t's and shit.

Recording. Fuck. Recording. Fuck. I had never done it before. I've been with other people while they did it. I knew the gig. Wait. Drink beer. Wait. Drink beer. Wait. TV time. Little House on the Prairie is on god dammit. Everyone needs to shut up cause someones going blind on the Prairie and I wanna see it! So shut up! Wait. Drink beer. Wait. Taco Bell time. Wait. Go Home. Drink beer.

When I was told we were recording the next week, I was sleeping in a three story Victorian house in the middle of nowhere. I could barely open my eyes enough to step over bodies to get outside. We had to travel. Yeah dude. Unfortunately these places aren't in the greatest locations. I wasn't recording for a big time label that fed us cocaine and vodka as we sat and waited while eating steak sandwiches. This was a warehouse in the projects. Just enough locks on the door to let people know you couldn't get in, but enough that neighbors wouldn’t think it was a meth lab.

It would be four hour drive to the studio. Welcome to LA. You can't fucking go to the bathroom without a four hour wait. You get used to it, but it doesn’t mean you have to like it. But we had a friend producing it all at discount so we hopped in the van and headed for the studio. In that god forsaken town. The land of the Mouse. Christ. Anaheim. Fucking Anaheim. When we got into town, we booked into a hotel, dumped our stuff off and immediately headed down to the studio to check out what we were going to be doing. How it was going to work and who was going to be there. I was tired. The only thing that made me happy was the hat I bought with the last of my money on the drive down. Fucking Anaheim. The last of my money. Spent on shit food and a stupid Mouse hat cause I was too drunk to actually think I might need to eat sometime.

I was so tired, my eyes couldn’t see Jesus if he stepped off a plane from heaven and asked me driving directions. I couldn’t see anything for that matter. I was wearing a headband fully pulled down over my eyes except for a slit that only let me look out if I raised my head. New hat on head. Bottle in hand.

I walked in to the studio and immediately hit the sofa in the front room. Hey dude. In a studio, a sofa is a life saver. The comfier it is, the more the owner scores "Jesus Points." If you get enough of these points you get to ride in the carpool lane to heaven. I think. Don't quote me on that one.

The sofa was broken in the middle and sagged. Like big fucking time broken. I carefully surveyed what was basically gonna be my bed for the next few days. I was not appeased. But what can you do? I tried to sleep as everyone else set up. If it is a gig, I'll help set up, even if I'm so drunk I can't remember how to take a piss, but if it is in situation like this? Fuck you. Set up your own damn drums. Thundercats is on god dammit.

I’d been around enough that I knew what was gonna happen - "let’s try this take again," "one more try," "you didn't hit that right," "let's try this again" and I dreaded it. If you have ever done this you know how much time it takes for the producer to feel he has it right. Three weeks of sleeping on a sofa, drinking beer, watching Snarf deal with Cheetera about some unknown feminine issue, and knowing damn well that every penny the label is paying for them to record your ass is coming back to them before you see a dime. Its kinda weird. To be paying for your ass while you just sit watching cartoons and figuring out the puzzles on the back of a "Lucky Lager" bottle cap. Meh. Whatcha gonna do? It’s the producer. Wanting to make it fucking perfect when you just want a beer and to see your own bed. It’s like "that’s fine dude, let’s move on" but as you are loading up and drinking that last beer and Snarf is saying goodbye for the last god damn time, you hear "Hey guys! I have an idea! One more take, we can get this better!" Fuck. Like you are thinking "that’s fine dude, lets move on, no really guy, I think this is the best one yet. No really dude. I wouldn't lie. No really dude. I wouldn't."

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Take two hundred and seventy six, you know this used to be fun. Studios aren’t in the best places in town and you're lucky to see a liquor store much less a theme park.

But we had one.

We got lucky.

We had Disneyland.

But we were broke.

But that’s another story for another day.

The Who - Success Story

*there are 23 lines on a piece of binder paper. The title comes from a line in a song from someone who had no idea what to write when we were recording. "Write something fast about anything!" 23 lines. Tree Skin. Get it? Kinda cool line.


This is definitely my favorite chapter so far.


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