we have a date with the underground, chapter 29
by Michele Christopher

I'm back.

Kinda some scary shit that happened there the last few nights. I escaped lockup this morning against doctor's orders cause they wanted to get me on some drug regiment, which I took, and they somehow thought I was addicted to it after one day and a couple IV drips. When I asked them why they didn't just drip me and let me go, like in California, their response was because "California is all HMO." Well, next time I have a seizure, Chocolate milk.jpgI'll make sure to do it in a state where I can have Clarence the crazy alcoholic screaming for his meds and how Reagan did this to him til the nurses shoot him up three hours later.

And make sure you put him in my room.

Like I wanted a full fucking political speech to go with my chocolate milk. And my smokes...where are my smokes?

I love how nurses always want to lock up your valuables. "You see what I got in my pocket? Lighter, car keys, and my wallet. And that's staying with me. So I haaaaaaaaavvvvvvveeeeeee no valuables. Get it?

And yes, I will walk outside to smoke. Even though they tell me I can't smoke outside a hospital, I will. There is just no other way around it. I'm addictive. The wind will be blowing up my ass as I nail back a Camel Light as fast as can before my balls hit the ice age and my boys start wearing parkas, but I am going to god damn do it.

But, that's just me.

So there is a little more history of what has been happening behind the scenes of FTTW lately from the New York office.

But, back to what you want to read about out or don't want to read about, I am a still a little out of it so here goes.

I promised this story a while ago and I think it might be about time to share it.

People leave bands for several reasons. Who cares what they were or why they happen, but they did and do. When you can see that everyone is infected with the "What Happened" disease, it might mean you were the flavor of the month and the rest of the world moved on while you stayed the same. Cause hey, it worked once, right? It's gotta work again. Shit, it only took us five years to get here, we can do this again, right? Let's smash it all down and start again with a new format.

This is the same theory we have at FTTW. Something will only work for a little while before the formula needs to be revamped. The good thing about that is that it seems, and it only seems, that each time you do a major overhaul, you have better connections. As long as you can role with the bumps and cracks in the road, it's kinda hard to stop. It's all about how much you want to put into a project and what comes from your effort.

Divisions are obvious in bands. They were there from the day the scene started. That's why there are more than four or five or three in a band. Sure, those are the names you hear the most, but they aren't the band. The band is everyone who puts this shit together every day and keeps it going. If one goes down, others pick up. Sudden changes happen and someone has to make decisions. And, sometimes, the front players aren't around to make to those decisions. When a night can go off perfect (as can be) when band people don't show or unavailable and the crowd thinks they still saw the greatest thing they saw all day, that's a band.

And yet at one single moment divisions can be broken up between band members almost immediately making things seem unbearable. Even to me. Even thou they had been there for months. Just no one talking about them. When the pitch off a man's voice makes the hair on your neck stand when he says "Hi" to you, either you hate him or are in love with him. Well, I chose the former. These Divisions were drawn in the sand. Who wants to go on. Who wants to quit. We used to sell these places out. We need new fans. We need new noise.

I sat in the office with the lead singer while the other band members sat backstage.

I will say that in this one band, 99 percent of the divisions were brought up by alcohol and drug abuse. The singer and I would wack back shitloads of methamphetamine and steal all the drink tickets. Later in the bands' life, the drugs got harder, but the other members were straight edge. Coupled with the way I liked to break things, this band was a fucking trainwreck waiting to happen. It got so bad, we were fighting if we were ten people short at the door. Most bands would kill to pack places like that. Not us. We were breaking fire codes 6 months ago. This must be over. No one likes us anymore.

Let's quit tonight. On stage.divided_road_ahead.jpg

I racked up some speed and slammed a few shots and covered myself in black stamp ink. The singer did the same but with red ink. This was over tonight. And the rest of the band hadn't even seen us yet.

The lights dimmed and we all came on. Nothing shocking except the singer sang one song and walked out the door thru the crowd. I followed. Wondering where this was going. He was done. This band was done. The promoter grabbed me and was screaming about how all these people were here to see us! They came for us! We can't do this to him!

Then, lo and behold, back on stage, the keyboardist picked up the bass from the ground, kicked over his keyboard and started a new set. New songs. Shit, I had never heard off any of these. Totally different style. With the same other guys. They had it all set up to screw us when we thought we were going to screw them. Looking like Al Jolson, I just shook my head. They had us set up. They knew this was coming and when it happened? They were ready. They took over.

Same band. New singer and bass player. Five piece down to a four piece by the time I was out the door.

And they got pretty big, too.

Just goes to show you, sometimes you're the fucker and sometimes you're the fuckee.

Took me a long time to learn that.- T

Turtle no longer decorates himself with stamp ink.


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