Monday, March 7, 2011
Somebody told me...you have Luke's stuff
(Disclaimer: I'm only writing this because a friend of mine asked me to as he found some sort of comedic relief in this matter. I guess you could call this a request, and the Beard takes requests. So now you know.)
A long time ago, in the land of Las Vegas, I befriended a drummer. We'll call him Ringo. Ringo and I had met in passing while I was shopping for metrosexual shoes at Aldo in the Desert Passage shops and Ringo was working a bicycle taxi, peddling drunken tourists around a faux-Saharan setting. We started talking and realized we both worshipped at the alter of Tom Waits and understood the value of Soul Coughing lying beyond their brief moments under the pop culture sun. Ringo told me that we was in fact a drummer, which I knew as Ringo had been a visible fixture of the Las Vegas music scene for sometime .
Ringo invited me to bring my upright bass to his house and maybe bring over a bunch of live records to listen to, so I brought damn near everything I could think of in my collection of rare records and thought nothing of leaving them with Ringo. Eventually, I started to see less of Ringo as our schedules differed and he found other musical ventures to involve himself with. I did however, leave some of my things, of both musical equipment and rare record nature, with Ringo. This was partially due to my regrettable superpower of procrastination but also Ringo had loaned some of the records to a local music writer with equally exquisite taste in music who made me fall in love with him when he played "Jockey Full Of Bourbon", easily one of Mr. Waits' finest recordings.
As time went on, I started to think it wise to gather my possessions from Ringo, so I called him up and he told me he was busy with a new band he was in and that hopefully he'd have some free time soon so I could get my stuff back. I asked him what the bands name was. He said the Killers. I said, "huh, I've heard of them". "Yeah", Ringo said? "You like them?" I said someone said they sounded like the Strokes. His response was wonderfully simple: "You dick".
Needless to say, the next time I called Ringo to retrieve my stuff, it was a little different in that Ringo had changed his number and his address. Sensing I was in the midst of a reaming at the hands of the man who would one day keep time on inescapable tracks begging inane questions like "Are we human, or are we dancer" or stating ponderous 4th grader prose like "I got soul, but I'm not a soldier", I thought to act quickly and get in touch with mine and Ringo's music writer buddy. The writer buddy told me to meet him at a pub where he played and he'd get in touch with Ringo for me.
This is more or less a breakdown of the sweet, succinct convo between the writer and Ringo, all from the writers end"
Writer: Hey Ringo babe (I guess when you get famous, a non-negotiable is that everyone calls you babe), I gotta ask you a question. Woah, Bono's doing what? Is that legal? Hmmm. Yeah, you're right, he did write Joshua Tree, I guess he can do whatever he wants. Well, you know the Irish, sometimes they don't wanna wear pants. Can't blame em, really. Well anyways, I got Luke here, and he's wondering if you can take a break from the euro trash hookers and cocaine to get an assistant to retrieve his stuff from your house Hmmm. I see. Yeah, hmmmm. Ok, I'll tell him. Later babe."
"Well, Ringo says he has no idea where your stuff is, and he's sorry for your loss".
I hit the roof and told the writer to tell Ringo I thought he was an asshole. I wasn't pushing a demo, a cookbook, a script, blue prints for a functional, affordable version of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit. I just wanted my mother f'ing stuff back. Then the writer said something that absolutely floored me: "You know, you're kinda starting to bother and annoy Ringo".
Now you gotta realize, at this time, the Killers were inescapable. If you took a leak, Mr. Brightside wheezed out of the overhead speaker in the john. If you called the DMV, Somebody Told Me in muzak form assaulted your ears. I read that Island Records bought out the rights to many babies first cries and had All The Things I Have Done dubbed over them, yes the parents were compensated for the inconvenience. One time I went bowling with my brother, and though he was oblivious to my beef with Vegas' favorite sons, he kept leaning over to me and whispering in my ear "Hey man, I got soul, but I ain't a soldier". Around the fifth time I had to tell him to knock the shit off. I started to theorize that Jesus had joined the band and was manning the keyboards and singing background vocals as their omnipresence was undeniable. I awaited the day when I opened Rolling Stone to read the band had cured herpes and was working on leprosy.
In my darkest stage, I contemplated going to a Killers show with a sign reading "Ringo, give me my f'ing stuff back". Well not really, I'd have to buy a ticket to their show, and I wouldn't do that, I'd like to. And honestly, I think I shine my brightest when I'm pushed to the edge. Funny thing is, even when you're right in life, sometimes you're wrong. Me? I'm right baby. A thousand percent. Like my friend Ronn Benway said "Yeah, he's in the Killers, but he's still just a human in a band. That's it. What makes him better than you?" But from the average perspective, I'm embittered and holding onto a grudge. And you know, I have a gold medal in grudge holding. I water my grudges till they become mighty oak trees of disdain. Not something I'm proud of dear reader, really.
I eventually managed to chop my down my tree of disdain and embitterment. I tracked down some of the things Ringo took from me ( not from Ringo, mind you, I found them elsewhere) and in my mind, it evened things out. So in a sense, I shed the resentment about the stuff and can now objectively dislike Ringo's band on the premise that their core audience is mid-teen girls and all their gear has been beddazled.
And as a parting gift reader consider this: Sometimes in life a strange, inexplicable tear in the universe occurs and you find yourself on the opposite fence of sanity, leaning more towards "Here's Johnny" Jack from the Shining and less towards the typical you. And the only thing that placed you there was your insistence on maintaining principles. Its a strange, strange reversal of the roles when the magnanimous and the mild mannered morph into the calloused and the cold as a result of assholes like Ringo. But like the guy in Crowded House says "don't let them win". Well, he says that after he says hey now, hey how a whole bunch of times, but you get the idea. Don't let the future pop stars of the world steal your sunshine, baby. Vegas' favorite sons are Seigfried and Roy, not those other sonsabitches.