The night of the show I arrived late. Of course. I had planned on getting to Arlene Grocery earlier, but it took longer than I expected to extract the codeine from the 222 pills I'd purchased in Canada a couple of months before. I had just bought these new coffee filters, and they were like slow drip. Real slow drip.
Anyway, I take a cab up to the place with my friend Allyson, who always tells me, "George, I'd take a bullet for you." I told her that tonight she might have her chance?that Arlene was a hostile shithole, with an audience that wouldn't know what humor was even if it were printed on their credit cards. She tells me she knows. She's been there before.
We arrive at the club, which looks like one of 10 million bodegas that are scattered around the city, except this one has a line out front and is located in a new "hip" area. Where lots of other "hip" bars are. The Lower East Side. On Stanton, between Ludlow and Orchard. An area I wouldn't even drive through three years ago without the windows and doors locked up tight. Now it's all foo-foo. Boutiques everywhere, trendy fucks walking in large groups all over the place.
"George," says Rob, as Allyson and I step out of the cab, "where have you been? You're late."
"It's Allyson's fault," I say to him, just because she begged me not to say that.
"Well you're here, we got work to do," says Rob.
With that we follow Rob and his band into the Butcher Bar, which is a sorta nice place next to Arlene.
"What do ya want to drink?" asks Allyson, my bodyguard and butler.
"I'd like to be the official greeting committee," says Rob, "but George and I have serious work to do,"
"Huh?" both Allyson and I say at the same time.
"We have to prepare for the show, which starts at any minute," explains Rob.
"Dude," I say, "calm down. Everything will be fine. This is easy. We just go up there and wing it. No problem."
"Well, we've rehearsed and know the songs," says the drummer of the band, whose name I don't know.
"We sound pretty tight," adds the guitarist, whose name I also don't know. I call him "Rusty" because Matt from Dick Army told me to call him that because of his red hair. And because it annoys him.
"This is gonna be fun," I assure Rob.
"This is the list of songs with blank lines next to them," explains Rob. "Have people fill in their names next to the songs they want to sing."
"Cool," I say.
"And these are the lyrics to all the songs. I've put them in alphabetical order. If you keep them that way, they'll be easy to find," Rob says.
"And you should open up the set by talking and saying 'pussy' a lot, then sing the first song."
"Any questions?" he asks me.
"Um," I say, "is it okay if Allyson holds all the songs on the clipboard and gets everyone to sign up?"
Rob looks at her in her cool rubber shirt and tight black pants, realizes it's a great idea, and thanks Allyson for her willingness to help out.
I thank her for letting me be the lazy fuck I am and just letting me worry about getting drunk. The next thing we know, the band next door has ceased to play and we're up next.
"How you all doing out there?" I ask the wall-to-wall crowd as Rob and his Heavy Metal Karaoke Band set up their gear.
"Are you guys out there ready for some heavy fuckin' metal?" I ask.
I hear a few murmurs in the crowd about how metal sucks.
"I said, 'Are you ready to rock?'" I yell.
A few people say "yeah," but most ignore me and chat among themselves about their furniture and same-sex relationships.
As I'm about to make another comment I see her. Standing right below me. Right in front of the stage. Like a vision of the Virgin Mary. With tits.
"Excuse me," I say, off the mic, to the blonde-haired blue-eyed angel with quite an impressive rack. "Are those real?"
"What?" she says.
"Are those real?" I ask again.
"Excuse me?" she says.
"Your breasts," I say, looking right through her white wife-beater t-shirt at her Susan B. Anthony dollar nipples.
"What kind of question is that?" she asks, all offended like.
I look at her. And her boobs. She's about 5-foot-3, with a waist tinier than my arm, and a chest that's got to be at least double-D.
"A legitimate question," I lean over and say to her. "I mean, your shirt is see-through, and your breasts look great. I was just wondering if they're real."
"Fuck you!" she yells at me, then takes a large sip of her water and spits it at me.
"You pig!" she adds, and leaves the front area.
With water and spit dripping off of me, I get back on the mic.
"Whoa," I say, "we have a great crowd here tonight. Listen, some girl just spit at me and said 'Fuck you' because I asked her about her breasts. So if you see a blue-eyed blonde-haired chick walking around with a huge-ass rack, don't ask her if they're real or not. She seems very sensitive about that question."
"Fuck you, asshole!" some guy in the back yells at me.
"Shut up, pussy," I yell back at the guy.
"Come down here and say that, asshole," the guy yells.
"You come up here, you politically correct fuck," I yell back at him.
Finally, the show was getting to be like a Furious George concert. I was starting to feel at home.
Until the other she walked onstage.
The other she being a 6-foot-2 Amazon, with a chest as flat as a board. Which didn't stop her from wearing the smallest bikini top I'd seen in a long, long time.
"You motherfucker!" she yelled at me.
"What'd I do?" I asked the woman who I later found out was Olga, from Olga & the KGB, a band from the Lower East Side. They had played right before Rob's band.
Without answering me, Olga wound up her right arm and clocked me in the jaw so fast I never saw it coming.
Suddenly blood was pouring out of my mouth and off my chin.
I looked over at Rob, and he kinda looked back at me in shock. I don't think he expected this.
I then looked at the other band members. Who looked just as bewildered.
"That fucking hurt!" I yelled at the Amazon, who had that kinda washed-out chick-with-a-dick look.
"You fucking insulted my friend, you motherfucker," she yelled at me, and with that, went to hit me again.
By this time, my bodyguard, Allyson, had hopped up onstage, and was standing between me and RuPaul.
"Don't you fucking hit him!" little Allyson yelled at the tall blonde.
"Fuck you," she yelled at my bodyguard. "He's a fucking asshole and I'm gonna beat the shit out of him."
The next thing I knew Allyson and Wonder Woman were trading blows and what was supposed to be Heavy Metal Karaoke had turned into the Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling. Except for Olga.
I quickly broke the pair up, and got hit by Dino-Dyke one more time for my troubles.
"You fucker," she yelled again, as she got off the stage. "You're gonna be fucking sorry. I'm gonna fucking kick your ass. Beat the fucking shit out of you, you smug asshole. How dare you insult my friend."
It was then I made my first and biggest mistake of the night: I apologized.
"Look," I said into the mic, with my jaw really beginning to swell up but feeling no pain because the codeine was kicking in, "I'm sorry if I hurt your friend's feelings. I'm sorry. I'm not here to hurt anyone. Just to have fun. If I hurt your girlfriend's feelings, then I'm truly sorry. She seems really nice and all, and I guess I was a jerk. Sorry. I'm really sorry..."
As I was saying I was sorry, I was listening to myself, and cursing myself out in my brain for being such a damn pussy. I really did feel bad if I hurt her feelings. But I also felt bad for being such a wimp. I was in a no-win situation, and I knew it. The best thing for me to do was to shut up, but I just kept saying I was sorry, over and over again. Like a broken record. It must have been the punch to the head.
"Anyway," I continued, "I'm really sorry and..."
Finally Rob reminded me why we were there and told me to start the set. Thank God for him.
"Okay," I said to the crowd, who by this time were calling me all sorts of names, none of them nice, "it's time for the metal, and this one's by Quiet Riot and it's called 'Bang Yer Head'!"
With that, the guitar, bass and drums kicked in with that heavy metal thunder and Rob and company rocked out like gods. I could hardly sing. I was in shock from Olga and her knuckles, and, also, my jaw was beginning to swell big-time. Somehow I managed to get through the song, with only minimal booing at the end, and introduced the next in a long line of guest singers who would appear that night. Among them, Crazy Mike Wartella from NYPress, Mad Memphis Mike from Dick Army, Screamin' Tom Gogola and some dude named "Buck" from New Rochelle, who had a Guns 'N Roses t-shirt, wore a red bandanna on his head and could actually serpentine.
The night flew by as singer after singer rocked with the band. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Everyone who hung around, that is. Everyone else seemed to fly out the door when the band started.
At one point the English soundman even told me he was having a good time. But I don't think the bartender was. He had a scowl on his face the entire night.
About halfway through the set, the other she walked by the front of the stage as I was introducing a singer. She told me I was a "motherfucking asshole" and lobbed a bottle at me.
Luckily I was able to stop it with my head.
It was then I let her have it. In front of everyone. I think I must have lost it.
"Fuck you, bitch," I said to the woman with the sunken chest. "You're just jealous that your friend's tits are bigger than your nonexistent ones. I bet you pack a pecker in that underwear. And if I wasn't such a fucking gentleman who was raised not to hit women, I'd kick the living shit out of your skanky ass, you ho."
Like I said, I must have lost it.
"I'll be waiting for you outside to kick your ass," she yelled back at me, and left.
The rest of the night I bitched to the audience about how if I was walking around with my penis hanging out, I would expect questions like, "How did you get it so big and long?" If I had had it extended through collagen injections or a peter-pump, I'd brag about that. I'd be proud of it.
But no one really seemed to understand my pain.
The set ended with Tom Gogola doing a great version of Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher." As he rolled around on the floor, I thought about how it would soon be time to leave.
And I got nervous.
What if Olga was outside the club? What if she was out there with a whole gang of chicks? What if she was serious about "waiting outside to kick my ass"?
I was a dead man.
So I hung around after the show and talked to everyone I could. Hoping she'd be gone by the time I had to leave. I met Rob's mom, who was awesome, and talked with some of the guest singers who were really quite impressive.
Finally I got up the nerve to leave the club.
But not without Allyson, my friend Rachel and a couple of other chicks.
"I don't know if anyone deserves to get punched," said Wendy, as I felt the codeine wear off and my jaw really begin to throb, "but I guess you asked for it. It was definitely not unprovoked."
I said nothing. My jaw wouldn't move.
"But if I had been there," Wendy added, "I'd have killed her."
P.J. barked in agreement.
All I could do was smile.
And it hurt like hell.
Speaking of breasts: Boy, did I see a pair the other night at CBGB. The band was called Sexy Xrist (pronounced "Sexy Christ"), and the bass player, Erica, had a couple of really cute little ones she loved to show off. Also an ass to die for. Alas, she and the guitar player are together, so that's that. But their CD Rock 'N' Roll Resurrection on X Rated Records helps me think of her on those "lonely" nights. The songs on this thing fucking rock! I mean, holy shit, when these guys say they're from Hollywood and they know how to rock 'n' roll, they ain't kidding. On "Las Vegas," "Dead at 27 Club" and "The Devil, Dope, and My Dick," these two guys and one gal kick ass big-time. Holy cripes, I think I may like this band almost as much as the Dwarves and Zeke. They're that good.
Another great band I saw recently just released their second CD on Melted Records. The band is the Heartdrops, and the release is East Side Drive. This band of three guys who always wear black play the kind of tunes that will have you and your lover in the backseat of a car making out in no time. Or in the front seat. Running over people. Either way, you're having fun. Songs here include "Almost Grown," "Lolita," "White Line Rhythm" and my favorite, "Locked Out." Get this CD and check out the band next time they play. And say hello to Ben, their drummer, for me. He's one hell of a nice fuckin' guy. Punk rock!
Cult of the Psychic Fetus. What kind of name is that for a band? I guess one they like. It's also the title of their self-titled and self-released CD. This is another band that wears all black. But, like, I think 'cause they're vampires or something. Their singer looks like Nosferatu, or that dude from Midnight Oil. The music is sort of a mix between the Cramps, Elvis, the Cramps and, well, the Cramps. Which is a good thing. Song titles like "Coffin Beggar," "Orgy of the Dead" and "Dead Bride" kind of tell you what their whole shtick is about. And live, these guys rock. Even if they insist on having that damn candelabra onstage.
Out of Capitol comes the most bizarre record I've heard in quite some time. It's by a guy called Tim Wilson, and the name of the CD is Gettin My Mind Right. This dude sings funny-ass country songs like "Peterbilt Prison," "100 Things to Remember" and "Haircut Malpractice." He also does tons of comedy, with bits about Al Gore, Abe Lincoln and the king of England. Real redneck comedy that I'm sure anyone with a sense of humor will appreciate. So I guess that rules out that chick Olga.
Drop Zone's Pint Size Punks on Skate-Key Records is, like, rad. The band is a bunch of kids. Like 14 or 15. Tops. But probably younger. They sing punk-rock pop tunes like "Be My Friend," "Punk Rock Girl," "Foodmarts" and "Surf City San Diego." They're from Jersey, and I'm sure they'll be playing around here soon, if their moms will drive them into the city.
From Fat Possum and Epitaph comes the new one by the Neckbones, The Lights Are Getting Dim. These guys, hailing from the state of MS, whatever the fuck that is, rock out via the Dead Boys and the Cramps. Heavy sorta guitar playing, with real angry and sneering vocals.
Spunk. Isn't that another name for come? Jizz? Wad? Semen? Sperm? That gooey white stuff that shoots outta your pearl-spittin' fountain pen when you play with it too much? Anyway, that's also the name of a band. That has an album called Texas on Copper Loud Records. They play real hardcore-type stuff kind of mixed with that trucker rock like Speedealer. Also they sound kind of like Sick of It All and Agnostic Front. All in all, it's a really decent CD, and blows away all that pseudo-hardcore crap like Korn, Limp Bizkit and Britney Spears.
New York City's own Kowalskis have a new CD out on Engine called All Hopped Up on Goofballs. These guys and gal have that classic New York Punk Rock sound, a la Blondie, Johnny Thunders, Patti Smith and the Ramones. I expect these guys to go places, fast. This CD is really tight and good, and this one song, "Good-bye Daddy," still haunts me every other minute. Great stuff.
Chris Gaines has a greatest hits album out on Capitol. Called Greatest Hits. I used to like him better when he was in Nine Inch Nails and wore women's stockings. Now he does all this pop/country shit. Fucking pussy. I may as well listen to some horseshit like Garth Brooks.
Firehouse's new CD Category 5 on Wocka Wocka Music has a cover with a nice picture of them. They are four guys, three of whom have girl haircuts. The fourth guy looks like Harry Anderson. They play true rock in the vein of Winger and Bon Jovi. Wocka Wocka Wock Out!
Finally, everyone's favorite drunk-punk band, the Blanks 77, just released a new CD on Radical called C.B.H. That stands for Cunt. Bitch. Hore. Mike Blank, the singer, told me that. I guess he can't spell. Anyway, this time they sound like the Clash if they were from New York, drank too much and had a drummer that ate pizza and smoked herb all day. Songs here include "Radio Hits" (kinda like the Ramones' "Rock 'n' Roll Radio"), "We Are the Punks," "Ghetto Blasta," "If You Were a Beer" and my favorite, "Girl Can't Rock & Roll," with these lyrics: "Joan Jett had a bad reputation/Courtney Love is just a bad imitation." Pure fun, pure pogo and pure punk. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. These guys go!