“I’M NEUROTIC – BORDERLINE PSYCHOTIC- FEELING DOWNRIGHT EXOTIC, YEAH!!!!” The radio blared in the new apartment Griff was living in. The sun was streaming through the large, open windows in the AM. Pierre, his roommate, sat by the sofa, tapping his feet with a cigarette perched in his right hand. Griff paced around the room looking out the window. All of a sudden he heard a scratching sound at the door.
“Dude, open the door”, Pierre told Griff. Griff opened the door a crack and Thunderball, Pierre’s golden Abyssinian cat raced in, then just as quickly slowing down to a casual trot.
“Thunder, you’re home!” Pierre welcomed his pet. Thunderball jumped up on the sofa to join his master. Griff continued to listen to the radio.
“Um, that was a song called, uh, whatever, something by The Neurotics, they played a couple nights ago, at like, you know, some club”, the disc jockey chuckled. “Didn’t you go to that show, Henry? Yeah, ha ha. You’re listening to KXRV, broadcasting from Martin Luther Sacred Heart College, Lucifer Camacho at your service. My guests today are Monkey Wrench from Venice, California”.
“Monkey Wrench, wasn’t that the band you were in?” Pierre asked Griff.
“Yeah, I wanna check out what they have to say”.
The radio babbled in the background with the sounds of people entering the studio and microphones being readjusted and Lucifer himself mumbling indifferently, something he did very well.
“What was Monkey Wrench like?”
“You couldn’t keep them happy. They were always complaining about the way I was getting too much attention, like it was a bad thing that people came to see me play. They said I was on a big star trip”.
“Shit, they were jealous”.
“It doesn’t matter. Who ever heard of a trumpet player in a blues band anyway?”
By the time the band got settled in their chairs to chat with Lucifer he threw on some records so there wasn’t much talk going on.
“They’re not going to talk for awhile. Let’s have some breakfast!” Pierre jumped up from the sofa with Thunderball following him to the kitchen. The radio continued to play some punk rock rattle while they both sat down for some corn flakes and coffee.
“Shee-it, I almost forgot!” Pierre got up and ran over to the pantry. “Thought I forgot about you, Dude, huh?” He kidded Thunderball, who was dancing in place because he knew he was going to eat, too. “Alright, get ready for it, man. It’s your favorite!”
Pierre pulled out a banged-up sack of cat kibble and poured some in a bowl. The cat stood up on his hind legs and craned his head to see the kibble being poured. Pierre put the bowl down and then the cat stared at Griff.
“What’s he staring at me for?”
“He won’t start eating until you eat first”.
“Check it out. Start eating”. Griff began eating his cereal and Thunderball followed suit, burying his head in the bowl and crunching his kibble as noisily as possible.
“Okay, we’re back. Um, those were a bunch of bands, well, I couldn’t tell you who they were, but-“
“Lucifer, we played that last song”, somebody in Monkey Wrench mumbled, a little irritated.
“Oh! Well, there you have it, good stuff, brought to you by KXRV. We’ve got a fund raiser coming up soon. So, how did you guys all meet?”
“Oh, man, what a lousy interviewer”, Griff dropped his spoon.
“He sucks, but bands are always fighting to be on his show”.
“Where did you come up with the name Monkey Wrench?”
“Oh come on, does this asshole use flash cards with his interviews?” Griff griped.
Pierre laughed, “I get tired of being asked those same stupid questions”.
“And listen to these jerk-offs, answering these lame questions in stone seriousness”. They answered every question as if they were delivering the most profound messages.
“Who are your influences?”
“Now watch, the next question he’s gonna ask is what their favorite club to play at is-“
“So, um like, what’s your favorite club to play?”
“JESUS!” Griff yelled. Pierre laughed, but Thunderball jumped at the sound of yelling.
“Hey, my drummer told me Kitten Claws are playing Fuzzbox tonight. Wanna go?”
Griff dropped his spoon again. “We’re playing Fuzzbox tonight. Nobody told me Kitten Claws were on the bill”.
“I don’t know, all I heard was that they’re doing a top secret set at Fuzzbox”.
“I didn’t hear shit about that”.
“Sweet! Put me on the list, man. It’s gonna be a way awesome show”.
Griff sat there stunned. He booked his show a month in advance and Kitten Claws just decided to jump on the bill. He kind of knew what the outcome of the show was going to be like and he already dreaded it.
“So, what bands do you guys like to play with?” Lucifer bookishly asked over the airwaves.
Fuzzbox was packed, top secret show rumors be damned. It seemed like almost everyone in town knew about the show, and small club that it was, the club was unbearably hot and cramped. Griff had to fight through the crowds to get into his own show, trumpet case in hand. One thing was certain: Garbage Truck were scheduled to play at 11:30, the prime spot of the night. Not that it mattered, because it was 11:15 and Kitten Claws were on stage playing. Griff stopped dead in his tracks.
“Hey guys, y’all ready for some biiigg ffuunnn?” Miri, the loud-mouthed bassist screeched into the mike. The audience roared in approval.
“This here song’s called ‘Rolling Pin’”, Jackie-O, the front girl on guitar hooted. She had a fake Five O’Clock Shadow drawn on her face. She thought it was funny.
“This one’s for all the young’uns!” Shawna belched, turning up the volume knob on her Gibson Les Paul.
Kitten Claws ripped into “Rolling Pin”:
“Gonna bang my rolling pin between mah legs, Bang my rolling pin upside your head”, Shawna and Jackie-O buzzed together. Griff looked down at his watch in the dark club. Luckily the hands glowed in the dark. It was 11:22. Great, there goes our spot.
Bobby and Trev stood behind Griff, nudging him in recognition of his being there.
“Well, there goes our set”, Griff groused.
“WHAT?” Bobby yelled over the noise in the club.
“THERE GOES OUR SPOT”, Griff yelled over the noise.
“Kitten Claws are stars and we should be flattered they’re willing to share a bill with us”, Bobby admonished.
Trev nudged them both. “Look, there’s Dead End Kyle!” He pointed at a heavy-set guy with a hangdog face sporting a crooked blonde shag wig. Dead End Kyle shook his head to the music.
“Dead End Kyle! Dude, we’re so in the pocket. Doesn’t he run Paint It Black Records?”
“Yeah”, Griff said. “He usually records girl bands. I don’t think he’ll make a record with us”.
Kitten Claws ended “Rolling Pin” to thunderous applause. Griff noticed the majority of the fans mobbing the front of the stage were all guys. They fawned over the band like a bunch of hormone-driven housewives at a Tom Jones show. Griff wondered how soon one of them would throw his boxers at the stage.
“Who pissed in my coke?” Miri barked.
“So, like yeah, this one’s called ‘Sadie Hawkins Day’, it’s about girls being, like, totally powerful in charge for a change, you know?” Jackie-O yelled.
“This one’s for all the young’uns”, Shawna hooted. Guys in front of the stage pushed each other out of the way so they could take photos.
“WE LOVE YOU, SHAWNA”, a thick, swarthy girl in a leather jacket and mono-brow yelled. She was probably the only girl in front of the stage.
The band began “Sadie Hawkins Day” and one guy jumped up on stage and pulled his pants down. His pee-pee was smaller than his pinky. Miri booted him off stage, but would most likely get his phone number by the end of the night. She went back into her barefoot square dance on stage, throwing her bass guitar around.
“Face it, bro, they’re the queens of the underground”, Bobby said matter of factly.
“Yeah, it’s like Patsy Cline, only better, they’re like a band of four Patsy Clines”, Trev quipped. Griff winced and looked down at his watch. It was already 11:44 and the band showed no signs of getting off the stage.
“I think we can a cherry gig opening up for them. We’ll probably have to do it for free just as a token of good faith”.
“Ummmmyeah, let’s discuss it later”. Griff’s head was starting to hurt. He wished he had a drink. Griff glanced over at Dead End Kyle and thought he looked totally ridiculous.
“And now for the song you’ve all been waiting for”, Jackie-O coyly announced. “Watch out, boyfriends!” The audience roared in delight.
“Yeah!” Miri hooted. “Watch out, boyfriends!”
“This one’s for all the young’uns”, Shawna added.
Fritzi lifted her hairy armpit and kicked in the beat to their anthem, “I’m Mad At My Boyfriend!” and the girls all roared into their mikes, the guitars howling and getting progressively louder. Guys were shoving past Griff to get closer to the front. Griff wondered how much longer the band would play before they had their turn. Before he could get his answer he saw Jackie-O pick up a greased stick and spit gasoline on it, setting it on fire.
“Oh my God!” some guy gushed.
“Ballsy chicks-I LOVE IT!”
“THEY’RE SO ORIGINAL!!!”
Actually, they weren’t. Nashville Pussy recently did the fire-breathing gimmick, and then of course KISS before that. By the time Kitten Claws breathed fire it was staler than day old bread. Hold the yeast.
Griff finally got away from the teeming crowd of wet, greasy punk boys and found himself a nice, empty corner of the club. The loudness of Kitten Claws was somewhat muffled by all the bodies pressing the stage. He looked around and saw Dead End Kyle walk away from the crowd. Something was a little off about him but Griff didn’t care. The only thing he cared about was how soon was he going to play and how soon was he going to get to bed thereafter.
“No! YOU show ME your tits!”
“This one’s for all the young’uns! HEH!”