The TLP Network

No One and a Half: Home

by on Feb.18, 2008, under Articles, No One and a Half

Scribed by Jason Firestone.


That smoky little dive bar that no one ever knows exists until they’re actually inside it. If you had the chance, you’d go to it any free night of the week, whether you were playing there or not. It’s that place where you not only automatically see someone you know every time you go in, but you’re greeted by them at the door, and by a handshake from the door guy. On stage you can make fun of the sound guy endlessly, but he’ll laugh and still give you great sound because he’s a cool-ass motherfucker as well as a good friend. You can actually sit down and talk to the bartender without her pressuring you to buy anything. When you’re off-stage you’re among friends. When you’re on stage you’re important and will have friends saying good things about you and cheering for you whether you have a terrible show or a great one. The pay is shit (hey, you can’t have all your friends come to all your shows all the time) but you don’t really care because you just love playing there. Ya know, for the fun of it. You’re welcome there. You’re home.

Inevitably, if you’re trying to make some kind of living off of playing music, there comes a time when you must leave your nice comfortable environment and land the weekly cover band gig. You’re placed into the back corner of a bar for anywhere from 3-5 hours playing mostly songs that you didn’t write to people who want nothing more than a beer (or ten) and could care less about what kind of music is playing over the PA. Until your friends come you have absolutely no kind of applause (or really any kind of reaction at all) between songs, save for that one guy who happened to like the song you just played. Could be a lot worse though. It’s in a relatively upscale area, you’re treated well by all the bar staff, you have stable pay, you actually get tips sometimes, and you never have any problems with anyone who frequents the place. You actually look forward to the gig most of the time. And you’re playing four shows a month only if you’re lazy as hell and don’t book any other shows. Shit, if anything you should be thankful. When you were a kid you would have given your right nut to play a show every six months FOR FREE, let alone to be playing shows three nights a week… and getting paid for it. It’s like that guy who complains to you about how his girlfriend hasn’t put out in a week while poor you hasn’t gotten Mr. Happy wet in months.

You get yourself on the SUPER-FUCKING-INCREDIBLE-HUGE-TURNOUT-SHOW-WITH- LOTS-OF-DRUNKEN-GOOD-TIMES-THAT-HAS-BEEN-RELENTLESSLY -PROMOTED-FOR-THE-LAST-MONTH-AND-WILL-BE-REMEMBERED- FOR-AT-LEAST-THE-NEXT-WEEK that is scheduled for the day after your weekly shindig. You arrive at this show in relatively low spirits since only a few of your friends were able to make it out to your weekly show the night before. The venue is pretty much empty when you get there, but those gorgeous girls sitting outside and the smell of pizza eventually fill the place up fast. By the time you go on stage, the venue is packed. Many of them are all your friends who couldn’t make it the night before, but many more of them are people who are just there to have a good time and see some good bands. And get really really really drunk. The feeling of most of the people there when you climb onto that stage and do your sound check is one of complete neutrality. But you play your set and get roaring applause the whole time. You could swear you saw a pair of tits too! Like, FEMALE tits!

You walk out of that show with exactly $14. You’re home.

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