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The Battle of the Bands

 

The best and worst two days of my life took place at Bogarts with

my band Radioactive Weasel last month.  We had practiced daily for near

three years, and our group decided to pull together again and enter "The

Battle of the Bands."  This was the first time we sparingly paid fifty

dollars to perform anywhere. All the other competitions we had entered were

mail in tapes and then wait for a response. We got out of bed at five in

the morning, then raced to our drummer's house. Loaded on uppers, practiced

four and a half hours to perfect our original songs, we were to play that

night.

 

      Pumped and ready to get started we packed the van with our drums

and guitars then started our journey to Clifton for our show.  As usual, we

got there way to early, so we did what any fun seeking  under aged

musicians would do.  We searched the allies and found a half passed out

drunk and took him to the local bar, then got a few beers each before  the

show.  We then returned to draw numbers for the order of the bands.

 

        I eagerly pushed my way to the front of all the other bands, being

the obnoxious prick I am, and drew the first card.  Unfortunately I drew

the second band on stage out of nine.  The best position to be in is about

fourth or fifth band because that is when the crowd starts getting into the

music.  Pissed off I haphazardly wandered back to my group to inform them

of my greatest mistake.

 

        We loaded the equipment into the worlds slowest elevator, and

stumbled our way to the backstage lounge.  After I had read graffiti

covered walls until my heart was content I noticed much writing by some of

my favorite groups like Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Mansion, Korn, and The

Dead Milkmen.  Inspired by them I also signed the wall with some chosen

words.  The time had rolled around for the first band to hit the stage.

Excited, we rushed our way into the mosh pit, (in my mind the only place to

be). Screams turned into whispers as Pieces entered the stage in a cowardly

manor. After they vaigly introduced their band, in a well-maintained

surprano voice we listened to about a song and  a half. Our group returned

to the lounge to put on our stage clothes. I screamed in front of the other

seven bands as I dropped my pants and underwear and slipped on my vinyl

pants and a black T-shirt. Not noticing the rest of my band had found a

dressing room.  Unconcerned I grabbed my bass and a back up, and headed fo

r the stage.    I wondered onto the main stage for the night, and danced my

way to the front.

 

      After jump starting my ego I started to dance a jig with our singer

Rob.  Stage crew finished setting up our amps, and we broke into our intro.

we made up on our way to the show.  With four clicks from the drummer I

felt the energy flow through my body while we started with our cover song

from  Kracker called Low.  With my subconscious mind going wild, I played

flawless without even thinking about it.  This made it easy to go crazy and

have a good time.  It's a proven fact that if the band show enthusiasm, and

talent the crowd will loosen up and join.  I think that is the reason I

love performing so much.

 

      Sliding into song two "Spectrum," a song the guitar player and I

originated came off the same way.  After moving more than I ever moved on

stage before, I noticed a blurred object flying right at me.  Hitting my

hand, I recognized the object to be a bra. Then with a gentle laugh, and a

sigh  knowing it was not another one of those horrid, full, open, beer

bottles.  I ran to the front of the stage,  with rage in my eyes, and

smoothly pulled off my first solo of the night.  Satisfied, I paced back to

the center of the stage, and continued my rhythm with a slow motion filled

dance.

 

      Song three was starting as our two guitarist finished "Spectrum."

With heavy bass beats and whaling drums, the crowd started to move

viciously about the floor.  Without any care in the world I began to jump

up and down with the beat of the song.  Starting to sweat, with great pride

I began to play even harder.  Inspired by me, the two guitar players also

started to loosen, as they enjoyed the heavy flow of riffs in "This Side

Down,"  previously written by our rhythm player Mike.  Moving more than

ever we started the best song written in our three year history "On My

Time."

 

        Pushing ourselves to the limits we still played with compassion and

pure energy.  Wearing down, near exhausted, sweat covered,  and dizzy I

went into my final solo.  With the sting of sweat in my eyes, and blood

running from my finger tips from frayed strings I still pulled off the solo

in which had given me hell for such a long time.  With no doubt in my mind

we would make the next level, I queued the band to do the extended version.

We tried to get every last bit of enthusiasm out of the crown we could. Rob

thanked the 950 people for coming to the show, as we grabbed our gear and

headed for the van.

 

      Grouped back up with our shirts off we returned to the pit.

Clashing cymbals and untuned guitar screeches filled the air the rest of

the night.  Scratched records could have played clearer than the following

bands.

 

        Upset that it was us chosen to play the same night as a group of

uneducated, punk ass losers. We returned to finish putting the final pieces

of the drum set in the van.  Acting in our best behavior, and as friendly

as possible we congratulated a few chosen bands with the same taste of

music..

 

      After getting in the van we returned to our natural state as we

left the parking lot waving good bye with single digits while our friends

mooned the feeble opponents.  While we swerved all over the road, we

screamed the lyrics to every song on the radio and talked about the show.

Some nicely chosen colored lights, flashed from behind, which startled us.

I pulled over to see no other than our best friends, the Cincinnati Police.

He pranced his way to our smoke filled van, and signaled me to roll down

the window, With a grim smile I eased the window down about three quarters

of the way. By this time, I had handed him my drivers' license and the

vehicle registration as he asked for it. He then asked where we were

heading, and if we knew why we were stopped. After I had explained we had

just finished a show, and were on our way home, I then asked if it was

because of swerving.

 

        Having known I had been swerving all over the road. He remarked yes,

as I told him the van was out of alignment, and I was just getting the feel

of driving it. He told us to be careful as he walked back to his cruiser.

With a slight voice, I told myself of just how perfect I really am. While

the stereo blared, we continued to bellow the lyrics, to the songs on the

radio again.  As we pulled into our drummer's house at three in the morning,

we carried out tradition and drank all night.  The loud ringing, of the

phone I had passed out on, woke me.  Delighted when the person on the other

end told me they were the owner of Bogarts.  After I realized whom I was

talking to, I was happy to hear him say we could "come back and play

anytime."  He quoted, "Radioactive Weasel scored extremely high for an

unsigned band."  I smiled to myself as he then said, "However, you have

been disqualified for an unknown reason."  My heart stopped as time flew by.

 

 A nameless face had just crushed what had seemed so great to me. The thing

that confuses me is why to this very day, do they still refuse to tell us

any reason for our disqualification.

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