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
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
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
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
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
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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