I’ve always sort of had this thing where I felt like happiness and sadness were connected. I mean literally connected like both ends of a rope and an epic lifetime match of tug o’ war ensues. The more happiness you pull, the closer you bring the bad stuff to the middle. This used to really bother me, but lately I think I’ve started to understand and appreciate that progression. It’s like people with a gambling problem in a way. While they only feel alive when they are taking big risks, I only feel truly happy with the understanding that it might be short lived. Like trees, relationships, happy hour, summer and baseball games, all good things must come to an end.
That’s why when I find myself in the backstage area of The Troubadour looking down on a sea of people, I pause. You just never know how many more times you’ll get to be there. You have to really enjoy it. You have to really appreciate everyone who was there and who got you there.
Enough with the emotional take though. You came here for the whiskey.
Early in the evening found myself waiting for Tom and Garrett to get down from Nor Cal. Went on a run because I got antsy and wondered if I’d used up all my energy for the day. Grab lunch with my parents in the triangle. It’s packed. I park my car by all the valets and it is a mess. I didn’t have a valet ticket. We’d have to hash it out later. The waitress at the Farm looks like a cross between Ellen Pompeo and someone who will not bring you a glass of water no matter how much you ask her to.
A sun shower on the car ride home. Brief memory of the first time I saw one. Remember it clearly. Baseball practice in New Jersey some 18 years ago. I’m getting older, apparently.
Head to the Troubadour to figure things out. Load in, end up waiting way to long. Tom and Garrett show up. They agree that being in a band is cool except for all the waiting around and carrying shit. Now I don’t need to write a book on the subject. They nailed it.
Stop at American Apparel, which has become a strange show day ritual. I don’t buy anything, but have a ton of fun trying on a neon headband and a very feminine infinity scarf. There’s a tie-dye sweatshirt that looks like something I want to wear, but the truth is it will just piss me off that it is not summer. I’ll wear it and be mad that I am not at La Piedra drinking a glass of warm rum and orange juice with a few sandwiches nearby harvested from the Trancas Market. Cool wind in your ankles and the smell of suntan lotion and that glorious separation between day and night, the worst of it being the need to shake off the sand and find it in you to have as much fun after the sun goes down as it did when it was up.
So yeah, fuck that sweatshirt, dude.
At Ralph’s buying Maker’s Mark. Get home, get a text from Morg. He wants to join the freak show. Of course he can. He arrives with Maker’s Mark. That’s awesome. Assorted friends show up and we’re drinking. A quick conversation about Chatsworth and the bands we used to like. No Use For A Name. NOFX. Pivit. Man, taking me back a decade. Tonight is going to be a good night. Black Eyed Peas kind of ruined that saying.
We are backstage and it is the super crew. Life in 24 Frames shows up. Their first big Troubadour show. There is nothing like it, I am stoked for them. I am stoked myself. The backstage is becoming a good mixtape. Old people and new people on this ride we’ve been on for five years.
As L24F is finishing up their set, the butterflies return. There is no amount of whiskey I will be able to drink to lower the adrenaline. Even for a terrible guitarist like myself, playing lead feels like doing surgery on national television when up against blinking stage lights and a packed room. We walk down the stairs and the crowd lets us know they are there. House lights go down and we go on.
Then the show was as it always was. A blur of colors and sounds. The fine line between ego and enjoyment. Swiftly moving faces in the crowd. Failed and successful attempts at meaningful eye contact with the people who came to support you. There’s a tangible feeling of wanting to make sure everyone knows you are glad they came. Not just glad, but on a personal level… I don’t know. I blow a lot of smoke, but if you were in the room, you have no idea how much it means to me.
Another night, another fix. The city and her citizens came out in full force and made it all worth it. The traffic, the bullshit, all of it was an after thought. Saturday night was the jam.