Thursday, May 29, 2008
I Am Not Afraid Of Kokomo But I Am Aware Of Kosovo
Advice to the Beauty Bar: Stop franchising. The Black Hollies paid the owner's fucking rent in San Diego on Memorial Day. Two drink tickets a piece is laughable if not disgraceful. Spend twenty dollars on three beers at the bar or gamble with your life crossing the street to buy a couple of 22's at the 7-11, a hotbed for crackish activity in San Diego's El Centro district under watch by continual police presence. Morey opts for the former while I choose the latter. Who wins?
The bartender at The Beauty Bar is friendly but getting a buy back from him is much like milking an utterless cow. Promoter Sarah is personable as is soundman Marshall, truly genuine people. The crowd is amazing except for two yarnixes who perform the aggressive and always ill-fated two man crowd surfing routine, two hits of total bummer. The other bands on the bill, A Beautiful Noise and The Physics of Meaning, are great as they exhibit proper musicianship. Not getting paid a single dollar from the five dollar cover at the door is simply FUCKED UP, the equivalent of showing up to work after a long hard week and your boss saying, "Yeah, about that paycheck... We don't have it for you this week."
The irony is that The Black Hollies agree to these shows, fully aware of what to expect, nothing short of implicit financial masochism, a consensual monetary whipping, or, if you will, a fiduciary caning. Douche indeed. For what? The answer is pure; to remain true to the principle that it is never right to punish those who come out to see the band whether few or many. To pamper the aural cavities of all who listen with sonorum glorium is the task at hand. The Black Hollies are yet to receive any complaints and pride themselves on honoring their end of the deal night after night.
As a result, the price of drinkable beer should not be directly proportional to the price of gas for a band like The Black Hollies. When this occurs the work relationship deteriorates to the status of an “extended drinking vacation.” The Black Hollies arrive to perform not to patronize. Alcohol is a component, what we like to call “part of the works kit,” not unlike a stapler or a fax machine in an office work environment. It helps to put things together, facilitate transmission, get organized, get tight, and eventually unwind. Don’t make us pay through the nose for it especially if we’re not getting paid a god damn dollar at the end of the night.
As we bring bitter hour to an end it is worth mentioning a thing or two about the dilemma of pay to play versus cheapening the name of a solid band trying to spread its music via old time grass roots methods. The Black Hollies learn a valuble lesson from friends Dead Meadow during a chance encounter opening for them at Iowa City’s Picador a couple of weeks ago.
After talk of shakedowns and the obvious choice between a Koa wooden five string bass and headstockless four string Steinberger, let it be known that Steve Kille opts for the Steinberger, Jason Simon shares a great story about a bygone Dead Meadow show in Iowa City. Apparently the promoter for the evening comes up short with the band’s guarantee. The promoter is promptly driven to the nearest ATM by the band and advised to withdraw the evening’s financial short fall from his bank account.
Hats off to Dead Meadow for providing bands across the land with hope and proving the importance of holding people to their word. Aside from turning in a stellar set, both Kille and Simon play effortlessly while McCarty’s drum tones evoke those of Zeppelin I, Dead Meadow also divulge priceless information regarding specific coordinates for obtaining one of mother earth’s medicinal treasures. Two weeks later, The Black Hollies are currently enroute to unearthing an ounce of unnamed goods buried at a certain mile marker across the Arizona state border. Dead Meadow receives word a while back from friends passing through that the Arizona police are letting the doggies loose. As a result, Dead Meadow bury the hatchet so to speak. The Black Hollies plan to dig up the jar, take a hit, and re-bury it as a timepiece symbolizing solidarity and friendship.
The excavation is more difficult than expected. The Black Hollies spend at least an hour attempting to gauge the correct burial site. Several mile markers are pilfered but in the end Black Hollies fail to exhume Dead Meadow's holy relic.