Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Lizard Prince

The world will be pleased/horrified to know that my band, Jupiter 2, will be playing again soon. “Why oh why?” you whimper with lower lip quivering, tears welling and bowels evacuating. Actually it’s for lead singer Tom’s 50th birthday celebration and it will be at the Pressroom in downtown Portsmouth next Wednesday. Now collect yourselves and take a deep breath as I will now endeavor to describe to you the last “performance” of Jupiter 2…

It was a cold and windy January night. Or it might have been an unseasonably warm and still January night, I don’t remember. Actually I think it was kind of cold since it was fucking January. Anyway it was about 8 months ago and we were playing Bourbon’s at The Muddy River Smoke House in Portsmouth.

Now, I have this officemate where I work in Massachusetts named Jimmy. Jimmy is an old rocker who is in two bands, one a cover band the other mostly originals. Since he had been given a date for his bands to play at Bourbon’s, I offered Jupiter 2 as a warm up act to bring some locals in. That was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was telling Tom that he needed to behave himself since Jimmy knows everyone in cubeville and a lot of my co-workers might show up. Unfortunately Tom took it more as a dare than a plea. Indeed it was like asking Captain Ahab to please leave the whale alone or asking Bob Gibson not to pitch inside. It just incited him to redouble his efforts as you will see.

The night started with Jimmy’s cover band going on first. We were slated 2nd since Jimmy’s first band was new and still working out the kinks. Actually, I don’t remember them doing any Kinks songs. Anyway, Jupiter 2 always prefers to go on first for a couple of reasons: 1. Less time to get blotto before we play. 2. More time to get blotto after we play. So this was not an ideal situation for the ole Deuce to begin with.

Tom had the afternoon off that day which he spent in his usual fashion – getting tanked at Fat Belly’s. By the time Bourbon’s was filling up and Jimmy’s cover band was playing, Tom was pretty much schnockered. At one point I looked over to where he had been sitting at the bar just a few minutes earlier and noticed he was nowhere to be seen and his drink was knocked over. I went over to his girlfriend Suzie and asked her what happened. “He got shut off and left” she replied matter-of-factly. Shit. Well, I thought, I guess I can try to sing this song and Harlan can sing that one, etc.

About 5 minutes before we were scheduled to go on someone came stumbling down the stairs into the bar. One of my workmates asked “Who is the homeless guy?” It was Tom. Seems he had been hanging out at the Stock Pot trying to sober down after he got shut off at Bourbon’s.

At this point I would like to mention that almost everyone from the department I work in plus plenty of others were in the joint. Even the vice president and CIO of our company was there. I think my co-workers were a little shocked at the type of band I was in when we first started to play. Still, we were very good and ripped for the first three songs. People were diggin it. Then we went into song called “Adjusting My Left Nut.”

As we were playing I noticed Tom out of the corner of my eye fiddling with his belt as he was singing. Nothing unusual since Tom will sometimes take off his pants to prance around in whatever bizarre boxers he happened to score that day at Goodwill. But as we were singing the chorus, I noticed he had put his finger through his underwear and was waving it at the crowd as a faux tally-whacker.

Next thing you know, all fuck broke loose. The little doofus doorman was screaming at us to shutdown. I was stunned at first, not sure what the hell was going on. People were yelling and milling around. We stopped playing and just stood there for a minute not sure what to do. I screamed “let’s keep going!” But by then it was obvious we shouldn’t. I heard someone say something about the police and I assume they weren’t requesting a cover of “Invisible Sun.” We got off stage.

The rest is kind of a blur. A bunch of our fans showed up just as we were shut down and left in a huff. I was told that some group from the Chamber of Commerce left, all upset at whatever they thought we had done and one of them wanted the police called. I heard some people requested their money back. I would have charged them extra for the show they just got. My nephew Colin took me aside, gave me one of his pain pills, bought me a drink and that was that.

I still haven’t lived this incident down at work. But Jimmy has forgiven me. I also know most Jupiter 2 veteran fans were totally shocked that we got shut down. Compared to other shit we’ve done in the past, this was nothing.

So come on by next Wednesday to see The Deuce rise once again from the ashes of self destruction. And celebrate the 50th birthday of my pal and one-of-a-kind Tom. And if you are lucky, you might just get to see his tadger. Or at least his finger.


At 9:55 PM, Anonymous jOhnny said...

Ah, memories. Finally a legendary Deuce event where I was on stage and not just in the crowd, or driving the van home! Sadly, not the first time I've seen Tom with his pants around his ankles.


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