741. Obscurity Knocks

Nomad et.al. were not at our tightest during rehearsal. Like I said before, I probably should not have had that bourbon, but it was also that I let the looseness slide because didn’t want to ride people that hard. This was a refresher course, just to get everyone–me especially–reoriented to the material and reattuned to each other. I figured with a bunch of pros like this it’d all come together during the actual show as long as we had a run-through and the rest of the band felt the same.

The next day we had a soundcheck that was pretty good and then I finally met the band opening for us on the next leg, a rootsy jam band called Happy Occident. The lead singer was a well-tattooed white guy with short blond dreadlocks and I suddenly realized as we were shaking hands that I knew him. “Jay?”

“Jam now,” he corrected me with a sheepish look. “Didn’t know if you’d remember me.”

“Of course I remember you.” Our handshake turned backslappy before my brain could actually catch up with where I knew him from. The former lead singer of MNB. Who I admit I had not thought about in years. MNB had not survived a lot longer after that tour we’d done with them and although I’d thought about them as a band while musing about one-hit-wonderhood and how to avoid it I really hadn’t thought about the individual members much. “How you been?”

“Can’t complain, can’t complain.” He gestured around. I took it to mean that it was better being in an opening band for Nomad than flipping burgers or what have you.

Not every opener-headliner relationship is collegial, and you know what problems we had with some of ours. I’ve heard some tours where the openers are forbidden to speak to the headliners and while I felt that was ridiculous maybe after what happened with Megaton I shouldn’t be surprised that some headliners had that attitude. Me, I hoped I never got that full of myself but maybe it was just priorities. Maybe after a bad experience some headliners just weren’t going to even take the chance of going through something like what we went through.

But Remo’s policy was always to be friendly–after all, he had the clout to hand-pick who opened for him–and in the old days he had often invited the opening band on stage to jam in the encore. This tour we hadn’t done that and I vaguely wondered if that was because it was now my job to do the inviting…? I’d have to ask him.

Then again I wasn’t totally sure how friendly I wanted to get with the guy who had inadvertently been responsible for me and Ziggy when he’d made off with Ziggy’s girlfriend that night in LA. Yeah, the impression I had of Jay–sorry, Jam–was that he was a sleazebucket because of that, but actually was he really any sleazier than any other guy in his position?

“You still in touch with Tread?” I asked him.

His eyes darkened for a second. “Naw, man,” he said, and looked left and right. We were in the catering area and a lot of people were around. “Let’s catch up later, a’ight?”

“All right.” He gave me a hard pat on the shoulder and then moved off leaving me wondering what made him run away so suddenly. Two theories, something about Tread, or something about remembering the last time we were on the road together. I figured I’d find out later.

The show went all right, not our absolute best, but it was fun because we hadn’t played in a while so everything was fresh. Not our tightest but it was okay. I didn’t push the envelope or try to make any changes mid-song. All the solos were regulation length. I was content with that.

After the show there were a lot of people back at the hotel. I remembered Remo’s warning about Melissa’s family so when I had a chance to slip off to a room with Jay/Jam and Flip it seemed like a good idea.

A while later I realized Flip was holding me up against a wall but it felt like the wall was moving. “Mrf?” I asked. You know, made a general questioning noise.

“Taking you back to our room,” he said.

I made a general noise of agreement. Then I realized we were in an elevator.

“Come on, big guy,” he said when the doors opened, and helped me down the hall to our room.

I suppose we had partied a little too hard. I didn’t remember any of the supposedly fun part in the morning. I won’t downplay it. You may officially start worrying about my drinking problem now.

(In case you missed it, DGC Volume 9 launched yesterday in ebook! Lena interviewed Daron–yes, Daron–over at Gay Book Reviews: http://gaybook.reviews/2016/06/29/interview-with-daron-marks/ and if you have been meaning to buy the ebook to keep your collection complete, you can buy it from right here on the DGC site and then your purchase counts toward the bonus counter, or from the usual ebook selling sites like Amazon Kindle | Kobo | Barnes & Noble Nook | Apple iBooks | Smashwords. Thanks everyone who has tweeted/posted/shared links about it! -ctan)


    • daron says:

      They say admitting there’s a problem is the first step, right? *insert appropriate emoji here*

      • s says:

        Yes, but you haven’t really done that yet. And there’s this:

        1. We’ve been there, with Ziggy. An addiction to pills isn’t all that different from an addiction to alcohol. You hurt the people who love you, and yourself, either way.

        2. Addicts aren’t supposed to be around other addicts, so there’s that.

        3. You are surrounded by people who drink heavily and probably won’t notice you actually have a problem until you are drunk onstage.

        4. You could teach classes on how to lie to yourself.

        We’re worried because we love you. Please tell Remo you have a problem.

        • daron says:

          Remo is the absolute last person I’d tell. No way I want my problem to be his problem.

          • Bill Heath says:

            You’re a member of his band, and your problem is his problem. What s said.

          • s says:

            What Bill said. If you don’t tell him, you are making him an enabler and he won’t even know it. That’s not fair to him, and it has the added benefit of giving you the opportunity to thoroughly wreck your life. Please reread statement #1, because all you are doing by not telling him is hurting the people who love you and yourself. I’m not trying to lecture you, and I know this is falling on deaf ears because you are not going to tell him, but please reconsider. Or at least tell *someone* on the tour. You need help with this. This is not something you can do on your own. If you want proof: Exhibit A is Ziggy.

            Oh, and I’m pretty sure Zig will be upset if you leave him out of the loop, too.

            P.S. If it seems like I’m pushing you hard on this one, it’s because I lost a friend to a heroin overdose six weeks ago, and I didn’t even know he was in that much trouble. I feel like complete shit, like I let him down, because I didn’t know. Guess how long that one’s gonna haunt me…

            • Lenalena says:


            • daron says:

              Shit, that’s rough about your friend. Ultimately though you can’t blame yourself–you have to be as supportive as possible but people have to be the ones to take responsibility for themselves. If you didn’t know it’s probably they didn’t want you to know.

              • s says:

                I know it’s not my fault. He chose to drop off the face of the Earth after his mom died a few years ago. He knew how to contact us but we didn’t know where he was or how to reach him. He had a rough life the twenty-something years I knew him, but still, when my husband got the call from a mutual friend and I knew without hearing the words that he’d died by his own hand (I honestly thought he’d shot himself. Never suspected heroin) it just feels like I should have done something, anything, to help him.

                Thanks for letting me vent this. It’s been tough. He was the person that introduced me to my husband 25 years ago, and was Best Man in our wedding. He was family, really.

              • Bill Heath says:

                ” Ultimately though you can’t blame yourself–you have to be as supportive as possible but people have to be the ones to take responsibility for themselves.” Please write that down and look at it daily. You know why I’m asking.

  • G says:

    You know what, Daron, dammit. Just freakin’ dammit. Don’t make me start dreading shit. Dammit.

  • Janie Friedman says:

    Been worrying.

  • Bill Heath says:

    ctan, thanks for the double Thursday post just what I needed.

    Daron, I for one am not worried about your drinking. Only about the lack of a reported phone call. When, not if, you call, please do not mention Jay/Jam. Save it for later, like maybe Obama’s second inauguration.

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