Rock, then Roll
Topic: Hollywood Squares
/24/03-Monty and I are the rhythm section in a band called The Hollywood Squares with Fred Schick on vocals and guitar, and Chris Roberson on guitar. We had our second gig with this lineup scheduled in Newark, Deleware Thursday night.
I called Monty, because we had been in the studio with Kieran the night before and I had left something there we needed. Monty agreed to go buy and pick it up. I then met up with Monty about 4 pm-and we had a meeting we went to concerning some Lee Harris 3 business. While at the restaraunt we met at, Kieran showed up to meet the guy Monty and I went there to meet. That's the kind of day we were expecting. We left and hit the road headed north.
Vermont, Delaware is 4 hours north of Richmond on I-95. There's one major obstacle in the way, and that's called Washingtom DC traffic. Why ANYONE would want to go through that crap every day is beyond me. Monty lived up there for awhile, so he suggested we take the Beltway around the west side of the city. We only hit one traffic snag that way which lasted a few minutes, so it worked out pretty good.
Odd things spotted on the way up-I saw THREE different people snapping photos of loved ones at the "Maryland House" rest-area. I can hear the conversations fourty years from now. "There's a picture of grandpa standing in front of a bathroom in Maryland." It was a pretty restroom stop, but are people that genuinely excited about bathrooms in Maryland? Maybe they're all planning coffee-table books about the rest areas of America.
Spotted a tractor-trailor with some sort of mushroom company, which is always fun. I'm not a proponent of hallucinegens (in fact I've never partook, but mushroom trucks still make me giggle.
The 2nd trip irritant was the FOUR DOLLAR TOLL in Maryland, which naturally we didn't have enough for. This marks the second time in 20 years I've gotten an IOU for a Maryland toll-road. I'd like to apologise to the 87 cars that got stuck behind us while I signed the IOU.
Maryland used to have three seperate $1.00 tolls each way-but apparently they've consolidated. They still have the $1.00 toll at the tunnel in Baltimore.
We pulled into a food court/rest area thingy right before we got out of Maryland to eat, figuring any bar we were booked into wouldn't have food we wanted to eat-and we settled on Burger King. It was a self-serve BK, meaning the various culinary delights are there for the taking with a helpful sign in front of each. Whopper, Whopper with cheese, etc.
A prior patron had special ordered 3 fish sandwiches with "no cheese or tartar sauce," so naturally BK anarchy ensued. Not a terribly exciting anarchy, but the end result was a gentleman standing behind Monty and I YELLING about fish sandwiches at the top of his lungs. "ARE THOSE FISH SANDWICHES SPECIAL ORDERS?" Repeat that sentence five times with a heavy Brooklyn accent. Then add "CAN ANYONE HERE SPEAK FUCKING ENGLISH?" Throw in a few stray commandment-breaking lord name in vains, and you get giggling Lee and Monty. "Chill, dude, you'll get a fish sandwich of your very own." Ahh-Yankees!
We got to the bar around 9:30, Fred bought us a beer, then it was time to play. We blazed through a blistering 7 song, 25 minute set-then I took my bass equipment, Monty took his drum accessories, we got in the car...and LEFT. We were at the bar maybe one hour tops. Monty had to work Friday-in fact, his boss had asked him to be there bright and early at 7 am with a smile on his face for HER boss whom he was to meet for the first time. Oy Vey.
Now, I'd be lying to you if I told you that any of these gigs I write about up here are teeming with screaming fans. The audience usually consists of the bartender and Monty's girlfriend. This particular night, however, we had a packed house-there must have been 150 people in that little bar. There was a patio that was FULL, and an inside bar area, also full. People were milling about in the parking lot. College-aged, attractive people. Nice-looking young ladies and gentlemen, who would have been fun to spend a wild night drinking at a bar with.
Chris had a hotel room right next to the bar-I mean-you walk out of the bar's door and there's Chris' hotel room, so we could have had a wild drunken fun night. But Monty had to work. So while Monty tried to sleep on the way home, I listened to a Waylon Jennings live CD.
The trip home ranks up there with one of my most horrible I-95 experiences. Before the Baltimore tunnel, there was "road work." I sat still in traffic for 30 minutes. AHHHHHHHHH the joy of finally getting to that "single lane that's still open" and the feeling of freedom and victory when you pass that last traffic cone and shoot over to the right lane free as a bird.
To celebrate, I stopped at an Exxon station to get gas, take a restroom break, and buy some sort of carbohydrate-drenched snack. Standing at the pump, I couldn't help but overhear a man on the next island over yelling incoherantly to someone holding the door open of the Tiger Mart.
Once inside, I heard people saying things like "He's on PUMP TWO" followed by "well I authorised him on Pump One, that's what he told me." This exchange continued a minute or so, then an angry presence entered the Tiger Mart yelling "I'M ON PUMP TWO." Then a meek "OK, I just authorised you on pump two, but you told me pump one."
Then the yelling entity snapped "I don't WANT your gas-just gimme my money back!" to which the meek voice said "You're authorised on pump two!" "I DONT WANT YOUR GAS I WANT MY MONEY BACK!"
It was at this point I put down the bag of curley-q jalapeno Fritos in defeat, realising the cashier was gonna be tied up for a few minutes. Monty optimistically was standing in line with a Nutty Buddy. I thought I'd go get an ice cream sandwich, hoping the yelling presence would recoil in defeat and use his authorised pump. It's then I heard meekly "I'm sorry, I'm new."
"YEAH I CAN SEE THAT" the angry entity sneered.
I wanted to have a retail intervention-to stand between them and beg the angry entity to chill the fuck out and go pump his fucking gas. I didn't-I just suggested to Monty that we hit the road, and we did.
It's as if the angry entity felt he would strike a blow against the mighty Exxon empire by getting his money back.
So, we get back on the road, chat a bit, Monty falls asleep, and guess what? Tail lights. Road construction. 30 minutes. This time it was a bit more interesting, because there appeared to be a young couple in the car behind me engaged in illicit activities. At least it was something to watch, wondering if I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. I don't think I was, but you can never be too sure. I was either seeing what I thought I was seeing, or the young lady behind me kept looking for something in her boyfriend's lap.
Freedom again, last cone again, pure joy.
That is, until just before King's Dominion, a theme park north of Richmond. More road work. 15 minutes.
And again, right before richmond. Road work, 10 minutes.
I dropped Monty off at around 4:00 AM. Hope he made it to work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
Posted by Lee Harris
at 1:01 AM EDT