In which our hero postulates
that being in a rock ‘n’ roll band is pretty fucked up.
By IAN MOORE
I could tell you the story about the night I slept in a
bloody bed from a murder the night before (the hotel manager had simply flipped
the mattress over).
I could tell you about the night when our song “Muddy Jesus”
(the closest thing El Paso had seen to an homage since Marty Robbins) caused us
to be mobbed on a seemingly quiet night in Juarez, and a mob morphed our
vaguely exciting identity to a much more thrilling one – Pearl Jam, over the
course of a few hours. We narrowly escaped before evading the head of the
biggest drug cartel in Mexico,
who wanted to pull us into a multi-day, locked-door party where we would be the
“guests of honor,” of course not allowed to leave until he declared the fiesta
I could tell you some juicy, fucked up stories, but I would
rather rest my road-weary brain and simply wrap it around the 20+ years of
touring haze to tell you about the most brilliant, fucked up thing I have ever
done: sing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
Being in a rock band is like permanently being a senior in
high school waiting for college to start. An endless summer of reckless
abandon, ambitious half-formed plans, and the promise of something much more
grand in the coming Fall that never quite materializes. Short-term glory
buttressed by seemingly endless stretches of monotony and indecision.
I watched as my friends grew up and seemingly went through
adult-forming school. They adopted different, mostly healthier, habits, and
faded into a gentler phase filled with adult conversations that seem formed and
appropriate for our age. Meanwhile I was stuck in endless conversations about
why The Teardrop Explodes matter (or don’t), why ironic dress and facial coif
had its place until a couple of years ago, and other forays into the minutia of
pop culture that truly should be mainstay thought for an 18-year-old, but are
more suspect when calling 30-year-old friends “kid” and still chasing down your
bartender friends for free drinks.
Being in a band is a youthful endeavor. It is amazing to
look out onto a packed room filled with attractive people who believe that
music can change the world. Unfortunately I believe the same thing as well?
When do you get the mailer that actually explains what the ‘grown ups’ are
supposed to really think? When do I get the insight that allows me to stop
being so idealistic and cash in on the collective sins of our species? I’m
stuck in this fountain of youth and it stinks of urine and folly. The kids are
splashing around, oblivious to anything but the importance of their play in the
cultural waters, long fouled and drained of meaning, each waterfall smaller
than the one before until the final drip is sliding out of the concrete orifice
of some suburban kid with X-ray vision specs that say “Google”.
Speaking of fucked up, what is it with drummers? Am I the
only one who finds it ironic that the very person that we rely on for meter and
time is completely incapable of simply showing up at the same time that all
other adults can? Of all of my drummers, and there have been many, I can think
of only one person who was capable of actually showing up at the time he said,
and he quickly got out of drumming and started trying to save the world by
selling eco building products to yuppies who needed a slight hedge to hide
their rabid consumerism.
If I had any sense I would have bought a stopwatch years ago
so I could keep a running tally of time wasted to gripe about in the golden
years. I do believe in irrefutable truths. I believe that humans are inherently
good and that we are all capable of change. Consequently I am repeatedly
dumbfounded as our drummer saunters towards the van, elegantly smoking, and
seemingly troubled by nothing, a good 30 minutes after our said departure time,
as we wait outside his house in
I keep waiting for this phase where I am bestowed some
flowing robe of knowledge and my acolytes surround me being filled by my vast
musical knowledge and discourses on integrity. I see that Willie Nelson has
released his book The Tao of Willie and is being considered for Sainthood by the Catholic Church, who are willing
to look past his phenomenal marijuana consumption. Meanwhile I am stuck in this
half-form, not able to speak of my rock ‘n’ roll exploits lest I sound like a
braggart, but considered smug and distant if I stay tightlipped when my younger
friends educate me on their new cultural bounty – a bounty that we pawned many
years ago to lighten the load.
Excuse me. Didn’t mean to sound bitter. Now, that’s fucked
up. I can’t think of anything cooler than playing in a rock ‘n’ roll band.
Did I mention heavy metal soundmen?
Ian Moore and the
Lossy Coils’ new album El Sonido Nuevo is
out now on Spark & Shine. www.ianmoore.com
IAN MOORE – “LET ME OUT” and “CLOSER”