In which the
singer-songwriter talks shit.
BY PAUL MANOUSOS
As a touring musician, I’ve seen my share of fucked up
scenes. Bar fights, almost everything in
flagrante, anger management issues in the Harris Teeter supermarket and
some pretty serious personality disorders brought on by the abuse of energy
beverages. But one incident in particular comes to mind. It’s fucked up for
sure, but in a funny way…well, sort of funny… Well, at least nobody died.
In the early 1990s, I was playing piano and singing backup
with a band called Field Trip. We had just done an album Headgear for Slash records and were out on the road for a short
tour down the West Coast to support it. We rolled into Los Angeles at sundown
after a long day’s drive, made that much longer due to the tour kick-off party
the night before. We were playing at Raji’s on Sunset. L.A. was warm, our
Winnebago was a sauna and everyone was edgy.
We were set to open for Olivia Barash, an actress probably
best known for playing Leila in Repo Man,
but she fronted a band then too. There was a lot of inconsiderate jackassery
going around: her band was late, they took forever with soundcheck, wanted to
leave all their gear on stage – the usual crap. Us, we were hot, tired and in
need of showers and restorative beers and it was coming quickly to light that,
thanks to this band of jokers, no relief was possible before we had to play.
Our drummer hit a wall. All out of patience, he plotted
revenge. Earlier, during load-in, he spied a man taking a dump on the sidewalk
around the corner. So while Olivia’s band “check one, two, three’d” for the
80th time, he sneaked out with a paper cup and makeshift scoop. He slunk back
in to the club looking very up to something. When pressed, he covertly showed
us his “booty”. Our quizzical and disgusted looks were met with nothing but a
big toothy grin. Not a shit-eating grin, but close.
Grimy and cranky, we still played a great set. There was a
good crowd that night. We got our gear loaded off the stage and Olivia’s band
got ready to go. Their equipment looked great up there all shiny and new. Oh to
be the cool kids. As they got their beers and took care of other last minute
business, our drummer, cup in hand, pretended to forget something up on stage.
Crouching down behind Olivia’s drummer’s kit, he gently placed the steamy pile
o’ brown into the kick drum’s sound hole. Once the rest of us figured out what
he had done, we nearly trampled each other trying to get as far from that stage
The band launched into their set, and – oh, the look on the
drummer’s face! The corner of his mouth curled curiously, his nose twitched, his
eyes watered, but he gritted his teeth and kept playing. With every beat, the stench
got worse. Soon the whole band was shooting accusatory looks at each other and
pretty much falling apart. It’s a shame there was no YouTube then.
It didn’t take long for the stink to slink out into the
audience. Needless to say that band played a very short set – and no one in the
packed house seemed to mind. We hurled ourselves through the swarming crowd to
escape the now completely befouled club, hopped back into our Winnie and burned
rubber – laughing like hyenas.
After we’d gone about a mile down Sunset we realized it was
awfully breezy in the van. Someone noticed that a window had been smashed. We
scurried to find the duffels and backpacks and guitar cases and came up with
air. Day one of the tour, and we were left with nothing but the grubby clothes
on our backs. But that’s another fucked up story…
Manousos was a member of the bands Field Trip and Power 13. His latest solo
album, C’mon C’mon, is out now on the
Shock & Fall Recordings label. You can order it directly from his website.