Monday, November 24, 2008

Welcome to the doors of hell

God, the fucking holidays are upon us. What a hellish crapscape of heavily populated, soulless, lonely conversation-survivalism. There is nothing more damaging to your spirit, your soul, your thetan (for those of you that are scientologists) than the weeks of bullshit that start now and end on Jan. 1. OKAY, so I’m not a scrooge and I enjoy seeing my family and I love not having to work and the smell of pine trees and the mashed potatoes and the sweaters and spirit and joy and thankfulness blah blah bleh…yeah, that’s some top notch shit, for sure. I’m not trying to shit down the throat of anyone’s holiday, okay. AND I’m not one of those ‘isn’t-it-funny-to-hate-the-holiday-cheer aloof dipshits (who by the way span the grid from Williamsburg dildos to Vince-Vaughn-like dildos) I just dread standing there in my sweater, holding a tiny red plate with some crumbs and a napkin on it in one hand, clutching a glass of wine in the other and waiting for the receiving line/red carpet style grilling to begin. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Everyone in this room knows me as a caricature. These aunts, cousins, in laws, family friends, deranged old people, drunk uncles, boyfriends of people I know, sweet, fat black maids in traditional uniform (I go to some pretty high falootin’ and racist holiday gatherings) they see me, and while their intentions are, in all likelihood purely sweet, they file through the little rolodex in their minds and when they get to the card with my name on it, they pull it out and this is what it says:

Brendan Kelly- Plays in band

They flip the card over, and it’s just blank. BUT, they’re already shaking my hand and saying ‘hi’. So, you know what comes next? Dear jesus:
“So, how’s the band?”
“Oh, we’re good. We’re just doing some weekends here and there, you know…slowly putting material together for a new record. It’s hard to do with the baby, not as much time, you know?”
“Yeah, I can see that. So let me ask you, when you go out on tours, do you have shows set up or do you just show up and figure out where you’re going to play?”
I promise you, this question, along with the next inevitable question is asked to me about ten thousand times a day at any sort of holiday function. Oh, what’s the next question?

“And you guys get paid for that?”

My answer is usually “Yeah, right? It’s pretty crazy and unbelievable, but that’s been my only job for a while. I think they’re starting to wise up though. HAHAHAHAHA.” But what my thetan is screaming from inside me is “What the fuck is that supposed to mean? I mean, obviously you have no idea what being in a touring band is about, as evidenced by your first, absolutely retarded question (okay, just to clear the air here, you MUST PLAN A SHOW, BE IT LOCAL OR AWAY, IN ADVANCE. Otherwise NO ONE WILL KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO BE THERE, including FANS, CLUB OWNERS, SOUND PEOPLE, THE GUY WHO BRINGS THE STAGE EQUIPMENT, ANYONE. This is problematic because if no one knows you’re going to be there, no one will show up, and you will be sitting in a parking lot outside of a locked venue. I don’t know what dumb movie everyone seems to have seen where some band must just jump in a car with no direction and take over the world with their jams, but that’s not really how it works. Booking a tour is a thankless, crappy task but it’s crucial. It’s the ‘wiping your ass’ of being in a band. If being on stage is taking the dump- super cathartic, it feels great, it’s a good way to lose weight…I guess the metaphor kind of falls apart after that…anyway, then booking the tour is wiping the ass [which I know seems counter intuitive since that’s a clean up maneuver, but it’s the thankless, less fun part without which, everything would be a shitty mess, so HA!]. Okay, as a parenthetical note, there are people who set off on tour with no shows booked and just do it. These people are called pseudo hippy rich kids with a safety net. NO ONE can do this unless they really have nothing to lose. If you doubt me, think about this…How do they afford to keep going with no promises of any money? Gas and food, man. Shit costs money. Oh, I’m sure there’s some great legend about some punk band stealing gas, dumpstering food, playing in Laundromats, sleeping under the stars, blah blah blah. To that I say this: That’s the new ‘backpacking across Europe’. It’s a great adventure if you can afford it, because doing that shit for real- ie, traveling around the country with NO MONEY is what hobos do, and those dudes are grizzled from it. Are you grizzled? No. Can you look at a bathroom stall without shivering and going back to a ‘happy place’? Then you’re faking the funk. No harm in it, just don’t treat it like some great victory for freedom when it’s just a vacation.
Anyway, I’m off topic, and I’m ranting in two different directions, so I better get out of these parentheses.)
Okay, so of course I get fucking paid for it. What kind of a person do you think I am? I mean, again, obviously you have no idea about this stuff, but how do you think I survive? I do (did) this all the time, 24 hours a day, and here’s a little rule of thumb, distant aunt: If you don’t get paid, you can’t do something all the time. Anyway…yeah. Then they walk away and someone else comes up and the whole thing starts over again. God help me. Where’s the fucking egg nog?
THEN there's this: I spent the last couple of years writing a novel. There are a few people who have this on their little card. Their card reads like this:

Brendan Kelly- Plays in a band, did some sort of book or something.

These people come up and ask “Hey, what’s going on with the book?’ At this point my first thought is, “Oh jesus, I wish they’d just asked me about my fucking band,” because I really have nothing to say. Uh, yeah, I wrote it, then I went to try and get it published, but that’s really hard and I don’t know anyone who publishes vulgar literary fiction, and uh…as time passed I began to doubt the merits of the book which undermined my determination to break into the impossible world of publishing so I sort of gave up. Oh, I’m not proud of it. In fact, it’s a real drag to think about. Hey, did you know that I actually get paid to play music?
It’s gonna be a long thanksgiving-christmas corridor. Oh, I’ve also got a movie script to pretend to talk about with some people that I wrote with a perverted Norwegian South American ex pat via email. Maybe someone’s got that on their card. Fuck, let’s talk about my book, or cancer. Let’s just talk about cancer.

Yesterday I was in Crate n Barrel (which is exactly what my hell will look like. Throw pillows, slate grey down comforters, decorative sconces, quirky rolling pins, you get the idea) and they were playing this version of Rudolph the red nosed reindeer that was kind of a slow house/ trance, grindy Leonard-Cohen esque slice of audio molestation the likes of which I’ve never heard before. That’s when it hit me. We’re here. The fucking holidays are here. Good luck everyone. This year, I’ve got a baby. He’s taking all questions in my place. Nice.


lostandclowned said...

One night, I was making a bowl of cereal and I put egg nog in it instead of milk. It was gross.

Mikey said...

Are you not worried these people, your relatives, might come across this blog?

what if this blog winds up on your card?

Anonymous said...

Running Press press published vulgar literary fiction (ie - The Toxic Avenger: The Novel) so there might be hope there. Of course, that book had a something-like 30 year old movie with 3 sequels backing it. Still, that book is truly fucking "vulgar" for lack of a better word.

Nina said...

this is exactly how the holidays make me feel. god danm

Sam Tie Blogger said...

At least people have heard of your band, so the questions are alittle less soul destroying. For me its " do you get paid to do this? actually, we lost a grand this year".... Then I get to remind them that I work a shitty job to pay the rent on top of it!


John Brown Style said...

I know what you mean. I'm close with a lot of my family but aside from inside jokes and confusing my mom, they just ask how my record label (I don't think they know what that is) is going and if I have thought about school yet. Sometimes I feel like a social outcast.

Tony said...

man, I want to read that book!

bloodiedup3o said...

How about a list of creative holiday present ideas for the gifting-disabled?

Dave said...

Brendan, what do you tell your relatives your band sounds like?

Do they ever put one of your records on at family gatherings?

planespotting said...

At least you're not a pilot.

"So, how's flying going?"

"If you were on a commercial flight and the pilot died, could you fly it?"

"Would you ever jump out of a plane?"

and on and on and on.

I'm glad I don't do that anymore and work at Walgreens, where I just hear people's complaints about the last time they were overcharged at the register or something.

Sickie27 said...

My relatives usually ask me about school which I'm totally not in at the moment. Or about my appearance or why I don't have boobies or something, I dunno.

My dad's cool and we leave family gatherings early to go smoke cigarettes and play video games. You can borrow him for these holidays if you want.

PerfectChaos337 said...

Hey Brendan,I've been meaning to ask you this via the interweb,but i'm a lazy motherfucker.

Anyway,since you're from Chicago/IL I was just wondering,do (did) you know Wesley Willis?

nancy said...

Gates of Hell! Ahhhhhh! Does the question ever come up of "what kind of music do you play?". That one's sure to give you douche chills. Much like, from a fans standpoint, when you're waiting for doors to open at a show the old people drive by and say "what are you waiting to see?"

ryan phillipe re-run on howie today....

Nate said...

Last time I got laid off it was right before the holidays, when were planning to get married but hadn't announced it yet. That SUCKED. Everyone's mouth saying "how's job-hunting? hang in there!" while the rest of their face said "you fuck up."

Some Young Guy said...

the only publishing people i know are the folks at microcosm. but i'm guessing your book isn't a crusty propaganda book about how to start a revolution or drink your own pee. if i'm wrong, though, i can hook you up!