Once, we played a show in Rome. This was a few years ago in what was, as far as I could understand, one of the premiere rock clubs in Rome for medium sized small bands. The place was absolutely bizarre. It was in between two Italian (duh) restaurants, but not in the way you’re thinking. The swinging door that lead from the live room one way went into one dining area and the swinging door that went the other way led into another. It was all in one big compound. The actual live room, if I remember correctly, was a little sparse, kind of like where Lord Humongous and his dudes would go see a concert. It was cinder blocks and untreated stone. Whatever. No big deal. I’ve played a lot of fucked up places that have gone nuts and been great (the abandoned building in Detroit [the 404], the garage behind the tattoo studio in Ft. Wayne, that creepy ‘rape room’ style shed in the desert in California next to the Mexican Tranny bar…you get the idea).
So, when I had to plug in my amp and I couldn’t find any outlets, I asked the sound guy where they were. His response?
“I don’t know.”
I tried explaining to him again, because surely, the house soundguy at an established club has to know where the fucking ELECTRICITY ON THE STAGE COMES FROM, right? Sadly, no. He was too busy a-making the love or whatever it is they do over there all day to get this tiny piece of info committed to memory. He eventually just walked away.
Well, fast forward to the show. A lot of people showed up, which was very rare for us at the time anywhere, and continues to be rare for us in Italy, but the sound was fucking terrible. Worse, the mic was shocking me so badly when I tried to sing that at one point it literally knocked me off my feet. Now, getting shocked by the mic is one of the worst WORST things that can happen to a show. It’s very pavlovian, and it doesn’t take much time at all before you just want nothing to do with mic and stage. A good sound guy can sometimes fix this. This dude? Not so much.
SO, we suffered through this show. Our crowd dwindled from about 200 to about 4 by the end. It was, all in all, one of the shittiest shows of all time.
On the way back to our hotel, we passed the coliseum, and the promoter told us that he and his buddies, growing up in rome, used to sneak in there and get high. That pretty much made my night. I love that kind of shit, you know? Kids sneaking off and using their surroundings for innocent mischief. Just so happens that this guy’s innocent mischief was going on above slave quarters and tiger cages and was where Julius Caesar hung out and where my grandparents and mom took me when I was twelve. That’s a little better than smoking a bong on the rocks that overlook lake Michigan, you know?
So, we got back to the hotel and we were locked out and the guy who was working the desk was asleep. It took about an hour and a half to get into the fucking place. The next day, in Genova, all our money from the whole tour was stolen while we were loading out. BUT, we saw Chris Columbus’s boyhood home. That was cool. This was the second to last day of a six week tour, so we were, to put it mildly, deeply fucked. That's a bad week at that job, man.
I’m off to work. Enjoy your weekend. Stay away from cops. They’ve got a flu named after them now. Well, at least my cop buddy, H1N1 does. I don't know about the rest of them, honestly.