Thursday, June 06, 2013
All these years later, and I still remember how odd it felt, working at this club in Paramus, a pickup bar, one-time disco that like the band I was with wanted to pick up on new wave and the hip crowd, when it was just a suburban joint where working class guys and gals hooked up for a drunk and something extra in the parking lot, nothing hip or special about it, except that like most places it changed its name and became something else when the trends changed.
I worked lights or sound for a number of bands there, trying to keep the money flowing in when I no longer had a straight job to count on, and needed to eat and pay rent while going to college. I didn’t drink much on these nights, and this was burdensome since drunks are intolerable to be around unless you’re drunk, too, and watching the strange dance that went on night after night because a sad commentary on the world – working class people struggling to find some comfort in an otherwise uncomfortable world.
Years later, I would come to miss The Shayds most, and outlive some of its members like John and Bob, both who have passed away over the last two or three years, one-time hopeful stars in whose music shadow I could barely stand, and yet, whose lives touched mine in important ways.
I remember Bob’s break up with Chris that Christmas season when I worked with Marcie at the Toys R Us in Totowa, and how hurt Chris was, and how well I knew that hurt and wanted to comfort it, but knew that no one could except for Bob, who had moved on without her.
They had made up a huge part of the band life for me, the bass player and his girlfriend, and their laughter at me. She once poked me in the stomach after I had gotten back into shape, saying “You’re getting real tight there.”
And I remember the long nights at this odd place in Paramus where the band played for the drunks, more than a little drunk themselves, aching for fame and fortune, destined to make only one recording together and later one video before the fell apart, and how a few years later, bits and pieces of that band came back together with me as sound man, Bob and John shooting heroin and snorting coke for the one gig at The Locker Room after which they tore up the place in a mad rage I only understood years later when the picture all came clear that they would never achieve the dream they wanted and has to settle for something else.
“I’m too old for another band,” I quote Pauly in a journal from that time. “I’m 32 and this will be the 10th band in 16 years.”
Looking back, I realize it didn’t end there, and the bits and pieces continued to fall into different patterns for years after that, more bands, more reunions, until death do they part.
I guess finding the old card from the old performance today, just brought it all home, the pain and the glory, the sadness and yet somehow, the magic – still lingering in us.