ups and downs on the wheel of fortune

“If you stop moving, you will die.” Of course I don’t literally believe this, but it’s a helpful guideline to keep in mind. Thursday I’m going to a sleep clinic in Saint John to get hooked up to some machinery. Two weeks from now I leave on a cross-Canada tour, and I’m trying to get myself in in good psychic shape, trying to build up some momentum. Gotta keep moving…

Tomorrow I’m leaving Halifax. I’ve been housesitting for the past couple weeks at Gerry and Holly’s pad, AKA “Mario’s Media Palace.” Come out to Charlie’s tonight to say goodbye unless you have a better plan.

When I feel the shutters coming down I need to get up and out. Being around people energizes me, at first anyway, and after a while I need to retreat into my anti-social bubble.

Last night was a night of ups and downs. I could feel the darkness closing in so I went downtown in the rain, stopped into Reflections to see what was up at Rockin For Dollars.

I stepped into the room and immediately wished I’d stayed at home. The music onstage was pretty hard to listen to. Craig, gracious host of the open mic, is normally generous to a fault but he got onstage after the band had finished and said “Let’s hear it for those guys. Wasn’t that the best band you’ve ever heard.”

It was a slow night at R4$. Craig told me there were a couple time slots left and asked if I wanted to play. I hadn’t brought any of my A/V gear, but I thought about it and yeah why not, I wound up driving back home to the Palace to pick it all up.

I humped all my gear into the club and set it up and plugged it in. Onstage there was a lot of stuff plugged into one power bar… amps and gadgets and whatnot.

I flicked on my sequencer. The display glowed and faded and went blank. Sometimes bad power screws up the science. I turned the unit off and back on again. Only to find that all the pattern memory had been erased. Uh oh…

I have everything backed up on my iBook, but I hadn’t bothered to bring it, because it’s “only Rockin For Dollars.” So I suddenly found myself up onstage in front of everybody without a set of music to play. It was a tough scene.

Craig offered me his electric guitar. I asked if there were any drummers in the house but couldn’t come up with anyone on 20 seconds notice.

“Craig, you wanna jam? Are there any songs we both know?”

“Um, probably… Joy Division?”

So I looped a beat on the drum machine and we attempted to make our way through a cover of “Shadowplay.” I sang and Craig backed me up by sitting at the drum kit strumming on an unamplified acoustic guitar. We hadn’t checked the sound so I couldn’t hear the vocals, just this pounding 808 beat in the monitors. Tough scene, is right. Then I sped up the tempo on the same drum loop and performed a searing version of “Breakin’ The Law” by Judas Priest.

After that golden musical moment I had the sense to stop. Oh god. The old show biz rule states “always leave ’em wanting more.” The applicable corollary in this case is: if you have to leave ’em wanting less, leave ’em wanting less of less.

I was bummed. My sets at R4$ are usually pretty good. But all I could think was, “Now I know what it’s like to be a shitty Rockin For Dollars band.”

I was grateful that it was a slow night and none of my ladies were around to witness the debacle. My own show biz rule states that musicians who suck at open mic night do not deserve to get laid. Harsh but fair. That’s just the natural order of things.

What’s weird is that a couple of people told me they enjoyed the set. What’s even weirder is that at the end of the night I spun the wheel and wound up winning $400.

Luck of the draw I guess. Here’s a video that Colleen shot on her cellphone featuring the winning spin, helped along by my lucky squid dance:

The Money Shot

I’ll take any cash I can get from Reflections, considering that’s the bar where my video camera was stolen last year.

Beside the Reflections dancefloor I met a smiling woman who smelled really, really good. We wound up back at my place. I put my arms around her. I did not feel the deep connection, I did not feel the unstoppable mutual lust. So we watched a movie and hung out for a while and then I drove her home at 5am. The End.