Sometimes I want desperately to cancel gigs, but my darn work ethic and guilt get in the way. I like BOOKING gigs, because they make me feel wanted, and make my band calendar look full, but I don’t always like actually DOING them all. For example, outdoor concerts sound like so much fun, sort of like Woodstock, but when it’s 100 degrees and humid in the Northeast, people just get cranky, and no one can be more cranky in the heat, than me. Loading and setting up equipment ain’t no picnic in the heat. Sweat rolling off your face onto your electric guitar is just not cool, and rather dangerous. Constantly smacking mosquitoes off your skin can really ruin a groove.
We did this outdoor festival once in New London, Connecticut and it was hot, sticky, and breezy. Three things my hair don’t like. I was holding my guitar, singing into the microphone, and my hair thought it would be great fun to stick to my face and clump up right into my mouth. If I tried to whack my hair away I’d have to let go of the guitar, miss the next chord, and screw up the band, because I was the leader and everything.
I started complaining over the mic, because I’m not a leader, I’m actually a big fat baby.
“I would kill for a hair tie right now!” I sort of yelled into the mic.
A woman flicked me a hair tie (well, shot it at me.) I tied up my hair. The wind blew. There went my hair into my mouth again.
“This just isn’t working,” I said even louder into the mic.
By now I was making everybody feel sorry for me, and it was as pitiful as it sounds. The audience was there to be entertained and have fun, not deal with my hair issues! So then this nice guy motioned that he wanted to throw me a hat, because obviously everybody in the front row had had enough of my whining.
He threw me the hat, I missed it, and it fell ten feet below me into the mosh pit, which was gated so it really wasn’t a mosh pit it was more like a barrier in front of the stage. You know, because we were so famous and everything. So the hat laid there on the ground until a security guard, taking extreme pity on me, picked it up and put it in my hand. I placed it on my head. Hair thing finally solved.
But by now everybody secretly hated me and thought I was ridiculous. That was the vibe. We feel these things, really we do. Our set mercifully came to an end.
Stupidly, I motioned to the hat guy and asked him if he wanted his hat back. I whipped the hat at him like a frisbee. He missed it so he leaned over the barrier gate to grab it. His sunglasses fell off his head and broke into a million pieces.
The crowed let out a huge BOOM – “Oh…..No…..” like it was the worst thing that could ever happen on the planet. Knowing I’m about to have a really stupid riot on my hands, I took off my own sunglasses and motioned for him to catch them. And easy as pie, he caught them, in the hat, and the crowd cheered louder than they did for any song we did in the previous hour.
I was out the sunglasses, the hat, and the hair tie had already blown away into Long Island Sound. HOT SUMMER GIGS AIN’T WHAT THEY’RE HYPED UP TO BE.
As I sit here now, I want desperately to cancel an outdoor gig because I’m sweating just typing this. But I won’t, because summer gigs are what we live for. YEAH RIGHT!