August 6, 2004
Cafe Bourbon Street
Stars Like Snow (November Loop)
I had panickedly asked Colin to do sound for the EG set that night after I heard that bands at the venue ran sound themselves. I wasn’t yet comfortable with that sort of thing; around this time of my life, instead of stepping back and calmly trying to figure something out, I would presume I was helpless and that it was over my head. I remember in 2002 when on stage at Little Brother’s with Upchuck Berry, the person running sound asked me “What do you need?,” and I looked at either my bandmate Eric or Brandt with sheer terror in my eyes, and they answered for me. (Nowadays I sort of know what I’m doing, so if you ever freak out about sound at your show and I happen to be there, I’m happy to lend a hand)
Our friend Jill, who we knew from Mary Alice’s Sociology graduate department at OSU, had a shoegazey band called Stars Like Snow (which later became November Loop), and they brought a nice crowd out to see them. We played once again with Debaser who went first, followed by Stars, then us. I got on stage, and my long-running, ongoing, forever and always battle with agitation while setting up began. I think the difference between this show and the first two was that it was a slightly less welcoming environment. It wasn’t a casual show set up for weird bands to play at their leisure, and it wasn’t in a friend’s studio, it was in a venue with a lot of strangers, so the need to deliver in a more timely manner seemed more pressing. I had Colin mess with the PA, mess some more with PA, and then mess with it some more. He finally just looked at me and said “It’s show time.” I tried playing a sample track, and it sounded distorted and just bad. I looked over at Bryan from Debaser for some kind of answer, and he said in a friendly yet unassured manner, “Dude, it’s whatever, just go.”
The set was pretty awful. It was around this time that I discovered that the tabletop CD player was prone to get “shocked,” i.e. get the signal disrupted and skip. I assumed at the time that the fault lied in the venue PA, but as we learn so often in life, it was “your” fucking problem. I got off stage, and I proceeded to try and quickly get drunk to ease the pain of what had happened, which I think was the first time I ever tried that. We were sitting around talking about the show, and somehow it got twisted up in a conversation about Rick James, who had died that day. I was sitting there sadly downing vodka and 7-Up’s, and Colin walked over to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and said “I’m sorry, man. I’m sorry Rick James died.”
Here’s how Rick James came up. Colin collected the door money, plonked it on the table and said “Here’s the money, bitch!” But the way he said it was inadvertently in the same cadence as Dave Chappelle saying “I’m Rick James, Bitch!” Which is why you offered that Rick James died, but I don’t think he had cable, so it came out of nowhere.
Also I’m pretty sure this was one of many shows over the next couple of years where we sat in the car in front of our apartment building after the show and you would say “I’m not doing this anymore” and I’d say “ok, so what are you going to do?” And you’d be like “this, I guess.” And we would carry on.
Why we didn’t replace that CD player with a laptop earlier, I do not know. Except that we were broke.