He showed up at the clubs as Tony, decked out in snake skin boots, leather jacket and a tight fitting collared shirt only halfway buttoned up thus exposes a lean muscular torso and taught pecs to go nicely with a thick thatch of hair sprouting from his head. It was the kind of hair God himself would bequeath upon his own head. Tony snorted a gorilla finger of cocaine just before each show to get him pumped up, a line the size God himself would put up his nose. A bottle of Jack later and he really became Tony Spigoni.
On stage the crowd provoked him because they knew Tony had a short fuse and also because humans enjoy swilling booze and provoking violence. But he provoked the crowd too; not afraid to say anything to anyone. The way a real man doesn't take shit, never backs down from a confrontation. Maybe his confidence was propped up by indulging but so what? The crowd seemed to love Sammy Sosa and Mark Mcguire hit it out of the park.
After the first couple songs Tony began hurling obscenities at the crowd in between--and sometimes during--songs. He didn't give a shit if he forgot the lyrics, just soldiered on. Coldplay he was not. His lips were red and licking wet with booze and vitriol:
"Look at you two fat fuckers," (He targeted a couple of regulars near the front who obviously had never seen a THBG show). "You both got belly buttons like BOMB craters! I'm gonna come down there and slap all four of your BITCH tits!"
"Yeahhh?" One of them countered, "Why don't you meet us outside in the parking lot after the show and I'll show you something alright!"
"Yeah, like what? Your stamp collection, or butterflies under glass?"
And with that these two fat drunks rushed the stage and tackled Tony. Fists were flying like napalm. Tony landed a couple good ones but ended up on the wrong side of the beating. Security pulled the two heavyweights off and kicked them out of the club and the show continued, as it must.
Blood was dripping off Tony's face and pooling onto the stage below. A huge welt was already bubbling up on his forehead, his left eye bruised, soon to become technicoloured. The crowd was ROARING asking for More! More! More! Go! Go! Go! You could really feel it reverberating through the audience. A feeling of pure excitement. We go through our days filling up calendar squares with appointments/dates/meetings/birthdays and then it's over. Life just burns away and there's not much to remember most by.
"Next month I'll be on the cover of Town & Country," Tony remarked to the crowd before cueing the band into the next riff rock sludge tune. Something about zombie chicks on the moon in bikinis struggling to build a spaceship to travel back to earth to exterminate the male species:
Just another show, par for the course. The lights went up and the stereo started playing music softly, almost imperceptibly; you thought you knew the tune but couldn't be sure. As Tony settled down for a drink Jerry Stone, a crazed out hanger on to the scene came up to him and said, "Hey man, great show...as usual." "Yeah yeah, alright man."
Jerry Stone was one of those guys who was always around at every show. No one really knew where he came from. But like when neighbours describe someone after they commit a mass murder, he seemed 'odd'.
"Aren't you curious about the dreams of Amazonian tribesmen who have never ventured outside the jungle or whatever? You know, the ones you see in National Geographic documentaries?" "Sure, sure man," Tony said, looking around somewhat disinterested.
"Sometimes," Jerry continued, I dream that I'm a Brazilian tribesman who lives in the rainforest, one of these Arapaso people with poison tipped arrows and all that jazz. Then I fall asleep in the dream as one of these guys, ya know, just a regular hunter or whatever. But I can never remember those dreams. If I could, man I'd have it ALL figured out."
Jerry shuffled out of view and then some sunglass lowering caliber girls made their way over to Tony and now his attention was focused on them. Just because the band had the word 'homo' in their name the only thing homo about Tony was the milk in his cereal. He liked pussy--all kinds of it. Damaged goods were all good. Groupies mainly. Shit, why do you think he started a band in the first place?
One night while I was on assignment doing a write up of one of THBGs' show for a local paper Tony confided in me. We were always fairly close, got along pretty well, known each other a long time. We knew each other before he became Tony Spigoni. I came to the realization he enjoyed my company; we were drinking buddies even though I was a journalist. I saw him do some pretty wild things but he trusted in me, or perhaps, he wanted me to see him as some crazy rock n roller and write about it. Do some myth building for him. Sometimes we went to an after party together and it was at one of these after parties he solemnly related to me--perhaps as Marty--that he had an acute problem of a sexual nature--all that coke and all that booze, he could rarely keep it up when he was with a woman. He feared that there was talk going around amongst his groupies that he was a bad lover. Definitely wasn't Tony Spigoni in bed. Couldn't go all night. Shit, couldn't even go once.
"Man, it's no good. I'm all jazzed up and wasted, I just don't even care about fucking these beautiful women. Even if I DID, the bathroom is out of service Jake. I can't get the motor revving. And hey this off the record, huh?"
"Yes, yes for sure man, don't worry. Well," I said, a little stunned by his ED confession, "maybe you should try just staying sober, at least until after you know, get your rocks off."
"Yeah, I know but it's always after a show and poppa needs his meds before he can go on stage. The meds make me impotent. I mean, the irony just kills me: The very thing I need to perform is the very thing that won't let me perform."
"It's a wicked world isn't it?"
"It's getting to the point where I don't want to even go home with anyone. I'm actually in the middle of writing a song right now called, " Lately, I'm Only Writing Rain Checks". It's a real departure from my usual stuff. A real tear jerker. I'm sick of this shit, night in and night out. these bars Jake! I'm telling you, it'll be the death of me! All these distorted guitars ringing in my ears all fucking night. And for what? A couple hundred bucks? A night of cheap pussy? Do you even know what I do 9 to 5? Fucking manual labor. I got a head full of bumble bees. Assembly line bullshit. Well pretty much-- unloading containers full of all sorts of shit--mushrooms, spaceship parts, keyboards, humans. Why do you think I'm in such good shape? In ten years I won't be able to stand up straight."
"I always wondered what you did," I said.
"It's our dirty little secret," He said.
Just at that very moment his pocket vibrated. He pulled his phone out and unclamped it: 'INCOMING CALL FROM ALLISON CHAINS' the screen read.
"Oh hey, I gotta take this. I'll come back in ten minutes. Remember," Tony said, walking away, "Off the fucking record!"
"Do you even have to ask?" I said.
Tony came back to me and clam shelled his phone shut, put it in his tight leather pockets. They were so tight I didn't know how he tucked the phone in there but somehow everything fit just right. "This chick, Allison I think I really like her, and not in that pump and dump kind of way. The true test of love is if you don't hate her guts after you bust a nut. I can lay there peacefully with her without a care in the world and watch the smoke from my cigarette curl up into the bedroom. I tell ya that's when I'm at peace Jake. No boss man telling me to speed it up, no band bitching at me to get to practice. Life consists of humans grabbing at your hours to give themselves more.
"Ain't that the truth."
"Allison picked me up a few weeks back in Guelph to take me home after a show. I hadn't seen her in a week. I missed her and was surprised by how emotional I was when I met her outside the club. I didn't want to let her know I was overcome so I kept a front of cool indifference. During the drive back to Brampton I stole glances of the way her hair just rested softly on the back of her neck. It just gets to me sometimes--but, you never let a girl know you love her too much Jake or then she'll kill you. You don't want to get caught in her trap."
At another show, Tony got a midget, put him in a cage and fed him booze, ecstacy, and cocaine throughout the set. But not necessarily in that order. He was trapped right in the middle of the stage. He was male, thirty-ish, with one of those goofy oversized heads and stubby limbs. Gods little joke. He went by the name Stephen Dwarf.
Tony bent down beside Stephen's cage and offered him a bump of the devils dandruff, "It's feeding time!" he exclaimed.
Stephen sniffed it up. Just another cranked out midget in his underwear, confined to a cage, forced to take drugs and vomit all over himself for the crowds amusement. You don't notice it sometimes, and it can happen when you're not looking, but Christ, life can get away from you. What was I doing here watching this atrocity? I suppose it beat watching American Idol.
God is a madman with an AK47 firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Stephen wound up getting hit--most don't. Be thankful for that.
At one point he was lying on his back convulsing in his little bird cage. There he was, barely enough room for him to writhe around in for chrissakes; rolling back and forth his flesh screaming against the cage wires. Eventually he found his wits and the show continued...
The guitarist began swaying to the groove in time to his chunky power chords and Tony turned to him and yelled into the mic, "Don't you show an emotion! You show an emotion and I fire you!"
Jerry Stone came up to me and started spitting in my ear about some bullshit dream he had: "There I was having sex with this girl. I was sitting down and she was riding me, her back to me. My cock was so overstuffed and HUGE in her tight pussy I was afraid every time she came down on me that it was going to bend in half and snap like a twig! And you know who was right beside me? That fucking douche nozzle from The Jersey Shore, The Situation. He was crouched down beside me with his immaculate hair and bronzed awesomeness just watching me fuck this girl. I had to be careful because his hair--it was so gelled up it--it was like there were thousands of pen knives jutting out of his skull. Weapons of mass seduction I'm telling ya! Ha! Ha!"
"Right, Jerry sounds great," I said sucking on a bottle of Moosehead.
"Then The Situation told me I had a nice spoke. That's the word he used for my cock: Spoke. I've never heard anyone call it that before. I thought it was a little odd."
"Well dreams usually are."
Back on the stage Tony pulled the key to Stephen's cage from an ass pocket and held it up for the crowd. The band laid down a slow groove behind him. Stephen looked at Tony menacingly and shook his hands to say, No! No! No! but Tony swallowed the key and chased it with a swig of Jack anyways. They had been through this routine before. Tony gave him a cut of the door. It was all for show but the next day Tony really did have to shit the key out, fake or not. The bartender had the real key and took Stephen out back after the show and released him into the night like a dove on a wedding day. The barkeep was a guy everyone called Base Pipe Billy. Pulled a quick beer so he was good in my books. Apparently he tried to cop a feel on a few of my friends late at night when not many people were around. Lured them in with the promise of free booze. Some part of me was a little disappointed that he never tried to fondle me, it would have been good for my self esteem. Maybe I wasn't there too often or he didn't know me well enough, the hermit that I am. Yes, once he got to know me he would most definitely fondle me.
Right after the show ended, with the distortion still gnawing at my brain, I went out a back entrance to grab my pack of cigarettes. I stood outside the back door and lit one up. At that very moment Base Pipe Billy came out holding the cage with Stephen in it.
"Christ, get me outta here!" Stephen demanded.
"Yeah, yeah yeah." Base Pipe knelt down , placed the cage on the ground and unlocked it. His joints cracked, he was getting old.
"Hey Jake you gotta smoke buddy?" Stephen asked me, stretching his miniature limbs, free from his cage and into the prison of the world. "Sure, here ya go," I said fetching one out of my pack. "You want one to Billy?"
"Sure, thanks Jake."
The three of us stood there--Base Pipe Billy, Stephen Dwarf, and me smoking in total silence as the night surrounded us.