Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"You're too old for the music industry."

I glanced sideways with the handful of crumbly peanuts halfway to my slack-jawed maw.

"You're too old for the music industry," he repeated, emphasizing the 'O' in 'old' hoping it would drive home his point, when in fact it invoked an impromptu fantasty of driving a nail into his septum. This was a stupid Monday night.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"Once you reach 30, the entrance to the rock dome disappears. Only young kids can find the way in. My advice is to give up and get a full-time job doing something that isn't painful to you."

Like driving nails into the noses of strangers with T-shirts that proudly declare 'Farting Machine'. There are lots of people in this bar, why did...wait. Rock dome?

"What makes you think I'm in music?" Hell, what makes him think I want inside a dome?

"I was listening to you on your phone back there," he answered loudly, as if he couldn't help it. As if he was raised in a jet engine.

I had been talking to my friend E-fab, who plays a gargantuan upright bass and masterfully condenses words, sometimes entire paragraphs, down to a single syllable or even one letter. He called to tell me he had to bail on a gig we had planned for the weekend. "Man, gotsta bail. Sorr'," he had said. And that was it. Yeah. We're all sorr'.

Steely Dan's King of the World hobbled sleepily in the background and I suddenly felt very old. Because I recognized the song. Yes, I'm in music, Farting Machine. But I'm not that old. You're old. And I'm different. The music I make is different. It knows no age boundaries.

Holy shit, I used 'age boundaries' in a thought sentence. Fuck.

"Listen," the Machine continued, "I love rock, man. It means more to me than anything means more to me--" I think this Monday night is a new winner "--but I learned to accept the laws of age and music. You can't break into the music scene after a certain point, it's a young man's game. Girls too yup, there's all kinds of girl bands now." I looked around to make sure no one was listening, or to see if perhaps a steaming mug of poison was nearby. "You can't make it on their terms. The A&R folks are lookin' for hot 'n' young steeds."

Wow. He did say steeds. "I'm not trying to 'make it'," I emphasized the quotation marks by showing my teeth, "I'm just playing music."

"Yup yup, that's what it's about," the Machine nodded like a goddamn horse, "But I can tell this is your life, my friend. You got a myspace...?" he had no idea what to affix myspace to. I didn't have one, in fact, because I knew it was a gateway that led to facebook. "Most of the rules have changed since I was playing in a cover band." Help. "You gotta have something different and untapped to flag people down. Everyone's got ADD. But the secret is that everything comes back to the good ol' standard thing."

"Yeah, well, I don't play the standard thing," I defied my unrequested mentor, "My stuff's pretty out-there." I'm terrible at PR.

"Anyone can play weird, man. That's nothing. What's hard is to make something amazingly simple. Like Bach. That guy was rock 'n' roll. If he was alive today, he wouldn't be shreddin' the guitar or fixin' up all those really fast beats. He'd be calmly playing something so simple it would make everyone sing along, even if there were no words. Once you can do that, you've created an axis in the music universe."

Then he went silent. As if he had accidentally stumbled onto enlightenment and left his beer-gut and farting on the barstool back on earth. The music had stopped. I stared at him as he stared into nothing, perhaps checking in with the rotation of the solar system. Then he nodded some more and stumbled toward the bathroom. His words clung to my forehead. I sat there for a half hour trying to read them again.

7 comments:

flamingbanjo said...

Oh Fart Machine
Crusher of Dreams
Can you tell me what Rock Music means
To you? "It is a dome
Where they young and pretty make their home
And prance like electric garden gnomes!"

Chugging countless fluid ounces
He sees his quarry, then he pounces
"Give it up!" he soon pronounces
Your weirdo music he denounces.

Oh Fart Machine
Have you seen
Where I might find the men's latrine?
"Why, yes!" he says "I'll lead the way!"
But as he rises, starts to sway
You see your chance, and run away.

Far away. Far, far away
Away from the Fart Machine.

Basil said...

Well it's a good thing we're all still young and hot- hey, why is this jewel in my palm changing color?
Renew! Renew!!

RR said...

oh John, you're so Bach and you don't even know it.

Kirk Anderson's Stunt Double said...

6/10. This story would have been much better with some gigantic titties and a couple of explosions.

Dave (MDP) said...

I think it circles back around. I just turned thirty-two, and I'm fixin' to be famous.

Oh wait... I'm not wearing a "farting machine" shirt. I guess I'm only making music because I love it.

Anyone want a free ticket to the rock dome?

Steph "Bandit" Cooper said...

For kirk anderson's stunt double, is this what you're looking for?:

I glanced sideways with the handful of crumbly peanuts halfway to my giant titties.

"You're too old for the music industry," he repeated, emphasizing the 'O' in 'old' hoping it would drive home his point, when suddenly there was a huge explosion. This was a stupid Monday night.

"Who are you?" I asked. Suddenly there was another huge explosion.

"Once you reach 30, the entrance to the gigantic titties disappears. Only young kids can find the way in. My advice is to give up and get a huge explosion."

Titties! Titties! Titties!

"What makes you think I'm in music?" Hell, what makes him think I want inside a pair of gigantic titties?

"I was listening to you on your phone back there," he answered loudly, as if he couldn't help it. Suddenly there was a huge explosion.

I had been talking to my friend E-fab, who plays a gargantuan pair of titties. He called to tell me he had to bail on a gig we had planned for the weekend on account of a huge explosion of a pair of gigantic titties.

Steely Dan's King of the Gigantic Titties exploded sleepily in the background and I suddenly exploded. Because I AM gigantic titties.

etc.

Anonymous said...

Too many titties & explosions. Not enough mutant turtles.