Alright already! It’s the day of the Hoboken Fair Rent Association benefit at Maxwell’s and I am taking part in it. I will be the first person on stage which is only right since no one knows who I am really, or at least didn’t know I could play guitar. I helped one of the organizers get it together and mentioned that if he needed someone to fill holes in the schedule I would be willing to jump in. I did not expect to receive any billing at all, and I most certainly did not expect to be called ‘Johnnie’. So it goes.
I’m anxious of course. Just a fear of failing and by failing I mean playing the wrong chords. Bill will be there recording it so I will have my very own Zapruder film happening. I’ve been practicing and I am taking a precaution of scotch taping some chords to my guitar for when I get that deer in the headlights thing going on. I will be playing rock and roll hits on the acoustic guitar and would have been fine with that if it weren’t for someone asking me why I wasn’t playing any activist songs. Threw me for a loop it did.
So in the back of my mind I can’t help but think of activist songs to play but of course I am drawing a blank and let’s face it, I’m not the best guitar player out there. As I’ve explained to Bill who is an actual musician, I am not a musician- merely someone who plays guitar. I suppose some songs I am considering playing can have an activist slant to them. At least that is what I told ol’ Melvin. Am I comfortable playing these songs? Can I actually play these songs? It seemed easier when busking and being ignored by passerby.
Like I wrote I will be playing rock and roll tunes and when you think rock and roll tunes you might think of some guy jumping about on stage like Pete Townsend or any other animated performer. Me? I have the self reputation of merely standing there and strumming, or as I like to compare it, a tree with an itch. I’ve been texting with Lois just now and she has some good ideas that I might try out. The main thing is that I just have to stay out of my own way and hopefully out of my own head.
I am anxious about something that wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes and will more than likely be over with before I realize it. Why do I forget the punk ideal of getting up on stage and doing something? I know I have supported hundreds of bands when they got on stage, and I know I will have some support. Perhaps I am making too much out of this. According to Lois, I just have to own my moment and enjoy it while I can. I just have to make sure the fingers go in the right position and not try to hit those high notes.
And then there is some sort of backstage drama and I’m not even backstage. For your information there is no backstage at Maxwell’s. It’s a basement and to get to the stage you walk through the crowd. Anyway, it turns out I am not going on first. Apparently there is an act on the bill that is not for rent control and there is a desire to get them on and off the stage as soon as possible. So now I may be going on second.
I went on first and it went well. I didn’t suck is what I was told, high praise indeed! Bill was there, his recordings are posted below. Friends were there in the flesh and Facebook friends typed their well wishes, including Pedro telling me I’ve got ill talent which makes me smile. The videos are uploading now on YouTube so they should be done by tomorrow I guess. Four songs, Instant Karma, Heroes, Picture in a Frame and Heart of Glass. I was nervous but got through it safe and sound, no rotten vegetables thrown, no cat calls, so it’s all good.