Sunday, August 14, 2005

Chapter 12 O’Clock Phone Call

Well… it looks like I won’t be going to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art this coming Saturday (postponing that until the 27th). Yesterday, at noon, I got a call from one of my old friends, Glenn. Glenn is a piece of work. How to describe Glenn… hmmmmm… this could be difficult... okay… I think I’ve got it… do you remember the character of Rick on the old TV show “Magnum P.I.”? That’s Glenn!

Glenn can be intense. Glenn can also be hilariously sarcastic. Glenn’s favorite band is Genesis, and Phil Collins can do no wrong (and don’t you forget about it!). Glenn is an enigma. Glenn was also the soundman for the bands I used to work with back in the 80s and early 90s. We also had another soundman by the name of Tom. Glenn was not happy about this.

Now, it begs to be stated - no, infallibly proclaimed - that there exist only two types of soundmen in the music industry: (1) short, dumpy, cheesy mustache, intense personality, and highly particular about their equipment (in more ways than one), or (2) tall, lanky, frizzy or stringy hair, and extremely aloof (as though they have one foot in some other alternate reality, whether naturally or chemically induced). Glenn (by the way) fits into Category 1. Tom was in Category 2.

I dare you to disprove this theory. It cannot be done. I’ve tried and failed. So have many others. Every touring musician I’ve ever mentioned this observation to has nodded their head in discouraging agreement. Walk into any bar or club that has live music, especially rock bands. Look for the soundman. It never fails. It’s one of those mysteries of the universe that can never be fully explained.

Glenn has mellowed over the years. He’s also no longer a soundman (though he still has all of his equipment, just in case). He’s flying into Anaheim for a conference and figured, since he was in the area, why don’t we get together and catch up on things, reminisce about old times (oh, stories from the good ole days… heh-heh-heh). So, this Saturday I’ll be driving down to Anaheim. Glenn, I should also mention, also has a thing for all things Disney (it’s an odd image combo that I still can’t quite reconcile in my brain), so I have this funny feeling I may be making my first visit to Disneyland that day as well.

Way back in 1984, a whole bunch of us college friends, musicians, and neighborhood buddies pooled our money together and rented a house down the Jersey shore for the summer. Most of the stories from that summer will never ever be told to anyone outside of those who experienced them firsthand (even if names were changed to protect the guilty). Labor Day weekend was the big summer-ending block party/beer bash. We went through over a dozen full sized kegs before nightfall. The party was so successful that the cops going off-shift would stop by in their civvies once they went off-duty to join in on the festivities.

That was also the weekend that we hung a life-sized image of Glenn in effigy, complete with his Resorts Casino shirt, an empty pizza box, and a strategically placed hotdog. It was all in good fun, but he deserved it. (Heck, when any of us guys got our chops busted we pretty much deserved it as well.) My good friend Paul and I also knew that Glenn’s old girlfriend was going to be coming to the party, so we being good songwriters (but definitely not good singers) decided to re-write one of Glenn’s favorite song by Phil Collins (“Theme from Against All Odds”), complete with lyrics referring to Glenn’s pizza delivery service, and some good times with his old girlfriend in his Chevy Vega.

The gig is going well. Everyone is well lubed and feelin’ fine. Glenn’s there... and, oh… who’s that there?... is that?... could that be?... Holly?... Glenn’s old ex-flame?... well whaddayahknow! Out comes the cassette tape from my back pocket. Plopped it into the sound system, and...

The look on Glenn’s face was priceless! Most of the people in the street were completely clueless, wondering why the great music suddenly changed to two guys singing way off key about pizza slices and something about “the backseat of (my) Vega’s not the same anymore”. The guys in the house, though, knew exactly what was going on. Glenn turned a shade of red I didn’t think was possible in nature. He also promptly corrected us that it was the front seat of his Vega, not the back. Holly, though, had a sheepish grin on her face and took it all in good fun.

Yes… it was a very good block party. And we were only on our fifth keg at the time! Everything else that ever happened in that fateful house that summer will remain hermetically sealed in the fried brains of the participants. It’s surprising that any of us can even recollect any of the events anyway.

So, Saturday I’ll be meeting up with Glenn. Should be very interesting.

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