I got a voicemail from a guy who had heard I was a singer and invited me to sing a few songs with his band at a gig that Saturday. In case you’re wondering how he got my number, I don’t know. This past summer I was practicing to perform some songs with the ex-boyfriend’s band, which never materialized. I did, however, tell everyone that I now sang with a band, including the dude at the post office who was helping me track down the “Good Morning I See the Assassins Have Failed Again” mug I had ordered from Etsy. Which apparently had been delivered to the wrong address so Post Office Dude took my number and I think he gave it to a guy who gave it to a guy.
Or something. Who the hell has time to play Inspector Gadget when fame and fortune come knocking at your door?
I was initially hesitant. I haven’t sung in front of an audience since college when I fronted a punk band called Freddy Fetus and the Coat Hangers, but in MY MIND I’m a singer. In my car and in my shower, I’m a goddamn singer. This guy I was dating, whom my friends referred to as “Mr. Atlantic City,” said “You’re gonna go sing with some band you’ve never heard, without rehearsing, and just WING IT in front of an audience? That’s a terrible idea, you’ll be TERRIBLE” so of course now I HAD to do it.
Atlantic City is Las Vegas with a yeast infection. Mr. AC owned a weekend house there, so for the last few months our dating consisted of cavorting around town until 5 am. There’s so much more to DO there than there is in the suburbs, what with the casinos, the cash for gold places, the tranny prostitutes and getting shot. His house has an elevator, and in case you’re wondering if the very rich are indeed different from the rest of us, yes they are. In a recent study which I made up, scientists concluded that 100 percent of men who drive Bentleys with vanity plates “are jackholes.” Mr. AC wanted to do only what HE wanted to do. He was furious with me for cancelling our weekend casino debauchery to go sing, even though I invited him along. No dice. (see what I did there?)
On our first date Mr. AC declared “I’ll pay for you to get a boob job, but only if they’re HUGE” and I hadn’t even mentioned wanting one. But fuck yeah, if you’re buying me titties, I’ll take three. He was also pissy because in two months he had wined, dined but not yet vagined me. Rich dudes don’t expect to wait for sex. Every time we spoke on the phone he ended the conversation by saying “GROW THAT RUNWAY BABY” which is surprisingly less charming than it reads. Did I mention he had an elevator in his house?
Breaking the date was the end of our relationship. He was fun, and good-looking, especially from certain angles like when he was reaching for his wallet, but it was for the best. On our last casino romp he’d won $600 at the craps table, which he’d tossed at me and said “use this for something sexy to wear the next time you see me” and I was struggling to figure out how to make my utility bills look sexy.
The gig was in South Jersey, which is so white-trashy it should be a separate country from America. They have a completely different world view down there; the number one recreational hobby is aggravated assault and “MILF” is a career objective. The entire southern tip of New Jersey smells like the inside of a fake leg. The minute you drive south of Exit 100 on the Garden State Parkway, you can hear the twanging of dueling banjos. The gig, coincidentally, was in the same town where the ex-boyfriend lived. No, I did not invite him. We haven’t spoken since we ended our relationship amicably, and by amicably I mean I was screaming ‘YOU LIMP DICK MOTHERFUCKER” on his front lawn.
I went to the band’s website to look at their song list, and I decided to sing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’and ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.’ Yeah, I know, you think of me as all punk rock and Nirvana but schmaltzy lounge music is SO my jam. You haven’t lived until you’re heard Robert Mitchum mumbling his way through “Mama Looka Boo Boo.” In the privacy of my home, I wipe off the heavy winged eyeliner, throw on some Bonnie Bell Lip Ssmackers and rock the fuck out to the Fifth Dimension.
I got to the club and it was packed. PACKED. I met the bandleader, a bearded, portly HIspanic dude. I knew I had made yet another of my famous bad decisions when he asked me what key I wanted to sing in. What KEY? Is this a gig or are we taking our fucking SATs here? I tried to deflect him by playful responding “oh you’re such a troublemaker” and lightly smacking him in the jowls which is what people in South Jersey do to show affection. Beat one another.
That’s when I began drinking shots. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. As a matter of fact my superpower is turning tequila into crippling regret, but hey, I was at a bar in South Jersey and when in Rome, right? Since it was too late to get a bad tattoo or develop adult acne I started pounding shots of Patron.
A bleached blonde who’d known these guys for 20 years was sitting up front with her husband and decided she was my new best friend. She bought me shot after shot and told me all about her affairs and her 2 grown kids in rehab. Once I’d drank enough tequila to let my brain cells leak out my asshole, I completely forgot the words to ‘Brown Eyed Girl,’ and she was kind enough to write them for me on a napkin. When I told my bestie about this, she asked, “a sanitary napkin?” but NO, a cocktail napkin. Although looking back I wish I HAD gone on stage with a sanitary napkin because that would have been like in 1974 when an inebriated John Lennon stuck a Kotex on his head at a nightclub and John Lennon is a GOD.
When I got on stage the band leader dude handed me a tambourine. I was all SMASH THE PATRIARCHY WOULD YOU HAND ME THIS IF I WERE A MAN? so I said, “Don’t give me this, I don’t play the tambourine! FUCK your tambourine, man!” And then I said “that’s actually the name of that song. People think it’s ‘Tambourine Man’ but it’s really ‘FUCK Your Tambourine Man’”and I cracked myself up so much the band had to play the intro a very long time until I could stop laughing.
That went so well I decided to do a sexed up version of ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.’ It was less a song and more me dry humping the band leader. My friends on Facebook were disappointed I didn’t get video of this but imagine, if you will, a drunk Jessica Rabbit with one bad leg giving a clumsy lap dance to Puerto Rican Santa Claus.
When it was over, my new best blonde friend said “Well, you LOOKED good” and some chick gave me her card and told me she was a vocal coach and that I should call her. Like, immediately. The band didn’t invite me to sing with them at their gig next month but I’m gonna show up anyway. I’m getting my sanitary napkin ready and practicing the Fifth Dimension’s ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ and that’s a string of words I never thought I’d put together. But there you have it.
I present me singing, unironically, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” Recorded live this morning in my bathroom so please excuse the clunking sounds in the background as I got ready for work.
The recording ends abruptly, but so do many things:
Come hang out with me on Facebook so I can have friends without leaving the house.