[SleepingDragon]: 268.Metal Daze.Chapter 2 - Party
Something in my vision, something deep inside
Where did I wander? Where’d you think I wandered to?
I’ve seen life’s magic, astral plane I travel through”
-‘Over the Mountain’
“Mom,” Steve announced. “We’re walking to Dan’s and then I’m staying at Matt’s. We’ve gotta practice.”
“Aren’t you gonna eat first?” She asked.
“Already ate, while you were gone.” Steve avoided saying the word ‘church’. He didn’t want another run-through of the sermon.
“What about you, Matt?” She persisted. “You hungry? I’ve got fresh bread and homemade tomato jam.’ Matt hesitated for a moment until Steve tugged at his shirtsleeve.
“Oh, no thanks Mrs. T. I’m all set.” He told her reluctantly.
“You boys need a lift?” She offered.
“Nah,” Steve replied, snatching a heel of the warm bread despite having already eaten. “It’s nice out. A good day to walk the trails.”
Matt followed him out of the house and around to the back where they cut through the neighbor’s wheat field. He broke the bread heel in half and gave some to his friend.
“Sorry if you were hungry.” He said. “I wanted outta there.”
“No sweat.” Matt returned. “But damn. Your Ma makes some good bread.”
In a moment, they had reached the tree line and the trail that ran along the edge of the woods, just inside it. Steve stopped, digging in his pockets.
“Look what I saved!” He proclaimed, producing a crumpled cigarette package. From it, he pulled a fairly bent up joint. “Second generation roach weed!”
Steve fired up the doobie and handed it to Matt, who immediately discarded the rest of his bread. The pair walked along the trail taking turns hitting the joint and inhaling deeply.
“Man, can you believe that bullshit?” Steve complained. “A sermon about Ozzy, on the day we were supposed to get tickets!”
“Crock of shit man.” Matt agreed, exhaling reefer.
“I’m going.” Steve insisted. “That’s all there is to it. If I have to walk all the way to Charlevoix, I’ll get there.”
“Just get into town.” Matt told him. “I’m taking Bob’s truck. You can ride with me and Sherry.”
They finished the joint before the trail let out onto the road. They followed the road west until it ended. Making a left, they continued down the hill and on for another ten minutes or more until they arrived at ‘Disco’ Dan’s place.
The music coming from the old farmhouse was too loud for knocking to be of any use, so the pair simply let themselves in. They found Dan in the kitchen along with a guy they knew as Bunhead. Dan was picking the seeds out of a tray of commercial. Both were drinking rum straight from the bottle with coke for a chaser.
Dan pointed at the refrigerator and Steve and Matt helped themselves to a beer. They joined the other two at the table and smoked another joint, listening to Blue Oyster Cult’s Extraterrestri
“Anyone headed to town?” Steve asked after the album had finished.
“Oh sure, smoke and run.” Dan chided.
“Always.” Matt joked.
“Gotta practice man.” Steve said. “You guys going to Tim’s party next week? You’re in for free.”
“You guys playin’?” Dan asked. Steve nodded.
“I’m there, man. You know it.”
As it turned out, Bunhead was just ready to leave and gave them a rather hairy ride directly to Matt’s door. They entered the house to find that Matt’s parents were out. They headed for the spare room, which was set up with amps, guitars and a drum kit. They tuned up and in moments were well into a set of original ‘Flame Sabre’ material.
When they had played all three songs twice, they stopped and looked at each other.
“Sounds good man.” Matt said happily.
“Not bad man.” Steve returned. “But we need more shit. This is like ten minutes worth of stuff. If I take a solo and ‘Canary’ does his drum thing, that’s half an hour, tops.”
“We need a bass player.” Matt asserted.
“For sure man.” Steve agreed. “But we need to work in some cover tunes along with these originals. We need something people recognize.”
Matt snorted. “Man, Zeppelin didn’t get where they are playing covers.”
“Zep has like eight albums of material to work with man.” Steve insisted. “We need stuff to fill in the blanks. I’ve got about a dozen covers down. We should work em out with the whole band.”
“But that’s just time we could spend writing new shit man.”
The conversation ended as Sherry walked into the room.
“I heard you guys practicing and let myself in.” She announced. Matt grabbed her around the waist and planted a french kiss on her. Steve turned away, launching into a rendition of Breaking the Law by Judas Priest as if to stress the point he had been trying to make.
Fortunately for them, Sean already knew the material they had worked out, because try as they would, they could not get everyone together for a rehearsal before the gig at Tim’s party. Sean was either working or spending time with his girlfriend, Julia. Matt had Sherry around most of the time, though that didn’t stop practice from happening, generally. Steve lived six miles outside of town and couldn’t always get there when the other two were available.
On the evening of the party, a late-fifties model Ford pick-up pulled up in front of Tim Holbrook’s, loaded up with people and music equipment. Steve dug his way out from under a bass drum as Sean, Matt, Sherry and Julia spilled out of the front seat. Steve was amazed Matt could drive his brother’s truck with four people in the cab. He suspected that he had Sherry working his stick shift for him.
Several high-ons gathered around the truck, offering to help lug the drums and amps. This made Sean very nervous, as he was quite particular about who touched his drum kit and how it was set up.
“It’s ok, I got it.” He was heard saying on several occasions, all to no avail because the helpers helped regardless of his wishes.
Steve took the opportunity to seek out the beer barrel and helped himself to a brew. Dan and Bunhead were already there, hovering around the keg. AC/DC’s Back in Black was cranked up on the stereo. Bunhead was eyeing a group of young ladies, most of who were in turn eyeing Dan. Dan flashed them a broad smile from time to time, eliciting a flurry of giggles from them.
“What’s happening guys?” Steve asked after a large swill of beer. He suddenly had an urge to be as drunk as possible before playing the set.
“Poon!” Bunhead replied, flicking his tongue rapidly in the general direction of the young ladies.
“Charming as usual.” Dan said.
Steve smiled and tried not to think about the girls. He was somewhat on the pudgy side and self-conscious
He finished his beer and grabbed another before finding a place to stand by one of the speakers. Someone passed him a joint and he took a big hit off it. It would take Sean twenty minutes to set up the drums in the cleared living room area. After that, he and Matt could have a quick sound check and make sure they were in tune. In the meantime, he had plenty of time to get a good buzz going.
From the back yard, cheers could be heard, as Tim Holbrook performed the fire dance he had learned from a Samoan friend. Most of the living room cleared out then, leaving the band plenty of time and space to finish setting up and do the sound check.
By the time Tim had finished his show and others who wanted a stab at it had their try, ‘Flame Sabre’ was ready to rock. With a drum roll and a sustained power-chord, They launched into the first song of their set, Remember.
It took all of about two minutes for the house to fill with people. Some found places near the amps, headbanging along with the music. Others hung back with plastic cups of beer in hand, observing from a distance. Joints were passed around and fists were pumped in the air.
Steve did his best to make eye contact with everyone he could see. He knew most of the faces, but there were a few he hadn’t seen before. Among those was a girl with a blonde ‘Aqua Net’ hairdo and black spandex defining her curvaceous figure. He had no idea who she was, but she had to be the best-looking girl he’d seen in a long time. She smiled at him seductively as he finished the song’s lead solo. Steve gave her a wild look in return and pointed in her general direction, fighting off a natural urge to blush and turn away.
The set went well, for as short as it was. The sound was good and no one broke a string. Matt’s voice was spot-on. When they had played all of their material, including very long drum and guitar solos, about forty minutes had passed. They played Rock-N-Roll Girl, their second song, again, and thanked the small crowd before shutting down for a break.
Steve headed for the keg and a refill on his beer as someone put Aerosmith’s Toys in the Attic on the stereo. Bunhead met him by the beer barrel with a high five.
“Man, that was awesome! You were on fire! Ow!” He offered Steve a toast with his plastic beer cup. Steve smashed his own cup into Bunhead’s wildly. The pair spilled more beer than they drank. Both went for refills again.
Soon, many of the heads there were coming up to Steve, complimenting him on his guitar playing. Before long, he was surrounded by a small crowd of ‘fans’ wanting to ask questions or make requests for the next set. As he dealt with the barrage of stimuli the best he could, he saw the girl in the spandex standing with a group of other young ladies a ways away. She was looking at him with a smile and when she caught his eye, she waved at him.
“I’m sorry.” He said to one of the persistent fans. “We don’t do requests right now. Excuse me.”
Beer cup in hand, he pushed his way through the small crowd, trying to get to the girl. He caught a glimpse of her as she was going into the house. Someone grabbed him by the wrist then. It was Sean.
“Hey man,” He said, a note of worry in his voice. “Any ideas for a second set?”
“No clue.” Steve replied, still looking to where the girl had disappeared into the house. “I suppose we do the first one over and hope no one notices.”
“Yea, I guess so.” Sean returned, not totally appeased. “Look. I’m going to have to get a lift into town after this set. My old man’s on a rampage and wants me in early. I guess this will be the last set.”
“Cool with me.” Steve was a bit relieved. He hadn’t wanted to think about doing three or four identical sets. “Well, let’s do it.”
They returned to the living room area where Matt was already warming up and re-tuning his guitar. Steve looked around but didn’t see the girl in the spandex anywhere. He picked up his guitar and plugged in. In a moment, they were ready to play again.
‘Flame Sabre’ got through one song before people started yelling things like “Let’s hear something else!” and “Not this one again!” There were even a few boos to be heard here and there. When it came time for Steve’s solo, he tried to change it up a bit, improvising some new licks into it. When he would have normally wound down, he went into a rendition of Iron Man, much to the chagrin of Matt, who wasn’t familiar with the lyrics and had no idea how to accompany it on guitar. Sean did well, putting a solid beat behind it, and the crowd seemed somewhat appeased. Matt looked from one of them to the other with a frown, then set his guitar on a nearby stand and walked away, probably to get himself a drink.
Steve and Matt improvised four other cover tunes before waving Matt back to the stage area for an encore of Final Dawn. Feeling inspired, Steve left his amp plugged in a while and played a couple more songs by himself while Matt and Sean broke down the drum set. A small group of metal-heads hung around to observe while he did so, some offering requests.
As Steve was loading his amp into the back of the pick-up Matt turned to him.
“What was that shit about, man?” He asked with a scowl.
“It was called ‘saving our ass’,” Steve replied.
“He’s right, man.” Sean put in, loading a symbol stand into the truck. “They were starting to boo us. Our stuff was good, but no one wanted to hear it four times.”
The conversation ended as Sherry and Julia appeared next to the truck, staggering arm in arm.
“Wooo!” Sherry hooted. “You guys kicked ass!”
“Owww!” The two girls bellowed together. That got smiles from all three of the band mates. Sherry and Julia then made sure to hug all of them before climbing into the truck. Steve jumped in back and took his place beneath the bass drum and they were off.
The first stop was Sean’s place as he was already running late. As it turned out, they shouldn’t have bothered, because his father met him at the door, irate. The pair exchanged curses in the night before Sean found himself standing there with the door slammed and locked in his face.
C’mon man.” Steve said sympatheticall