Read the first 3 pages of I'm Not a Groupie I'm IN the Band!
- I feel my too short skirt hiking up my legs a little bit too far, even for me. I like my skirts short. Show off your legs if you don't have boobs - I always say. But THIS short? I want to pull it down but both my hands are pretty occupied as I am playing keyboards right now. I glance around the lounge. Does anyone seem to be looking? No. No one is really even looking at the stage, let alone me. The few people who actually stayed past our first three songs are immersed in their conversations. The wait-staff, at this Red Lion Hotel and Convention Center, mosey about as they take orders and deliver drinks among the few tables of patrons. They, too, don't bother to look up or pay attention to the band. As the song trolls along through mistakes (not mine) and bobbles (not mine), I look down at the foot pedal that controls the volume on my main board. A name is written on the side in black felt pen. Hollie. That would be me. Girl-Musician-Keyboard Player-Singer-Songwriter-Extraordinaire! Or, at least my mom thinks so. No, I'm not the little girl who grew up taking years of piano lessons. I know you're thinking that. I play by ear, which means I can listen to a song, figure out the chord progression and play it. I sing lead vocal but am weak singing harmonies. I continue to churn my way through this song and find myself trying to look over my shoulder to see just how high the back of my skirt really is. I almost feel one butt cheek hanging out. I make a plan. I just won't move a muscle. I will stand on this stage and play only moving my left arm and hand as I play key bass and only my right hand and arm as I play piano parts. At the end of this song I will tug my skirt down and that will solve my problem. Problem? Like I wish this was my only problem. With the recent turn of events in my life - like ending up in THIS band - I wish my butt falling out was the only thing I had to worry about. Bang! Clunk! Thud! There it is - a bad ending to a loose song. I send a not-so-friendly glare to the idiot jerk guitar player standing near me as I pull my skirt down. I look at my watch. Thank God we only have one more song 'til break time. I hand a note card to Alexis, the third girl in this band of three girls and one asshole, I mean guitar player. She takes it and holds it discreetly in her hand. It's the words to the next song, the one she is singing lead on. I look at my best friend Gwen as she counts us in for the last song of the set from behind the drums. Gwen plays drums. Yes, a girl drummer! Big boobs that bounce when she plays! Needless to say men, especially, seem to be impressed by her talent in the rhythm department. She is a 5'3" blue-eyed blonde. I'm three inches taller but we look similar enough to be mistaken for sisters. Musically, her and I are tight. We can both play well and every time we look at each other we not only have a bond between friends but as professionals working hard to keep this crappy band sounding as good as possible. But...what's the saying? You're only as strong as your weakest leak. I'm finding out first hand how true that is. I play, on semi-auto pilot, a song I have played hundreds of times before in other cover bands. I could probably sleep through it and still play and sing my parts, but this prick of a band-leader (I use the term band-leader very lightly) is an inexperienced ass-wipe on a power trip. I do have to pay just enough attention to make sure I cue him when the ending is coming up so he won't fall over his guitar or something. I glance at my watch again. Oh, My God. How do I make the seconds go by faster? I just want off this stage!
Crash! Bang! Fumble! Finally! Gwen leans into her microphone and chirps out a cheerful, "Thanks, everybody (no one applauds) we'll be back in fifteen minutes."
I see from the corner of my eye, Gwen is moving as fast as I am as we both scramble down from the stage and make our way out. We leave Alexis in the dust as we cut a fast trail to the lady's room.
We stand side by side in front of a long mirror in this nice upscale bathroom at a fancy hotel. Like we have been choreographed, we place our hands on the marble makeup counter, lean forward, drop our heads and sigh.
"Fuck!" she says.
"I know,” I reply. “What have we gotten ourselves into?"
I raise my head and look at my best friend’s reflection in the mirror and then my own. We are dressed alike, short, little, fluffy taffeta dresses, high heels and too much makeup. We slump into two chairs and as the minutes roll by, I lay my head down on the counter. I need to close my eyes and center myself since the night is far from over. After all I have been through to get to this point, I can't believe I find myself in this negative situation. Can't anything be easy just for once? I look up and back at Gwen and as stressful as this has been, I am still in it with my best friend. Ideas of what I could do or should do race through my head. I could change clothes, go to the lounge, pack my gear and run away. Or, I should go to the lounge, tell the idiot piece of shit guy exactly what I think of him, change, pack my stuff and run away. However, as I look at Gwen I realize she is not at a point where she would want to run back TO home since she is here running away FROM home.
I sit up straight and take a big breath. "We can make this work, we're professionals!" I slap my hand on the counter for emphasis. There, that should save the day. Gwen just gives me a weak smile. The restroom door opens and in comes Alexis, dressed the same but taller than both of us with short, brown, curly hair. She makes a trip to the stall and reminds us our fifteen minutes of freedom is almost over and Donny, the prick, wants us back for the second of five, forty-five minute sets of music. Gwen looks at me with a face full of emotion. "This is the worst band I have ever been in,"
I nod my head and give her a hug. I speak into her ear, "I know, but we need to make it work. As much as I would love to go pack up and leave, you know as well as me that we have to go back in there. You can't go back home to your soap opera love life and I don't feel like starting auditions again. We'll figure out a way to get past this. We've both been in good bands before and we'll be in good bands again. It can't last forever, right?"
Gwen pulls away to look at me. "This is the worst band I've..."
"I know, but let's not do anything crazy. What's there to worry about? The good news is we're probably fired anyway!" I throw my hands up in the air and smile.
We both begin to laugh at our miserable situation. One thing I can count on is Gwen and I can always laugh. As much as we hate it, we know we must parade our butts back to the lounge, hold our heads high and step back onto that stage. The show must go on!
(I want to say a big "KISS MY ASS" to whoever started that crap about the show must go on. Why? Will somebody die if it doesn't? That famous line of determination has bitten me in the butt more times than I can count through the years. Seventeen years to be exact.....Maybe I should start from the beginning.)