Thursday, August 4, 2011

Nurse the Hate: The Butterfly Effect

Your life is defined by choices you make. It's not always the big ones along the lines of "Do I move to New Mexico?" or "Should I go to College or pursue my dream of being a Rodeo Clown?". Sometimes it is the little ones you make. The seemingly minor events that follow you forever. Sometimes you walk out of a door at just the right time and meet your Dream Girl. Sometimes you walk out in front of a bus. The butterfly wings that flap in Japan and create a wave that will drop you headfirst into the sand in San Diego. I present you this little story...

In the early days of bitter struggle in the band, traveling on the road was more exciting. There was a time when we were all single guys trying to meet girls (and generally failing in spectacular fashion). Leo, like seemingly all drummers in rock not named Dave Grohl, would often swim along the nightscape like a catfish. He would usually find the real damaged girls, the lost souls, and the outright mentally ill. This is the curse of having "partying" as your top priority for the evening. When you poke your head up at 3am and see who's left at the ball, it's not a pretty picture.

One night we were in Chicago, probably after a disasterous show as they all seem to be for us in Chicago. I recall Leo meeting a girl at the club that seemed really loud and super fucked up. It was either Lounge Ax or the Empty Bottle. This is not necessarily odd at a club like that at 2:15 in the morning. The decision to bring her with the rest of the band to a mutual friend's apartment? This is an example of "short term thinking". For example, what if you spend another ten minutes with this gal and suddenly realize, "Hey! She isn't cute and interesting like I thought she was initially. Why, in fact, she might be seriously mentally ill and she appears to be annoying everyone in the general area." Now you've got a situation where you have to get her out of there. Do you hustle her out the door with cab fare? (Drummers would never do this as they never have any money, and they would never even think of this very viable option in the first place. The brain gets damaged hitting stuff so close to your head. Never mind all the weed.) Are you going to drive her home in the band van? Sure, good luck finding the apartment again, much less running the gauntlet and not getting arrested driving around all fucked up after your 8 hours of "partying". Yep, you've got yourself in a real pickle there...

Leo handled himself like any classy drummer would in that situation. Knowing the rest of the band was trying to sleep, much less his gracious hosts, he knew he had to get this young lady out of the area. She just couldn't seem to be quiet as she was either fueled up on dangerous street drugs (probably not) or was heavily manic with all the unexpected male attention (likely). What can a guy do? Of course, he took her out to the romantic confines of our 1991 Ford Clubwagon passenger van, and "made love". OK. That may not be accurate. He banged her? Probably closer to the truth. God knows what went on out there.

We drove out of town the next morning to our next show, and I don't remember what happened to her. I think we threw her in a cab after she annoyed the shit out of us after she and Leo came back in the apartment the next morning. I definitely remember the people that had the apartment asking "Who is this????". At a certain point we packed up our shit and left. We got rid of her somehow. Just like that, she was out of our life. Poof. A new day was here and the past was the past. We'd never see her again.

An interesting thing happened. We finished that run of shows and we went back to Ohio. A little time passed. A month later we went to Springfield Il, to a club most noteworthy as having a back staircase Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins had fallen down years earlier. It was probably the inability to stay nimble in pointy boots and leather pants. No matter. The stairs were our problem now. So, here we were in Springfield for the first time. As we set up, the sound guy said, "Which one of you is Leo?". Leo raised his hand, clearly surprised that someone in a town we had never played before knew who he was. "You're the guy that fucked Crazy Patty!". Word had traveled.

It started to happen everywhere. The Star Bar in Atlanta. Mabel's in Champaign. Wolfy's in Nashville. Guys coming up to Leo while tapping their buddies shoulders saying, "That's the guy! That's the guy! The guy that fucked Crazy Patty!". He had become some sort of legend, and I'd like to remind you, this is all Pre-Internet. People had to be so excited by the news that Leo had hooked up with this legendarily insane woman that they immediately picked up the phone to tell everyone they knew. And then they called everyone they knew. And so on and so on and so on. It's kind of amazing. This woman was such a legend that people all across the nation knew who she was on either reputation or perhaps a more discreet previous sexual encounter they themselves had. Who can say?

Today I was on the phone with a club booking agent. He asked me, "Is that guy still in the band that fucked Crazy Patty?". Seriously, that had to be 17 years ago, and people are still asking. One moment of weakness almost two decades ago... A seemingly small action that ripples across time... The butterfly effect, I'm tellin' ya...


At August 4, 2011 at 10:51:00 PM EDT , Blogger AZ said...

Moment of weakness or Leoness?

At August 5, 2011 at 9:15:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

You be the judge!

At August 7, 2011 at 10:47:00 AM EDT , Blogger Chiller said...

Fucking great story


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