Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nurse the Hate: Hate New York

When Bobby Latina joined The Cowslingers he was 15 years old. That’s a pretty young kid. His parents knew me because I had lived with his older brother at Kent State, and felt I was reasonably responsible and could be trusted with their son. This was actually a pretty good call, but there was no way they could have built in the “Leo Factor”. Still, Bob was able to build a reasonable path to adulthood balancing my twisted guardianship and Leo’s heroic substance abuse.

Bobby was very wide eyed when he was young. The first time he went with us to play New York, he asked us tons of questions prior to the gig. “In New York, are the clubs different? When you are in New York, are the girls better looking? People are really tough there, aren’t they? In New York, will people steal your gear if we don't stand next to it?” It was like we were going to a different planet. Let’s be honest, almost every douche bag musician from New York is from some small town East of the Mississippi and is walking around posing like they are in the Velvet Underground. Almost any sizable city around the size of Dayton has better bands than NYC.

Our bass player at the time was Tony Primiano. He was a really funny guy that loved fucking with Bobby. He loved to portray Bobby as a sharecropper kid, and his father as “Mr. Charlie”. (Even now, we refer to Joe Latina Sr. as “Mr. Charlie.”) Tony would tell Bobby wild stories of visits he had made to New York with members of The Walking Clampetts in the early 1990s. Bobby had New York envisioned as a combination of “The Godfather” and “Escape From New York”.

The first time we played New York was at a really good club called Brownies. It was in the East Village, and we were on a bill with the Devil Dogs and the Swingin’ Neckbreakers. Frankly, you couldn’t ask for a better night of rock music. On the drive up, Bobby was asking us all kinds of questions that in retrospect wouldn’t seem odd for a 15 year old traveling to The Big City for the first time. However, we were a bunch of twenty something wise asses and didn’t give him a straight answer on anything. The best thing was when Tony told Bobby the following. “Mr. Charlie… When you get to New York, don’t look like a kid. They call bathrooms in New York “glory holes”. So, if you want to go to the bathroom, ask people where the “glory hole” is.”

For those of you not educated in the more deviant sexual experiences available to you, allow me to explain a “glory hole”. It is a hole cut in a wall, generally a men’s room, where a man can insert his penis. On the other side of this wall, an unseen person will pleasure that man’s penis until the man ejaculates. I believe this is one of the most anonymous sexual encounters a man can have outside of Florida during Spring Break, or a Midwestern college during Homecoming weekend.

We pulled up outside of Brownies around 7p after an eight hour drive from Cleveland. I think Brownies was on Avenue A, in an area of town that was equally hipster nightclubs and scary yet-to-be-gentrified failing businesses. I drank a beer with Marisa Tormei in a shady joint there once. I didn’t even know who she was. She must have been feeling dangerous. It’s the way that neighborhood was back then.

New York is funny. Anytime you play a club in New York, it is important to note that the entire staff has turned over every two weeks for the last three years. The current employees are usually heavily tattooed, massively pierced, and they hate you. Literally, these people treat you with complete disdain. They are all struggling actors, musicians, and artists and are for the most part without a lick of talent. In this case, we walked in and a really muscular guy probably named something like “Horse” or “Pegasus” was wiping down the bar and scowling.

I remember seeing Bobby walking up to the bar. He was literally making a beeline as we started to load in our gear. I huffed and puffed while carrying Tony’s bass cabinet by when I overheard Bobby say to this bartender, “Hey! Where is the glory hole?”

The bartender was understandably put off balance by this question from a 15 year old boy. “What?”

“The glory hole? Where is your glory hole?”

The bartender made a noise like “Garumph!” and turned away. Bobby had no idea why this guy was reacting to him this way, turned and looked for a men’s room on his own. Tony almost fell over he was laughing so hard. He was literally crying. “HaHaHAHA!!! That little pervert is asking about a glory hole! What's wrong with that little freak? Hahahahahaha!!!!”

We played second of five bands that night. We got two encores. It was my favorite time we played in New York.


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