Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Nurse the Hate: A Memory From Chicago

The Daredevils/Cowslingers organization has had a long and relatively disastrous history in the city of Chicago.  We have always traveled there with the best laid plans, fully intending to bring the rock and roll to an excited audience, but usually found ourselves playing to small indifferent "crowds".  I had a real knack for booking us at exactly the moment when one of the city's sports franchises was on the precipice of a championship.  I think we played poorly attended gigs during Cubs Playoffs, Black Hawks Stanley Cup, and most notably the NBA Finals during the Michael Jordan era.  If we had a gig that we booked in March for a June Lounge Ax show, you could be damn sure that it would be on the same night the Bulls were about to clinch yet another NBA crown.  I would somehow forget what had happened the previous June and do the same thing year after year.  While the Mark Price era Cavs were frustrated at their inability to get past the Bulls, they could not have been as exasperated as we were getting dissed after a 6 hour drive in a crappy van with no place to park.  The Cavs flew home in style after losing in front of 20,000 people.  We drove home at 345am jacked up on gas station coffee and mini thins.

I remember one of those shows that seemed like a sure thing.  It was almost impossible to get into Lounge Ax, and the Cowslingers got booked onto a three band garage bill with a couple Estrus bands.  In theory, this show would have crushed as Estrus was very popular in Chicago at the time.  I want to say the Quadrajets were one of the bands, because I seem to recall Chet looking very sad as we realized that the seven of us in the bar would be about it on this Thursday night.  Everyone in the city was watching the Bulls in the NBA Finals.  It wasn't even a series clinching game where the mirage of people streaming into the room to celebrate a championship was something to cling to.  We were fucked.  No one was coming.  Essentially we had driven to Chicago to play a 45 minute set in front of the Quadrajets guys and the disinterested Lounge Ax bartenders.  It would have been easier just to have invited the Quadrajets over to our practice space in Lakewood.

Making matters worse at times like that are how little the employees of the club care.  There is NO ONE less engaged in independent rock than a hipster venue bartender, much less one from a major city like Chicago.  They have seen everyone and were unimpressed with them too.  Many of them likely refused to get beers for Pavement and Slint three years ago, so what makes you think you can just waltz over here and get a free Old Style Mr.  Fucking Cleveland Cowboy hat?  It puts you in your place pretty quickly getting attitude from some dude with a man bun that shares a shitty one bedroom apartment with three other guys and a ferret named "Riggs".

We played a forgettable set and then watched the next victims go up to take their medicine while we reversed roles.  As I recall we had two (2) fans that came to see us, a woman named Mickey that Krusty knew from OU and her male companion.  Mickey was most noteworthy for consistently peppering me with requests to "tape her down with masking tape to sheet metal and fuck her" and had made allusions to an adult incident with my brother while in college that she wished to pair with this vision to "get the other Miller brother".  I liked Mickey well enough from a distance but did not share in her enthusiasm for duct tape, sheet metal, and the frankly uncomfortable sounding combination of the two.  She seemed to be embracing a lifestyle that was a bit more extreme than my own and frankly she scared me a little bit.

This lifestyle choice was later confirmed when she talked Leo and Bobby into going with her and her companion to "a private club" where she planned on putting on some type of show.  The last thing I wanted to do was lose these guys and try to find them somewhere seedy in Chicago at 2am.  We decided that Mickey would leave to go home and change into her "outfit" and would then come back to lead us to the club.  We had planned to do the overnight drive back to Cleveland, so we would make a stop at the club on our way out of town.  This seemed like a reasonable compromise.  We still get back to Ohio somehow and at least we have some kind of adventure on this otherwise bust of a trip.

Mickey came back at about 1a with her companion.  She was in a leather get up hidden underneath a trench coat.  She went into her Japanese subcompact car to lead the way, the van following in increasingly more industrialized streets.  We finally stopped at a loading dock in an industrial park.  At the end of the dock was a door painted green.  Mickey is all leathered up and her guy looks like some fetish enthusiast.  I am in a pair of combat cargo shorts, a white t-shirt, Chuck Taylors and an Indians baseball cap.  I suspected I might not fit in unless the interior of the club was a J. Crew ad.

Mickey gave the secret door knock, and a doorman slid open a peephole to check us out.  "Hey Mickey."  The door opened and we were led inside.  It was a large open area with various implements and staging areas for bondage and S&M "scenarios".  TVs were posted on the walls playing videos of people tied up and being spanked.  In the middle of the room a man was tied down onto a rack and being swatted by a woman using a riding crop.  A couple guys were sitting very close, intently taking in the action.  They were VERY into it.  A few other people milled around in leather gear.  Tarantino could have shot a scene in here.  The door buzzed and a conservative looking mother walked in carrying a duffel bag.  She walked into a changing area in the back and emerged minutes later in a cop uniform with her breasts cut out of it.  The mirrored sunglasses were a nice touch.  Meanwhile I am just sort of standing around in a t-shirt and shorts looking like I wandered in from a Cubs game.

I started to realize that I was getting tired.  If I was going to be able to make this drive home, I would need some coffee.  There was a little snack bar area in the back so I thought about asking someone if they had coffee.  I hesitated when the bartender emerged from behind a curtain.  He had a shaved head, no shirt and some sort of leather straps went across his chest.  If I had to guess his name, my guess would have been "Horse".  "Can I help you?"  Umm... well...  Do you have any coffee back there?  "Oh yes!  I'm sorry but I'll have to make you a fresh pot.  I have regular but there's a really nice Hazelnut!  Which one would you prefer?  It's no trouble!"  He couldn't have been nicer.  I hung out with Horse and made small talk while the coffee brewed.  What a pleasant guy.

When I sauntered back across the complex I found something I wasn't expecting.  Leo was tied across the "X" rack while Mickey was preparing to hit him with whips.  A group of about 15 people began to assemble around the rack to witness the show.  12 of these people had a sexual electricity crackling off of them, getting more intense as the show came closer to beginning.  The other three were the Cowslingers and we were struggling to hold back uncontrollable laughter.  We had different expectations for what was about to happen.  I had to hand it to the folks that were into that scene, they didn't let three guys laughing so hard they were crying get in the way of their satisfaction when Leo let out a "Ohhhh!!!!" when Mickey really smacked him a good one.  I wish I had taken a photo to use as the cover of a 45.

After a bit more of watching Leo get whipped and getting a headache I laughed so hard, Leo convinced Mickey to let the tables get turned.  Mickey got tied down by her boyfriend and asked Leo if he wanted to user her implements.  Leo, going truly Old School, decided just to spank her bare handed.  Mickey's boyfriend was sort of skinny and squirrely.  I do not think he was able to deliver a bare handed spanking with the same authority as an adult male drummer of a country punk band.  Even the crowd of enthusiasts let out a little gasp when he connected with a real "smack!" as Mickey let out a dramatic whimper.  Leo was a hit.  Making matters worse I think his crowd was about twice as big as our earlier set at Lounge Ax.

We wrapped it up soon after that.  I got a refill of the hazelnut coffee from Horse.  The staff of the club thanked us for coming and invited us back next time we came in the area.  The lady cop waved goodbye.  Mickey gave Leo a hug and thanked him for putting on a good show.  We piled into the van and made the drive into the black night of the Turnpike back to Ohio.  Looking back, I think it was our best Chicago show of that decade.   


At September 4, 2019 at 12:58:00 AM EDT , Blogger old man taylor said...

I cannot believe you would choose Hazelnut coffee.

At September 4, 2019 at 4:09:00 AM EDT , Blogger Greg Miller said...

A time of innocence and experimentation


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