by Rex Stickel
5 - "The Last Song" short story:
It was just as the band announced their final song. I started doing my usual internal inventory of the night, reflecting on the various interactions, transactions, lack of transgressions, and everything in between that had played out during the evening. Aerosmith had just played the perfect opening set, squeezing all the best tunes from Toys in the Attic into a tight 27-minute set. There wasn't a single complaint about the industry-standard $10 cover at the door, as a matter of fact, so many friendly strangers said, "Keep the change, friend! It's obvious you work here and you are a professional kinda guy!"
Even the party bus of celebrity look-alike drag queens that broke down in the parking lot didn't slow the party down, no matter how much free Champagne the ladies kept pouring. It was suddenly then, I started to feel something strange, "Hmm, it's a little early for the cash tips everyone offers up to be bursting out." But that wasn't it. It was the chanting. It was coming from the stage! The headlining band, Metallica, was chanting my name!
"Rex! Rex! Rex!"
My eyes peel open to the vision of Johnny Puke shaking me. "Rex! You're done! The band said they're on their last song."
"Oh ... yeah. I heard."
4 - "Is this Home Team?"
3 - 8:03 p.m. After showing his ID and paying the cover, "So, do you work here?"
2 - 8:54 p.m.
Me: "Hey gang, it's $7 tonight."
Guy: "So we know there's that thing where people under age get in free, [there's not] but I was wondering, what about when people who are ... over age?" motioning his head over to grandpa.
Me: "Tell ya what, if he dies here, I'll refund his cover."
1 - An older couple walks up, eagerly pulling money out to make the cover.
The man says, "Is it true John Prine's son is performing tonight? I was drinking downtown at A.C.'s and met a kid who said he drummed for him. Told me about this gig. I'm a big fan of his dad and we came here tonight just to see him."
The sound guy and I look at each other, unsure if we should confirm or not, as the 22-year-old kid we know as 'Rambo' doesn't exactly go around introducing himself as the son of John Prine, American country/folk singer-songwriter who happened to be playing the North Charleston PAC the same night. Rambo's own rock band, No Logo (formerly Them Ohs) isn't exactly the same type of music dear old dad plays.
Almost on cue, up drives a car with the prodigal son himself, bandmate in tow. Usually projecting the laid-back, beach-riddled Spicoli vibe, he's now sporting a close-shaved dyed-black buzz cut. He's attempting to put his button-up shirt on inside-out and apologizing for being late.
The older man pounces.
"Jack? Jack Prine? By God, we came all the way to see you. May I introduce myself? I'm a big fan of your dad."
"Uhh ... sure," a confused, red-eyed Rambo starts, coughing into his hand before extending his reach to the excited fan-of-his-dad. "Thank you very much for coming out, sir."
I could see the color physically drain out of the once excited super fan's face as he slowly starts taking in the young man, noticing his sagging pants and the sunglasses he's wearing after dark.
Rambo quickly begins unloading his running car, not really in a parking spot, but in a great place to load out.
The older gentleman, noticeably feeling a little shorted by the interaction, attempts to re-engage the young man.
"Well, say Jack, I've got a friend inside here, and I've been telling her all about you, and I was sure hoping ..."
"Sure dude, but right now I just need to load in my gear," and Jack continues into the venue.
The old man looks at me perplexed.
"Well, he's not very nice, is he?"
Me and the sound guy look at each other again.
"Um," I start, "You do realize he's like a 22-year-old kid, right? He's not exactly following in his dad's footsteps."
Shaking his head, the older man says, "I just wanted to shake his hand and tell him I'm a big fan of his dad."
"Well bud, all I can say is careful what you wish for." This message was Rambo-approved.