Robbie and I have been in a band together for over twenty years.
Sometimes we love each other.
Sometimes we hate each other.
But as it is with most good marriages in life as in art: We can’t seem to live without each other.
Robbie loves to give me a bad time and in fact, just called me at school yesterday and began to verbally abuse me in a long stream of multi-syllabic words, and if I even tried to chime in… would stop and say, “Can you shut the fuck up for just one minute? I mean fuck… just listen to me for once? Just for once!” and then laugh and laugh as if his abuse were amusing… which in all honesty… even though it sometimes does infuriate me… it was.
Robbie, my lead guitar player and co-vocalist in Gypsy Trash, is someone I have always considered as my kindred spirit and so… I would prefer to have attention from him… even if it is totally negative and annoying… them no attention at all: He means that much to me.
And so, I booked a show in Reno and took the “kindred spirit” with me.
I was pretty excited about the trip. I had heard the show was going to be a big event and like the good little “mother hen” that I was… I prepared the mini-van with snacks… plotted our course… had music picked out to perk us up at the boring parts of Interstate 5… and was prepared for a day of fun with Robbie and Corey in the van, Craig, our drummer, following somewhere in his car close behind us with his girlfriend Nickie, and Reno, of course, it’s own entity before us… holding a fabulous string of shows.
There is nothing like being on the road with your band: The camaraderie is palpable.
I pulled up to Robbie’s house, big stupid smile on my face, optimistic about our time together when frumpty-grumpty rolled out of his house with his guitar case and said, “Get the fuck out of the driver’s seat. I’m driving.” Threw his case in the mini-van and said, “Where’s the coffee?”
“I thought we could stop along the way and…”
“Jesus, fuck, D.D!” Robbie interrupted. “You don’t already have the coffee?”
Corey, installed happily in the backseat, rarely the talker, always the introvert, always the peace-keeper mumbled, “I could do with some coffee and then lit up a Lucky Strike, preparing himself for the long drive ahead.”
And it was.
A LONG DRIVE.
Several hours of Corey and Robbie chain-smoking Lucky Strikes over numerous conversations and musical debates, cups of coffee, Robbie’s harassment, Corey’s mumbles, and my people-pleasing all of the way to Reno where… we found out… like most musicians find out at one time in their musical career or another… that the show was not a big festival of fun but a sadly thrown together affair at an old hotel that was currently fighting to regain their liquor and entertainment license.
I won’t even go into Robbie’s tirade here. Just note… that it began with “Jesus fuck” and ended with “God damn it D.D.”
His vehement lecture was close to legendary.
Lucky for me, we were in Reno which meant that gambling and booze were close at hand. So, we met up with Craig, our drummer, played our first afternoon gig to a skimpy audience of about twenty people, before we packed up and headed over to the strip to gamble, booze, and eat before our show the next day.
I didn’t see much of Robbie and Craig… somewhere ensconced in a game of poker… drunk on the free drinks in a matter of minutes… I left to sit at the other end of the casino with Corey, both of us totally sober, as he tried to teach me the finer points of Black Jack.
I wouldn’t say I was a complete and utter failure but, after I knocked my large glass of Coke into the dealer’s chips and cards, alienating myself from almost every seated player and resulting in me being cussed out by two super drunk, spray-tanned orange, bleach-blonde, Reno sluts, I decided to call it a day.
I waited almost two hours in an all-you-can-eat casino restaurant for the boys before I finally realized they were addicted to the cards, and walked back to the hotel where I waited for them to show up.
The next day’s show was not much better… in fact I would say the crowd of twenty had thinned and after a fight with the drummer of Hellbound Hayride, a no talent asshole that almost got his ass kicked by Corey and Robbie for mouthing off to me (one of the perks of being a girl in a band… hardcore violent back-up at your finger tips) Robbie shouted “Fuck this place.”
And we all left to head home to our next gig at the Orange County Tattoo Convention. Supposedly another “big gig” but after this fiasco we just weren’t buying it.
“Fuck that show,” Robbie snapped. “Fuck everything. I need some food. I’m hungry and right now… I fucking hate Reno.”
He flipped off the hotel both hands held high, middle fingers blasting, before we piled back in the mini van to stop for a quick bite at the Donner Pass restaurant before heading home.
“They seriously have a Donner Pass restaurant?” Robbie said as he looked at me and Corey with mock disbelief. “Do these fucking idiots know that the Donner party basically ate each other’s frozen dead asses until a rescue party found them in the spring? Jesus.”
He kicked open the glass entrance door with his boot, sat down at the first empty table and began chain smoking.
Corey and I looked at each other but said nothing.
We knew if this didn’t go well, things were going to turn ugly rather quickly… but when you are a member of band… your loyalty requires you to ride the train wreck to the very end and so… we sat down next to him.
I prayed that nothing would go wrong.
I prayed that we could order quickly.
I prayed that the food would appear in a matter of seconds and that we would be fed, content, and on our way but… that didn’t happen.
An hour later we still hadn’t been served and Robbie was irate.
“What do I have to do to get something to eat around here?” He shouted out to the entire restaurant. “Do I actually have to eat someone’s ass? Is that what you people want? Do you want a fucking show? Do you want some fucking Donner party action at this table?”
Corey lit up another Lucky Strike and calmly gazed around the room, almost challenging anyone to speak up.
I sipped my Coke, focused my eyes towards the ceiling, and pretended I hadn’t heard Robbie say anything really of any interest.
Our waitress grabbed someone’s food off of the hot rack, today I still don’t know if it was ours but at that point…I couldn’t give a flying fuck: I just wanted Robbie satiated and satisfied.
“That’s more like it,” Robbie said as she handed him his plate and he immediately attacked his steak.
“Jesus, I hate this fucking place,” he said through a mouth full of food. He pointed his fork at me as if he were teaching me a lesson, “Town of illiterate idiots, D.D. they don’t even have a fucking clue that the Donner’s ate ass.” And then he attacked his steak again.
Corey took a long drag off of his Lucky Strike and smirked as he looked out the window at the pass.
I was trying not to laugh by now, the embarrassment and the reality of the situation way too much for me.
It was a matter of minutes before we paid our bill, climbed back in the car, and drove to the actual historic location of the inevitable ass eating Donner party episode.
“Shall we go check out some history and see where all this shit went down?” Robbie said, excitement taking over, now that he was fed and away from the travesty that was named, Reno, he was full of historical gusto.
“Lead the way,” Corey said as he followed Robbie down the path into the woods.
I walked behind them, glad that it was modern times, spring, and happy in the knowledge that I would not be eating either of the asses walking in front of me.