What Had Happened Was - A Day In The Life Of Jeff Griggs
This will become a weekly series:
After one of the most glorious weekends of my life, I feel compelled to tell you guys a tale of drunkeness and supreme joy the likes of which my tiny brain can barely contain. As I begin this, it is approximately 33 hours since my last drink, but I believe I'm still a little tipsy.
Murder Beach was invited to go with Venice is Sinking to play a club called the *********** in Macon. I had previously been tipped off to this place by some friends of mine who play in bands like Sleep Horses and the Bearfoot Hookers. Apparently, Macon is relatively starved for entertainment, so regardless of the level of talent or draw, the bands asked to play at the *********** are treated like royalty. Julie, Ian and I piled into Chris Bishop's SUV at about 4 o'clock on Saturday and got on the road. The drive must have taken close to two hours, but a steady supply of Mantronix and the Alan Parsons Project on the stereo combined with a hilarious conversation about the funniest phrases you can scream while taking a shit in a public restroom (I think I won with "I'm going to teach you a lesson, boy" which I stole from that Excalibrah song about R Beers) made the trip seem almost instantaneous. We rolled into Macon at about 6 and met up with Venice is Sinking at the club. They had already been milling about for a half an hour or so, and were on their way to this Mexican restaurant down the street.
I had heard really great things about the club's owner, Vic, so I made it my first priority to go inside and get acquainted. The first thing I notice is that the club is literally brimming with gigantic frat boy-looking dudes. As it turns out, earlier in the day, there had been a semi-pro/club league rugby tournament, and all of the players had convened at the *********** for refreshments. This will be important later.
I asked around for a minute and had Vic pointed out to me. He was a tall, hard drinking-looking guy in his late thirties. I introduced myself and told him how many great things I had heard about his club. Now, you guys know me and understand that I am pretty good at warming myself up to people whom I hardly know. Well, tonight, I was particularly good. After a few minutes of conversation, Vic is literally overjoyed at the prospect of indulging my every whim. He tells me repeatedly, "if there is anything you need, I mean ANYTHING, man," as he stares me in the eye with a look that seems to suggest that if I want to fuck his wife and snort coke off his daughter's tits, I am more than welcome to it. He is a little busy prepping for the evening so I keep my intial conversation relatively short. He is trying to figure out his way around the mixing board, as his regular soundman, "Catfish," had to fly out early that morning to, no shit, go do a quick tour with the Marshall Tucker Band. I go to meet up with Venice is Sinking and the rest of MB at the restaurant down the street.
Now, it will be important for you all to know that we were given specific instrutions by Vic to get receipts for any expenses we incur during dinner so that he might reimburse us for them later. Courtney, Lucas, Julie, Ian, Kabishop and I sit down and order a round of drinks. Most everyone gets a large margarita, but I am having trouble deciding between a simple Budweiser or the house specialty cocktail, called "Silk Panties." I go with the Bud, not wanting to get too fucked up too early in the evening. Once the margaritas arrive, I realize I made the right decision. Not only is the fucking thing served in a glass the size of a basketball, there is enough tequila in ONE of these things to have an entire busload of migrant workers not only wasted, but fellating one another. Ian quickly sucks down about an eighth of his and proceeds to scream at the television all the way across the room from us, over the heads of several other patrons, mostly proper Macon citizens and their families. Apparently, the managment at the restaurant thought it was appropriate to have one of those "World's Most Extreme Video" shows playing on the big screen, which caused a newly-intoxicated Ian Darken to randomly shout "OH MY FUCKING GAWD!!" or "DID YOU FUCKING SEE THAT?!?!?!" Our fellow dining guests were not pleased.
The food arrives, and we all enjoy some pretty decent TexMex, made better by the first hints of alcohol coursing through our veins. The bill arrives, and we have managed to put down just under a hundred bucks worth of it between the six of us. We grab a receipt as Vic requested, and as soon as we walk back into the club, he takes the receipt back to the cash register and gives us more money back than what we paid for dinner AND a generous tip. I realize that I am in my own personal heaven.
We load all of our equipment in and pile it on the stage. In the process, the now very drunk Rugby players notice our selection of righteous poontang. Between Julie, Kristen and Carolyn from VIS, we've managed to infinitely increase the number of chances these lugheaded amateurs have of getting any action this night. Fortunately for the dudes in our party, the rugby guys realize that if they are going to get these ladies drunk and "lay down the bone hammer," they will also have to buy drinks for what possibly could be the girls' boyfriends. I am perfectly content swilling back some free beer while we throw the bitches to the dogs for a bit. Besides, I've got work to do. I had bought a new drum head for my snare because it was beggining to sound like the sound a 2 x 4 slapping a corpse. As luck would have it, and I was feeling extremely lucky, I dialed that sucker in perfectly. In fact, I don't think I've ever tuned a drum so well is such short time. We set to assembling our equipment on the stage, then went over for a game of darts.
I wasn't able to get in on the first game of cricket, so I let Kristen and Matt (her fiance), round out one team while Julie and Ian comprised the other. By this point, the Rugby teams had begun to dwindle, but it was clear that the few that remained were there for a reason. Every time Ian went to throw a dart, this one drunken gorilla would scream "FAGGOT!" Now, Cricket is not a particularly quick game. So, over the next twenty-five minutes or so, with intervals of two to three minutes every one in the bar would be startled by this jackass' mating call of "FAGGOT!!! [dart one]..... FAGGOT!!![dart two]... FAGGOT!!![dart three]" To make matters worse, his buddies were goading him on, and I could tell that Ian was begginning to fear for his life. Remembering that I am unbelievably socially on-point this evening, I approach these morons to try and quell any notion of violence, as it seems like that's exactly where these guys are headed. I approach the one in the group of seven or eight that seems relatively sober, order a beer (free as fuck, by the way, as Vic will not let us pay for a goddamned thing), and begin conversing with him about the rules of Rugby. He seems mildly interested in talking about it, so I decide to play my ace card in hopes that these guys will lose interest in Ian's perceived homosexuality.
"Yeah, you know I always wanted to play rugby, but I was always afraid of tearing up my knees. I was a third string wide receiver at Western Kentucky, and I guess I didn't want to lose my scholarship." Incredibly, this bullshit story seemed to fly. After a few minutes, these beasts gave up on Ian and actually left the bar. I guess they figured that there's no way that a group of people hanging around an ex-college football player would either A: be gay or B: would give up their women without some serious bloodshed. I secretly pat myself on the back because I am amazed at my own ability to be so deceitfully opportunistic. I'm rolling, fellas...
So, we all sit around and shoot the shit for hours, because Vic doesn't want us to play until people start arriving at around 11. It's only about 7:30 at this point, and the liquor and beer are flowing like crazy. We do a quick soundcheck (stage sounds great, btw), and I sing "Eye in the Sky" to check my mic. Vic is pleased and declares me to be "righteous." At about this time, we realize that the bar is beginning to fill up with tons of men and women wearing kilts. I'm nervous that there are more rugby fools coming in, but I quickly ascertain that this is a gathering of the internationally known Hash Harriers. Anyone not familiar with this group just needs to know that they call themselves a "drinking group with a running problem." I routinely passed these guys every year in the Peachtree Road Race where they ran 6.2 miles drinking beer THE ENTIRE WAY. Basically, they are everything I wish I could be, athletically speaking. We hobknob with some of those guys and gals, and I convince them to come back for the show. It seems as though they are on some sort of pub crawl and are having the time of their lives. About half of the ladies in the group start removing their bras so that the gentlemen in the group can throw them up on this moose head perched up on the wall. Awesome.
At this point, not much is going on apart from me drinking free Bass Ale after free Bass Ale and talking to Vic about Macon, Athens and all numbers of things. I realize after a while, that his sole purpose in life, whether he realizes it or not, is to make me happy. At one point, he sends one of the bar's staff across the street to buy a pack of smokes for me. Again, awesome.
I meet a black dude named Roger who is working the door, and he tells me that he is a DJ. We talk about what kind of stuff he does. He seems generally enthusiastic about his music, but is obviously looking for an opportunity to play to audiences that would appreciate his being more creative than just playing "Groove is in the Heart" and "I'm So Sexy." I tell him that he really needs to keep it up and that he should come to Athens to play. I tell him a story about a friend of mine from Athens who got no attention being a DJ for years, then blew up with the Grey Album. Now, this is interesting. Though I typically do not like name-dropping, either by me or anyone else, I realized that telling this guy I knew Brian Burton was a stroke of genius. While before this incident, I was being treated like royalty by the bar's staff, afterwards I was being treated like a deity. I'm not sure how this happened, but word spread quickly that I knew Dangermouse, and I guess in Macon, if you know Dangermouse, people want to drink shots with you. So, that's what I did.
It's nearing show time, and we realize that since there are only two bands playing, we really need to try and aim for a longer set time than the typical 35 minute Murder Beach show. This is when I discover something very important. Many shows are ruined because of drunkenness, but it is typically because the drunk person in question is just not being patient with themselves. You can not outrace the alcohol. Because you've just ruined one song, rushing to ruin the next is a bad idea. Instead, you should take your time, maybe even drink some more beer. Give yourself some time to collect your thoughts and refocus. This caused me to realize that the Masters of the Hemisphere were probably a much better live band than I had ever previously imagined.
We botched a couple of songs before I decided that I was just going to dick off between every song and try to say hilarious shit. Most of the Hash Harriers had left the bar, then had come back to watch our show. Macon is a funny town. I figured out that if anyone looked like they were losing interest, all I had to do was tell Kabishop to start playing bass while I played a funky beat and sang stuff like "Hash Harriers/Kings of the South/Fuck with them and they'll fuck you in the mouth!" This was, of course, met with resounding applause and even dancing. Everyone there also seemed to be thrilled every time I said something like, "Hey Macon, who's into Poontang?" Remeber this for your next visit.
After about forty-five minutes of gay pop music and hilarity, we exited the stage to much applause. Vic told us that we were the cutest band he had ever seen, and I think he may have even liked it. Proof of this was the half-full bottle of Jack Daniels and the eight shot glasses he brought over to me when we had finished playing. Needless to say, I got to work, and in short time, was absolutely shit-faced.
Now, my pals in town had told me that Vic is such a great guy, that he will buy you as many hotel rooms as you request at the local best western, just for playing at the ***********. Feeling the effects of many, many free shots and beers, I told him that it may be in our best interest to get some rooms. No more than three minutes after I had finished slurring my request to him, he came to me and told me that he was sorry, but he could only get three rooms for us. Read this again: HE SAID HE WAS SORRY THAT HE COULD ONLY GET THREE ROOMS FOR US. Awesome.
Venice is Sinking decided to play two short sets, and they sounded great! About two songs into the second set, they announced from the stage that they had a special surprise for me, then they launched into a truly inspired version of Tom Petty's "You Got Lucky," by far my favorite Petty tune. I knew then, for sure, that the Gods were smiling on me. This could be the best night of my life.
Vic comes and sits next to me and we proceed to dig into the bottle of Jack Daniels. I am fully aware now that this guy is a God amongst men. He leans over to my ear and whispers that his "guy" has just walked in the door and if I wanted (I swear to God he used this word) any "tooty-toot," he would arrange a consultation. I laughed for a solid minute about the word "tooty-toot" and told him that we weren't really into snorting coke, but that I'm sure I could convince some of Venice Is Sinking to smoke some weed if there was any to be had. Well, goddammit, wouldn't you know that he showed up about fifteen minutes later and pushed a bag with about an eighth of an ounce of decent quality cheeba in it. Holy fuck. This, mind you, was free of charge. Holy fuck, again.
Soon after, we have to break down all the equipment, which is kind of a tall order for me since I was so drunk, but you can pull the van basically right up to the back door of the place, which rules. Vic grabs me when we are done and gets Daniel from Venice Is Sinking and takes us into the back room... the business room. He sincerely apologizes to us at length that the crowd was so sparse, guarantees us that the next time we come play there will be way more people, then, and he looks like he is about to burst into tears when he says this, says that he is very, very sorry, but he can only pay us $590 to split between the two bands. Read again: HE SAYS HE IS VERY, VERY SORRY, BUT HE CAN ONLY PAY US $590 TO SPLIT BETWEEN THE TWO BANDS. Awesome, again again.
We pile into the vans and make our way to the hotel, about a ten minute drive. I call my girlfriend and I think I tell her that I might not be coming home... ever.
We split the rooms up into two sleeping quarters, and one party room. Which one do you think I wind up in? Venice is Sinking was smart enough to go to the liquor store to get after party supplies, but not smart enough to realize that you never, ever buy whiskey just because it has a funny name. Daniel, Lucas, Steve, James, Ian and I started slugging from this bottle, and each one of us reported the distinct senstation of being on fire on our insides. Not good. We decided that it might be a good idea to go ahead and bust into that Macon 'dro that Vic gave me. One HUGE joint later, we are all baked out of our minds.
** Now, I'm sorry that this narrative is so long, but I truly believe that each detail is important. This was one of the greatest nights of my life, but this point in the story is actually where things went from being mega-awesome, to absolutely, uncontrollably INCREDI-AWESOME. **
We all start to get a little antsy (read: paranoid), as smoking weed in a hotel room will make you, and I suggest that we try to head to the hotel bar that Vic had mentioned to me. No one really believed that it was going to be open, but it seemed like a better idea than waiting in the hotel room for some fat hick sherriff to come arrest us all. We make our way through the hotel as quietly as we can (which is not very quiet at all), and I push on the door of the "Back Porch II Lounge," and sure enough, it swings open. The first thing I notice is the faint sound of "Hotel California" playing in the background, but that is not Glenn Frey singing. That is most definitely a redneck!
The second thing I notice is that in the short corridor one must pass through to get to the sweet libations and karaoke machine in Back Porch II Lounge, there appears to be a black prostitute, lying flat on her back, passed the fuck out. Standing above her is another black prostitute who is making out with a white guy with a mullet. She is slowly and (I guess) drunkenly massaging his crotch. I step over the prone prostitute, give the mullet guy a high five, and step into my Mecca.
The Back Porch II lounge is very dark. What light there is is neon. It could have been noon outside for all the patrons knew. I walked up to the bar and addressed what I thought was the bartender. He looked like a mid-thirtysomething ex-Georgia Southern style fratboy wearing a khaki visor. He was severely intoxicated. He belched some kind of words at me, and I assumed that he was taking my order. I started barking out commands for him to get me and my friends drunker than we were, but this is where I'm a little confused about the story: this guy was behind the bar, but I don't think he worked there. He started handing everybody beers, but he was completely unable to deal with any sort of transaction. I told him to give me a piece of paper so that I could start a tab for us. Of course, only about half of what we ordered wound up on the list because I am smart, awesome and poor.
It occurred to me once we had received our first round that the bar was in the process of closing up. It was a little after 2 at this point, when the frat dude/semi-bartender asked me the fateful question: "So, do you guys have a room here."
"No sir," I replied. "We have THREE of them."
A muffled cheer went up in the little bar. Apparently, be it local ordinance or just hotel rules, if a guest comes into the bar, of which there were none before we arrived, they put a sign on the door that says "private party," and they stay open indefinitely. AWESOME!
It seems like the karaoke machine is only being used by one kinda stoner guy who kept singing shit like "Fly Like an Eagle" and "Green-Eyed Lady." Of course, this would not do. My group took control, and in no time we had burned through some halfway decent versions of "Africa," "Sailing," "Maneater," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," "Islands in the Stream," "Another Brick in the Wall Pt. 2" and "Bohemian Rhapsody."
I took Daniel aside in the bar and made a declaration that this could very well be the best night of our lives, and that if I died, I would die happy. He concurred, and we bought more beer. Now, I don't know exactly how this happened, because I am very, very, very drunk by this point, but I realize around 4:30 or so that I am the only member of my party still in this bar. I realize, however, that there is a time and a place for truly excessive partying, and that time and place were then and now. I took control of the karaoke machine and played to the audience.
"Stairway To Heaven" - FUCK YEAH!!!
"Piano Man" - HELL FUCKIN' YEAH!!!!!
"Hey Jude" - MAN, THIS GUY IS THE FUCKIN' MAN!!!
I've got everybody eating out of the palm of my hand, and I'm getting drinks bought for me. It is about now when I meet Sherry. Sherry is a 43 year-old divorced mother who was crunk as hell, and only knew how to do that stripper dance where you put your hands on the floor and then try to grind your ass skyward. Amazing. At one point, and I can't recall what prompted this, she handed me her bra (which I threw away in the mens room toilet and scrubbed the shit out of my hands). After one last karaoke tune, a duet of "Carwash" which I sang with the club's owner, Ginger, where we changed the lyrics to "Back Porch," I decided it was time to head back to the room, as Sherry's advances were becoming less and less veiled.
I get back to the room to find the crew still partying, and I proceed to drunkenly berate them for leaving me at the bar where I could have been raped. Much to my surprise, a couple of them want to go back there. Somehow, we muster the coordination to grab a bottle of champagne (which was chilling in the bathtub) and head back down there. When we arrive, the few remaining patrons are suprised to see us, but overjoyed that we come bearing gifts. I announce to everyone in there that we are celebrating our band's 5th year anniversary, to which Daniel and Ian quickly call bullshit on me. Stabbed in the back by my friends!!! Not a good situation. Luckily, no one really cared that I was lying, and an excuse for these dumbass rednecks to drink champagne at nearly 6 in the morning was wholly unneccessary. We had our nightcap, bid adieu to our new friends, refused an offer to smoke weed in a van with the karaoke master and headed back to the room.
When we arrive, we see that the others whom we had left behind had made it to the free continental breakfast. Unfortunately for them, they had not realized that frozen waffles are not delicious when they are still frozen. For some reason (you have to understand, details of this point of the evening are incredibly fuzzy), Daniel and I decide that, by God, those guys are going to get some toasted waffles. We make our way for the lobby, but are stricken with the most horrific case of the giggles I have ever experience. We twice contemplate going back to the safety of the room, but realize that we must soldier on for the benefit of our friends. We are still laughing uncontrollably when we arrive in the breakfast room which is quickly filling up with old people who are probably on their way to early morning church services. It dawns on me that I have been drinking whiskey, beer, and all manner of things for over 12 hours, smoking like a chimney, and I smell like shit. I also am punctuating everything that comes out of my mouth with a wide variety of curse words. We are not welcome in the breakfast room, but Daniel and I will be damned if our friends do not get to enjoy their waffles.
We try our best to hold it together, but I absolutely lose it when Daniel asks these two young girls where they are from. They tell him they're from Michigan, and he keeps shaking his head and asking himself aloud, "Michigan...? Michigan? What are they doing here? Michigan? What on earth are they doing here? Michigan? Really? What are they doing here?"
I fall down. I realize I need to get back to the room, or there is going to be trouble. We stack some waffles on a plate and get some orange juice and try to get back to the room. Though it is only about 50 or 60 yards through the hallways to get back to our rooms, we stop twice to fall down laughing. I made it back to room 255 with a quarter of a glass of orange juice. Daniel walked in with a banana hanging out of his zipper and one waffle. This may be the only time in my life that I actually laughed myself to sleep.
Obviously, Sunday was a complete waste. I felt like I was going to fall of the face of the earth, I was so hungover. I deserved it, but goddammit, I had the best time of my life. It is important for all of us to remember to take advantage of situations as they present themselves, not worrying about the consequences if they do not seem to apply. The only thing that could made my night any better is if you guys were there to share it with me. I thought of you all, at different moments in the night, and wished you could be there to witness the glory. I tried to do each of you proud.
I love you guys so much...