Through no fault of our own, most of us will never be able to spend an evening with a blossoming rock star and experience that kind of life. I guess I’m one of the lucky ones, because I was graced with the opportunity to hang out with Marty Casey, Rock God-In-Waiting. For all you little people who will never get a chance to flip the rid with the skid, I will share with you my experience so that you can all be jealous. If you choose to be the jealous type, that is.
Last Friday night was a typical weekend night for me. After I delivered meals to the elderly and helped the local homeless shelter clean their ovens, I went home to chill out with a relaxing evening of laundry. Lo and behold (yes, not just lo, nor just behold - both of them), the phone rang, which surprised me since most people that I know are aware of my Friday night schedule and are polite enough not to interrupt. I answered the phone. The voice at the other end of the line said, "Hey, Moist, it’s Marty. What’s going on, mutha f***a?" Oh good, I thought, my car must be ready at the shop. "Oh good, Marty," I said "I was afraid my car wouldn’t be ready until Monday." I had mistaken Marty Casey for Marty Trunbun at the body shop. Fortunately, although confused at first, Marty Casey understood the confusion and had a hardy laugh about it. Those Caseys are such good people. Not "good" in an arrogant manner that they make you feel crappy about yourself and how horrible your family is, but just solid good people that make you feel a lot better about yourself, no matter how many times you have been arrested or have wet yourself in public.
"Moist, old boy," he went on to say, "if you’re not busy tonight, I’m looking to party down." Of course, I accepted his invitation. Marty was back in town from his LA recording sessions to attend a family event on Saturday evening. I was curious why he was calling me. Sure, Marty and I are pals, but there are plenty of other people in the Chicagoland area that are closer to him than I am. Initially, he told me he missed hanging out with me at the establishments in my neighborhood (his youthful stomping grounds). But, I knew he was not being forthright with me. After a little friendly pressure, he admitted that I was the one thousand, four hundred and thirty-sixth person he called. The others were all busy trying on shoes. Hey, at least I made the list of a soon to be people’s rock poet. So, I invited him over.
Thirty seconds later, there was a knock at my door. He had been standing at the end of my driveway in the rain, having called me from his cell phone. It was good to see the young comer, and we shared a firm hand shake fully equipped with arm grasp. I was not quite yet prepared to head out for the evening, seeing as I had homeless oven crud incrusted all over me. I gave him full access to my refrigerator, which was stocked with beer and other beer and some other beer, while I excused myself to tend to my sootiness.
When I emerged from my scouring, I found Marty sitting on my couch strumming my guitar. I also found the kitchen was strewn with milk shake shrapnel. "Hey, dude, I helped myself to a milk shake," he explained. "Hey, where’s the lid to your blender?" I thought he would imbibe in one of the many brews I had chilling. Maybe he likes milk shakes. Maybe it runs in the family. You know - drinking milk shakes when you should be drinking beer? I think there is a gene for that.
Marty asked me to listen to him play some of the songs The Lovehammers had been working on in the studio, and he asked me to offer any help I could manage. I was more than happy to do so. I wasn’t just happy. I was more than that. Imagine "happy" and then add "more happy" onto that, and that is what I was. More than happy.
First, he played Trees. It is a good song, but frankly, I’m tired of it. I suggested we turn it into more of a blues boogie anthem. My plan was to keep the beginning and the end the same, but add a huge middle section beginning with the I7 and IV7 chords that would use condensed patterns derived from the E and A Dorian modes, adding a walking bass line of this ilk that is derived from the Mixolydian mode, featuring major 3rds as opposed to bluesy flat 3rds. He was intrigued. Being on a roll, I continued. Next, we would employ a jazzy 9th voicing (with the flat 7th on the bottom - how could we not, right?) and then move into an adequate, yet common, A9 cord for the IV chord, close-voiced A7 on the same four strings (obvious, I know, but it works so don’t mess with it). Then we would bring it home by descending, with confidence, down the root position of the relative C# minor scale to the root position of the E blues scale before implying the B7-C7-B7-E7-B7 progression. Using compound octaves derived from the E major scale (with C, the flat 6th, as a passing tone between C# and B, and G, the flat 3rd, as a passing tone between G# and F#) to scamper down to the IV chord. And the forest gave us the answer. It was beautiful. I decided to toast our effort with a beer. Marty partook, as well. Marty felt that there was no way they would keep this new anthem version of Trees off the album. If it’s not there when you by the CD, blame the record company weasels. That's what he said. Pop radio needs a fifteen minute super-hit, and we all know it.
That process took a while. We were only able to work on their next hit single, Leper Pop, for a little bit before Marty got tuckered out. Marty ensured me that Leper Pop will definitely be on the new cd, and I will receive royalties for it (sneak peak: "Going to a shop with my mop, dookle dookle toodle, Leper POP!"). I suggested we head out to the Roadhouse, where the Lovehammers had their first public gig, to celebrate. But he had a better idea. From out of nowhere, Marty produced the DVD set of the Gilmore Girls second season. I’ll admit, it wasn’t a better idea, but he was my guest, so I loaded up the DVD player. This is when I began drinking heavily. While I poured myself a Big Gulp of Jack ‘n Coke, Marty inquired as to the whereabouts of my family photo albums.
We sat on my couch, Gilmore girls having orgies and shooting guns* in the background, while Marty perused pictures of my children. "Hey, remember that?" he would say, pointing at a given picture. "Marty, you weren’t there," I would vainly retort. "Yeah, those were good times. Good times," he faux-reminisced.
By the end of third episode of Gilmore Girls, I had finished my fourth Jack ‘n Coke, depleting my supply of Jack Daniels. The clock gave me the good news that liquor stores were still open. I told Marty I had to step out to fix a flat tire. He was engrossed in the Gilmore mess: Rory had brought up the subject of Max, which irritated Lorelai, so they decided to scream at each other and have lesbian sex*.
I returned from the liquor store, fully loaded in more ways than one, to the sight of Marty folding my laundry, which happened to be a load of grundies. I told him I don’t fold my grundies, since it doesn’t matter if they are wrinkled because most people don’t see them. He expressed his belief of only allowing rippleless cloth to provide comfort to, as he called it, one’s monument and proximal reflecting pool region. I was drunk, and I still didn’t know what he was talking about.
"Look, Marty," I pleaded, "if we leave now, we can catch last call at the Roadhouse and finish out the night at the Valley, just like old times."
"Got any S’mores?"
I learned a valuable lesson that night. Marshmallows and a fifth of Jack Daniels do not mix well. Marty was kind enough to clean up the fruits of my gastric distress. Better yet, that experience soured his yen for the girls Gilmore. Finally, he agreed to go to the Valley to cap off our evening. I asked him to drive, since I was feeling less than chipper. He had no car. His RockStar Honda Civic was parked in Los Angeles. Since my car was in the shop, we had no ride. Even if we did have my car, he could not ride in it. He told me he could only drive in a Honda Civic. I inferred that there was a contractual reason forbidding him from traveling in a different kind of car, since he won the car as part of a Honda promotion with RockStar:INXS. "No," he said, "Rock Stars only roll in Civics." Right, I forgot.
We walked around my neighborhood until we found a Civic parked in a driveway. I asked him if he knew how to hot wire a car. Before I finished my question he had opened the door and started the engine with a key. "Where did you get that?" I asked. "It’s the key to MY Civic," he claimed. "But, that’s not the key to this Civic," I argued. "Rock Star key." Say no more.
The Valley was chock full of drunk people that weren’t quite drunk enough for their pleasure. There were two seats open at the bar. I nabbed them. Marty never made it to the bar. Fans swarmed him at the door like billiard balls to the corner pocket of a slanted pool table. But a lot faster, and with softer collisions, except for three or four unfortunate skulls. Kathy, the bartender, served up my Jack ‘n Coke as a matter of habit. "Does Marty need anything," she asked. "Do I have any regurgitated marshmallow on my face?" I replied.
After about twenty minutes, a young female Marty admirer, who had witnessed me enter the room with him, abandoned the swarm and approached me. "You look kind of old, are you Marty’s accountant?" Yes, honey, I am. If that’ll make you happy. I wasn’t new to this experience. About seven years ago, Sid F’er, StivOO, Captain Break-it and I attended a Lovehammers show at a club at Illinois State University. StivOO and I joined the post show party at a college apartment, while Sid F’er and Captain Break-it waited in the van. The apartment was packed with cavorting collegers like molecules in a wad of gum at absolute zero. I was barely able to move. So I stood with my beer held up to my face for easy access. A young co-ed, not unlike the girl at the Valley, approached me and asked, "You look kind of old, are you Marty’s body guard?" Yes, my dear, I am. In the past seven years, my physical image has deteriorated from rough and tough body guard to a meek, unassuming, high-powered, and quite wealthy, I might add, Hollywood accountant. Yet I have consistently appeared old. The worst part is neither one of these alter-egos afforded me the opportunity of babe bagging. But at least I got to spend some time with a burgeoning rock star. And he got to spend time with me. And he cleaned up my puke.
When the lights went on at the Valley, I snuck out the side door, leaving Marty to his own wits. I’ve done all I can for that boy. He’ll be fine. It was a nice, dismal, rainy night, so I decided to walk home. As I walked by the side of the road, a Honda Civic, packed with scantily clad, screaming young women, sped by me, splashing gallons of puddle over me. I wonder if that was Marty.
* imagined by author to make it bearable