bulletproof, schmulletproof

Irony: four days after I refer to my 1990s-era GK800RB bass amplifier as “bulletproof,” it dies. On stage. In the middle of a set. In which we were seriously captivating the audience, most of whom didn’t know us and were there to see the opening band or were just walk-ins from the street. It’s not necessarily a reflection of quality, simply a fact of life that if people are there to see their friends, they might stick around for a song or two for the next band, then take off when they think nobody’s looking. Especially if it’s late. But goddamn if people weren’t moving closer to the stage and cheering after every song.

Then halfway through the fifth song, I hear a crack, a few more notes, and silence. A horrible smell–a combination of burnt seaweed, fish, and truffles–emerged from my amp. People near the stage thought the sewer was backing up. The soundguy later told me he thought it smelled like burning plastic.

Anyway, at first I thought it was my bass. It’s an oddball created by a guy in Berkeley, and the battery for the active pickup’s hidden behind the pickguard, meaning you have to unscrew 10 screws before you can replace it. As a result, it doesn’t get replaced much.

Fortunately, the bass player for the other band–the unfortunately named but talented and kind Survey Cez–was kind enough to let me borrow his bass, and, when that didn’t work, his amp. Completed the rest of the set without incident, sold some CDs, and went on to play a freaking party down the street (using a borrowed PA).

Also had great shows (with a rented amp) the next two nights with my other band. An all-ages deal with about 100 kids dancing (they knew the words, too!), and a show in Pioneer Square–next to the football stadium–after the Seahawks won the game that would take them to their first-ever SuperBowl. Almost got my car confiscated by the cops–I blocked the street to ask the doorman where I should unload and came back to a cop in my front seat, asking for the keys. (Talked him out of it, barely.) Exposed body parts and wild costumes were common.

Didn’t make any money from any of these shows, but it felt pretty damn good.


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