Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hot Spikes

Life’s hard, but it’s a lot harder if you’re fuckin’ stupid.

—George V. Higgins, The Friends Of Eddie Coyle, 1970

Toronto, 1981. The bad part of town or whatever.

The fat man shuffled his feet. He said, “I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying.”

Ron fixed his mustache and rolled his eyes. “What I’m saying is, you gotta take a long hard look at this thing. The big picture, I mean. Because I don’t think you’re seeing the angles. I think maybe you need to pull your head out of your ass.”

“You’re leading me, Ron. Spit it out, already.”

“Look, it’s like this: I’ve been working like a bastard on this thing. Day and night. Carrying the whole goddamned operation on my back like it was my own newborn son. But you, you’re not pulling your weight.”

“You calling me fat, you fuck?”

Ron smiled. “You are fucking fat, Eddie. But that’s not my point. My point is, it’s time for you to buck up.”

Eddie watched a pigeon shag a cigarette butt off the curb. “Okay, okay. Just tell me what you want me to do.”

“First thing’s first, Eddie. You gotta lose the Hawaiian shirt. We’re a fucking heavy metal band and you wear a fucking Hawaiian shirt—and white fucking khakis—to a photo shoot. Said photo ends up on the back of our fucking album. Ergo, we look like assholes.”

“Please. You’re wearing a pleather tunic in that picture. Over a black t-shirt. John’s wearing canary-yellow sweatpants with sky-blue bowling shoes. And Jeff… fuck. I think Jeff might be a fag.”

“Look, I already talked to those guys. Now I’m talking to you.”

“So what do you suggest, Ron? Spikes? Leather? Mirrored shades? You want me to do the cliché thing? You want us to be a fucking cliché? Like what’s-their-tits? Venom? I know you said those guys were kidding, but I’m not so sure.”

“Fuck Venom. They’re a novelty act. You think the world is gonna remember Venom 30 years from now? No fucking way. They’re gonna remember Fist, Eddie. And not the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal Fist, either. The Canadian Fist. Our Fist.”

“Amen, brother. Amen. So what’s our next move?”

“Our next move is we gotta step up our game. Hot Spikes was good. It was real good, minus the band photo and all, but now we gotta move on up. Give these humps in Anvil something to sweat about. And not just them. Most of these greaseballs, they’re just dying to open for Rush. That’s the big time to them. The end-all, be-all. That’s making it. Fuck that, Eddie. I want Rush to open for us.

“I’ll be honest, Ron: I like what you’re saying. I like it a lot.”

“I thought you might. So do me a favor, okay?”

“Anything, Ronnie. Name it.”

“Lose the Hawaiian shirt, buddy. Pretty please, with sugar on top.”

“Consider it done. But what I’m saying is: If not the Hawaiian, what the fuck should I wear?”

“I’ve got this idea, Eddie. I think it’s gonna blow some minds, too. You know how we talked about calling the next album Fleet Street? The whole Sweeney Todd thing?”

“You mean the glam band?  The one with the little kid for a lead singer?  Yeah, he went solo and he thinks he’s hot shit now. Bryan Adams, that’s the little prick’s name. Can’t stand that fucking kid.”

“Eddie? You’re working my last nerve here, buddy. Sweeney Todd, the fucking barber. Slits his customers’ throats with a straight razor and passes the bodies off to his girlfriend so she can make meat pies.”

“For real?”

“It’s a fucking story, Eddie. Concerning the mysterious origins of ‘dubious pie fillings,’ if you know what I mean. Circa Victorian times. Which brings me to my point: I think we should go full Victorian garb for the next set of album pix. My sister’s a seamstress—I already talked to her about it, and she’s in. We might even be able to squeeze a decent budget out of the label, do this thing right.”

“I have no fucking idea what you’re talking about, Ron. But if you think it’s the way to go, I’ll back your play a hundred percent.”

“Trust me on this one, Eddie. We’re gonna be fucking huge.” 

This bullshit originally appeared in the April 2013 issue of Decibel magazine. 

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