Almost “Almost Famous”

When I discovered my love of live rock n’ roll that rattled forth from various local stages by the sweaty swagger of many a leather-clad musician, I was instantly enamoured. I followed show schedules, wore a number of revealing outfits, and stood below the stage dancing around in the ecstatic bliss of lusty intoxication.

I was mostly fond of a local Vancouver band, The Red Hot Lovers. This was their actual name, it is not changed because I could not come up with a more appropriate groupie-conducive band name if I tried.

I was also captivated by the The Gung-Hos; basically the same band, playing different songs.

Being a part-time music journalist allowed me the perfect “in” to get to know musicians and attempt to make them fall in love with me, under the guise of “writing an article.” I developed questions to find out their innermost thoughts and feelings, rather than actually caring about their songs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the music – in that the men I obsessed over were responsible for its creation, and therefore brilliant artists in need of a muse. The fact I actually became one was somewhat of a surprise, as I was never really coherent enough to realize I was being affecting; I was too selfish in my appreciation to be open to the possibility of reciprocity. But more on this later.

Almost Almost Famous

Being a part-time music journalist allowed me the perfect “in” to get to know musicians and attempt to make them fall in love with me…

My first foray into dating a musician began with Ike, the lead singer of the Gung-Hos. I still vividly remember laying eyes on the beefy singer with the flip-flop greaser hair and “mom” tattoo. He sang like he was at the end of a marathon, which I took to be a sign of an overwhelmingly earnest connection to his lyrics and not, as I later learned, more of a desperate attempt not to black out and lose consciousness on stage. Our mutual appreciation for alcohol was a clear sign we were meant for one another. I swayed next to the amps, mesmerized, staggering around in a top that displayed my boobs like offerings from a fruit basket. Back in those days I had natural cleavage, which didn’t require the wires, pads, clamps and luggage straps I need now to hoist these babies up out into the open. Needless to say, Ike noticed the bouncing cantaloupes, and then eventually, me. It was hard for him not to – I was suddenly popping out, literally, at all their shows. Gyrating my hips to their excessive guitar noodling, giggling and acting like a general lunatic groupie over the errant beads of perspiration that fell my way. My existence in their universe enabled the already sizable admiration they had for themselves.

The actual interaction between myself and Ike, which led to our first date, eludes me now. I am under the assumption that he mumbled something along the lines of “…drinking… us… let’s go…” and I probably shoved my tongue down his throat to reply in the affirmative that I was, indeed, “gung-ho.”

The afternoon before our date was spent very carefully planning my outfit. As I was teetering on the edge of my punk phase, and veering into my groupie interlude I chose a chord a-line skirt, a lacy top with a v-neck deep enough to attract an open-mouthed double take or two, and a pair of knee high, brown-heeled boots. I essentially looked like a 70s porn star. He picked me up, in his truck, and at the door of my apartment appraised what he saw with a lazy nod. “Nice outfit,” he told me. This was the first time a guy had ever commented on what I was wearing, so given that I had no frame of reference, I felt grown up; convinced that Ike was the most mature and appealing man on the planet.

He mumbled something along the lines of “…drinking… us… let’s go…” and I probably shoved my tongue down his throat to reply in the affirmative…

We drove to the pub, and as I watched him shift gears, his distractedly muscular arms maneuvering beneath the folds of a white t-shirt, I realized that I knew nothing about him. I hadn’t heard him talk before, so I found our base exchange about the irrelevant details of our day novel to the point of thrilling. His voice was thick and grainy as quicksand, it was like a thousand pebbles spraying out behind grinding tires. It was oil and rubber, and backwoods roads. I shivered, anticipating what could quite possibly be the best night of my life. We drove exactly four blocks before reaching our destination, a tiny, cubicle-sized public house with candle-lit atmosphere that shadowed the abstract art, for sale along the walls.

Taking seats near the front windows, Ike loped off towards the bar, where he chatted with the smiley bartender for a few minutes before arriving back at the table with two pitchers.

“Two?” I asked, with hesitant enthusiasm.

“One for you and one for me,” he said, like he was having to point out that I was a girl and he was a boy. I nodded, afraid of not being agreeable, and accepted my pitcher of beer. I wasn’t sure if he was planning on us drinking straight out of the containers, and watched him carefully for a clue on how to proceed.

“Oh, shit. Glasses,” he said, after glancing at me. He turned his head as he stood up again, but not before I saw a hint of a grin. A few moments later he returned and we poured our first glasses, tapping them together in affable cheers.

The remainder of the night was spent listening to his touring stories, all of which involved him drinking to a point at which safety became a growing concern. “One night,” he said, laughing at the memory before he was able to continue, “I fell down a flight of stairs in Germany. Berlin or somewhere. They had to take me to the hospital – I got 8 staples!”

I stared at him, watching his lips move, in awe of his rugged sex appeal. It was as if the bedroom poster of a teenage crush had come to life across the table. My desire thundered out the noise of his voice as I imagined our life together. He’d leave on tour and I would go along, and we could get drunk and do idiotic things happily ever after.

Eventually, draining two pitchers each like a couple of champion guzzlers, the bar kicked us as they closed shop. This was a relief since, being a fraction of the size of Ike, two pitchers of beer had hit me like vertigo on a roller coaster and I was seeing roughly triple of everything. While I realized I was no longer in a ladylike condition, I certainly did not care.

Outside, I attempted to light my cigarette backwards, while Ike told me to wait a moment as he stepped back into the pub. I stood on the street, praying that I did not fall down. Falling in my heels while drunk was a common part of my evenings out. At some point I ended up face-planting in the gutter and laughing too hard to get back up. I did, however, want to try and maintain some semblance of romance to our evening. At this blurry thought, Ike stepped back outside carrying a transparent Toys R’ Us sack that was equivalent in size to a couple of garbage bags. In it were dozens of bottles of beer.

“Wha…?” I asked, lurching as I tried to talk and move my cigarette towards my mouth at the same time. “How’d you get those?”

“I know the bartender,” he said, waving a hand casually. “Come on, let’s go drink these back at your place!”

I followed behind him like a one-eyed tightrope walker, as we both knew enough to forgo driving the four blocks back to my place. I wondered if we could possibly be quiet enough not to wake up my roommate.

“Shh!” I told him, as we tiptoed through the apartment to my bedroom. I couldn’t stop giggling at the clanking bottles in the sack that Ike was carrying in an ungainly bindle, over his shoulder.

Once inside my bedroom, I closed the door carefully and turned to him in expectation. Was this when we were going to have sex? I felt this needed to happen before I passed out. I wanted to remember him in my bed. He bit off two bottle tops and handed me a beer, which I took in my hand with some difficulty. The rest of the night was like a bizarre Hunter S. Thompson nightmare, where our bodies degenerated into slow motion blobbing, like space debris, detached from the expanse of time. We succeeded in sleeping together, I assume, because the next morning I remembered him saying, “Keep your boots on,” and found that every item I originally had on my shelves, including every single one of my dozens of books, was scattered on the floor like leftovers from a cyclone. I was still wearing the boots, and nothing else. Ike was also naked, ass exposed, and snoring as he cuddled up against an empty beer bottle.

Later that day, semi-conscious again in front of the TV, my roommate’s boyfriend approached me smirking in mystified annoyance. “Do you know what happened last night?”

I was instantly wary, and pulled the afghan up closer to my chin. “Maybe?”

He told me that during the night, Ike had gotten up to use the bathroom and upon finishing, entered my roommates bedroom by mistake, crawling into bed between my roommate and her boyfriend and promptly entering into a REM snore session.

“At first, because I was sleeping, I thought it was Christine,” he told me. “Then when I realized it was too big to be Christine, I sort of woke up and saw his face nestled in against my shoulder. I yelled at him that he had the wrong bedroom, and had to shove him a couple of times before he woke up.”

I pulled off the hand I had clasped to my mouth and asked, “What happened?”

He said that Ike muttered an apology before getting up and shuffling out of the room. Stark naked.

This was my one and only date with Ike. I learned, through a series of follow-up escapades at their music shows, and a few more drunken nights of boots-on-sex, that Ike didn’t really date. Or, more specifically, did not limit himself to dating one person. So, I moved on to the guitarist, Andy, who doubled me on his bicycle, through the slick streets of Vancouver, one night after a show. He enjoyed a good laugh and even shaved his chest hair off for me, before impregnating an ex-girlfriend and consequently disappearing. Years later I discovered one of his songs, with the Red Hot Lovers, was inspired by the muse I never knew I was.

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