Met Anthony, Delroy, and Brian at Doyle’s Pub. It’s our pre-gig ritual. I get done with work and close up shop at around seven, and we meet up at Doyle’s and toss back a few shots of Jameson’s and a couple PBRs before heading down to Hell’s Kitchen.
Brian’s the drummer, he’s a good guy. Solid. Always grinning. Delroy makes fun of the way he’s always grinning, like he’s retarded or something, but Brian’s got a different girl every time I see him, so I guess it works for him. Delroy is the only black indie rock guitarist I know (who’s not gay). He feels burdened by the legacy of Jimi Hendrix. He took guitar lessons in New York from Vernon Reid of Living Colour. They were popular in the late eighties, I guess. This makes him a bad-ass. I just have a hard time taking his rock persona seriously. The dude graduated cum laude in math and philosophy from University of Puget Sound. Cum laude in bad-assity, he says.
Anthony Helms is the frontman. He’s the one who came up with the name Humpday Mayhem. Wednesday being the day when the fate of the week is sealed, he says. Either things all unravel and fall apart by then, or else the fates decide in your favor and the path to greatness is set in stone by Wednesday. But if you look closely at any given week, you can see what path it will take by Wednesday. The rest of the week is just aftermath. Anthony’s in another band called Aftermath.
I’ve always pressed him on his Humpday theory: like, do you know your fate first thing on Wednesday? At the stroke of midnight? Or when you wake up? Or do you have until the day is over to seal your deal? And where does mayhem fit in, except as a convenient alliteration? I only bring this up when we’re drinking, so he knows I’m not really serious.
Gig was average, I guess. But we knew that beforehand. It’s become sort of a routine, too: the band’s not getting any bigger, but we’re not getting any smaller. The girlfriends all come out to the shows. So do the girls waiting in line to be our girlfriends. A couple dudes, mostly from other bands. Once in a while you get a college kid in there. Since they moved into the new location in downtown Tacoma, Hell’s Kitchen has been pretty lame actually. I mean, they’re hanging on okay. But it’s like they saw some movement, something jiggling in the water, and they went for it. But the downtown scene hasn’t panned out yet. It’s all right. Place wasn’t dead-empty. We had fun. Besides, they give us the Hump Day slot each week, and do a big “Why-Not-Wednesday” drink special to bring folks in, so that’s pretty cool.
It’s fine, it’s an escape for me. I’m not doing the band thing as a career path—that’s what I’m hoping glass art will be for me—and I’m not doing it just to get laid. Libby always comes to the shows, and we usually have sex on gig nights, so that’s cool. But it’s not the only reason I’m in a band, you know? I dunno, it’s just fun to be up there and part of something. And it always feels spontaneous when you’re on stage, even if you know in the back of your head how many practice sessions it took to get there, and no matter how many times the singer still slips on the lyrics he wrote and has sung a hundred times before. Now matter how many times we play the same three chords, it always feels fresh when I’m up there. I’m probably the only one who’s not bored by it. And there’s no pressure on the bassist really: I’m like the craftsman, me and Brian just laying down rhythm like brickwork as fast as we can.
Another thing I like about being in a band is that I get to take a break from thinking about glass, and I get to take a break from that group of people. Okay, so a lot of them overlap, and I see them at gigs, and it’s cool, but whatever, I’m doing my own thing when I’m with Humpday Mayhem.
A friend—Jeff—brought us Subway sandwiches. Brian’s good at design and he’s helping do posters for Jeff’s band. So we get free sandwiches.
We sat there at Doyle’s before the show, contemplating the averageness of the Subway sandwich. Bartender rolled her eyes and reminded us that outside food should be, you know, kept outside. Besides, we have a menu here, we have food. But you’re food sucks, is the retort from Delroy. At least Subway is average, he says, which is better than sucks.
I have an idea for the hinge for the giant clam. It’s tricky, but I think I can pull it off. I should ask Holly to help me out, but I need to do this on my own.