Ah to be a rock star band groupie ala Almost Famous. But alas I’d resolved myself to being not blonde enough or hip enough or insane enough or perhaps just too plain old. Plus I didn’t really know any rock-stars, or even guys who played in a band. Nor could I summon up enough enthusiasm to hang around scantily clad in rock-star groupie finery outside the back entrances of stadiums or clubs or eclectic music venues, since it’s usually pretty cold and often raining here in San Francisco, and I have an aversion to freezing my ass off.
However, my chance miraculously enough, finally materialized in the form of Andy Grover, good friend, and new bass player for Vancouver, Washington based TempleShock. I had been traveling in and India for around a year and upon my return to San Francisco flung myself up to Portland to say hello to Andy and see his first gig with TempleShock. Or perhaps tried to fling myself into the Portland area – not being able to summon up some kind of metaphysical fling (although after spending four months in India I was a bit disappointed that this talent had not somehow been acquired) I was forced to rely on commercial airlines and found myself weathered out of Portland for two days.
Finally airports opened and airplanes begin flying on the day of the gig –January 10, 2004. Stepped off the plane early that morning into the coldest sloppiest weather I’d seen in over a year. As I waited for Andy to retrieve me from the airport, visions of my hammock on the island of Koh Jum, early morning swims, lounging on the beach began to assault me almost just almost knocking me out of my quest for rock band groupieism. Good thing Andy arrived and he had heated seats in his car so the specter of palm trees slowly receded – well not really, although I did stop worrying that the artic air would freeze off my perfect very non-pc tropical suntan.
Turns out that pre-gig preparation is very serious business, takes hours and encompasses a plethora of stages. After forcing Andy to listen to various bits of “world music” – Ethiopian and Indian – in addition to a few other activities — stage one of pre-gig preparations began – departure for the home of the band man in charge and the place where all the equipment lived. For me this meant donning the perfect rock band groupie outfit. Well I’d been on the road for a year and my threads were more then a bit threadbare and it was f-ing cold thus the scanty rock-star band groupie clothes I had twirling around in my minds-eye were not really an option. I managed to slap on a pair of tan suede pants, low-cut black clingy top, accessorized with funky Indian and African jewelry, added tall black leather boots and lots of Chanel and was all ready to slip into my calf-length black leather coat.
Andy on the other hand was lacing up his brightest, whitest tennis. I sort of looked him up and down – faded green lucky t-shirt – one of our activities involved washing the lucky t-shirt (I asked a mutual friend about this t-shirt after and found that this t-shirt had been the lucky t-shirt since their college days), jeans and the afore mentioned tennies “What the hell are you wearing. Andy, “Huh?” – blank look Me “You’re supposed to be a rock-star where are the black leather pants and the silk paisley shirt with feathers flowing off the arms? And what’s the deal with the shoes. Andy (As he tucked a black eyeliner pencil into his pocket. “Hey it’s a rock band gotta wear the sneakers. This is when I also learned that the bass amp got the front seat – which included the nice seat heater.
After folding myself into the backseat to a background monologue of “We need guns Neo” and other Matrix witticisms (long black leather coat appeared to be very inspiring) we drove to Washington State not Canada and stage 2 in rock band gig preparation commenced. As we entered the house of Josh a.k.a. TempleShock headquarters I found myself more then a bit nervous. What sort of etiquette was expected from a rock band groupie? What kind of attitude should I cope? Friendly and effusive? Cool and nonchalant? Hip with great musical acumen throwing dry, cyncical quips to my left and right? Alas opted for – awkward and silent. Figured I looked good though. We tromped through the house down the basement stairs into the TempleShock lair. And so it began. Many gigs later, through a new lead singer and the firing of the new lead singer, and those suede pants are a little too tight due to the cheese burger reward system (oh, you were in Africa for 8 months have a cheese burger, in India all the cows are sacred, plus you walked up those 1000 steps at 12,000 feet, you now deserve a cheese burger. With bacon), but managed to summon some tattered jeans and a chiffon long coat from my closet. Then there were the boots. Dark red. I never learned the songs, and never saw Andy in eyeliner. But it is with very fond adieu, that I bid Templeshock goodbye (just came from the last gig at the Roselands — a really big place.
And look forward to watching Andy play his bass somewhere else.
Even his house is good. Might even be better then a Templeshock concert since I won’t have to wear ear-plugs