Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Private Lives of Nashville Wives: We No Drama

When I was in my early 20’s, I was obsessed with ‘Survivor’. I thought it was brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that I have two anecdotes about it:

The first was that I applied to be on the show 6 times between 2001 and 2006. I made videos for it and everything. One of them involved me running around Flint, Michigan, dressed as a giant chicken. Frankly, I’m surprised I didn’t get shot for that one. I’m not sure who has the footage of these anymore but if I ever run for President of the United States, I’m sure that they will somehow be unearthed and my campaign will be ruined. My opponent would start running a campaign like “A Vote for Bohn is a Vote for a Chicken.” I should be a professional political operative. My career in public service is over before it’s even begun.

The second was in 2001. My brother got arrested and wanted to be picked up after he made bail. I was specifically told not to pick him (at the risk of losing the roof over my own head). He called my cell phone and asked for a ride but I told him that I couldn’t because ‘Survivor’ was starting in 5 minutes and I didn’t want to miss it. I wish that I was joking about that.

But that’s where my love of reality TV ends. Wait. Do Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood count as products of reality TV that I love? Ok. Three things. ‘Survivor’, Kelly Clarkson, and Carrie Underwood. But that’s it.

I was sitting at home last night trying to teach my dog to not bite my hands (she’s real dumb), while wearing my most comfy pair of underpants, and flipping through the channels when I came across the premiere episode of something called ‘The Private Lives of Nashville Wives’. It’s like one of those ‘Real Housewives of so-and-so’ shows. And if you’re reading this blog, I am sure that you’re VERY familiar with that show. You probably follow them on Pintrest. How does Pintrest work again? Am I doing the internet right? There are a ton of things wrong with this show.

First, that’s not how music works, especially if the music is terrible.

Secondly, I’m not sure if any of these women actually live in Nashville. They’re seemingly of the ilk that smells like online shopping and an afternoon drunk. And by that I mean Williamson County. It’s like saying the Jets or the Giants are New York teams when they’re really New Jersey teams. The only people that they’re fooling are dummies that are bigger dummies than my dumb hand-biting dog. I’m not sure what the overnight returns are on this show but I’m betting it was a fairly decent number. Half of my household watched it. And if you count the dog as part of the household, it was more like two-thirds. Those are some pretty decent numbers.

Thirdly, no one cares about playing at The Hard Rock Café. That’s the kind of venue that you play if your significant other is a successful songwriter or if you’ve “got an inspired funk-rock sound with a ton of energy and you can’t get a gig at 5Spot in East Nashville”. I’m not sure if that’s in any band’s bio but it should be. You know who has played The Hard Rock Café? Me. You know how many people showed up for that gig? About 17.

This show appeals to the lowest common denominator of disposable television. [In the exact moment that I typed that sentence, one of the cast members followed me on twitter.] I hope this show doesn’t catch fire. Well, literally, I do… Like imagine if all the cameras burned up spontaneously in balls of lightning (thing the end of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). Now THAT is something that I’d watch.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The final Death Comesto Matteson show.

I moved to Nashville with really bad gear. I'm talking about the worst gear one could own. Well, the Telecaster was pretty nice but when you play it through a solid state Marshall amp, it sounds pretty terrible. I also used a Vox wah pedal (which, if I've loaned this out to anybody and they still have it, I would very much like it back). And an Ibanez Soundtank Tube Screamer [read: really, REALLY shitty sounding]. Powered by batteries. Do you know where all of that will get you in Nashville? Apparently into Death Comesto Matteson.

If I recall correctly, Peter had me audition in the practice space we shared with Celebrity. I'm pretty sure Peter had made his mind made up that I was going to be in the band before I plugged in. I remember auditioning with "It's Your Funeral, Baby" and "Parking Lot" by Mineral. Two weeks later, I was in Jozeph's trailer recording demos for the full length.

Touring and recording continued for the next few years. And, as things do, they fell apart.

I didn't talk to Peter for a few years. I went from being an usher in this man's wedding to not speaking to him for years. This is the sort of thing that friendships don't usually recover from.

In 2012, my friend Sara came out from Salt Lake City to visit for about 4 days. During those 4 days, my friends in For All The Drifters Paper Route were playing a show. And, so Sara and I went. Where I ran into Peter. After a drink or two, Peter and I started to talk. We said things that we should have said years ago. But I didn't know any better when I was 26 and thought that everyone loved me. At the end of the night, I asked Peter what he thought about doing a reunion show. Just once. I hadn't even asked Wayne or Jozeph. I hadn't talked to Mike in years (turns out, he and his wife moved to Texas). Much to my surprise, he said yes.

As with everything with Death Comesto Matteson does, it took forever to line up. The original plan was to do the show in January of 2013. We only missed out original projected date by 13 months which was pretty good for us.

Peter, Wayne, and I met over at Peter and Julia's house last spring just to test the friendship. What's the point of playing a show if you can't do it with your friends? We're still friends, even given how different our lives have turned out.

We began rehearsing about 5 weeks ago. I had to pay Chris Vicari to play the show [HIRE THIS MAN FOR ALL YOUR DRUMMING NEEDS] since Mike lives a thousand miles away. The first rehearsal that we had -- we knew we would be able to pull this off.

We ran through our final rehearsal on Thursday evening. Just once. That was all we needed. I had to be to work very early on Friday morning so it worked out anyway.

Friday evening, I showed up for soundcheck. I hadn't been that nervous since the first time I played with the band at some venue in Murfreesboro. There was a girl who came to that show and I'm pretty sure we held hands. She lives a thousand miles away and is married to someone else. I remember playing with my back to the crowd the whole night. I remember throwing up in the alley before the show.

I'm just glad I didn't throw up on Friday night.

Friday's show was muscle memory. Except for "Telescope". I had never played that song before and I forgot how to play the chorus. Sorry. [Add some delay and some tremolo and play a chord in the right key and no one is the wiser. Problem solved.]

As we got about halfway through the last song of the evening ("Doctors") my guitar strap broke. What is a Comesto show when things don't break? Not a Comesto show. I figured that I might as well get rid of the guitar. I don't need it anymore. I apologize if I hit anybody with the remnants of that Telecaster.

To say this was a cathartic experience is nothing short of the truth. I was genuinely touched that anyone showed up. Not only on Friday night but any of the nights that we ever played. Like at the outdoor dancing festival thing one fall (2006, I believe) when we played for 4 people. FOUR. Or the time when Cage the Elephant opened for us (now they're opening for MUSE on arena tours). Or the time that I was convinced that the cello player from Murder By Death had a crush on me. I think she's married now, too.

To anyone whoever came to any show that I was a part of, I thank you. From the bottom of my heart. I never have to wonder "What if we had just one more show?" again. I'm not saying that we'll never play another show ever again. It might happen. I thought Friday night was impossible but there it happened.

This could kill us all... But it hasn't yet.