Big Billy – Band on the run

We were eatin’ supper one night last week there and Little Bill announces him and his band are gettin’ back together, and I damn near fell off my chair when Minnie said they could use our basement for practice.

Now Little Bill and his buddy Squishy started up it’s gotta be five or six bands by now. Big BIllyUsually what happens is one of the other fellas gets a girlfriend or hockey season starts up or somethin’ and they lose a drummer or a bass player and that’s the end of them. Of course, the last time they had the band goin’ was last year, and that ended after there was a big blow up when Little Bill tried to get his girlfriend Rita into the band.

At the time, I was lettin’ them practice out in the baby barn because I just cleaned out a bunch of beer bottles toward the end of the hockey season so there was a bit of space out there, and there’s no way Minnie was gonna let them play inside with all the god-awful racket they make. Anyways, yis might remember that’s the time Squishy burst out of the barn, yellin’ back at them – who ever heard of a french horn in a death metal band? And that was the end of the band.

The band’s back together, eh, bud? I says to him at the supper table. Did yer buddy there finally let that little red-haired girl in the band with yis?

Little Bill let out a loud tsk, flopped his hair to the other side of his head, and said him and Rita were broken up for over a month now. (He said that like it was about ten years, and I guess when you’re that age, that’s how it feels.) Then he lit up and said – No, the band’s not gettin’ back together. This is gonna be a whole new band, and it’s gonna be mint!

Mint? I said. I didn’t know things could be flavours nowadays. Anyways, who’s in the band with ya?

Well, he said. There’s me and Squishy – we’re gonna be co-lead guitarists, and then there’s Goose on the bass and Mikey’s gonna play drums.

Isn’t that everybody who was in the old band? I said.

No, Bill said. All them guys were in The Dark Black. But Mikey left and we had no drummer for a while, and that’s when we changed our name to The Blood Biscuits. Then Mikey broke up with his girlfriend and came back to the band, but Goose started workin’ at McDonalds and could never come to practice, so we had to fire him, and that’s when we became Steel Trap. But a few months later Goose got fired from McDonalds for eatin’ cheeseburgers he was supposed to throw out, so he came back to the band the same week Mikey broke his wrist skateboardin’, so we had no drummer again. But we decided to leave the name of the band as Steel Trap because we didn’t want our fans to get confused by another name change. Anyways, when we lost a drummer, I realized Rita could play a tambourine, which is like a drum, and she took french horn in the school band, so we added her and changed our name to the Screamin’ Daisies. But before we could get a gig anywhere Squishy and Goose left over creative differences.

I should let yis know here that Little Bill and his band was always talkin’ about gettin’ “gigs” but as near as I can tell, their schedule was one gig a year, which was in the school’s talent show.

Oh, I said. I thought they left because they didn’t want your girlfriend in the band?

Minnie was standin’ behind him, and she stifled a laugh at that and covered her mouth.

No, Little Bill said like he was deep in thought. No, I think it’s more that Squishy and Goose were into death metal, and Mikey was always more into thrash metal, and I’ve always been more into gothic metal. So we were all just completely different, musically.

We told him there was only a couple of rules – don’t bang into the furnace or the oil tank, keep it down to a reasonable volume, and music stops at 10 o’clock, no later.

So anyways, Thursday night comes and there’s a knock at the door. Sure enough, it’s Jeremy and Walter (a.k.a. Squishy and Goose) and Mikey, carryin’ all their cases and equipment and everything else. And ya shoulda seen the look of them all dressed up like rock stars, politely kickin’ off their sneakers and goin’ through the kitchen and down the basement stairs.

Well, Minnie said, I’d rather have them here than god-knows-where doin’ god-knows-what.

We went in to watch TV, and there were a few twangs of electric guitar and a few bursts on the drums, but it was mostly quiet. Too quiet, really.

Listen, I said – that sounds like somebody’s playin’ an acoustic guitar and actually singin’. (Usually they don’t sing so much as scream and screech their heads off.)

So we lifted up the mat by the front door and looked down through the old vent. There was Squishy, playin’ an acoustic guitar, and Little Bill standin’ there and singin’ his little heart out.

Ohhhh Riiiiiita, I miiiiiiisss you …

The song finished and the last few notes on Squishy’s guitar stopped vibratin’, and they all looked at each other in silence for a second. You could hear the chains on Squishy’s leather jacket rattlin’ as he took a seat on a chair. Mikey looked at the floor and played with the rod or whatever it is he got pierced through his eyebrow.

Dude, Goose finally said, that’s the most pathetic song I’ve ever heard.

And that’s when the brawl started.

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