When I was 18, I was in a band called IZONU (eyes-on-you) Yeah… they were a fairly well-known band in Akron, despite being in the twilight of their existence. The singer Ernie was much like you’d expect an early ‘90’s singer to be–with the hair, the pants, the attitude… and also dumber than a stick. He later became an Akron City Councilman (he no longer holds that position due to something about accepting a bribe…:). The keyboard player, a guy named Scott, who could have been cool if it weren’t for the fact that he tried way too hard to be Ernie. My best friend Jamie, played bass. One night we played a gig at Ron’s Crossroads. It used to be called the Temple Tavern until it got shut down for overly expensive drink prices… well I guess the drinks weren’t as expensive as the drugs they sold you WITH your drink.
Anyway, now it’s Ron’s and we have a gig there. I don’t recall much about the actual performance, but I remember quite a bit of the antics that went on around the show. My sister was there as well as some of her friends and my dumb stripper girlfriend. My sister and her host of friends and my dumb stripper girlfriend came to a lot of our shows. My dad was also there, and this was rare as he didn’t come to many of my shows. And of all the shows to attend, he came to a complete shithole of a dive bar. But something makes me think he was more comfortable being there than I give him credit for. Perhaps this was the type of bar he was used to hang out in. He was playing pool. I was getting ready for the show. My sister was frolicking around, drinking and most likely fucking with someone. And my stripper girlfriend was certainly astounding somebody with how dumb she really was.
Not long before we were scheduled to go on, my dad came up to me and said, “If I’m not here when you finish playing, it’s because I just bet this guy $100 I could beat him at pool… I don’t have $100.”
I didn’t have $100 either. But for some reason, I knew my dad would still be there. And he was. You see, Bob spent much of his younger years hustling pool and bowling. He would tell stories of his outings when he would do just as he is tonight at Ron’s; go to pool halls and bowling allies and hustle almost any taker. Oh sure, sometimes he didn’t win, but it was not often. He proudly tells the stories of when he didn’t win and had to run. But the majority of the stories were of him winning.
After our set, my dad and I joked about the fact that he was still there and hadn’t been shot or beat. My sister, still fucking around and bringing a sense of fun to the entire place. And the girl in the corner, looking dumb as fuck? That’s my stripper girlfriend.
We hung out. Had some drinks. Smoked whatever we had left and began the tearing down process of the gig. We had a couple guys to help us with our gear. Not real Roadies, as we could not afford to pay people to carry our shit around. These were friends who just wanted to get to the show for free and indulge in the bands inebriates. And this is when it got interesting.
Upon the band attempting to get paid, the club owner gave us about $200 bucks less than we felt we should’ve been paid. In response to our protest, the bouncer apparently thought it would defuse the situation by pulling out a Mac10, install the magazine into the gun and inform us that the amount of money was indeed correct. We continued to protest. Name calling and threats ensued. Even some minor pushing and shoving. I’m not sure why we thought it was a good idea to get tough with the people with guns, but nothing was accomplished as we did not get what we were owed. But at least we got some money and they didn’t keep our shit! And of course no one got shot or any shit like that.
So with our gear, our bullshit money and our tails between our legs, we all went to Jamie and my apartment which was in the same neighborhood of North Hill.
We often partied after shows at whatever place Jamie and I were staying at the time. The parties were always great! Plenty of booze, boobs and bowls! Except that this time, Jamie and I did not hang out at the party. This time we got back and immediately changed into camouflaged clothes, grabbed a couple bats, got back in Jamie’s van and drove back to the bar.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and we did NOT intend on beating anyone. We were not violent guys. However, we would fuck your shit up!
We are waiting for the gun guy… Gun Guy was a rough looking dude with long hair and a long goatee. He wore big, baggy, ugly Z Cavericcis and a muscle shirt with some sort of Chinese calligraphy on the front. He was definitely very in shape and despite the shirt, looked like he probably knew Karate or some shit anyhow. In fact, he looked like he really would enjoy doing a bunch of coke and beating the shit out of things. And even without the gun, most likely he could have whipped the hell out of both of us and our bats. So, lucky for us, we weren’t there to fight.
When Gun Guy finally came out and got into his Camaro with shiny mag-wheels and white-letter racing tires on it, giant ones on the back, jacked up all “late ‘80’s” style. We were ready with the van running. Hoping he didn’t live too far away, as we may run out of gas if he did.
We followed Gun Guy to his apartment in Cuyahoga Falls. Making fun of him and the apparently “custom” but shitty paint job he probably paid for with coke. We watched him park the car with his stupid fucking pants and go inside. We then drove about 15 or so blocks away and parked the van. In our camo, bats in hand, we trekked through yards and alleys back to Gun Guy’s place.
We devised our plan on the way. How long we would beat his car, alternative routes back to the van and the plan if we had to run. Which was to ditch the camo and make your way to the all night restaurant on Front St. Not the van… They’d be looking for us. Ditching the camo was part of the plan anyway (we had regular clothes under them). But not until we got back to the van. Never IN the van but in a trash can, or hidden somewhere close by. We would come back and get them later.
When we got there, no lights were on in Gun Guy’s place. We lurked in the shadows and reminded each other of specifics of the plan: Hit the car as fast as you can. But only hit it 8 times. Then run to the alley and creep back to the van or the restaurant. Ready? GO!
Bam! bam! bam! bam! bam! bam! bam! bam!
We fucked that shit the fuck up!!!
I don’t know if Gun Guy ever heard us, or even if his lights came on; “Don’t look back; it slows you down!”. But we made it to the alley, crept back to the van and dumped our camo under a pile of rubbish in an adjacent alley. The van started. Which is notable, because sometimes it didn’t. In which case, Sleeping in the van was the plan.
Now, perhaps we were pussies for handling the situation like we did. But like I said, Jamie and I were not violent people. We saw it as a “pay it forward” type of mentality; You owe us money. If you’re not going to pay us, pay someone else! And we were 18… So Gun Guy was going to have to pay someone else. I know it was the club owner and not Gun Guy who shorted us the money. BUT!!! He was the guy with the gun. He was the guy in “real” charge. He was the guy. So he had to pay it forward.
As we drove back to our apartment (the party), we commended each other on the execution of the plan. It was flawless, except that we both sorta wished we would have had to go to the restaurant… We loved that restaurant! I’m certain that no one at the party even knew we were gone. We melded right in and partied as well…
The next day after we picked up our camo, we went to that restaurant. And we didn’t run out of gas!