“Damn,” Roy paused to take a sip out of whatever gnarly liquid was in his red solo cup. “this band sucks.”
I rolled my eyes, “Try telling everyone else that.” I swung my index finger in the air, pointing at the mass amount of people clumped together down in the basement of this run down house we were all in. “They seem to be taking a liking to the music.”
The smell of cheap beer was so strong I thought I was going to gain a headache, but after all the times I’ve been here, I never actually do. I never get a migraine over the obnoxiously loud music either, but that was something I grew used to when my dad was in his band. When he would have to leave to go to one of his shows I would run over to my mom and cry until she actually would take me to see him play. So all of this music, as loud as it may be, was just comforting to me. Feeling the beat of the song on the bottom of my feet brought me back to when I was younger. The rhythm crawled up whole body, making every inch of me vibrate, was my favorite part.
This band that Roy gladly talked shit about, did have some skills. The drummer was pretty decent as well. The he had way more talent than The Mob’s drummer. I watched as he threw his drumstick up and caught it, then continued to beat on the pads of the drums. I was glad Roy brought me with him whenever he had gigs. I got to watch all the drummers play, which kept me happy.
“They really aren’t that bad.” I told Roy. “Their drummer is certainly better than yours.”
“Yeah, whatever.” He scoffed. “James blows, we know, but we don’t have contact with another drummer who would be willing to play with us. Nor do we know anyone who can deal with Damon’s hot head.” Then Roy looked at me and smiled as if he were up to some mischievous plan. Which knowing Roy, he was.
“I am not the drummer you are looking for.” I yelled over the screaming of the people cheering on the band to play more songs.
Roy paused for a second. “But you’re talented.”
“You are just mad your band sucks. Well, mostly your drummer.”
Okay so I admit The Mob wasn’t that bad (aside from the name “TH3 MOB” in all capitals, with a three as the “e”).Their only problem (aside from the horrible name) was their Drummer, James. He was a constant no show and when he did show his face he would ruin the whole gig by playing poorly, which made the whole band look incredibly bad. A band is nothing if they all cannot play in sync. One instrument can ruin the whole sound of a song, even I knew that and I didn’t play in a band. But not only did James play poorly, he made the band look even worse when getting hammered all the time and yelling at almost everyone he came across at their gigs. He always caused drunken fights, but mostly with the bassist.
“Um, R-Roy.” I heard faintly over the chattering crowd. I look over to see a short girl with bleach blonde hair standing in front of Roy. She looked about ready to pee herself with nerves. “Good luck tonight!” Her tiny voice was barely audible, I was surprised I could even hear her.
“Oh, thanks so much! I totally appreciate it!” Roy said with way too much enthusiasm. He was always so excited when people came up to him here. If people knew him at the gigs that means they know the band.
By that time, the girl’s face was beat red. She seemed to have a little crush on my friend. “Have a good one Roy.” The girl next to the flustered one said, while pulling away her fidgeting friend.
“Aren’t you a popular guy.” I laughed. “The band is picking up around this place, even though you suck.”
“We are getting some people who dig us. I think it is mostly our looks though, because like you said, we’re bad.” Roy replies.
Roy wasn’t wrong. All the boys in The Mob were pretty good looking. Even Roy had a pretty face. With his buzzcut, lip ring, and green eyes, he had many girls crushing on him, whether they knew of the band or not. I was surprised he didn’t have a girlfriend by now. If I didn’t know Roy I would probably be be attracted to him as well, but I have known him for far too long now and only see him as just my friend.
“Hey Roy.” I heard someone yell from the crowd. When is this guy going to stop being so popular? All of the sudden a guy with a crazy tall, blue colored mohawk faced Roy. “So guess who just walked out.” he paused for dramatic effect. “Again.”
Roy put his face in his hands. “What the fuck man, are you kidding me, again? We cannot afford to lose this gig! We have rent to pay.” He yelled angrily. “Tony won’t let us slide again this month, he is sick of us always paying late.”
“Damon pissed him off again and he just bounced.” The mohawk boy informed him. “James was all like ‘Bro, I think you should play more like this.’ and Damon was like ‘You’re a drummer shut the fuck up and stay to your instrument.’ and James was like-” Roy cut him off.
“Luna,” Roy nudged my arm. “ I’ll be right back.” He huffed and followed his mohawk friend into the sea of people in front of me.
I stood there in silence as I listened to the band play, what might be their last song. I close my eyes and felt the music move through me, listening in to the drummer’s beats, but I was rudely interrupted when I felt a hand on my left wrist. My eyes flew own, but before I could see who grabbed me, I was getting dragged through the crowd of people. I yanked my hand back as hard as I could to get away. “What the fuck?” I yelled. I wasn’t all for creeps just dragging me around.
“Shut up and follow me.” Roy yelled angrily.
I slap him on the side of my head with my free hand. “Don’t freak me out like that you weirdo.”
We finally got through the mass of people and move into the little room behind where the band was playing. I guess you could say this was meant to be a perfect place for the “back stage” not that there was a real stage, but the bands held their equipment here and hung out in this room before it was their turn to go out and play. The Mob was supposed to come out after this band, but they might not get to now.
“What the hell are we supposed to do now?” A guy with bright red hair yelled and kicked the wall in anger. “You know Damon, I really think you should stop arguing and just ignore him. James is too much of a drama queen anyway. Why do you have to get under his skin all the time?”
"Whatever man, if he wants to be a cunt, let him! No one is going to tell me how to play my damn bass. " The one I presume was Damon, hollered.
“Damon, can’t you play nice for one gig? You know if we cannot play, we are dead.” Roy said.
“Fuck off.” Damon sneered, putting up a middle finger before lighting his cigarette. “And what the hell is she doing back here?”
“Will you chill out. That is Roy’s friend, that drummer girl he is always goin’ on about.” The mohawk guy said.
Roy looked at me now, with this puppy dog look. “Luna,” He began, but I already knew what words were going to come out of that mouth of his.
I cut him off before he could finish. I knew where this was going. I knew he was about ready to ask me for a favor. “No! Roy do not do this to me. I would do anything else, but NOT that!"
"You know the music. You have helped me practice so many times before! You can totally fill in." Roy goes on.
"But Roy I- " Yeah I believed myself to be talented with drums, all thanks to my father, but there was no way I was going to play drums in front of a big crowd. I didn’t even feel confident enough to play their set list. I wanted to help a friend, but I couldn’t.
“Just for one night, please Luna. I will never ask you for anything else ever, please!” Roy continued to beg.
“You’re kidding me right Roy?” Damon laughed and put the cigarette to his lips before speaking once more. “The drummer you talked about was this little thing? Hell, she is just some girl. He made you sound super high and mighty though, Princess. How are we so sure you can really play?”
“Damon, shut up. You know we really don’t have a choice.” The guy with the red hair said.
“Excuse me? Do you have something against females play instruments? I don’t really think you are in the position to deny someone who knows how to play drums and who memorized your songs.” I scoffed. Who the hell did this guy think he was?
I looked at all the other boys’ faces. They seemed to have been kind of shocked about my attitude. Even Roy had a little shock on his face. I refuse to get put down by some pig. I am not afraid of some punk in skinny jeans whose only job is playing music for drunk teenagers who rebel against their parents.
It didn't take long for me to change my mind. “Hey Roy, give me some goddamn drumsticks.” I demanded, looking at Damon. "You can thank me after you get your money, Princess."
“Yes!” The boy’s yelled in excitement. “Let’s get movin’.”
“Don’t worry Luna, I’ll ask band that was before us if they can leave their drum set out for you to play, I promise I will be right back. I have your drumsticks in my guitar case. I knew one day this would happen.” He smirked and left the room to speak to the other drummer.
This kid stole my drumsticks? I decided to let it go for now while I looked around for Roy’s case. When I finally spotted a big black case with a giant sticker of a flaming skull, I knew it was his. I opened it and lifted his guitar up to grab my sticks from under the neck of his Fender.
Once I had my drumsticks in my hands I started feeling sick. My stomach began to churn as I thought of me playing in front of a big group of people. By impulse I fidgeted with my sticks, twirling them around in my hands. I attempted to recall a few of their songs in my head that I played countless times with Roy, trying to mimic the playing in the air. I had to make sure I didn’t forget a single note. I was lucky my memory was magnificent or I wouldn't be able to do this favor.
“We are really going to let her play?” I heard Damon ask, as if he had not gotten it through his thick skull yet.
“Really Damon? Let it go man. Let’s just give it a shot.” The mohawk guy said. “How worse can it get? We already didn’t have a drummer present.”
Roy came back in the room. “Okay Luna, their drum set is all yours. They understand the situation. Here is the setlist, can you play all these songs?” Roy asked, handing me the small notepad with the name of their songs written in shitty handwriting. I could tell Roy had to quickly scribble down the songs before coming back here.
“Ah, yeah yeah.” I stammered, inhaling the biggest amount of air through my nose and letting it out my mouth slowly. I had to calm down these nerves.
“Don’t worry.” Roy smiled before walking away from me to get his things around.
I have never been so nervous for anything. It was too late to turn back now, I already agreed to do this for them. Damn Damon and his temper, if he hadn’t pissed me off I wouldn’t of willingly agreed to do this so quickly. I tried to calm my nerves and beat my drum sticks on an invisible drum in front of me. I’ll show all of them I can do this. I’ll even show them what it’s like to have a real drummer playing their music.
“Luna,” Roy yelled, picking up his guitar and his amp. “Head out there and get a feel of those drums. Fix them to your liking, okay?”
“Yeah alright.” I replied, before walking out of the room and making my way to the other band’s drum set. I sat down on the stool and took a good look at the drums that were displayed in front of me.
The drum set was beautiful. I wasn’t some cheap, couple hundred dollar set you see some bands have. This had to of been maybe five hundred dollars or more. The whole set was all black wood. It was super breathtaking, and in that moment I was extremely stoked to be playing on such a great piece of equipment. I’ll definitely have to praise this guy after our set. How could he let just anybody play on such a fine instrument such as this?
Before I could do anything I put my long brown curls in a high ponytail to get my hair out of my face. Then I began to adjust the foot pedal and push my foot down on it a couple times, testing it for my comfort. I started beating the sticks on the pads of the drum to get a feel of the sound, making sure everything was good for playing. Once everything sounded decent enough, I messed around by playing a couple things I knew to make sure it all sounded alright all together.
Before I knew it, Roy was plugging his amp in and strumming his guitar to test the sound out, along with the rest of the band. Roy stops for a minute. “Hey, I taped the set list at your feet so you can look to your left if you forget the next song.” He smiled at me. “You’re going to do great.”
I felt adrenaline pumping all throughout my body. I have never been this excited in my whole eighteen years of life. Now I could see why my dad used to be in a band. This thrill to play music with people and for people. I finally understood why my dad did it, and why Roy does it now. It all makes sense.
Roy looked back and nodded his head at me, letting me know we were going to start. He strummed his electric guitar, plucking away at the strings. I hit the pads of the drum right on cue with the music, pounding the foot pedal. It sounded completely different without James here. It sounded better without him, in my opinion. I looked over at Damon, who was on my left. His eyes already on me, examining my every move. I smirked at him and he looked away, not fast enough because I saw him smirk right back. He couldn’t question if I could play drums or not anymore, because he already knew.