Just Lifehouse and Me...
Updated: Mar 9, 2020
...and all of the people, with nothing to do, nothing to lose...
I was a kid of the '90's, yet completely missed being part of the MTV generation. I was raised in a vacuum of pop culture with no cable TV. Our only window into that world was the light rock radio station my mother played in the mornings as we got ready for school. I was familiar with any Top 40's deemed appropriate for those DJ's, but rarely learned the names of any artists, and certainly never saw what they looked like.
This relationship with pop culture carried over into adulthood, and still heavily dictated my awareness of current Top 40's despite the Internet's new existence. It gave my early music career an interesting...twist. I'm ignorant and clueless, yet uninfluenced by the current 'hip' sound -- which is sometimes a good thing, and sometimes bad. I've been doing a lot of catch-up in order to better relate to my peers. I doubt I'll ever finish.
Fast forward to cerca 2011. I was living in Raleigh, NC, working for an Americana band, starting The Hourglass, filling in with Steven Mallard's showband, toying with quitting the medieval rock band 2Gether, and gigging heavily with a coverband; which is what I was doing on the night in question.
The Red Hat Amphitheater of downtown Raleigh was having a huge concert, so the bar directly across the street wanted to entice leaving concert-goers to come in for an afterparty by booking a coverband. Mission accomplished -- the bar was packed and steamy like a sauna. It was one of those rare occasions where we in the coverband got to be bonafide rock stars.
We were done around 1:30am, and encouraged people to close out their tabs as we packed up. No one in the band wanted to go home for some reason. Everyone wanted to hang, which was pretty unusual. I was tired and interested in none of it. I'd sweated enough, and the last thing I wanted was to run up a bar tab to spend my hard-earned pay.
I put on my coat, and Andy Washburn, Raleigh's hardest hustling music promoter, ran over to stop me. As I noticed his approach, I caught the eye of a blond man hunched over the bar. His eyes opened wide as we made contact, and he quickly turned his gaze to the froth of his beer. Was he staring at me? I wondered. Oh, he's pretty cute...
"Jessika..." Andy began as if he had something important to say.
Not now Andy -- I need to make for an Italian goodbye.
"Yes?" I smiled.
"You should stay," he stated gravely.
He seemed drunk, and very sleepy, yet determined to ride this party wave as long as it would last. He'd been working overtime with his nonprofit, NC Local Music, to promote the concert in the amphitheater, and all the live music performed by local artists in and around that event.
"I really need to go to bed, I teach tomorrow," I replied.
The blondie at the bar was staring anxiously at us while we spoke.
Maybe he'll talk to me, I wondered. He really is good looking...
Cue the BGM (Disney speak for "background music"): What day is it? And in what month? This clock never seemed so alive...
Andy was also staring at me intently. "Jessikaaaaa--" he groaned. "I'm telling you. You really should stay."
"Let me at least put my gear in my car," I insisted.
I strategically walked slowly, shoulders heavy laden with fiddle and effects pedal, to the load-in door, passing the hot blond on my left. He turned as we passed by, but decided against getting up. We made it to the door, and I saw him and Andy exchange a subtle shrug.
BGM: I can't keep up and I can't back down, I've been losing so much time...
"I'm sorry Andy -- I'm sure it'll be fun but I start teaching at noon. I gotta go," I said slowly.
Guess he isn't going to talk to me after all. Oh well -- it's not every day I get checked out by a hot guy, so that's nice. He is a bit on the short side anyway... (later life experiences have taught me this doesn't matter so much)
"OK, well, I understand," slurred Andy. "Goodnight."
Oh Andy. No one loved music more than Andy. No promoter revered his musicians more than Andy. Per his own declaration, he insists he was born with no musical talent, so in order to be a part of the scene he was so passionate about, he decided to help everyone by bridging the gap between artist and venue. NC Local Music was thus born, and as a result, he knew everybody that ever set foot in North Carolina to play their original material -- and then some. The local music scene owes him a huge debt of gratitude.
Andy had never led me astray with his recommendations, but I hate loud bars. I'm not much of a drinker, and I just wasn't feeling it. Plus, if I had to wait forever for blondie to grow the balls to talk to me, that probably didn't bode well for our long-term compatibility. Besides, I avoid dating men I meet while wearing stage makeup. Le sigh.
I drove home and carried in my stuff. My phone dinged with a text from Andy as I was peeling off my stage face.
"Jessika! The lead singer from Lifehouse saw your last set, and he wanted to meet you SO BAD."
"What? Who's that?" I replied.
"You don't know who Lifehouse is!? They were the headliners at the Amphitheater!"
"Well, why didn't you say so?"
I opened Google Images and searched the band.
I'll be damned -- it's blondie from the bar! And they're the guys who do that fabulous rock ballad in three...? Dammit. Jessika!!
"Jason didn't want me to," Andy continued. "But he was looking for a way to talk to you."
What?! You're the lead singer of Lifehouse FFS, just talk to the pipsqueak fiddle player in the coverband!
Ignorant as I was about who's who in pop culture, I was not ignorant about the touring musician lifestyle. I was not about to be some groupie servicing a superstar, flattering herself that for some reason he'd remember me above all the others. So maybe I'd dodged a bullet.
BUT MAYBE I MISSED MY BIG BREAK?! SHOULD I HAVE LISTENED TO ANDY??!!
What day is it? And in what month?
This clock never seemed so alive.