Kerby's 40 Oz. Of Hell -- Cinderella and the $250 Autograph
Monday, September 23, 2002 @ 9:11 AM
The Rock n' Roll Rantings Of A
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Welcome to the dump where Jeff Kerby lives in his Pinto and swills mind numbing alcohol case after battered case. I have been assured that every couple of weeks I will receive a column from him undoubtedly written on one of the torn up bags which he uses to house his malt liquor. It seems this poor guy lives with all that society throws away only to find solace in a bottle of fire. Here it is, Kerby’s 40 Oz. Of Hell. Be glad you only get to visit -- he has to live there. – Ed.
Today’s Episode: Cinderella and the $250 Autograph.
I really miss the pain.
I’m not talking about the manufactured, “my mom and dad never loved me” Korn-Limp Biz kind of pain either. Nope -- not at all, what I’m talking about here is the kind of strife that brings you face to face with the fact that hardly anyone ever dies having been lucky enough to fulfill their dreams with smiles adorning the wrinkle-free visage of their lifeless corpse. Nope -- it doesn’t happen, instead, most people like me just end up dying sad, unsatisfied and neglected near the dumpster behind the local Jack In the Box. The remarkable thing for me about standing in some hot-assed back room at the Cajun House in Scottsdale, Arizona last Thursday night after Cinderella show was the realization I came to as I glanced about at those mingling around me. Yep, that was when I internalized the vision that there are many in this world whose lives may be even shittier than mine. The scene continued to resonate in my eyes and ears throughout the evening, and for a time I wondered what broken glass might taste like.
Now that I’m back working at the dump again, I don’t come in contact with too many people. Basically I just sit around in a tiny trailer as the New Mexico sun blazes the living shit out of the aluminum roof eight inches above my head and wait for people to bring me their refuse. The individuals I do have to deal with at work though certainly aren’t like the ones I was witnessing at the “meet and greet” after the show on this night. You know the type I’m talking about too -- wannabe groupies, hopeful contest winners… and the opening band. In this case it came in the form of some dudes named Lost Dog. I’m not saying their set was awful. I’m just saying it wasn’t good either. They did play some Motley Crue though, and didn’t make the audience sit through too many originals, so they do get some brownie points for that. No, it wasn’t their performance that was bothering me as the salty perspiration collected on my brow -- nope, it was the sheer size of their women. Lord, they were so big I could just picture these chicks dipping Oreos into their Slim Fast before stripping down next to their bed and telling their much skinnier boyfriends to “come and git it boy!!” Glancing around, I realized that only a few of the people I saw in that room waiting for the band had Cinderella stickers entitling them to be there. Lost Dog’s only claim appeared to be their belief that being an opening band entitled them to an autograph and some time with the band. I mean, I’m not complaining. I had no sticker or anything either, but at the same time, I realize that I wasn’t entitled to shit. I was there for the freak show. Nothing more.
Right next to me some guy came up to these whory blondes and asked, “you guys here to see Tom?” The girls told him they were. That’s when he busted out with, “Well, here I am. This is your lucky night -- my name is Tom.” Fuuuucckk. I just wanted them to all get the hell away from me, have a trailer park threesome and then simultaneously overdose on some bathtub meth while the neighbors could stand around telling police, “They was such damn good people.”
I must have been in that steamy holding tank for at least 45 minutes before the keyboardist for the band came out. I would tell you his name and all that, but what the fuck? He’s the keyboardist for Cinderella. Why the hell should I know that type of information? Why should anyone? I mean, doesn’t that rate right below being the bass player for Bang Tango? He was such a peripheral part of the show that even the musician dudes backstage didn’t want to talk to him. The only one who did was this bald guy who just kept saying, “You kicked ass man. You kicked fucking ass.” He mumbled something else afterwards as the keyboard player was exiting that I’m certain was something like “Dude, you kicked motherfucking ass.”
People around me were talking about how they were hoping that Tom Kiefer was going to come out because he meant so much to them in their lives. Hell, I kinda wanted to see him, too. I’ve seen Cinderella a bunch of times, and Tom never disappoints --consequently, they have more than a decent sized following. Actually, so many people traveled to the show from NM that when the security guy checked my ID, he asked if I had brought half the state with me. It wasn’t too much longer before Fred Coury came out with his hair pulled back in some kind of wet ponytail style thing. He was followed shortly thereafter by Jeff Labar. I have seen a bunch of these picture taking, CD signing orgies before, but these guys were either narcoleptic or just really didn’t give a shit. I mean, I’ve seen death row inmates with more enthusiasm. They didn’t work the room -- the room had to work for them. I just couldn’t find it within myself to care. Besides, there were only about twelve people left in the room at this point because Lost Dog and their undulating entourage had long since departed.
Throughout the evening, security kept promising those in the room that Tom would eventually show up -- however, anyone who was at one of the recent Poison signings can attest to the fact that security always tells you that such and such is going to show up -- that is, until the fans can see the damn bus driving away. I only stayed on this night because I figured I’d already invested this much time into meeting Keifer, I might as well just sit my ass on the nearby pool table and wait for a little while. That’s when that bald guy approached me. You know, the one who kept complimenting the fucking keyboard player. He was drunker than I was, which is saying a lot. The biggest difference between him and me is that at least I know that when I’m drunk I should shut the fuck up. For that matter, when I’m sober I know I should shut the fuck up. Anyway, he came up and goes, “How much did you pay to get in here?”
I’m sure I looked at him with disdain as if he had just farted on the top of my lunch or something.
“I’m a writer.” I told him this because I thought it sounded better than telling him that I snuck in. Maybe I could have just said, “Dude, didn’t you see me? I’m in Lost Dog.” I didn’t say that either, though. Instead, I just turned the question back on him and said, “How much did you pay to get in here?”
“You gonna write about it if I tell you?”
“No… of course not.” I obviously lied.
Oh shit. I started to choke as if I had actually swallowed some broken glass.
“I did. I fucking sure did.”
“What the hell do you mean -- why? Do you ‘hear’ the music?”
“No, I mean do you ‘hear’ the music? There’s some deep shit in there.”
“Yeah, yeah. I got you.”
“Who did you say you wrote for again?”
“Oh, oh. Bet you get to meet a lot of people doing that.”
“Shit, I don’t know. I met Dokken one time. I also met Dave Mustaine.”
“Really? I met Rob Halford. What I mean is that I know him on a personal level. I know him on a personal basis is what I’m saying.”
Fuck. I shook this guys hand? Where’s the antibacterial gel when you need it? I told him to tell me some more anyway. Dammit, this shit really happened, too.
“Well, it’s not like I’m a writer or anything,” he continued, “but I used to do phone sales for Tops and Tails. You heard of it? It’s a local bisexual porno mag. (The actual name of this magazine slipped my mind. Needless to say I had never heard of it.) One day see, I was calling somebody and I looked up and there he was. Fucking Rob Halford. Fucking lead singer of Judas Priest. Yeah. Yeah. No shit. We all just stood around talking. I did have to ask him one thing though…”
“What was that?”
“Dude, I had to ask him about “Breakin’ The Law.”
“What about it?”
“I fucking love that song. I just had to know if “Breakin’ the Law” had to do with breaking the law or if it had to with something else.”
“Something else? Like what?”
“You know. Breaking the laaw.” That’s when he lifted his hand and looked like he was probing at something. The whole time he did it he had this repulsed look on his face.
“What did he say?”
“He told me that song is about breaking the motherfucking law, man. I’m down with that. I just wasn’t going to be into it if it was about… you know.”
I looked at my watch and realized that twenty more minutes had passed. That’s when I asked him. “Hey, if Tom doesn’t come out, is it still going to be worth it? You know, being that you paid so much to get in here.”
“Shit yeah. I used to have posters of these guys on my wall. The only problem is that I asked that one guy for a picture.” He pointed behind me towards Jeff Labar who was talking to a couple of girls who looked as though they weren’t even conceived when at the time Night Songs was released. He went on, “What I wanted was, see, I wanted him to throw up the metal sign like this. He didn’t wanna do it though. He just got all pissed and asked me if he couldn’t do what he always does in pictures.”
“Like what? Put his thumb in his ass?”
“I dunno. He didn’t act like he liked me though.”
I was starting to feel real sorry for this fucker right about now. Two and a half bills for some autographs from a band who hasn’t released an album since Clinton had barely started his Presidential term seemed a bit steep. Then, to get pissed on by a middle aged guy with reddish tint in his hair who was conversing with acne challenged chicks in the middle of the night just seemed like an indignity few should have to bear.
“That’s shitty,” I said.
“Hey man. I’ll bet you go to a lot of shows.”
“I’d fucking pay to hang out with you.”
“I’d fucking pay to hang out with you.”
“I live in Albuquerque, though.”
“Great, say listen, if Tom doesn’t come out in a few, I’m gonna slip the security guard a hundred bucks. Just follow right behind me.”
No sooner had he said this than security came and told everyone to get out.
I was pissed, but I knew this could happen. I wasn’t gonna die -- the bald guy I wasn’t so sure about.
“Look man,” he told me as he pointed out the window of a side door. “There’s the bus. They haven’t left.”
“Lead the way.”
We walked twenty feet, and Tom Kiefer had just sat down on a bench right inside the entrance of the tour bus. Cinderella’s manager was there, and he said that it was all right for him to sign some items. The bald guy was right in front of me, and he surprised me when he said, “Dude, go first, I’m nervous.”
I did. I ended up talking to Tom for a minute while he signed some stuff, and I told him about writing for KNAC.COM and that maybe we could do an interview sometime. He was pretty soft spoken and looked tired, but you could tell that he probably would have at least thrown up a metal sign if you would have asked him to do it for a picture of something. That’s when I started to hear the commotion emanating from outside the tour bus.
“Everyone has to get the hell off of my property right now!! Get the fuck off my property!! The police are coming and your asses are gone!!”
I was just walking down the steps of the bus when their tour manager whispered the name of a hotel close by where I could go if I really wanted to do the interview. I told him that I would and then witnessed the tumult of hysteria awaiting me when I got off the bus. Somehow the night had gone from tranquil to being filled with all kinds of shouting and bodies running around in various states of angry confusion. It didn’t take a college degree for me to figure out that I needed to get the hell out of there. Like I always say -- probation is better than incarceration. I’ve had both, and I definitely prefer the former to the latter. About fifty yards away, I was just able to glimpse the bald guy getting into a tussle with some cops. The police didn’t seem too interested in me though, and as I sat in my Pinto, I threw in a copy of Long Cold Winter and genuinely felt bad that the darn guy didn’t get his pass signed and that it looked as though he was currently in the process of getting arrested. Shit, if I would have seen him before, I at least would have given him one of the damn autographs I got -- sure it would have meant more to him than it did me anyway.
The next morning I went to the Scottsdale Police Department and asked the desk officer if there was a guy that they brought in the previous night who met the bald guy’s description. I told him that the person would have come in around 2 AM from a concert.
The policeman seemed to know exactly who I was talking about.
“Yeah, the Cinderella Fella -- I was here when they booked him on drunk and disorderly. He’s in the tank right now. You here to bail him out?”
Part of me wished I could have, but there is absolutely no way that was going to be fiscally possible for me. Instead, I just left an envelope for him containing the cover of Heartbreak Station that Tom had signed for me the night before. The policeman assured me that they’d put it in with the rest of his personal effects. I wasn’t really worried about him getting it since I figured that items signed by members of Cinderella probably wouldn’t have a substantial financial worth to the majority of the world -- no, probably just to a devoted few.
After about two hours sleep, I ended up driving back home the next day stopping at every possible gas station to buy coffee and take a piss. It appeared as though the night had definitely had an affect on me. As I expected, talking to Tom did reinforce my belief that he is a cool guy and everything, but it also became pretty clear to me, as the miles passed amid an Indian summer blaze, that he wasn’t the only heavy metal hero present at the Cajun House that night. Consequently, it really didn’t come as a surprise to me then when I wrote this and realized that this story really isn’t for Cinderella. Nope, this story should stand as a testament to the bald guy and every other person who may hear Cinderella or some other band that is special to them in a different frequency than the rest of society. Yep, this one is for you -- for those who believe in the love and the power of metal and the pain that invariably goes with it -- after all, there is no good music without it.