Once upon a time, there was a flatlander chick born to live through the rocker age of the seventies. From the first time I saw Fonzie sporting a leather jacket on Happy Days I knew I wanted to be a rock star. His friend Leather Tuscadero aka Suzi Quatro had hair I needed. I scraped together some money when I was 13 and hit the hairdresser in the Golden Mile. I got it cut and colored into a platinum blonde spiky topped shag as my friends wondered how long I would be grounded for. My mother said something like ‘Oh Wendy, what have you done!” The rebel was born! It was 1977. My aunt Jeannie had also gone over to London, England around that time and brought me back some cool postcards with mohawked punks on them. My hair was a punk and rocker fusion. I was in love.
Bands. Let’s just say I’ve been in an complicated relationship with them for over 30 years. It started with dating the proverbial guitar player, which meant being of service to all of the band. Whether it was feeding, housing, or making the t-shirts and backdrops, you are now a part of the team. You learn pretty fast to keep an arms length to preserve your sanity. Never talk to your band member spouse on gig day about anything unrelated to the event. Your personal relationship is back burner for that 24 hour period. If I couldn’t be a rock star, I could live vicariously through them.
The Cobes times were pretty intense considering how booze soaked my persona was. That decade was a whirlwind blur. Running a venue with a guitar playing madman for the first 4 years were some of the highest and lowest swings in my life. Booking the bands brought all sorts of interesting interactions. You notice that bands are really like having a relationship with 3 – 5 humans. Some are close friend like and some end up being the equivalent of a one night stand. Others end up as co-dependent love/hate debacles. On the cancellation excuse front I’d say musicians are fairly accident prone. I’ve heard of every conceivable body part being mangled.
These days I’ve left the personal vibes behind in my relationship with bands. It’s a lot easier to have an even keel stability when emotions aren’t involved. I actually feel semi-retired by just being only the booking coordinator for Funkys. As each day goes by, I feel less inclined to take on all the responsibilities of running a venue again, wearing all the hats, especially now that booze has been taken out of the equation. After a full year, it is still hard to linger around at the end of the night when everyone is on a different level of inebriation.
As I was jotting thoughts down for my usual last minute column, shitloads of cops roll up to bust the underage rave a few doors down. I laugh as I hear reports of a melee of road pop drinking minions lurking in the alley and my thoughts wander to the heyday of the Cobes where the parking lot was a punks best friend. I don’t miss dealing with the cops, inspectors, slumlords, assholes, and shit disturbers that couldn’t cooperate with heat score avoidance instructions. There was always someone to answer to. No one seemed to appreciate that fact.
I live in the moment these days. Clusterfuck booking problems are my only stress point. I create events and post gig details online to inform the public. I make posters on my computer, in my pyjamas, on my couch at home. I clock into my office bar stool at the Funkys bar and collect my paycheck once a month. I hang out to organize the 20 or so band peeps so they can entertain the music enthusiast that attend the shows. I love my job! Thanks, Happy Days!