27 Oct


He thought he was the star, totally obnoxious. I guess he saw me as competition ’cause he’d have a go at me on a regular basis. He was basically witless and so it was easy to get him to pull his head in. Besides, he was shite! Totally. He started as a guitarist. He could do some chords, three of them. He switched to bass but he fucked that up too. I’m talking Sex Pistols songs! Didn’t matter. After finishing a few songs we’d stop and he’d start.

His legs splayed akimbo, thrusting his groin at everyone like he was Steve Tyler. He’d throw his hands out to an imaginary crowd and: “Yes! Yes the girls are all going wild for me!” He was serious. He’d run down his image for each of us. I always came last as ‘the ugly one everyone loves to hate’. That was when he was being charming. Once he was over, up in my bedroom and I’m trying to teach him the bassline to “Anarchy in the UK”. He just can’t get it. He’s wearing Dunlop Volleys without socks, it’s not a good smell. He decides to take them off. This is not a good smell either. That’s why he did it. Disgusting people was one of his favourite things.

You can guess the ‘friendship’ didn’t last long. The band didn’t last long either. The drummer, the keyboards. They were good guys. We were friends. But no-one could tolerate this Brian Jones arsehole. Well that’s not nice. Brian Jones could play. The band was doomed. Two heavy metal fans, one typical arty Bowie/Velvets fanatic and a dude who couldn’t play. Alone of all of us it was he who belonged at Phil Collins High. Still we went to the Bowie concert together. I wasn’t rated highly in the social marketplace.

A few years after all this the keyboard guy ran into me on the street. Let’s call him Mick. He was driving a battered white van down Boundary St and saw me. He’d dropped out of a science degree, worked a supermarket night shift for two years and then ended up an apprentice electrician for the council. He had funny stories mostly about guys that, via acts of the purest idiocy, became as one with the city’s power mains leaving a pair of smoking boots. He drove me back thru the old neighborhood. All the forest was gone replaced by cul-de-sacs and predesigned houses: Tudor, Tara, Roman villa and plain brick. From the place I’d lived (sold since) you’d have to walk an hour to get to the wilderness. I would’ve gone nuts.

He spent the evening at my place, the kind of Art Deco apartment ubiquitous in New Farm. Students could actually rent ’em then. A river view even, now they’d ask a million dollars. We got talking about so and so and so. We got around to the bass player. Dead. Overdose of anti-psychotic medicine. Seems all his obnoxious behaviour was the mixed result of a damaged psyche and the damage done by modern pharmacy to fix it. He’d been switching schools for years escaping from the social fallout of losing it. But the obnoxious mania wasn’t his fault. Had something to do with his father. Inside all that baffling egotism was a scarred heart trying, like a ‘drunk in a midnight choir’ to be loved.


One Response to “THE BASS PLAYER”


  1. MEMORY OF A STADIUM GIG « STILL CHAOS - October 29, 2010

    […] relaxed these days. I saw him. Once. I stayed out all night in the Queen St Mall with the bass player to get our tickets first. It was at the end of the six-week winter you get in Brizvegas. Different […]

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