I recently played a solo show, as I do two Mondays a month, at Panera Bread at a mall in Escondido, CA. They have a really nice outside area and we can usually fit about 75 people out there.
Anyway, this past Monday, April 9th, I was setting up and this band from France, Betraying the Martyrs, touring the states, was there. You could immediately tell they were a band. Long hair, skinny jeans, flannel shirts, tattoo sleeves, hoodies. Not that I cared. Some of my favorite bands look exactly like that, i.e. The Used. :-) It was 8:45 am and other than me they were the only ones there.
I had to ask who they were. So I did. I caught the lead singer with a mouth full of Thai Chicken salad and asked, “Who are you guys?” He told me through a mouth full of lettuce. I asked where they were from. Where they were playing that night. Found out it was Whiskey A Go Go and went about my biz.
A little while later, their drummer came out for a smoke. He was a nice dude. Personable. We chatted. I found out he was a “fill in” and came down from Canada for the tour. He had a week to learn the songs and two days of rehearsal. After listening to their stuff, I have to say that is impressive.
A few minutes passed and the tour manager came out and asked me for directions to the nearest home depot.
Then the rest of the crew came out. They all wanted to smoke in the area I was setting up. I tried to be polite and told them that it would be cool if they didn’t smoke in the area because a bunch of kids were about to show up. I was already feeling a bit self concious. This was a serious metal band and I was this 37 year old dude outside with a case full of foam letters, costumes, rattles, shakers and bubble machines. I was feeling a bit funny…even though I love what I do. One of them sarcastically remarked, “Well, I don’t see this gang you speak of”. (Remember they’re French. :-)). I said they’d start showing any minute and I didn’t care if they smoked but maybe just not right there. I mean their was plenty of space all around the area. The lead singer, Aaron, backed me up, kindly, and said to his band mate, “Yeah dude, it’s just common sense.” I was thankful for that. One of the guitar players, Valentin I think, said, “Back in France I teach at a school for young kids and I can’t smoke in the room with them, but I certainly can outside.” I said, “This isn’t France, and on top of that it’s California, and while you can smoke outside here, if you do you’ll probably get attacked by the moms that come to the show?” He then replied, “It’s the mom’s in France that give me the cigarettes!” I had to laugh. Aaron said, “Let’s go.” and they were off.
As the kids arrived I saw them all smoking at their van and I appreciated that.
I guess they went over to Home Depot and came back because about halfway through the show they showed back up and stood outside of the fenced in patio area and watched for a second. I was thrilled that the patio was full (validity) but remained a bit self concious as I danced the potty dance to our song “Potty in the Pot!”
Hey, though, music is music, art is art and I can totally respect what they do (I even like bits of it) and I think, think, just maybe they got a kick out of what I did too.
They have quite a following and wish them all the best on their tour in the states.