Damien: A Good Omen II

Friday, March 26, 2004: Club Dada

I was a nervous wreck when I woke up Friday morning, and I can’t lie and tell you that my nerves were due to our upcoming show at Dada that evening. No, my case of the jitters was, of course, a direct result of that night’s big NCAA Sweet Sixteen hoops contest between my beloved Longhorns and Xavier. A win over the Musketeers would likely pit Texas against the mighty Duke Blue Devils for the right to advance to the Final Four in San Antonio. I could barely fathom the idea of Texas playing for the national championship a mere eighty miles from Austin, so let’s just say I was more than a little pumped. NOTHING could get my mind off the hugeness of the Xavier game—nothing.

Until I made the massive mistake of checking my email at 12:30, and discovered that we had no drummer for that night’s show. As Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “It’s always something!”

Turns out that Mike was violently ill, and he had emailed me bright and early Friday morning to let me know he couldn’t play. I knew he had to be deathly ill to take this drastic measure, so at that moment I knew we had to find someone to fill in—or cancel. And you just can’t cancel a Friday night Dada show and ever expect to be booked again. We really only had one hope: the legendary Damien. The man had saved our bacon at Dada before, and he was our only hope once again.

By this point, the Longhorn game was but a distant memory in my brain. And trust me, any of you who know me understand how hard it is to make me forget about anything Longhorn-related. A quick phone call to Damien proved lucky, in that he was indeed available and would be happy to play. Problem solved, right? Well, not exactly. See, Damien kicks butt on the drums, but it generally helps if you actually sorta know the tunes. I know—details, details. Many may argue that even on a good night, we barely know the tunes. This situation was a bit different, though. The last time Damien played with us, we had time for a little run-through at Jon’s before the show. This time, that wasn’t going to be possible, so I did the only thing I could: simplified the set list, popped all the songs on a CD, and left it at Dada so that Damien could listen to it when he arrived at 8:00. After all, I wasn’t going to be there yet—I had some hoops to watch.

Unfortunately, we lost. I am still sick about it, and I will not bore you with details of how we were royally screwed by the officials. But I’m not bitter or anything…

Somehow, I kept my alcohol intake to a minimum during the Longhorn loss, and arrived at Dada about 9:15. Damien was smiling and assured me he would be fine. I was NOT smiling, as there were four people in the entire club. Uh oh. “Well,” I thought, “at least no one will be here to watch us suck.” At that point, we trekked to Damien’s car to run through the songs one more time, and for me to try to fill him in on a few details, especially on the songs that we play that barely resemble Neil’s original versions (which of course is just about all of them). When we returned to Dada, I was pleased to see that the place was starting to fill up nicely, which helped ease my fears a bit. After the Chris Holt Jukebox finished its set with two kick-ass Rush tunes, it was our turn to set up. Without Mike’s massive drum cage, we set up in record time and were off and running.

Just like last time, Damien amazed me. I still can’t understand how someone can learn 14 songs in an hour, but he did it. Sure, we were rusty at times, but overall it came off very well given the circumstances. “Sweet Caroline” was warp-speed a la The Ramones, but somehow it worked anyways. The highlight for me was my now-traditional self-penned verse in “I’ve Got the Feeling,” which on this particular night went as follows:

Oh no no no no, baby something’s wrong
Oh no no no no, that old-time fire is gone
Now some may think I’m feeling sulky
But I’m not the one fucking Curtis Mulkey.

Sometimes, you just have to laugh, you know? :)

After the show, we stuck around to check out Chevy Van, who never fail to entertain. With the official death of “The House,” we actually bypassed the after-party for the first time in what seems like years. But have no fear: then after-party will return in Diamondbag Never Dies. Think of this show as a Timothy Dalton, with Pierce Brosnan on deck for the next gigs:

Saturday, April 17th: LBG (with No Commitment)
Saturday, April 24th: The Barley House
Friday, April 30th: The Cavern (with Oliver’s Army)

Once again, a thousand thanks to the amazing Damien for saving our asses on ridiculously short notice. Thanks to the Longhorns for a great season, and thanks to you for reading and supporting the band. Not all of my friends suck, you know.

Set List
Kentucky Woman
Forever In Blue Jeans
Cracklin’ Rosie
Cherry Cherry
Love On the Rocks
I Got the Feeling (Oh No No)
Solitary Man
Red Red Wine
Holly Holy
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
Sweet Caroline

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