By Mike Stevens
A Sir Robert Tale
Sir Robert Timkins was scheming once again; scheming for ways to promote his band, Sledgehammer Nightmare. True, his first two ideas hadn’t been great ones, or at least they hadn’t worked out exactly the way he’d envisioned them. First, he’d imagined a massive firework display at the close of one show, but the fireworks, instead of being launched high into the night sky, were launched in the direction of the stage; causing the band to dance a jig to evil music; in other words, the band members watched and ducked while fireworks streaked by their heads. It had just been pure luck that no one had been seriously injured. Then, for there last show, he’d hit on the brilliant idea that instead of dangerous fireworks, they’d fire tee shirts out of a cannon over and into the crowd. Light-weight tee shirts; what could possibly go wrong with that? Plenty, as it turned out. Somehow, and it wasn’t clear exactly how, the board to which the 6 tee shirt cannons were attached, had been shifted, and when the cannons were fired, blasted the stage where four of the band members were standing. The stage resembled a war zone, as most of the band had cloth explode in their faces. Nobody had been injured, thank goodness, but everyone had frayed nerves. Now Sir Robert was thinking ‘promotion’ once more, hopefully something a little less dangerous. He had it; Sledgehammer Nightmare would headline their own festival!
He took out an ad in the Little Penny free paper, saying the band was looking for little-known bands who wanted to play a free show to get their name out there. Within a couple of days he was besieged with bands who wanted to play. He didn’t have time to check them all out, so he whittled the list down, by choosing bands who had a cool-sounding name.
Rodent Roadkill was first up. He was among the 3 people who witnesses a band of rejects light their out-of-tune guitars on fire before running ‘offstage’, which was nothing more than pallets, apparently stolen from the local supermarket. The lead singer of Rodent Roadkill came up with a satisfied smirk on his face, and asked Sir Robert if that was an amazing sight.
Sir Robert answered, “You know, I’ve never seen a band torch their guitars before playing; I tell you what; we’ll be calling you.” Yeah, the only thing we’ll be calling you is 5 guys, less than 1 brain!
Flamethrower Kiss was the next band on his list. He watched in amazement as 5 dudes in homemade army fatigues, packing their guitars like a machine gun strapped to their backs, ran out, first one guy ran out, un-slung his guitar, pointed it at the 20 or so people in attendance, then motioned for the next guy, who ran out past the first guy, and repeated the process. All 5 musical commandos took their turn guarding against god-knows-what, until, one-by-one, they reached the stage. One guy in the audience, upon hearing the name FlamethrowerKiss, said disgustedly,
“Flamethrower Kiss? I guess I should have known that the real band would never agree to play in a dudes backyard; I’m so out of here!”
Sir Robert thought the guy had the right idea, so he left too.
He had checked out all the bands on his curious list, and not one of them was anything more than loser freaks who thought it would be cool playing in a band. The show was scheduled for the end of the week, and he didn’t have another band besides Sledgehammer Nightmare lined up to play. What was going to do?
The day of the show arrived, and Sir Robert had done the only thing he could think of doing. He’d called up The Little Penny, and had them change the ad to read,
“Sledgehammer-Fist!” instead. Then he got various musician friends to act like they were going to play, but their lead vocalist had a severe case of explosive diarrhea, so ‘Fist and Last’ would be unable to play. Anyone who complained that it had said ‘Sledgehammer-Fest’, was told they must have read it wrong.Thankfully, no one had the earlier ad that would have proved the switch.
Sledgehammer Nightmare took the stage. There were quite few people in attendance, thanks to the ad in The Little Penny, and because it was free. Sir Robert approached the microphone, and started screaming out the words that sort of went with the crunching music.
“Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Psychedelic Killers; they’re freaking out due to taking too many drugs; they’re freaking out cause they’re really such bad-a** thugs. Look out; they’re after you; Now what the f**k are you going to do? Yeah, Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Psychedelic Killers! Ohh....!”
Sir Robert’s mind was racing. They had already played every song the knew, and the show wasn’t even an 1/2 hour old. Granted, they’d only written 5 songs, but still, they all seemed pathetically short. Why, oh why couldn’t he have written a self-absorbed 18 minute song like the ones he hated so much? Now he could understand them a little better. When you need to fill time, an extra-long song, no matter how s****y, fit the bill; but then they hadn’t expected to have to fill the entire show by themselves. He looked in desperation at the other members of the band, who all shrugged, then launch into a song.
“Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Killers; they’re freaking out...”
When they’d started in on ‘Psychedelic Killers’ for the fourth time, they’d been booed off the stage! At first, the music had been so loud, the audience hadn’t noticed they were the same songs over again. But gradually, the repetition of songs had made it through their drug and alcohol-fueled haze, and the audience appreciated it not at all.
“What a rip! We want our money back!” someone had yelled from the audience. When Sir Robert had reminded them it was a free show, that’s when the booing began.
“Yeah, well screw everybody!” screamed Sir Robert. Lighters, and in one case, a chair, where being hurled upon the stage. Time to leave, thought Sir Robert. Next show, more songs!