Freeway & the Vin Numbers

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Song Lyrics  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Shine and Fade

Submitted: July 31, 2010

Reads: 116

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Submitted: July 31, 2010





I was still buzzing when Buck dropped me off at my mother’s house and it wasn’t just from the celebratory 40-ouncers we downed at Freeway’s place after the gig. I still couldn’t believe how well our debut performance went at the Heartbreak Lounge. After having fronted two other far more dysfunctional, far less talented bands during my high school years, I had no idea it was possible to win over an audience -- albeit a small one -- so quickly. Most of the credit, obviously, goes to the Freeway factor. The dude could flat-out jam plus he had that mystique about him that drew your eyes just as much as your ears. But in my own head at least, I knew I was a big part of it, too. For the first time in my short life, the ideas were flowing, the bass lines were working and my vocals were finding that edge -- the razor-bladed passion a singer needs to shake listless, half-cocked concertgoers out of their natural state of boredom and make them pay attention. You’ve got to turn those random zombies of the night into your zombies of the night.
We were starting to do exactly that until we ran out of time. The Heartbreak guys only let us do five songs as the opening act. For our next gig as headliners in two weeks, we would have to triple that. Cover songs were always an option, but our new band seemed to pride itself on being prolific right out of the gate. Amazingly, we already had a handle on nine or 10 original songs that we wrote in about five or six jam sessions the first three weeks we spent together. Turns out Freeway could sing pretty well, too, so he was doing lead vocals on several songs. It was actually kind of a relief not to have to sing every song.
When we weren’t jamming, we were all listening to as many Jimi Hendrix Experience, Led Zeppelin and Doors songs as we could jam into our car stereos, iPods and boom boxes. As far as we were concerned, the late 1960s and early 1970s were alive again and we couldn’t get enough of it. When you really listened to those tunes from those legendary bands, you realized how that music still remains so much better than anything heard since, and especially compared to the music of the 2000s. Two generations later, we wanted to pick up where our blues-rock heroes left off. We challenged ourselves to be that good. It was kind of like attempting to climb Mount Everest. There it stood looming above us. No, we may never get to the top, but the journey itself was a noble one. And yet this undertaking was all kind of ironic, given that the first kick in the ass out of base camp came from Uncle Al. And that may never have happened had I not gambled and lost so badly that I had to “borrow” from my senile grandmother.
As I walked through the side door and into the kitchen of my mother’s house at around 2:30 a.m. on the night of our opening gig, I could hear my mother crying in the den. This couldn’t be good. She either found out about my theft or someone just died. Turns out, it was neither.
“Ma, what’s wrong?” I asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” she replied, squirming on the recliner, turning off the TV and quickly trying to pull herself together after another long Friday night at the Roxy. Even at almost 37 years old, my mother was still drawing dollar bills and 20s out of men of all ages, though her powers now were significantly diminished from the glory days of her teens and 20s. Being her son, it’s hard to describe your mother as hot, but she was -- long, black hair, voluptuous figure, olive Italian skin and soft, stealthy brown eyes. Fortunately, I had never seen her dance and do her thing at the Roxy. That would’ve sent me over the edge. But I had heard enough stories. I knew she had been something of a legend there for many years.
On this night, however, no longer in her many outfits of seduction, Danielle was smoking a cigarette in leopard-print shirt and blue jeans and trying to come to grips with a time she always knew would come in her role as Destiny.
“Vin, what are you doing staying out this late?” mom asked, trying to change the subject from her predicament.
“I told you,” I said. “My new band had a gig at the Heartbreak downtown.”
“Oh, that’s right, Vin, I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m a little out of it. How did it go?”
“Really well,” I said, sitting down in the rocking chair across from her. “We blew the roof off the place even though there weren’t very many people there to see it. We were the opening act, but in two weeks, we’ll be back as headliners.”
“Wow,” she said, trying to be supportive even though she was still half absorbed in her own thoughts. “That’s fast. What’s the name of your new band, again?”
“Freeway & the Vin Numbers,” I said with a smile.
She smiled, too, for a second, then the tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I’m proud of you, Vin,” she said in between soft sobs. “You’re making something of yourself. You’re on the way up … unlike your mother. I’m on my way down.”
“Come on, ma, don’t be ridiculous,” I protested.
“It’s true, Vin,” she said. “They only want me dancing during the day now. No more night dancing shifts. They want me to be den mother to the other girls at night. Their putting me out to pasture, Vin.”
“Sorry to hear that, ma,” I said, walking over to give her a hug. “Who knows? Maybe it’s for the best.”
“I know,” she said. “I knew it was coming. It doesn’t make it any easier though when you start getting older. Let that be a lesson to you, Vin.”
“What?” I asked. “You want me to start my exotic dancing career right way?”
She smiled.
“No, Vin,” she said. “Don’t waste a second. Be great as fast as you can because you won’t believe how fast the time goes. Not that long ago I was 18 just like you and I had everything going for me, including a beautiful baby boy.”
“I love you, ma,” I said, hugging her again.
“I love you, too, Vin,” she said. “Just remember, make the most of yourself right now, when you’re young, because the older you get, the less people pay attention to you and care what you have to say. I hope you have a lot of fun with this new band of yours and you guys really hit it big.”
“We’re working on it,” I said. “Will you come see us jam in a couple of weeks at the Heartbreak?”
My mother wiped the tears from her eyes and cheeks and perked up. She was more stable than Uncle Al and I had given her credit for. I had a feeling she could handle this tough transition time in her life.
“Damn right I’ll be there,” she said. “I won’t be a den mother that night. I’ll be mother to the rock star!”
We both laughed as the clock ticked toward 3 a.m. Wee hours or not, I think it was the first time I had a major bonding moment with my mother as adults.
And it made me even more determined to make sure we put on one hell of a show for our second gig.

© Copyright 2017 Jack Chaucer. All rights reserved.


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