Band Decisions: My First Trip | All Ages of Geek
So if you read my bio, I mentioned how I got fired from my band for not wanting to drink or do drugs, and I’d explain it in the future. Well since it is the time of motivation here at All Ages Of Geek, I might as well explain my beginnings in the band all the way to the bitter end but the bright side in all of it.
I’d like to make an immediate disclaimer before we continue and say that I will not be mentioning names and the name of the band and will use false names, as I absolutely do not condone attacking anyone who is currently or used to be in the band as I’ve fully moved on since, and I already slammed the door behind me when the firing happened, so it’s best not to cause any issues as this is old tea that has since expired.
I graduated high school on the 25th of June and got my diploma in two days on the 27th, and I didn’t really have intentions to go to college yet as I wanted to take some time off, but it wasn’t long until my calling happened two weeks after graduation.
I got a message from the lead singer to join his band “Cold Shoulder” as their inaugural bass player, and as an 18-year-old, fresh as hell out of high school who’s been dying to start a band or find one, without hesitation, I joined. My first day of practice was the 16th of July, and the band consisted of Johnny, the lead singer, Andy the guitarist, Roger the drummer, whom I’ll talk about later in the story, and myself, the young bassist. The age gap between the four of us was pretty major since Roger was turning 28 in August, Johnny was turning 25, and Andy I think was turning 23, so from 18 to 28, major gap.
It was a speedy start because the next show the band had, was on the 22nd of July at The Bowery Electric, so I literally had 6 days to learn all of the songs we were performing that night, and add my spin on it to give the band a wholly unique sound for the show, and would you guess it, I nailed it, and the crowd couldn’t believe that an 18-year-old kid, fresh outta high school could play as well as I could. It was a feeling I never experienced before, even though I was in a school band, rocking my five-string and my pre-stickered Thunderbird bass since I was 15, but it was something completely different, as it was a feeling I wasn’t gonna experience again.
August came around, and after a second successful show, we found out that we were gonna record our first singles together, which both are currently still on YouTube, as the songs are “Little Things” and “Back Against The Ropes.” I documented the experience as well on my YouTube channel, and we spent 20 combined hours in the studio working our asses off to make these two songs the best songs ever… but a dark cloud began to loom over while that recording process was being done on day two.
There’s really no way around it, but I got peer pressured into smoking weed. This was from the band, yes, but it was mostly Johnny and his friends who were putting in most of the pressure onto me, even when I was saying no. I just did it so it can shut them up, and that didn’t really help much. After the recording was done, Johnny invited me to his place to watch the GGG vs Canelo 2 fight that went on, and that’s pretty much where I saw his true colors. He wanted me to do more than just weed, as he also had mushrooms, and cocaine, which his comments before he did a line were “this is a big boy’s thing Dio, you’ll be able to do this when you’re older.”
This is where regret started to immediately set in.
We were back to doing shows in October with an acoustic set at The Parkside Lounge, and that was the last time I decided to smoke weed, as I wanted to get a job, but really, I was beginning to rethink my decisions and leave the band some time in the new year, and I was gonna focus on college as I had applied to start going in January. After another successful show at The Bowery Electric in November, we, unfortunately, found out that Andy would be leaving the band after our next show in December, and unfortunately, that was the show where we ended up flopping really hard, due to it being a cold night in Brooklyn, the fact that it was a local coffee shop, and we played last, and no one was there besides one of Johnny’s friends. And after that, haven’t talked to Andy since.
Joey was going to be the new replacement in the band and our new comrade in the band, stepping in for the departure of Andy, and he was a damn good guitarist. He was 20 years old and he was gonna turn 21 in April, and he had one hell of a dedication because he would travel from New Jersey to come to rehearsals, but unfortunately, he was no different than Johnny when it came to drugs and alcohol. The final show I performed in was at Arlene’s Grocery, on the 19th of January, 9 days before I turned 19. Now, footage of this show has since been deleted from the band’s YouTube channel, which I’d assume it’s to erase any existence of me and Jack as he’s no longer part of the band either, but I do have one song on Google Docs that I will be uploading to YouTube, which is the only remaining footage of me being a part of the band.
This show was riddled with issues, from my bass strings not being that good in my honest opinion, the sound guy was simply an idiot, and when I upload the video, my bass was completely inaudible for most of the song. Talk about getting the Jason Newsted treatment. Joey himself said that he wanted to “kick the sound guy’s ass” for messing up his sound, which I advised him not to as it would ruin any opportunity of the band making a second show at Arlene’s. After the show, I went back to Johnny’s place for his little after-party and played Smash with his friend, and this was where I had fully decided that I wasn’t gonna stay in the band anymore, as drugs and alcohol were everywhere. Mushrooms, Coke, Amphetamines, Ecstasy, Acid, Weed, you name it. All we needed was Ketamine and Meth and we’d be in a trailer park hoedown hootenanny in a barn in the middle of Nowhere, Alabama.
I had to make this a little bit funny.
After all the commotion died down, it was pretty much just me, Joey, and one of Johnny’s sisters and Johnny wanted to find someone to have sex with because his sister’s had some sort of argument. Yeah, that just shows why I wanted to bail. After spending an extra half hour at the place, I pretty much told Joey and Johnny’s sister about my bisexuality (which has since shifted to pansexuality), that I never told anyone at the time, and they welcomed me with open arms about it. I decided to leave a bit afterward because, well, Jack wanted to get down and dirty with Johnny’s sister, so basically, bro code, and I didn’t want to break it, so I obliged. Joey’s last words to me before I left were “I love you man, I won’t tell anyone” and I went home after that.
On February 9th, I got fired from the band by Johnny, as he called me and said: “I’m going through a different creative direction, and I’m gonna have to let you go.” Keep in mind, he said “I’m” not “I was talking to Roger” or “I talked to the others” “I’m”. After hearing about getting fired, I told my friends about it and saying how it honestly sucks that I got fired, but I forgot who the friends I told this to were. My friend Randy rather quickly went on to YouTube and voiced his displeasure of Johnny of my firing, criticized his lack of singing abilities and praising the talent that I, along with Roger and Joey had, while my friend Samantha only criticized the audio problems throughout the footage.
Around 11 at night that same time, Johnny called me in a high and/or drunken fit of rage about my friends comments, even going to lengths calling me “a self-absorbent piece of shit” and ridiculing me about my mental health, as I posted stuff on Instagram about my mental struggles, telling me “I’m fucked up in the head, and that I need help” which didn’t help because that plunged me into an even deeper depression knowing that he never cared about me. I’ve since made two posts on Instagram completely exposing him for his actions, as I wanted to speak up about it instead of staying silent about it. I hadn’t said a single bad word about him throughout my time in the band, and I respected him throughout my tenure there, even if the things he did were questionable, that moment where he disrespected me, he had lost all of my respect for him as a musician, a bandmate, and as a person. At this point, I had wanted to give up as a musician, and I was even contemplating on selling my basses. It’s probably the lowest I’ve ever been in my life.
“Hey dude. Sorry about the way shits gone down the past week. For what it’s worth, just wanted to say you’re a damn good bassist/musician. Bands come and go (I’ve been in like 8 myself) but don’t ever stop playing music! A good bass player is hard to come by, so I hope this whole thing doesn’t discourage you.”
Those were Roger’s last words to me in a text he sent me a week after I got fired. To know that he messaged me after all of the hate and anger I had aimed towards both Johnny and Joey, it pretty much made me breakdown knowing that he cared about me, even after I spoke up about what happened. I haven’t spoken to him since as I’ve distanced myself from anyone who associates with the band, but I absolutely respect Roger for being a professional and handling it properly and telling me to not stop playing music. Thanks a ton, Roger, you’re the man.
Since then, I’ve been on a musical hiatus, but my creativity has no boundaries as I do plan to start up a project or two in the future, as I don’t plan on giving up on music. What I’ve learned from this, is be careful in who you trust, because sometimes, that person you look up to can be your worst nightmare. But even through all those issues, not only do you have to enjoy the little things but even when your backs are against the ropes, you’ll have someone by your side, giving you words and encouragement, to never give up on what you love.