Followed by shadows
Always looking over my shoulder
I know you are there
But I keep running.
Followed By Shadows M.S 1993
We spent the next few weeks doing all manner of gigs at night and partying during the day. We did bands at pubs, we did bands at clubs, we even did some stage productions for some small group which I remember Steve and Brad saying was shit money but something that keep things moving.
Personally I didn’t mind the quieter stage shows, we were home earlier and it was less work. I was never much of an actor or stage person but watching some of these people from back stage did give me an appreciation for their craft. In actual fact I think part of me might even have connected with a few of them given that their lives were not that different to mine. The main difference was they were only acting like someone they weren’t on stage, I was doing it all the time.
But there was no mistaking that music, especially rock music or more specifically what was emerging as the new breed of Australian Pub Rock was what I liked most. It was hard, fast, loud and aggressive, it was often fuelled by drunken revellers milling around bars smoking and drinking enough booze to sink a pirate ship.
It wasn’t always a pretty scene with fights and brawls a regular thing between sets, after sets and even some nights during the set with the involvement of the band. There was nights where security was called, nights where police were called and many more nights where ambulances were called. Honestly some nights it was a blood bath in certain parts of the city, but that was what the scene was all about and every night of the week revellers came out to see bands and get drunk. The more notorious a venue became the more people flocked to see a band there. The more people that turned up the more the bands got paid. And the more the bands got paid, the more they played and gave us a job. Some might have called it a vicious circle but to us it was life.
Each night I worked my arse off lugging gear, running cables, unpacking the truck and following orders. The more gigs I did the more things that clicked together and the more things that clicked together the easier life was for all of us. I stopped needing to be asked to do things, I stopped having to look around for who needed help and I stopped being one step behind everyone. I started to recognise when things were needed, like lining up the lighting cans in order as Frank assembled the lighting rig, or fetching and running the cables for the fold back speakers as soon as they were placed rather than having to be asked. Even the simple thing of recognising which case one of the guys needed next and running it over to them before they were looking for it.
All those things made working easier and it made working as a group easier. I wouldn’t say I became good friends with Frank, Dennis and Lenny but there was an unspoken civil like agreement between us and as long as I did my job they seemed to accept that I was making things easier for them.
Day times were completely different though. I still spent my entire nights sober, even the few times Steve offered me a drink back stage or in the back of the truck I managed to say no. I’d sit on Coke or some other equally over powering soft drink. Partly to make sure I didn’t do something stupid while drunk but mainly because as different as my life became I still didn’t want to risk that by getting Daphne and Power Touring in trouble for anything to do with underage drinking.
Once we were away from the licensed venue things were completely different. Most mornings there was either beer or bourbon in the truck for the trip back to the warehouse and most mornings I’d be sure to partake in at least some of it. However when we got back to Steve house things really kicked off, as you would probably expect in such a party house.
If I wasn’t “in the love of the common people”, so to speak, those drinking, lazing, smoking and zoning out in the main part of the house, I was in my bedroom with Andrea doing a mixture of those things. Alcohol and weed became a regular thing in that bedroom and many a time I saw Andrea shoot up with whatever substance she was able to get in those needles at short notice. I no more tried to stop her than she tried to stop me drinking until I passed out.
However what she didn’t know at the time was that she was probably saving me by not noticing how much I was drinking. You see that white bitch was still haunting me, I’d tried her a few times since that first time the day after my birthday and each time my mind was flooded with those horrific memories I wanted to forget. Sure I got high and felt good but the coming down was a fucking killer for me.
I found that if I stayed drunk while Andrea sat beside me pushing the needle to the red I was not tempted to let the needle in myself. I could smoke reefers all morning, I could gulp bourbon by the mouthful, but with both of those present little Miss Heroine did not tempt me.
How Andrea and I ever managed to have sex in those weeks was beyond me. With me being drunk and or stoned and her being off her head with smack whatever we did manage may not have been much, but somehow it still strengthened our relationship. If someone had told me at that point in time that Andrea and I were destined to fail I would have asked them for some of what they were smoking because it was obviously better than what I was smoking.