a musician told me the story of a club whose name i have already forgotten. we were talking about skanky bathrooms, and he falls into the tangent of the story about the club that had the nasty bathroom.
he was a punk rocker, playing gigs all over town. he had this quick little festival spot at a club with a skanky bathroom. this bathroom had two toilets, no sink, and no mirror. the toilets had no partition. these toilets had probably only been cleaned when the real estate agent was trying to sell the place, or the urine-spray was so juiced up on performance-enhancing drugs that the ammonia managed to scrub the place clean.
the punk rocker took one look at that bathroom, and one look around the club. he looked at his bandmates that had done the same. they all nodded at each other and didn’t have to talk about what they were thinking.
when this gig was over, they were getting out as fast as they could.
they played sandwiched in between a couple other acts. they played seven songs fast, no encore. they bolted with their equipment before things got stolen and fights broke out.
about a week later, the punk rocker stopped in a convenience store near his none-too-shabby neighborhood. inside the convenience store, a wild-eyed man in dirty clothes grabbed after the punk rocker.
“hey! weren’t you in that punk band at [that club whose name I have already forgotten]!” said the wild-eyed man.
the punk rocker, mystified, and a little frightened confessed to his musical affiliations.
the wild-eyed man was a fan. old school punk hadn’t been heard in these parts in so long.
the musician thanked the man and left.
the punk rocker told me that he had never had anyone come up to him like that, despite being a musician for nearly twenty years.
i asked him if he ever played that club again.
he told me that he never went back to that place with the skanky bathrooms.
i didn’t tell him what i was thinking at the time.
i was thinking that his failure as a musician was a hole far greater than the sum of what he had dumped into it.
he had abandoned the club that had given him his first fan.