I was in no fucking mood to perform.
I was hung-over, or possibly still drunk, from a weeklong bender. I woke up this afternoon with three chicks in my hotel bed, not a great way to start the day. I know most people think that sounds like hitting the lottery, and I admit the girls were hot, but the fact is, I hate waking up with people I don’t know. Combine that dislike with the fact that there were actually three people I didn’t know in the bed, my brain felt like it was on fire, I couldn’t remember what fucking city I was in and I was starving and you get an idea of why the morning sucked.
On top of all that, my dick felt like it went twenty rounds with a bull that hadn’t been gentle. In spite of the fact that I counted seven used condoms on the floor, I knew that I hadn’t come. That isn’t unusual; I don’t come with groupies, sluts or people I don’t know. Since I haven’t fucked the same girl two nights in a row in a few years, I’m used to it. As a rule, I survive by making myself come after the girls are gone, but clearly I didn’t take care of business last night and my package was paying the price.
The day continued to be shit and I wound up being late to sound check. My limo driver was an annoying prick that had talked about himself the entire way to the stadium and I was ready to commit by the time I got there.
Still, I felt like shit that I was late, so I came in fully prepared to apologize. Fortunately for me, our bassist wasn’t there and since no one knew where he was, my tardiness was overlooked. Our tour management tried to keep the three of us that were there calm by having an assistant go out to pick up food. The Philly cheesesteak I was handed was my clue that we were in Philadelphia. By my calculation, that meant I was three more months away from the end of this tour, and every one of those days seemed like it would stretch out for an eternity.
Our bass player still hadn’t shown by the time we finished eating and our moods weren’t improving. Sound check was a major bust, but luckily, we had a dressing room filled with booze. Our tour rider stipulated a fully stocked bar at all of our shows, and this one didn’t disappoint. With some hair of the dog, I was back to functioning normally in no time at all.
Unfortunately, I got a little too drunk, and that’s why I was in no fuckin’ mood to perform. It didn’t help that the entire band was pissed at our bass player- now known as ‘the asshole that shows up twenty minutes before a show’. We were all pretty wasted, but it didn’t escape my notice that he was on something a hell of a lot stronger than alcohol.
The roar of the crowd as the lights went down in the stadium didn’t fill me with joy the way it used to, and that pissed me off too. Where had I gone wrong?
I took the stage in a rage, mad at the world, mad at our management, mad at my band, but mostly, I was mad at myself. I wasn’t the man that I wanted to be, and I knew that if I kept going the way that I was, my life wasn’t going to be worth shit. Life was only getting shorter and I wasn’t happy. Come to think of it, I hadn’t been in a long time. Not since our band got sucked into the machine and became a commodity instead of a musical act.
I grabbed the mic aggressively and gave the appearance of rocking, but I was phoning it in. I was in no mood to sing and had already mentally given myself a pass to fuck off since I knew it wasn’t going to be a good show.
All that changed about four minutes in when I looked down into the front row and locked on to a pair of beautiful chocolate brown eyes. The girl was young, but she was stunning. She was singing along and smiling, and that made me feel like shit. She was there to rock, and there I was, phoning in a shit show.
Something about her, I can’t even explain what, had me sick to my stomach even thinking about letting her down. She deserved better than whatever pathetic version of myself that I’d become. I used to really care about the fans and the experience, but for the last few years all I cared about was drinking, fucking and trying to feel something.
Staring into those eyes, I pulled my shit together and gave two and a half hours of a performance that was easily my best in years. I sang almost exclusively to her because I wanted to bask in whatever the connection between us was.
Unfortunately, she didn’t get older during the show. When it was over, it was over. My best friend and the guitarist for my band ribbed the fuck out of me as we left the stage after the encore, asking if I was going to give “jailbait” a backstage pass. I wasn’t that big of an asshole, and I shook my head in the negative. “Nah man that would be too fucked up, even for me.”
Grinning at me he said, “Dude, you should have seen yourself. I think that girl was your fucking Priscilla.”
His yapping was giving me a headache because I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about.
“Dude, what does that even mean?”
“You really need to get your rock n’ roll knowledge beefed up because you should know this without asking. If we’re ever on Celebrity Jeopardy and we lose because you don’t know something this obvious, I’m going to kick your ass. Anyway, I’m talking about Priscilla Presley. You totally went all Elvis over a teenage girl.”
His words embarrassed me, mostly because they were true. After telling him to fuck off, I got blackout drunk to forget the impossible connection I’d felt to a fucking teenager. I’d guess she was somewhere between sixteen and eighteen, but my brain said eighteen was a real stretch.
The next day I woke up feeling like shit again, only this time, I took stock of my situation and was honest with myself. I realized that I had to change the way I was living. I couldn’t remember why, but I knew, down to my bones, that I needed to do better, to be better. I hadn’t always been like a drunken robotic dildo. I wanted to be worthy. Worthy of what, I couldn’t say, but that was how I felt.
I didn’t remember shit from the night before, but my band was happy to fill me in once I snapped out and demanded to know why everyone was calling me Elvis. Nothing they said sparked my memory. I could just barely remember eyes the color of melting chocolate, but that was all.
The name Elvis stuck for about six months, but I never got my memory back from the night that changed the path I was on forever.
The last ten years of my life were devoted almost entirely to my band, Renegade Saints. The four of us together were lightening in a bottle, and that had made us all richer than we ever dreamed. We were just kids when we got signed, literally, but the trajectory to the top happened at breakneck speed.