Subject Did you ever know that you’re my heeeeee-ro?
DateCreated 7/8/2008 7:37:00 AM
PostedDate 7/8/2008 7:21:00 AM
Body We kid C, frequently, because it's easy and fun to tweak the boss's nose. However, it's worth pointing out that without him there would be no brides, no horrible toasts to make fun of (and exaggerate), no God-complexed wedding coordinators ready to eviscerate underlings over melted ice; indeed, no gigs, NO BAND, if he were not the most wonderfully stubborn, unstoppable person I've ever met or worked with.  Here's an example.

We were scheduled to work a wedding reception in Boston on July 4th from 8:00PM to 12:00AM. As with many in-town society gigs, the venue expects the band to either be set up early in the day (in the 2:30PM range), or to be able to load in during cocktail hour. The latter doesn't leave much room for error, and since C and N do all the set up themselves (what, I should break a fingernail?) he left his house around 1:00 to pick up N. About two blocks away, he heard a loud pop and was stunned to find that he'd lost the brakes in the equipment van completely. He managed to get it back to his house by using the emergency brake to stop, then went inside to make some frantic phone calls. Not one rental agency, of the few that were open, had anything remotely close in size or capacity.  So he did what anyone would do:  got under the van and looked for the leak, then called every auto parts store in the area to find one that was open on the 4th.  (When I said anyone, I meant "nobody in their right mind.")  Miraculously, Auto Zone was open and had someone on hand willing to take him through the steps of fixing the line.
C told us later, "I found the leak and it didn't look like too big a deal.  I told the guy that I probably needed about six inches of line, got the compression fittings and went home.  One side went on fine but the other was at a weird angle, and when I bent it to take a look the pipe started to crumble in my hand."  So he went back to Auto Zone, got a couple of feet of tube, went home, got under the van and started again.  Somehow he got it all put back together and managed to get enough fluid in for it to work a little bit.  So he then immediately got in the van and started driving to Boston.  This is when I got a frantic call on my cell:

    C:  "Dude!  Are you home?"
    Me:  "Not right now.  What's up?"
    C:  "I lost the brakes in the van.  I've been working on them all afternoon, I don't think I can make it with enough time to load in, can you possibly be there early?"
    Me:  "Um.  WHAT?"

After he explained what happened, I realized that he hadn't even looked at his watch.  Somehow he managed to get on the road around 4:00, which meant that we would have no problem getting loaded in if everyone pitched in during cocktail hour.

    C:  "Oh, thank God.  Listen, can you do me a favor?"
    Me:  "Geez, after what you've been through... name it."
    C:  "Can you bring me a towel?"

For future reference, brake fluid gives your hair a real '50s, Pomade-style sheen.

There wasn't a chance to bleed the brake lines, and there's no way they had enough fluid.  He called the brakes 'soft'; most people I know would have called them 'terrifying'.  "I was dodging pedestrians with one foot on the emergency brake all the way down State Street," he told us, "screaming at them to get out of the way because I might not be able to stop.  Most of them didn't seem to notice, though."  He then had the distinct pleasure of dealing with a snooty Function Coordinator while looking and smelling like the guy that runs the impound lot.  By the time the rest of us got there he had all of the hand-trucks up the freight elevator, ready to get wheeled in the moment the wedding ceremony was over.  We started on time and had a great gig, with none of the guests the wiser.  He even managed to tick off the FC, by using the guest elevators to bring the band equipment back down rather than wait for the freight elevator that seemed to make it up to the 33rd floor only every 45 minutes or so.

Afterward, I congratulated him on keeping it together.  He said, "I postponed my father's funeral for a gig.  Did you really think my brakes would keep me from making one?"

He wasn't kidding, by the way.