Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun In The Cubicle: Don't Rock The Jukebox

There’s a guy at work-a totally sweet and jovial dude about my age-who fronts a country cover band on the weekends. They’ve been at it in one way or another for a good twenty years or so and they’ve progressed from their humble beginnings as a reliable, small town bar band into a much older, reliable, small town bar band.

They’re terrible.

And I mean that in the kindest way possible, but it’s also hard to understand why after so many years you don’t happen to notice that your band is incredibly awful.

They’re wonderfully goofy looking, the kind of image that could be used as one of those “Worst Album Covers Of All Time” web sites, under the “Embarrassing Promotional Band Photos” tab.

To top it off, my co-worker talks about his band constantly. To whoever walks by his desk. So at the end of the day I positively loathe his band, even when I’ve never actually seen them play live.

You may ask “Then where do you get off talking shit about his band if you’ve never seen them play?”

To which I will correct you by saying “I never told you I’d never ‘seen them,’ but I did say I’d never seen them play live!”

The truth is: there’s You Tube footage of them.

Out of respect for a guy that has his heart in the right place and is someone I spend an inordinate amount of time with on any given weekday, I will not be posting information about his band or links to that previously hinted footage.

I will only say that anyone who gets on stage and plays in front of a crowd with just a little bit of heart, has my utmost respect.

And having said that, it gives me every right in the world to still formulate an opinion of them and slightly ridicule them if the moment is so deserving.

A local radio station recently gave area country bands a chance to do an American Idol contest, one in which the winner would get to open up for country star Alan Jackson when he makes a local stop in my city this summer. I think it’s for our annual 4th of July celebrations, the same ones that were pretty decimated by floods back in 2008.

The festival is limping back to light, and Alan Jackson is just about the same mid-level name recognition that they had in years past. I think the dude from Styx and the dude from Chicago made a stop here once.

Anyway, my co-worker sent in an audition tape and his band got chosen. Like I said, he talked incessantly about this, and how he was nervous, and how this could be his band’s big break, and how he needed to save his voice to better prepare for the show.

I shit you not: this is a guy that normally sings two thirty song sets for any normal country joint performance who’s now concerned about his throat for a three-song performance in a new country bar downtown, judged by a trio of minor celebrities, like the mid-day radio dj at the country station.

Or maybe it was the morning-drive guy.

This “save my voice” bullshit is the kind of nonsense that I get to hear. Everyday. Nonstop.

“Good luck!” I say on the day of the show, half genuinely and half with a desire to have him report back on Monday that he and his bandmates were forced to dodge a barrage of AA batteries from the crowd.

Like I said, he’s likeable enough for me not to make that a “D” battery image.

They got through the first round, but I’m sad to report that they lost in the semi-annual round, which means that those minor celebrity judges was playing fair.

One judge wrote that their drummer messed up during “Sweet Home Alabama,” a charge my co-worker disputes.

That’s the story, and it has nothing to do with the photo attached to this post.

Yes, our going away present was a sixer of Fat Tire...and tuneage.
No, what you see there is a picture of my co-worker singing to the manager of my department who recently resigned because we all work in a fairly shitty company.

As you can tell, he’s really getting into the performance, a trait that he exudes even when singing to some of the more tenured ladies in our area.

My former business manager is trying her best to look excited when all she really wanted to do was to get the fuck out of there. She’s slyly snagged his cowboy hat and provides a little clapping rhythm while he gets on his knees, the brief performance in the corner of the cafeteria.

When my co-worker was lobbying other co-workers to come down to watch his band during their inaugural performance of the “Get A Half-Hour Opening Slot Before The Opening Band Of Alan Jackson” contest, I would have put my odds at 25% of me attending. The show was free, but my time is valuable, so to rustle enough energy for me to drive from the ‘burbs to the downtown (now with double the violence!) to work my way in a country bar was very implausible.

So I made some posters for my co-worker instead.

I found the snapshot of the going away party performance from the week prior and crudely wrote “Tuneage” on it. I then began to put them up on the cubicle walls in our area, some empty and some occupied by other co-workers. I picked the ones that I knew wouldn’t seem to mind lending a spare wall and those that also my find humor in it.

My musician neighbor did not seem to understand why, but I assured him that it was all in good fun and that it was promoting his performance that evening. He seemed to tolerate that explanation even though-as you can see in the picture-it doesn’t list a damn thing about his event.

It just declares “Tuneage.”

I’m proud to note that some co-workers have even made requests for duplicates of this “flier” and that a copy for you can be secured for the unbelievable price of $9.95 plus $9.95 shipping and handling. It comes on office-worthy 8 X 11 copy paper and printed in stunning black and white.

Supplies are limited, so act now.


Rachel said...

I got a good chuckle out of this, mostly because I am so painfully familiar with your main character. Why do I not recognize the woman being serenaded in the caf?

Todd Totale said...

Had you not left our department like a cold-blooded traitor, you would have been more familiar with the lady in question.

Anonymous said...

He will set his hair on fire

Your Humble Proprietor said...

I think it's Iowa law that your supervisor must be involved in a horrible cover band. Mine's a drummer.