BATTLE OF THE BANDS
The cameraman is somewhere, though we couldn’t say where. It’s not their hotel suite–not enough scantily clad women to be had. But the band posters on the walls, the copious graffiti, the broken down couch, and the thud of someone’s drums in the walls? It’s reasonable to assume we’re backstage at some venue or another. Sitting on that beaten couch is Boogie Barry Delgado, who idly works out some riffs on his custom Rickenbacker 4005. Standing in front of a full-length mirror is the lanky body of Trent Sadikaj, Electric Boots himself, who is applying eyeliner with a practiced fluidity. Boogie jams out a hard note, causing the frets to rattle, before silencing the instrument with his palm and looking to his compatriot.
Boogie: Boots, you remember that battle of the bands in San Clemente?
Trant smiles, but does not stray from his task.
Boots: Oh man, this champion breed talkin’ about brain tape from years upon years, baby! I remember it like it was yesterday, the movie is in high def. The amps were hot, the licks were heavy, the wails spoke to the heart and the loin in equal measure! The crowd? Come on now, Boogieman, tell them about the crowd!!
Boogie: Devoted, swingin’, and eyeing us up and down. The men wanted to be us, the women wanted to know us. Biblical style.
At these words, the frontman turns on his heels–full 540–and drops his eyeliner pencil in his makeup bag. He takes a slow, strutting step forward, shimmying his shoulders, and his enthusiasm is infectious, causing a grin to break out on his bassist.
Boots: Biblically! There were other groups, sure. Heartless Party, Daddy Warhead and the Blast Radius, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Fuckface Academy–ain’t heard of them? Baby, Electric Boots ain’t shocked to hear that! Also-rans, never weres, and losers who ain’t have a chance. Every last one of them!
Boogie: Blast Radius had that one keys player though.
Boots: Oh yeah, he tickled them ivories, barrelhouse style.
Boogie: What they call him?
Boots: Doctor Alphonse Grand Piano!
Boogie sets his bass down and stands, nodding his head to the camera. He holds his hands out like he’s painting us the scene, cinemascope.
Boogie: But we digress! It comes down to the final three, right? And trust me, the other two bands were stiff competition! Mickey Mouse Chernobyl, man–those rockers played like they were born with extra hands!! Summer In The City knew on a deep level how to make the ladies swoon–but the thing is this. They could be anything they wanted to be. They could shred, they could croon. But Boots, what couldnt they be?
Trent runs his hands through his raven hair, preening.
Boots: Us! They couldn’t be Solid. Gold. Rock and Roll. So I know what you’re thinking babies: Solid Gold stole the show. Conquered the enemy, stormed the gate, claimed the throne, and cashed that check for a full rack plus a 500 dollar Guitar Center gift card.
Boogie: We lost.
Boots: We lost!
Boogie: Politics, man.
Boots: Politics and philistines, baby!
Boogie: But here’s the thing…you ever heard of them cats? You ever pop down to the local record store and say “Hey brother, you got that new Summer In The City EP?” Nah. You Haven’t.
Boots: Baby you ever turn on your TV and feel yourself get weak in the knees because Mickey Mouse Chernobyl is on your screen? Baby you ain’t need to answer cause the Electric Warrior knows! We might have got stiffed at that battle of the bands but, Hell…that was a sprint. A foot race. Rock and Roll is a marathon. You don’t get immortal by being some two-pump chump who captures a brief little bit of that lightning in a bottle–you become immortal because you throw a leash on that lightning and ride that bolt into the sunset. You live forever because you got that staying power. Vertical and horizontal. Sure, last show, well. We lost.
Delago takes a moment. He seems dejected.
Boogie: Did not win.
Trent grabs his partner by the shoulder and meets him eye to eye. He taps him in the chest with one of his fingers. If there’s such a thing as a pep talk between these two, this feels like it. His voice drops its rock and roll howl, he speaks almost softly. It’s apparent that they’re something of a feedback loop, and if both of them are enthused, it helps the other remain so.
Boots: Didn’t win the sprint, baby. But the Stallion and the Stud aren’t here for the hundred meter dash. Nah baby see we marathon men, real thoroughbreds, and them never-was and also-rans might have Solid Gold Rock and Roll licked in the first straight, sure. But we’re comin’ around the corner on the outside.
Barry looks to the floor for a moment. Then locks eyes with his partner. Then grins and turns to the camera, slapping his shoulders.
Boogie: It’s not that we don’t like you. It’s that we know you dont got the stroke. And right now you can prance and pretend, but we’re the genuine article.
Boots: Enjoy it right now, babies! Have mercy, you know that time is borrowed. That glory is short-lived. That adulation is paper thin and scattering in the breeze more and more as time goes on! You might have had your time in the sunshine, but it’s dusk and it’s gettin’ all neon orange on the horizon…and once that moon sits high in the sky, that beautiful silver dame? That’s when our time comes. Cause we walk these streets at night. We go where eagles dare. We stalk this pavement and live by the pulse of these cities. Boogie, lay down that funky slap!
Barry Delgado gives a shake of his mullet worthy of a wild horse, holding his massive arms to his sides.
Boogie: Night time is the right time, dudes and dudettes. And you may think you have what it takes, but these are the breaks. That’s my main man Boots, the Electric Warrior, the can’t-stop-won’t-stop. And me?
He steps forward and throws up both his arms in a broad bicep flex, his chest expanding to the size of a Marshall stack. Sadikaj leans in ander his amr and does a Vanna White hand flourish.
Boots: This man hold the Boogie down, the Mack Truck of rockin’ funk, beauty and brawn to my beauty and sometimes-too-long. We are Solid.
Unison: Rock and Roll!
Boots: And baby baby bay-bee, you’ve only had the briefest taste–the main course is coming. Mercy!
Barry Delgado snatches his bass and does a cunnilingual waggle of the tongue by the neck as he struts out of frame, presumably to blow the minds of an enraptured audience. Trent Sadikaj rotates his torso, then bends at the waist and touches his toes, his frankly overtaxed leather pants creaking at the action. Remaining limber is important in his field, after all. He pops a standing high kick and arches his back as he dances out of frame, blowing the camera a kiss as he does. Solid Gold Rock and Roll are on the scene–and the picture fades to black.