It's the latest thing nowadays, and has been for a while now, come to think about it - begging on the Internet. Gone are the days of working hard and being prideful of one's self accomplishments - nowadays it's all about standing around with one's virtual hand extended and just expecting people to do things for you out of the kindness of their heart or just because. Happens all the time in the Punk Rock community with bums begging for tickets or festival passes or gigs for their shitty bands to play. Locally it's nauseating watching these talentless bands from the East side who wanna play the big shows with the big bands go on Facebook event pages and just beg to be put on the bill. Doesn't matter if they're good or not, doesn't matter if they draw or not - Hell, it doesn't even matter if they're nice people or not, all that matters is that their shitty band gets to open the "cool" gig and that they don't have to pay to get into the gig. Their friends don't have to pay either, because they just get added to the bands guest list and walk in the door for free. Nice little scam. The Dive bar is the worst. Every event they post on Facebook the same shitty band with the same shitty cunts as members get their shitty friends to go "Get so and so to open this gig, the blankety blank band would be great on this gig", and the crusty Promoter there goes 'OK' and the next thing you know you got a mini festival on your hands. Pathetic. The funniest justification for a band to open a gig that I read was the wife of a dooshbag drummer here in town going on Facebook and saying "My husbands other band played one of the current band members wedding years ago, so it would be perfect for my husbands current band to open up this gig." hahahahaha Lame AND pathetic. Doesn't matter that flyers and tickets and handbills have been printed up, all that matters is getting on the bill by any means necessary, right? Right! How about we stop trying to be everybody's friend and being so gawd damn PC that we're afraid to say 'no' to anybody, because words hurt, and let's get back to putting on gigs with GOOD bands and bands that deserve to be on the bills and bands that are interesting and lively and, oh, I dunno, drama free if that's possible. Can we do that? Is that a thing? Your band begs to be on a bill, you suck - end of story. Earn that shit. Work, bitches.
I went to the weirdest gig yesterday - a private party to celebrate the gran opening of Screaming Images, a top shelf graphics company here in town celebrating their grand reopening at a new location near 215 / Decatur. The place is huge, full of surveillance cameras all over the outside, and once you got in, it was a booze soaked bacchanal with free food from Larsen's Grill, which was amazing, an open bar, DJ Jr. Ska Boss spinning some tunes and live entertainment provided by Jonny Two Bags from Social Distortion and the Vegascendents. Don't ask. Crazy over-sized graphics and banners from current and past customers lined the warehouse walls, and for the occasion they hired a huge mobile stage, complete with pro rigged lights and it's own sound crew to keep things running smooth. Lots of people were there, everyone was super nice / friendly, and I think it was safe to say that a good time was had by all. I didn't end up stealing the Gabby stand up cut out (there were 2 there for the upcoming Cadillac Tramps documentary being shown next week in LA and OC), but more than a few Victoria beers ended up in my car thanks to Bob, so I guess it was a fair trade? LOL Jonny Two Bags was alright, playing a short half hour set of songs, dedicating one of them to Gabby, and then Jesse Pino played a few Beardcore songs full of feedback while we all waited for Paolo to get back from watching some Motown Musical at the Smith Center, and then the Vegascendents ruined everyone's 80's dance party by playing the same set of songs they've been playing for 11,853,927,214 years. Thanks to everyone who came out and stuck around to see us play. It was a bit of a struggle playing under those laser-producing-trails-inducing stage lights (I thought I was having an acid flashback!) but fun nevertheless. Lots of friends (including Sean from LA), free food, free booze, free music - not a bad way to spend a Saturday night!
"Ladies and Gentlemen... for the last time ever... Manic Hispanic."
And with those words, tears started streaming down my face as the remaining members of Manic Hispanic kicked off their set with their version of The Bouncing Souls True Believers tune which I think they changed to Mas Chingones, I'm not sure, but it was at that exact moment that it really hit home to me, that Gabby was gone, and the thousands of friends / family who turned out to The Observatory on a Sunday night were there for a funeral / celebration / public gathering that was one of Gabby's final wishes. The place had a eerie, emotional vibe all about it. I've never seen so many grown ass men wearing Pendeltons crying in public before - Hell, I even seen some WP fuckers sporting Nazi propaganda crying, and believe me, that was a trip to behold. Nazis at a Manic Hispanic gig, now I've seen everything. Yeah, such was the powerful influence that Gabby had on people of all races and creeds. He was one firme vato loco, that's for sure, and like the big ass banner that draped the back of the stage said, 'Gone but never forgotten.' Yeah, he's gonna live forever, that's for sure. I don't know how the bands did it. Opening band Santos Y Sinners played a rocking set of standard blues covers, including the Cadillac Tramps version of Killing Floor, and Gabby's son Presley made the first of many appearances on stage, sporting a 'Kind is Cool' tee shirt and his fathers hat, and receiving thunderous rounds of applause every time he was up there. X-Members were next, and were maybe a bit too aggressive and Punk Rock for the proceedings. They had some funny Gabby stories though, like all the bands did. In between bands they had random friends on mic telling crazy Gabby stories, with the theme of them all being that at one time or another, Gabby had saved their lives. Powerful stuff. A Flock Of Goo Goo brought the good time vibe back with their 80's covers of songs by The Plimsouls, Nena, Tommy Tutone, The Vapors, and brought the house down with their cover of Purple Rain by Prince, dedicated to Gabby. <3 Steve Soto dressed as Robert Smith of The Cure is always funny to me... ha ha Manic Hispanic were hard to watch through the tears. In the other bands it wasn't really obvious that Gabby was gone, but with Manic Hispanic, it was waaaaaaayyy painfully obvious. They played a fantastic set. I'm both proud and honored to say that I was there to see it go down. That shit was one for the history books, that's for sure. When they played Mexican Society, I thought the roof was gonna blow off from everyone singing along. After an on stage group hug, without any introduction, the Cadillac Tramps just started playing their usual musical intro to Hoodoo Guru, and when it came up to the part where Gabby would usually do his maniacal devilish laugh to kick things off, the spotlight focused on a mic stand with one of Gabby's fedora hats on it, feedback ringing out, the crowd deathly quiet, and I just lost it. Gawd damn. So sad. What a loss. The Cadillac Tramps played their hearts out without their beloved jefe to lead them along and crack wise, and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen or felt or was a part of in my Life. Highlight had to be Shake, when everyone in the place just YELLED out loud, followed closely by (Carry My Soul To) The River, a song never played live before, and it was amazing to watch / see / hear. Yeah, such a powerful emotional night. Made all the BS worth it. The drive, the hassle getting in, scrounging for tickets, the shitty food, the shitty venue, bad attitudes, all the BS I went through was worth it, just to be there, just to be a part of it, just for the opportunity to say adios to someone that brought me such joy and happiness, someone I was proud to consider a friend. Vaya con dios amigo. I will definitely look for you on the other side, if only for some more laughs and good times. Salud.
Heaven just got a little bit brighter, a lot more fun, and definitely a lot more Punk Rock.
Go easy Joni. Step lightly. Stay free. </3
Here's the Pictures I took of the last time Gabby and the Cadillac Tramps were in Las Vegas, a Valentine's Day weekend gig @Triple B's downtown - click here to check them out if you didn't the first time. If half of the Vegas people who are all over social media posting "R.I.P. Gabby" and all that shit were in attendance that night, there might have been more than 25 people there, but alas, Las Vegas is full of bandwagon jumping motherfuckers by the truck load - just look at how everybody you know is now a Raiders fan for proof of that. Out of the 193 pictures I took that night, 119 of them were of Gabby. Those in the know knew this was the last time we were ever gonna see him alive, and it was hard to let him go after the gig. He looked tired but happy. We stood around outside the back door area, just joking and bullshitting like we would always do with him, and everyone just kind of danced around the enormous white elephant in the room, choosing instead to just, I dunno, be positive? Uplifting? We talked about anything and everything but his illness while the rest of the guys were loading gear out and into the van. Fuck, it was hard saying goodbye to him. It was hard watching him walk away and get into his ride and jet off into the early morning night. We all just watched the car disappear from sight and I felt a huge emptiness. We had just witnessed the Cadillac Tramps fucking annhiliate Triple B's, nobody came out to see them but that was alright. It made the evening more intimate, made hanging with Gabby and the guys more accessible. It made the night even more memorable than it already was, and that was saying a lot.
Godspeed Gabby. See you on the other side vato. And as for the rest of you, maybe I'll see you at this event next week. Probably not though.