Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Day eight...Don't bore us, get to the Chorus.

I have a lot of grandparents.

About 28 or so give or take.

They are all rock stars just like me. I think it's a genetic thing.

No, they are not blood relatives but that sort of stuff has been mattering less and less for a lot of people for a long time now. Families are becomming smaller, and smaller. This, I suppose, is both due to a sensible use of contraception and also the decreasing popularity of the nuclear family. Friends have taken the place of uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters et al.

The grandparents I speak of are the members of the Young at Heart Chorus. They are a group of men and women who range in age from 72 to 88. They sing rock songs. It may sound gimmicky but it's not. It's genuine. It's unique. It's universally appealing. It's something the world needs right now. It's awesome.

And they love me. The smiles, kisses, hugs, handshakes, and "picture days", when we exchange prints after a tour, lead me to belive this to be true. They also give me copies of articles from the newspapers that feature my name (and theirs) in it. Yes, they are like family and I love them right back.

I play guitar in the small but effective backup band. We travel the world. I've seen 8 European countries so far. It's a good gig. Fox Searchlight is releasing a movie nationwide about them this spring. If you go to any movie theater in the states you'll probably see the trailer. I've been lucky enough to keep this coveted job for about four years now and I have felt pretty secure in my position. Until December 26, 2007.

Yes, as I have alluded to, the day after Christmas I was arrested for OUI. That's operating under the influence. It's also quite ironic as I just returned from 3 weeks in France with said superstars after 16 mostly sold out shows over 21 days. Thousands of freaky Frenchies clapped, stomped, whistled and cried "Bravo!"

Oui, indeed.

Yesterday was the first rehearsal after three weeks off. Three weeks to relax and enjoy the holidays. Three weeks to recharge your batteries.

Three weeks to get yourself in some serious hot water.

I can't get into the details until after 1/23 when hopefully I'll be able to close the books on my infraction. After that date I will be able to proceed with the decision made by the judge and I'll let you know how that goes. Oh yes, I think I have a topic for "Day twenty-three" in my head. It'll just need some tweaking.

The thing I can talk about is that I was booked incorrectly. I was booked as a fourth offender which I most certainly am not.

But mistakes happen and somehow I was confused with a man who should know better. A man whose head can't possibly be screwed on too tightly. Well, I suppose a man just like me.

But it wasn't me.

Thank Christ.

Regardless, I was held on $5,040 bail and bound with cuffs on my hands and feet. This of course is humiliating. I still have small but noticeable marks on the insides of my ankles from them.

And the newspaper ran a small but noticeable story on my arrest.

It was incorrect of course but I didn't think that an admission of wrongdoing on their part in the weekend edition was necessarily the smartest idea either.

Flash forward to yesterday.

I was petrified.

I know not everybody reads the paper. You don't have to. You just need ears.

I was given the opportunity to speak in front of the group by our fearless leader, and one of my heroes, Bob Cilman. He came up to me and excitedly asked if I was ready. Ready for what? Oh yes, ready to speak. To explain what part of the story they already knew about was true, and to remove false information from the collective conscious.

If I hadn't been ready, the double-takes and extra long hugs that said "God I'm glad you're alive" certainly prepared me for the task.

I've been sharing a lot lately.

I've been attending certain meetings at certain places and I've been talking a lot in front of groups of certain people who have no idea who I am. To them I'm Alex. It's part of the deal.

The Chorus, on the other hand, knows exacty who I am.

I'm family.

And so, when I got up in front of my family to speak, the room didn't grow spookily quiet. Quite the opposite.

I got applause.

I got smiles.

I got yells of "Freddy Baby!" like I remember from after parties.

I got love.

And I probably didn't even have to go further than to say "Gee, Its great to be back and I just wanted to tell you so." But of course I didn't. It was part of the deal.

I explained how I had spent the 5 weeks with them in Europe completely clean. And they clapped for me.

I told them that I recently got to celebrate over three months on the wagon. And they said "Way to go Freddy!"

I said what I had to with emotion, tact, and brevity. I told them the truth.

I told them I had been arrested.

And when a member exclaimed "Oh everybody makes mistakes Freddy"- I couldn't help but agree.

I said, "Yes, everybody makes mistakes, including the Daily Hampshire Gazette." And they all let out a big sigh of relief. They all knew. They were all concerned. But now they knew the real story. I explained how I had been confused with someone else. I also said that I was in the process of making sure this would never happen again.

And as I left that Community center yesterday, I was definitely relieved of something else.

I was glad no one had handed me a clipping from the newspaper that featured my name.

No, I think that can wait until the movie comes out.


Running Hard Out Of Muskrat Flats said...

You're a funny guy, Alex J., if that's your real name...

Nicely done, It is nice to have so many people who love you. Especially since the do resemble Grand parents. How lucky are you?

Last night, after I got my 6 month chip, I was basically congratulated and then what i can only describe as "lovingly being roughed up" by Lynn telling me how many people love me and feel privileged to know me. Usually these kinds of interactions would be followed by the statement/warning "Now, don't fuck it up!" But that didn't happen this time. And Frankly, not B. G. Frankly, even though Lynn is Big and Gay, I was not surprised that this warning wasn't issued. I can only keep doing what I'm doing, and believe her.

Kawzcx - is the word verification ensemble I have to type in for the post to go through. Isn't that the name of one of your Polish cousins from Krakow?

Anonymous said...

Alex (and I know that is your real, lovely name), I am very proud of you, not only for taking this important journey, but for sharing it via a web log/online journal. You are very courageous.

I have long known that you write lyrics and sing beautifully (a comment that somehow became construed as me having a crush on you???), but reading your daily entries (which I just read all in one incredulous sitting) have reinforced my opinion of your talent with words.

Keep up the good work and keep us all posted. You can do it, as you have already shown. Although your mom is not here in the physical sense, she will always be right there as will your wonderful friends and almost strangers like me.

Read I'm Proud of You: My Friendship with Fred Rogers by Tim Madigan.

And let me teach you how to knit--it's like living your life, creating something one stitch at a time and sometimes making mistakes along the way.

I am marking down January 23rd on my calendar and hoping that you have a great lawyer and a compassionate judge. I wish you luck and love.

Kyle (Allie's mom)

PS I know that humiliation of the daily newspaper from my recent resignation from the Newbury Town Library. Pain, nothing but pain, and then growth and I move on.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the justice system. I got pinched for possession of a small amount of weed and the gazette reported I had stolen a van. I'm pretty sure the cops purposely gave them the wrong info. I had a chioce: they could print a correction, thereby drawing more attention, or let it lie. I let it lie. Good luck.