March 8, 2005

Cutting My Musician’s Teeth, An Epilog.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:10 pm

Several readers of the previous post (bless them) wondered, in comments and in e-mails, what the story was on “Frank,” and what would motivate a guy to openly defy the kind of characters everyone in Jersey knows should not be trifled with. The readers also asked how Frank fared as a result of being pummeled by a half-dozen big, thick shot glasses, bottles and Christ knows what else.

As often happens, the questions caused me to focus again on the incident, and I realized that I must have been mistaken when I said that the incident with Frank and the Bent-Nosed Guys occurred on a Saturday night, when it had to have occurred on a Friday night. I say this because I remember having to return to the place to play the night after the incident, and we did not play Sundays at the Rhythm Lounge.

Anyway, here’s what happened.

On the way to Union City the following night, we wondered whether Frank would be tending bar and how he would look and act after having gotten such a beating. Recalling him bloodied and staggering around the previous night, just before the owner drove him to the hospital, I was certain that Frank would not be “on the stick,” either because he was physically unable to work, or because he had been fired for having provoked the shitstorm.

I was wrong.

When we walked into the joint the following night, there was Frank, behind the bar, with two black eyes and bandages covering the dozen or so stitches that were necessary to reassemble his face.

The leader said, “Jesus, Frank. We didn’t expect to see you here tonight. How are you?”

I expected to hear the response of a man who had learned a valuable, albeit painful, lesson about “customer relations” and self-preservation.

I was wrong again.

Frank laughed out loud and said, “My head hurts a little, but I’m O.K.” He continued, “But I’ll be ready for those guinea bastards if they show up tonight!” And, with that, he reached around to his back pocket and pulled out a big-assed leather sap and smacked it against the bar.”

Needless to say, I spent the rest of the night hoping that the Bent-Nosed Guys would not re-appear, and, thankfully for Frank, they did not, nor did they show up for the remainder of our booking in the Rhythm Lounge. I suppose they weren’t pleased with the service in the place.

Frank was one crazy, Irish son-of-a-bitch. I figure he must have been a native of Union City.

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