Things look very different from the stage, part 6.

It’s early on a Sunday, my lawn and two fields are covered in tents and campers, and I’m not even remotely sober. There’s a lot to say and my thoughts are pretty disjointed, but I’m gonna do my best!

I’m also going to rely heavily on spellcheck. There’s a grammar checking thingy, but it’s a dirty rotten liar. I’ll try to remember what it says, but it’d make me type in ways that aren’t even close to what I’m aiming for. It gets grumpy when I swear, for example!

My weekend isn’t over, but enough of it has passed that I feel as though I can share a bit of it and make it moderately interesting.

Basically, these articles about the view being different from the stage are here to let people know a bit about what it’s like up there. It’s your chance to see it from the other side. It’s a way to compare and contrast the jobs and to see that it’s not all snorting strippers and shagging cocaine.

In fact, it’s quite different – most of the time. Most of the time it’s pretty mundane. Then, the job throws you a curve ball…

You’ll find yourself doing some of the strangest things…

I’m the proud owner of a stage. It’s a pretty fancy stage and was a bit pricey, but it has all the features I want – including a trailer that it all fits into.

Gotta be blunt about this…

I’ve never owned a stage before. Nope. Can’t say that I’ve ever needed to own one. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of my job. In fact, I’ve never actually had anybody ask me if I owned a stage when I auditioned for their band. I’ve been to some pretty strange auditions and have been asked some pretty bizarre questions, but I’ve never been asked if I owned a stage.

Nobody’s even ever hinted that I should own a stage. No oblique references like, “Well, we’d love to hire you but do you think maybe you might be able to bring a large frame structure asset to our community?” Nope. Nada. Nothing. In an audition, I’ve been asked if I had my dick pierced – but I’ve never been asked if I owned a stage.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure owning a stage has never been a part of the job description.

You might be asking yourself why it is that I bought a stage. Trust me, I have asked myself that question more times than you’ll ask me.

As an aside, that’s a question the missus has not asked. I’m pretty sure she’s learned to stop asking those sorts of questions.

Either way, the answer is, “Because I can use it.”

I don’t actually need a stage. There’s a few places we’ll play where a stage will be rented. There’s also the ultimate goal of getting asses into seats, renting the civic centers, and those venues will rent a stage to you – at obscene prices. Having my own stage will pay for itself, eventually…

No, really… It’ll eventually pay for itself.

I haven’t done the math yet (and I probably never will), but this stage can be set up in many, many different ways. It’s a component stage that can be configured in a variety of forms. It’s good for both indoor and outdoor use.

It has a thick plastic (I’m going to call it canvas but I suppose it’s more like a tarp but it’s almost like a plastic covered felt/cloth) covering for up to all four sides – so we can close it up at night. It has a roof that ain’t gonna stop much weather from coming in and it’s got racks all around it for mounting stuff.

It’s pretty fancy.

Now, we’d need different stages for different events. Different venues have different size floor plans. This means we’d expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to $5000 to rent the stage for the week, and that’ll depend on the venue. Ergo, the stage will pay for itself – eventually…

It comes with a giant trailer. I confess, I haven’t measured it, but I’ve now asked. It’s 24′ long plus the tongue. There were some questions about the size of the trailer, so I asked. It looked like it was slightly shorter (maybe 20′) but I’m told it’s longer.

I’m also told it says the full dimensions on the trailer itself, but I confess that I’ve not actually read that – it’s also probably in the manual. I haven’t read that either – but I’ve looked at the pictures!

Either way, a crew of four should be able to set the stage up in about an hour. I don’t actually have a crew. I have a drummer and two people we call roadies. I also have a band made up of people who play instruments and aren’t mechanically inclined. I’m probably gonna die in a horrible stage collapse accident.

The person I bought it from is going to help us learn to set it up and tear it down quickly. He’s got a crew he’ll bring over and they’ll show us the ropes. I feel as though this is one of those lessons I should probably pay attention to.

Sure, you might be thinking that’s not that bad… I mean, a band owning a stage isn’t a weird thing, right?

Well, you might be forgetting that I am only signed on for a year. Granted, I may keep going – but the current plan is for me to leave the band after a year. My goal is to teach them everything they need to know, in just one year. After that year is over, I’d like to think that I’m going to return to my comfy retirement.

And I’ll probably keep the stage.

It is mine, after all. I bought it. I used my money to buy it. I sure as hell didn’t use the band’s money, they don’t have any money! They’re just poor musicians. I pay them pretty well, but not enough to afford a stage. Stages aren’t cheap.

So, I’ll almost certainly keep the stage. I mean, I can use it once a year. I throw a big bash every 4th of July (or the weekend after – which is why I’m not around this weekend) and I usually get a stage brought in by the guy that I bought this stage from. Now, I’ll have my own stage!

I’m actually not sure why I’ll keep the stage, but I figure I’m going to. The rest of the new equipment, including the truck, will go with the band when I leave. It’ll have paid for itself, I’ll have taught some lessons, and I’ll have had one last grand adventure of being a performing musician. That’s the plan, at any rate.

Except that stage! I’m gonna keep that.

Until very recently, I never figured I’d own a stage. ‘Snot much call for owning a stage when you live on a remote mountain of Maine. I don’t actually have friends calling me up, “Hey, you wouldn’t know where I could find a stage, would you?” Though, I kind of expect I will now have those sorts of phone calls, now that I own a stage.

Hmm… Come to think of it, I bet owning a stage gets me invited to a whole lot of parties. Of course, I’ll probably be expected to both bring it and be on it, and I already get invited to parties. Maybe I should have bought the stage when I was younger?

Dunno? Either way, there you have it. You’ll find yourself doing some of the strangest things when you decide to form a band. Indeed, you’ll expose yourself to some strange situations.

Once, I flew in a troop carrier and went all the way to Okinawa, just to play for a couple of hours. They then loaded us back onto the plane and flew us home. I never saw anything outside the base, never went through customs, and didn’t even have to lug a damned thing. It was rather bizarre, almost surreal. Ah well… Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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