I Ditched My Moody Boyfriend to Hang Out with a Rock ‘n Roll Band
I suppose the evening started off harmlessly enough.
My beau at the time (we’ll call him “Bob”) had joined me to see the fabulous Vintage Trouble in downtown Austin.
Bob was moody that night. He was accompanying me as a favor so I wouldn’t have to attend solo.
He was juggling his kids’ babysitting arrangements. (I very rarely asked him to join me to do anything on the nights he had his kids. Though I had invited him in advance, he waited until that day to line up a babysitter. He was stressed and taking it out on me.)
To make things worse, we ran into some friends of his ex’s right as we entered the venue.
Bob started drinking and proceeded to be hot-and-cold with me the rest of the night. We had dated long enough by that point that I was pretty accustomed to that sort of treatment. I tried to be understanding and give him some space emotionally.
I also had the perfect distraction: the fantastic music by the band! The show was electric! Ty Taylor is one of my favorite showmen and lead singers!
It was a beautiful early summer night, so Bob and I lingered for awhile after the show. Suddenly I realized the band was out signing autographs and taking photos.
Bob needed to get back to his kids, but had just enough time for me to wait in the short line to say hello to the band. (I made sure to thank Bob for letting me stay a few extra minutes.)
While in line to meet them, I chatted with the “merchandising” guy, Justin. I started babbling to Justin about my obsession with Ty Taylor and Paloma Faith’s duet “I’d Rather Go Blind.” I explained to him that I watched the YouTube London performance excessively.
Justin: “Yeah, I know that one. I was there. I’m the one that recorded it. I’ve hung out with Paloma Faith a few times.”
Me (just shy of being hysterical): “WHAT?!?”
We talked for a little longer and I learned that Justin was actually the sound engineer for Vintage Trouble for the tour.
I continued down the line, briefly meeting Ty and the rest of the band.
Afterward, I came back to Justin and asked if I could hear some of his Paloma Faith stories. He told me to return in about an hour and I could hang out in the bus.
My beau was officially testy by this point.
He had driven us to the show, so we got in his car. On the way to drop me off at my house, he was passive-aggressive about my returning to join up with the band.
He was irked that he had to go home and couldn’t stay to hang out with the band. He was annoyed about having to pick up his kids at that moment.
If I wanted to go back to talk to Justin (and hang out with the band), I’d have to go solo.
I felt some guilt for considering going to hang out with the band when Bob wouldn’t be included. Part of me felt like I was ditching him or being unfair in some way.
Plus, I was conflicted. I’d watched Almost Famous, multiple documentaries, and seen Bret Michaels on various reality tv shows enough times to know what might happen on a tour bus.
Yes, introverted, non-drinking/smoking/drug-taking Bonnie was definitely conflicted.
Fortunately, music-loving and curious Bonnie won out!
After wavering for a bit, I trekked back downtown and located a sweet parking spot near the venue.
I immediately found Justin as I walked up to the bus.
Within 5 minutes, the band sauntered out as well as a rag-tag group of people (I’m still unclear of their “roles”).
Our group included: “random hot local waitress” that a couple of the guys were clearly digging; a middle-aged friend from the band’s LA days; 2 or 3 people wearing various amounts of leather; the members of the band (looking very dapper); someone who was a cross between Chris Robinson and Hunter S. Thompson; two sound guys (including Justin, also looking dapper); and ME!
We walked down to play pool. I hadn’t played since 1997, but somehow managed to make a good showing.
(I suspect that was due to my sobriety versus everyone else definitely not being sober.)
The bar soon closed and we meandered back down Austin’s iconic sleazy 6th Street to their bus.
Antics ensued! It would be lost in translation, so I’ll just say that walking those few blocks was crazy, hilarious, and enormously fun!
During that walk I concluded that Ty Taylor was the most charismatic person I have ever met in real life. I remember thinking that he should be acting, too — that he would be spectacular as James Brown in a biopic.
I must admit that my anxiety increased as we neared the bus.
I nervously climbed up the stairs and glanced around.
To my relief, no one was naked. Not even partially. In fact, there were only 3 girls there, including me and the waitress, who was really friendly and kind to me.
I had a seat and was soon offered crudite and wine by Ty himself.
I cannot do that experience justice.
Talking about how tasty snap peas are while listening to albums of Little Richard. Well, that was NOT what I was expecting.
Ty then asked if I’d like to hear his favorite album.
He put on an early live album of Aretha Franklin and he started dancing, asking me to join him. So a small group of us were dancing with Ty in the narrow aisle of the bus, listening to Aretha and talking about music.
Interestingly, the limited amount of drugs floating around weren’t even offered to me. (Thankfully!)
Everyone was actually VERY chill. No orgies. No coked out people. Nothing insane at all.
The most implausible thing that happened was while I was sitting at a small table with one of the band members, Justin, and the middle-aged friend from LA (now living in Austin).
Somehow age came up. The LA friend sitting next to me commented that he was 41. I replied that I was 6 months older than him.
The LA friend and Justin were shocked. Absolutely floored! They both admitted they thought I was 28 or 29. (Well, thank you for boosting my ego, random friend and hot sound engineer guy!)
Eventually, I followed Justin outside and asked about his Paloma stories. She’s crazy was the bottom line.
It was fascinating to learn about the life of a sound guy and to hear more about the tour, his travels, and musical passions. We discussed where he attended college and how he got into sound engineering in the first place.
He shared that I was probably the smartest groupie he’d met. That he didn’t usually have these types of conversations with people after the gigs.
(I’m self-aware enough to know that I would never win hottest or most entertaining or funniest or craziest groupie. But I’ll happily take the smartest chick groupie prize!)
At the end of the night, Justin and I talked about their next stop, Houston. He commented that he wished I could have joined them for the next 24 or 36 hours.
Wow! If I had no other responsibilities, I would have jumped at the chance.
We did exchange info and texted a few times, but we have lost touch after so much time.
In the end, I have zero regrets about meeting up with Justin and Vintage Trouble. They are an incredibly talented band and way cool group of guys!
No sex. No drugs (for me, anyway). But lots of rock ‘n roll!
It remains a memorable night for this old girl!
P.S. Yes, I did break up with Bob eventually. And am SO grateful that I didn’t stay home that night out of some misplaced guilt.
I can sincerely say that had the situation been reversed, I would have been so joyful for Bob to have that opportunity.
I might have had some disappointment not to share the experience with him, but I would have done my utmost to encourage him to go for it! I would have insisted that he enjoy himself and have a wonderful night! He was incapable of doing the same for me.
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