SPOTLIGHT: an excerpt from The Saviors, a novel by CL Bledsoe

We were playing anywhere we could, that summer. The night after the skating alley, we played a little club in Conway, opening for a metal band called Anal Fissures or Satanica or something. We were a little light for their tastes, but they got into a couple of our songs. These were really nice guys, though. We went out for pizza with them and this other punk band that played as well. Those guys didn’t even have a name.

            We were playing a lot of parties. We had a couple shows in Little Rock with bands like Red 40 and 100 Years War at the Riverfront Amphitheater. They had a pretty amazing guerrilla setup. It wasn’t actually an amphitheater; it was a cement pavilion behind the Amphitheater. What they would do, is unscrew the lights and rig it so they could plug in their equipment. Bands came there from all over. It was a great scene. The bands were all totally different. One night, one of the band’s bass players couldn’t make it, so they asked someone in the audience to come up and play. This band called Soophie Nun Squad had something like 6 singers. They would play for a while, then stop and put on a puppet show. Some bands wore outfits or uniforms. We weren’t so much into the theatricality; we just liked playing. 

            We played some colleges, too, which meant running extension cords from dorm buildings and playing on the steps. Ten or twenty kids would show up, some would be walking by. Still, they’d ask us back.

            The Holy Grail was an opening slot at Vino’s in Little Rock Stan had set up at the end of the summer.

            The key to a successful gig is advertising so people actually show up. We couldn’t afford to take out ads in the paper, and the people who came to our shows didn’t really read the paper, so we made fliers. Corn Dog was the best at this. He would use collages of things like tractors and flyswatters. Once he bought a cheeseburger from a gas station and Xeroxed it, along with the two cents change he got. He would add the name/s of the band/s playing somewhere at the top where people could see it, then the when and where. He’d add these statements at the bottom like, “Support Local Music in Your Boring Town.” Sometimes he’d make little cartoons on them, always of really non-sequitur themes, like bears playing poker. For example:

Panel 1: bears playing poker.

Panel 2: bear one says: “Do you have any threes?”

Panel 3: bear two says: “No, we’re playing poker.”

            bear one says: “Oh.”

Or:

                        Panel 1: A big smiley face

                        Panel 2: A guy asks, “why are you so happy?”

                        Panel 3: The smiley face doesn’t answer.

            Since there were no copy places nearby, we’d drive the hour or so north to Jonesboro to make copies. Then we’d hang fliers anywhere that might draw a crowd—colleges, grocery stores, high schools—we’d go where the students parked and put fliers on their cars, or get kids to pass them out. 

            We also did a fanzine called “Hate Yourself (Or We’ll Do it For You)” which we Xeroxed in Jonesboro as well. We sold it around school until the principal raised a stink about us printing a list of people we didn’t like, along with a page of clip and send hate-mail. It was just silly stuff, like, “I like you mom’s haircut.” Since we did the whole thing anonymously, he couldn’t connect it to us, personally, but he gave us detention anyway.

            When we played shows, we sold copies of Hate Yourself, our old cassette, and our new CD the Mad Scientist printed for us. We experimented with shirts, but mostly Corn Dog liked to hand-make shirts for other bands. He drew logos and images to represent the band. We had some iron-on logos, and we sold a couple, but mostly we gave them away to friends.



The Saviors: Bledsoe, CL, Buddha, Alien: 9798697777107: Amazon.com: Books

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