The following is the first part of one of the longer series of journal entries inside the notebook. Consider the break an editorial decision on my part.
These events seem to occur almost immediately after those described in the article from the Milwuakee Arts & Times entitled “An Interview with Fat Riker”.
Nov. 9, 1991
How exciting! I would never have imagined that when I set out to make the drive from Fort Atkinson to Milwaukee this morning that I would end the day being in a band! Technically, I suppose it’s not quite the end of the day yet, but still! I can hardly contain myself! The Northridge Mall property auction sure held quite a surprise for me!
So I guess the name of the band is “Fat Riker”. For some reason or another that no one was comfortable discussing, the mall had gained control of the band and was now looking to turn a profit by selling it. Most of the locals seemed hesitant to bid on it, so I bid five dollars. The auctioneer tried for a long time to get someone else to bid more for the band, but after about 10 awkward minutes he gave up and let me have it. I think it was a bit less than the mall management was hoping to get because I saw real tears in their eyes when I won. I must have snagged myself a deal!
I bought a couple of other things over the course of the day but I couldn’t get my mind off of being in a band. It was like the thought wormed its way into my head and wouldn’t let go. I kept saying to myself, “I’m no longer Chris Guldan, CPA; now I’m Chris Guldan, band member!” That’s probably why I got all excited and bought that lot of 73 copies of Rush’s “Signal” album on tape. Whatever, they’ll make good stocking stuffers next month.
After the auction, as I was loading up my acquisitions into the van, I got my first good look at everything that came with my band purchase. First, I got this notebook that I’m writing in. It’s pretty cool, I guess. It kind of smells like Doritos and ammonia, but it looks solid otherwise. There’s a set of kicked in drums that I wasn’t sure was going to fit in the back, but I managed. Also, the mall people had a janitor come over and sing what he remembered of Fat Riker’s set list while they were based at the mall. I think I managed to digest the general idea of some of it. I had to give him a tip after he finished, though.
Anyway, after that, the only thing I had left to do was strap that pallet of unused Orange Julius paraphernalia I had bought to the roof and be on my way. The whole drive home I was thinking about getting this band going. I’ll write more soon!
Nov. 13, 1991
I’m not sure, but I think these kicked in drums may have been worth the price of the band alone! I fixed ‘em up with some duct tape and they work just fine. I don’t have any drumsticks, but wooden spoons are working great. Gives me a good, flat, thumpy sound – they kind of sound like they’re wet. I like that. I’m not good at keeping a beat but I think I’ll end up being the drummer since I’ve got some practice time in already. I was practicing so hard last night my downstairs neighbors kept knocking on my door, trying to get me to stop. They were saying stuff like “It’s Tuesday night! It’s 3 AM! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP!” but they should know they can’t stop the music.
Anyway, I called up the mall and got the number for that janitor that sang the old Fat Riker songs to me. The more I think about it, the more I like what he did with the tunes. He sort of drummed on his thighs during “Bleeper and the Sleeper’s” drum solo and I need to remember how that went. He also did a pretty sweet air guitar. I’m gonna see if he wants to join the band.
Turns out his name is Carlos. He’s married and got some kids but I convinced him to come over Saturday after his shift at the mall. He was a little confused and I had to lie to him and tell him I wanted to hire him to clean my floors. Good thing he works cheap, I think he’s expecting me to cover his gas mileage too.
PS: Not band related, but I may have to take down those Orange Julius signs I hung outside my apartment. I’m just a fan, but people in my building keep dropping in trying to buy drinks from me. It’s really interrupting my drumming time.
Nov. 17, 1991
The meet up with Carlos went okay. Floors got cleaned at least, and we had a good talk about the band. Well, I talked to him about the band. He mostly swept and mopped. But I think we were on the same page, you know?
I pulled out my cassette recorder and asked him to sing the Fat Riker songs again. He said it would be an extra fee, but it was worth it to me. I just need those songs! The tape turned out pretty good – you can usually hear the rustle of a broom or the splash of a mop in the background but I think he kind of tried to synch those up with the songs like 35-40% of the time. It worked out pretty good actually.
I don’t think he was too keen on joining the band but he said he would come back and clean my floors again if I wanted. I think we worked out a deal where he would clean the floors and I would pay him double to sit in after on a band session. I think once he gets a taste of Fat Riker’s hard rockin’, he’ll want to join up without being paid.
It’s going to cost me a lot at first though. I wonder if we could work out some kind of a deal? I wonder if he needs his taxes done or something? That would cover at least one hour of band practice I would imagine.
Nov. 19, 1991
So glad I didn’t take down those Orange Julius signs! One of the kids that stopped by today was carrying a guitar so I lied and told him that I would sell him a Julius. His name is Keith. I had him sit in the living room so I knew he’d notice my drums and went into the kitchen to try and make something he would think was an Orange Julius. I ended up throwing some Sunny D and frozen yogurt into the blender and I think it turned out pretty good.
He gave me two bucks for it and was about to leave but I asked him if he knew how to play the guitar. He didn’t really, he said he was just trying to pick up chicks by acting like Kurt Cobain. He could sort of get through “Smells Like Teen Spirit” but I imagine that’s probably a pretty difficult song. I think he would be on par with me at least, but not as good as Carlos. He said he’d have to ask his mom but I signed him on the spot.
I just hope he brings my cup back.
Nov. 23, 1991
I finally managed to get the whole band together for a practice this Saturday! Best of all, Keith is spreading the word that I actually DO sell Orange Juliuses and I’ve made enough money with that to pay Carlos’ outrageous floor cleaning/lead vocalist fees this week.
Since it’s pretty rare the whole band gets together, I put up some flyers around advertising that we were doing a show at my apartment and offered half off drinks to anybody that sat through the whole set. Those kids that are always building weird snowman dioramas out in front of the building showed up and they stayed probably at least half of the show. That wasn’t enough to get a drink discount but they bought a few anyway between songs.
Keith wasn’t happy that I invited people to watch since he’s really self conscious about how terrible he is at playing guitar. I just told him to sort of alternate freestyling and playing random parts of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and we’d try to follow along. We just gotta get the music out there. Perfection will follow.
Carlos was a champ about it, but I don’t know he fully understood what was going on. There can sometimes be a bit of a language barrier and my Spanish is not so good yet. He ended up charging me double since I hadn’t told him before time that anyone would be watching. I asked him if he’d clean the floor again after the show since someone in the audience had spilled their drink, but he refused. I guess I’ll just leave it until he comes back next week then.
I recorded the session on cassette so we could review it later. I’m halfway tempted to call in sick on Monday and spend the day making dupes and distributing them to record stores around town.
You know what? I’m not half tempted, I’m completely tempted. I’m doing it. I just hope they’ll believe I have chicken pox again.