night of the inner-dumbass

I was totally fine all evening as I mentally prepared for last night’s solo gig. After practicing my songs and determining how much time my set would take(1), I sat down on the sofa, petting the cats and watching pointless tv.(2)

Around 8:30 – half an hour before I intended to head to the bar – panic of the most grand order set in. Not just nerves, but panic, which typically assumes two forms in yrs truly: gastro-intestinal distress and deep self-doubt. The former manifested itself in the form of feeling like I needed to poo but not being able.(3) No big deal.

The self-doubt, though, was damn-near crippling. All I could think of was how lame all of my songs are. Lame like the seventh season of Gilmore Girls lame.

Now, let it be said that I don’t really think my songs are lame. In fact, I think most of them are pretty good, while the others are at least admirable attempts.

But…BUT…we all have this inner-dumbass, for lack of another term, and that inner-dumbass simply will not cotton to the reality that exists elsewhere in our minds.

Most of the time, my inner-dumbass is fairly quiet – just little whispers from the back of the house that are typically covered up by the swirling of everything else in there. But during panic-time my inner-dumbass becomes the voice of reason…and he has a goddamned bullhorn.

...and he doesn't even know how to use it.

Ashley’d had to meet up with some friends who were in town for only a couple of days, so I couldn’t distract myself by talking to her or ogling her boobs. I had to just sit there and ignore my inner-dumbass by telling him that, suckage or not, I’d made a commitment that I was going to keep.

Twenty minutes later I was out the door, inner-dumbass tagging along just for funsies.(4) But by the time I walked to the bar – less than five minutes – I was all business. My inner-dumbass was blessedly quiet, and as I set up some woman asked if I was playing that night. I ignored that this was a really dumb fucking question to ask a dude standing on a fucking stage with a fucking guitar, and responded in the affirmative.

My inner-dumbass wrestled control for a second, though, and said, ‘My songs may suck, but yeah, I’m playing.’

And she said exactly what I was thinking earlier: ‘Yeah, but at least you have the balls to stand up there and play. No matter what anyone else thinks, they’re still sitting out here.

Ah, forsooth: you speak true, drunken lady.

So I played. I started with one of my first-written songs, one of my favorites and a silly-in-a-good-way song, to help eliminate nerves and to get comfortable up there. Bubby and Dee came to watch, and Ashley showed up a few songs in, and in fairly short order I felt more-or-less comfortable. I’d intended to just move from song-to-song because I really hate it when people sit up there and talk about their songs.(5) The art should stand on its own, and the story of or behind its creation shouldn’t be part of the art, in my humble o. But as it turned out I found myself talking between songs anyway, just briefly introducing each song(6) and then sort-of joking around with the audience a bit.

I played for nearly an hour – again, a good amount of time for a solo gig – then turned the stage over to the next band. I got a few compliments and a Crown and Coke and joined the audience next to Ashley. I thought about how this was the third time in a week that I’d played out somewhere and how much I’d enjoyed it each time. I’m going to try to set up more of my own gigs. It’ll be a lot of work, but it’ll be a lot of fun, too.

If…IF…I can keep that inner-dumbass as bay.


  1. I’d timed it at around 45 mins, going right from song-to-song. That’s a pretty good allotment for a solo gig.
  2. Apologies, Adored Readers, for the redundancy.
  3. I seriously considered improvising a quick tune with the classic-graffiti lyrics: Here I sit, broken-hearted…
  4. Can I get an account of how we should be spelling this word, please?
  5. Or stories. Or poems.
  6. Whether it was an original or a cover and, if a cover, who did it originally and, in two cases, if it was a cover of a cover, who did the cover and who did the original.
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