Last evening my friend Mo Daviau, Girl Novelist extraordinaire, posted her feelings about a Spotify playlist called “Epic Indie of the ‘90s.” or something like that. Apparently, she hates The Lemonheads. She calls them the “most boring band” of the 90s, which she is free to do. I slammed Neutral Milk Hotel when I shared a post from Clickhole the other week, and we’re still friends. I hope.
Two things immediately sprung into my mind after reading her post:
ONE… Their version of “Mrs. Robinson” is easily in my Top 100 songs of all time. Whenever I get a chance to DJ, I throw it in. It is what one calls a “floorpacker.” Yes, I hang out with people who feel it’s appropriate to dance to The Lemonheads.
TWO… I got punched in the face at a Lemonheads concert back in ‘92. When I lived in LA, I had this friend, Ben, who was Kenny Rogers’ Manager’s Assistant. I got to walk around Kenny Rogers’ Manager’s house once. You know what Kenny Rogers’ Manager’s house is filled with? Awards won by Kenny Rogers that apparently don’t fit inside Kenny Rogers’ own home. Anyways Ben was always able to get free tickets to all sorts of concerts.
Ben got us tickets to see The Lemonheads with The Jayhawks opening. I know, the line-up just screams face-punching. But you have to understand, the only other time I’ve been assaulted a concert was when Counting Crows opened for Cracker. Adam Duritz, the lead singer of the Crows, shoved me and told me to fuck off after they finished their set. But in Mr. Duritz’ defense, I had just asked him if anyone had every told him that he looked like Greg Brady with dreads. I deserved the shove, but I stand by my original assessment of Mr. Duritz. Also, this detour should show that violence can happen even amongst the mellow.
But, in a rare turn of events, I am completely blameless in The Lemonheads beat down. The theater in which we saw the concert was one of those that had been converted from an old movie house. The seats on the ground floor had all been removed to make it all standing, but since this was a Lemonheads/Jayhawks show, Ben and I figured we’d just sit in the balcony where there were still seats.
And because both of us were chaste and perfect souls, we lucked out and got seats at the front of the balcony. This served us well for the entire Jayhawks set, but when The Lemonheads started, a wonderful be-khaki’d gentleman stood directly in front of us in the narrow aisle between the seats and the railing. We first asked nicely for him to please move. He ignored us. How could this man deny me a direct sightline to the Evan Dando.
The crowd in the balcony grew increasingly agitated at the guy. Then a girl behind me threw her beer at him. It was a great shot; hit him right in the back of the head.
He turned around and glared at me. I futilely pointed at my full beer.
Then he punched me square in my brand new Oliver Peoples, the glasses I got with a gift certificate my boss had given me for “Christian Hanukkah.” This caused me to really spill my beer on him.
“Dude!” he whined about the beer on his crotch.
“Duh!” I said. Then I went and told on him. Telling on bullies works around 65% or the time. The rest of the balcony folk didn’t let him leave.
He and I had to spend the rest of The Lemonheads’ set sitting in different areas of the venue’s security office. Periodically, one of my assailant’s buds would swing by to beg me not to press charges. “Dude, Jeremy’s up for a big part. An arrest could ruin his chances.” And “Be cool to Jeremy. He’s really cool.”
I didn’t press charges. I wasn’t really hurt and Oliver Peoples had a very liberal repair and return policy then. Also, I never wanted to deal with this Jeremy person ever again.
By the time we were driving home, Ben and I had coined the phrase “Evan Dando Madness” and were laughing about this.
The incident has become prime cocktail party fodder for me. Put on a The Lemonheads song at a party (a Lemon Party?) and count the seconds until I say, “Y’know, I got punched in the face at a The Lemonheads show once.”
But when I posted that last night in a comment on Mo’s original post, she replied, “DO NOT LIKE.” Maybe she doesn’t want her friend punched in the face. However, I worried with my glass-half-empty brain that I had triggered something.
I’m fairly confident that it was the first. Mo would’ve definitely told me if my story about being punched was triggering. She’s not shy. Also, I’m sure my notice would’ve been artfully phrased.
But I do write a lot about nasty, stupid things that happened to me like mental illness, bullying, death. Moreover, my way of coping with these fun things is to smother them with humor. “Kill ‘em with kindness,” as my dad always used to say. I have some comedy gold about suicide attempts.
Making light of my own personal misfortunes has always worked for me. It’s a way of taking ownership. Bad things never know what to do when you laugh in their face. It’s like that time a red-headed bully in the fifth grade grabbed my bike handlebars and told me he was going to kill me in the middle of our cul-de-sac. I laughed really loud and burst out, “That’s hilarious!”
But humor needs context, and maybe just someone calling The Lemonheads boring isn’t enough context for the sentence “I got punched in the face at a Lemonheads concert.” I honestly worry sometime that my QuikQuips™ can land with the thud of a punch from some bro-actor named Jeremy. The lack of context doesn’t give the reader or listener enough time to prepare. Triggering is not a slow, Rube Goldberg affair. One fires a gun with a trigger, not a game of Mousetrap. For example, I should’ve probably prepared the bully for my hilarious “Hilarious!” because he threw me off my bike and kicked me. Maybe if I had softened him with a few lines about the futility of committing a violent act right in front of his parents’ house or the fact that I really didn’t think he was capable of actual murder, he wouldn’t have been triggered by my “comedy.” And we all know that bullies are nothing more than simple-minded fools triggered by everything.
So, this has been your context.
Did I ever tell you about that time I got punched in the face at a Lemonheads concert?