Who Ever Said Earrings Weren't Practical?

The other day, Mrs Demeanor and i saw (the band of the year) Band of Skulls live in a hole-in-the-wall bar with all the tables removed.

i graduated from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan and i mention this only because East Lansing is an hour and a half away from Detroit and in the 1980s, Detroit was the Rock and Roll capital of the United States. Any band big enough to play Los Angeles after New York had to hit Detroit en route. The rest of the nation was optional.

Band of Skulls - My cell phone pic

Thanks to the proximity of my college town to this Musical Mecca, i saw acts like The Who (on their very first final farewell tour), Roger Waters, Pink Floyd, The Clash, Van Halen, Neil Diamond (three times), Stevie Nicks (twice–i’m eclectic, so sue me), Midnight Oil, Melissa Etheridge, BB King and many others i don’t remember.

The major reason i don’t remember them is that the 1½ road trip to Cobo Hall / Joe Louis Arena / the Pontiac Silverdome / Pine Knob was made with a carton of smokes on the dash, cassette tapes blasting speakers to capacity and a cooler full of beer in the back seat.

Emma Richardson - Band of Skulls (My Cell Phone Pic)

The first time we (meaning my 3 friends that i always did this kind of crap with) went to U2, we were in a skybox. Drunk off our asses, one of my friends finds an extra stud earring deep in the pocket of his trench coat and asks me if i want my ear pierced. Why not, right? So we numb my earlobe with ice from the cooler and sterilize the earring with warm tap water from the sink of the skybox and one of my buds pokes it through–halfway.

He freaks out when he hits the cartilidge because there’s a little blood and can’t finish me off so i walk around the adjoining balcony area of the sky boxes with a bloody diamond stud dangling off the side of my head, approaching random strangers, asking them to pierce my ear until i finally find this bemused high guy who pops it through.

Russell Marsden - Band of Skulls (My Cell Phone Pic)

i lived many epic moments “live” and while nothing i’ve ever done in Yeaman approaches this kind of revelry, i tried to be drunk enough for the few shows i did catch. Which made last week’s concert kind of special because it’s the first rock concert i’ve attended since going off the booze.

Guess what!? It wasn’t the same and i don’t mean that in a good way. i’m not going to lie and put lipstick on a pig and say she’s a Babe. Apparently there are some things that go down a little easier if you’ve got a couple belts under your belt.

i was impatient, sore, old and stone cold sober.

The upside? i enjoyed the music more than any other live act i’ve seen. There were moments of bliss where i got chills and a little choked up as the music washed over me from the stage. i may not have enjoyed the whole concert experience as much as when i drank, but damn, i appreciated live music on levels i never knew existed…


About Al K Hall

Like a battered drinker or a punch drunk boxer, i am here for another round. For those of you who don’t know me, i’m a semi-professional writer on the rocks and a non-practicing alcoholic (if after 30 years of practicing, you still can't do something well, it's best to just give it up). For those of you who do know me, thanks for stopping by anyway and where’s the ten bucks you owe me? Welcome to my Bar None. A hole in the wall where we can hang out and trade the kind of stories you swap only when you’ve had one too many and either can’t find your way home or are afraid to. Hell, it’s cheaper than therapy and plus the pictures are prettier. Here we’ll crack open bottles and jokes and ‘last call’ are the only dirty words you’ll never hear. Pull up a stool and make yourselves at home.

Posted on February 1, 2012, in Alcoholism, Lessons in Recovery, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Hi there. Your post makes me think of home. I’ve seen concerts in every one of those venues. On your other blog, you’ve made mention of vacations in Detroit. laugh being from pine knob (don’t care what they, it will always be pine knob) and silverdome area…Detroit didn’t seem like the perfect getaway. Nothing like hearing electrifying mojo…those were the days. Now I call Chicago area home. Won’t hold the msu thing against ya as your posts rock (die hard wolverine fan here). Glad you enjoyed the music. Keep posting. 🙂

    • Hey Working!

      Thanks for the visit. Yeah, i’ve never really stayed in Detroit but we always fly into Detroit Metro in the summer ’cause i got family/friends still in the Lansing area, my sister (and her hubby) are up in Traverse City and my parents’ summer place is in Northern Ontario, up through the U.P. and past the Canadian Sault.

      They don’t call Pine Knob “Pine Knob” anymore? What do they call it? Man, it’s been a while since i hit that circuit.

      Chicago is great! One of my other readers, Mel, hails from that region as well. When i was 26, i hesitated between moving to Chicago (which i love) or hitting the rails in Europe. As i’m a wuss when it comes to winter, especially after 4 years in Michigan, i decided to bail.

      Anyway, thanks for the visit and especially for braving the Bar None as well!

      Keep “Working On It” 😉 and Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      • Wow, you are quite familiar with MI. It is quite the beautiful state, especially the UP. Stayed in “the Soo” Ontario for.a weekend and did the snow train. Everyone was so nice. Pine Knob Music Theater is now DTE energy music theatre. I think it changed about 10 years ago. Everyone still calls it The Knob unless they are super young or from DTE (brand loyalty ya know).

        Trying to keep working on sobriety. Some days its so hard. Have had a history with bulimia and cutting along with alcohol. I keep trading one pos for another.
        Thanking you for this blog.

        • Hey Working!

          Yeah, all my family hails from there even if i only spent 4 years there. i thought of you the other day because they listed the 10 Most Miserable Cities in the US and 3 of them were from Michigan (Warren, Flint, Detroit)! Chicago was another one…

          Good luck with the recovery! The internet has tons of resources that can help out, and i personally feel group meetings are key. You might also want to visit (if you haven’t already) iamnotshe, one of my reader’s sites about bulimia (and drinking a little, too).

          Hang in there, we’re pulling for you!

          And keep coming back,

          Al K Hall

  2. Awesome news about hearing the music! The first band I heard (by choice) as a sober Mel was Oasis at Chicago theatre. It was amazing and the theatre was condusive to other sober people. Still, you tend to get tired and restless as you said. Cool pics! … And not just the pic of the shot glass!!! Mel

    • Hi Melis!

      Yeah, i bet that was a lot of fun. i hated Oasis before they broke up but after they did, i started appreciating some of their songs. i knew exactly the kind of place you’re talking about, though, and it’s true the experience is much more pleasant.

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

      PS Thanks for the props on my personal pics! My cell phone is not all that great so it’s difficult to get decent shots. You should see how many i ‘threw away’!

  3. WHERE do you get these pics!?!


    I am here to tell you it gets better and better. I’ve seen Sonic Youth wasted countless times. I have seen Sonic Youth straight even more times than that. You get over that ‘weird! I am in the club but do not of it’ thing Really quickly.

    The music!!! Really. If your new trip is anything like my recovery trip; you are in for a real mind blowing experience ! Live music sober and clean is 1000X better than when using.

    Hands down. I am jealous (not of the earring that guy is wearing)))

    Peace, Jen

    • Jen!

      Ah, you know me…tireless hours of falling into the rabbit hole that is the internet and these pictures begin to find themselves!

      Sonic Youth must’ve been a blast! It’s good to know the music experience will get better. Mrs D and i are gonna see a South African heavy metal band with 3 Doors Down next month so i’ll keep you posted!

      Keep coming back,

      AL k Hall

  4. “The upside? i enjoyed the music more than any other live act i’ve seen. There were moments of bliss where i got chills and a little choked up as the music washed over me from the stage.”

    This was indeed the coolest part. Seeing you, being in touch with your emotions and fully present because you were sober, enjoying the music was wonderful. Hands down, this made the waiting and endless hours of standing totally worth it. 🙂

    What I liked most was being able to talk to you about this very stuff the whole time (well, while waiting between sets), and not worried you were going to do something dumbass because you were wasted! It was relaxing, if a little boring, from this standpoint (<—- no pun intended there, lol). Smooth. Happy.

    I told you that I think it was my first sober rock concert, too. It does make the boring parts more boring, but I also got a good, if short, night's sleep afterwards and did not feel like shit the next day.

    Oh man did I feel pretty old, though, lol.

    • Hi Angel!

      So, to sum up your comment, the concert was like a Thai massage: long, a little uncomfortable but with a happy ending?

      Looking forward to more concerts with you, my love!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  5. It is encouraging to hear how others describe the sober music experience as being better. When I was dry in the past, I passed up some opportunities to see concerts for fear that it would be no fun. I compare it to feeling the need for a drink in any social situation like a party. The drinks helps me relax and be more comfortable around and talking to others.

    Being a guy with not much rhythm, I always felt I needed some type of drug to help me enjoy music. What I am hearing today is that I may enjoy it in a different way, but it can still be enjoyable and even better.

    Great post and comments…Thanks.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Moderation!

      How’s the month off going? Is your cold going away?

      Yes, indeed, i’m encouraged as well. As i’m not that young or hip anymore, my concert days are numbered but it’s nice to know the ones i do have left will probably be enjoyable!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  6. This has to be one of the coolest written, sort of pulp fiction like, posts that I have ever read! (and I have read a lot of ’em) The awesome cell phone pics truly were the icing on the cake… Wow, thanks for sharing this jem of music related history in the life of Al K.

    Now I’m off to discover Band of Skulls on YouTube – take care!

    • Hi River!

      i’m so glad you liked the post and thanks for the props. It’s true i try not to bore people with slice of life posts so i’m glad this one passed relatively painlessly. And thank you as well for the compliments on the photos. With encouragement like that i may have to post more!

      Enjoy Band of Skulls and let us know what you think!

      Keep coming back,

      Al K Hall

  7. As usual, Al, I don’t have much to say.

    But I thought I’d share this link with you. It’s a keeper.

    • Hey, Brother!

      i just appreciate the visit is all. Don’t worry about the comments.

      Thanks for the tip! Great article…very optimistic. My readers will get a lot out of it.

      Keep coming back, man,

      Al K Hall

    • Wow — just read that post, and what a great one! I *loved* this line: “And being drunk doesn’t make you more awesome, funny, adventurous and charismatic. It just helps you forget that you don’t think you are.”

      Damn — that really pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it.

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