Yes, The River Knows.

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes.  Here is what I came up with.  I hope you like it.

I was John Densmore.  I’d been John Densmore since the beginning.  Ray and I.  We formed the band in 1989 with a different Robby Krieger and a different Jim.  The first Robby was an overweight dude who played an Ibanez Iceman through a solid state Peavey.  He talked a whole lot of Syd Barret and Arthur Lee, but when he played, it was strictly George Benson.  The first Jim was a college kid who loved Echo & The Bunnymen and wanted to do R.E.M. covers.  To this day, I don’t think he grasped what “Doors Tribute Band” meant.

“Moonlight Drive, South Dakota’s #1 Doors-related Experience.”

Ray and his brothers owned a hardware store, and I was a CPA.  We met at the restaurant down the road.  We were both wearing Velvet Underground t-shirts.  You sure didn’t see that very often.  We started jamming.  Moonlight Drive, The Doors gig, started a year after that as a side thing – playing slow nights at a cool pub out in the woods.  We’d do two full albums a night, plus blues songs “Doors”-style.

A year later, Ray sold his share of the hardware store to his brothers, and I went down to part time at the accounting firm.  As John Densmore, I was making more money than my dentist.

After the first Jim left, we took a break.  Tested out a few singers from other Doors tribute bands, but it was a drag.  Most of them were way too dedicated – like Robert DeNiro putting on all that weight in Raging Bull.  These cats would show up drunk and piss themselves. 

We settled on a new Jim after six months.  Jim was a great singer, a handsome guy, and a hard-worker.  Friendly, too.  He’d played college basketball at BC.   The only sticking point was that he was 6’11.”  I mean, we played gigs where the stage was too small to fit all four of us, so Jim would have to sit in a booth  near the PA and sing.  Another thing:  they do not make leather pants for people who are 7 feet tall.  You gotta get that shit done custom, and the effect is just screwy.  Jim looked like a rhinoceros.

Eventually, he just decided to wear his Boston College warm-ups.  Around that time, we figured that trying to emulate The Doors accurately was a lost cause.  Ray and I stopped wearing our wigs.  Robby, whose real name was Francois, started wearing these cool suits.

The audience didn’t mind.  We did great versions of the songs, and the former college basketball thing turned out to be a great angle for local press.  We still play three times a week in Moonlight Drive, and its great.  The money’s solid and there’s no tension. 

Next month, we’ve got a gig with a Pink Floyd band whose drummer was on the Olympic bobsled team.  We’re thinking of challenging them to an air hockey match.

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