Music, as it should be fairly clear right now, is pretty important to me. Whenever the infamous “which would you rather be, deaf or blind?” question comes up, I always choose blind. Sure, there are some things I would miss: my wife’s face, video games and movies, art, the wonders of nature, etc. But I would still have music. And audiobooks mean I could still “read.” But mostly the music thing.
Because music is of such importance in my mind, I also like to believe that my life, and to be honest everyone’s life, has a soundtrack. I usually have at least a mental soundtrack going through my head, whether it be a song that I feel is appropriate for the moment, or whether it’s just the earworm song I woke up with this morning that I can’t get out of my head. I imagine that my life is a movie. Maybe not a great one, and I probably won’t win any awards for my part in it, but a movie none the less. Maybe slightly better than a movie-of-the-week.
So, the soundtrack of my life plays in my head when I have no other options, but when music is available and present, that serves as the soundtrack. All of this is a long way of saying that sometimes, not all the time, I try to “play the part” a little better depending on the music. I first noticed this many years ago, when I would go up to a goth club in Detroit called City Club with a few friends of mine. The club was divided into three distinct spaces. There was the bar area, dimly lit with scattered tables and of course the main bar. There was a lounge area with leather sofas (black leather, I did say it was a goth bar) where people would sip their drinks and socialize. I never spent any time there, but saw it once or twice. Then there was a hallway that led to the dance floor, which was in a ballroom sized space. The music from the dance area filtered out to the rest of the club, but was naturally most prevalent on the dance floor and surrounding areas. My friends and I spent the majority of our time in that room, sometimes (not often for me, more for others) dancing, mostly hanging out, drinking, and ogling hot girls in vinyl and fishnets gyrate on the floor. What I noticed, though, is that we would first go to the bar, get drinks, and then I would hang back and mill around the bar area. At some point, I would suggest that we make our way to the dance area, and this timetable always varied. I was in no way the leader of our little cadre, but most of the time at least a couple of the guys would hang back with me. What I began to notice is that the “appropriate” moment to enter the dance hall was based not on comfort level or timing or how many drinks I’d had or seeing someone I thought was attractive heading that way. It was entirely based on what song was playing when we walked in.
Being the introspective person that I am, as I discovered this phenomenon, I had to trace its origins and figure out where it came from. What I figured out was that it was because of the movie Fight Club. If you haven’t seen it or don’t remember it, a little over forty minutes into the movie, there is a scene of Tyler Durden and “Jack” walking into a bar. Playing in the background while this is happening is Goin’ Out West by Tom Waits. I thought this was such a cool moment. The song, the way the two men were walking, the atmosphere the were entering, all of it just seemed perfect to me. I wanted to be those guys, walking into my favorite establishment like I owned it, having a song playing that told everybody that I was awesome. And thus my concept of entrance music was born.
Now, you’re probably wondering what all of this has to do with Toadies, since it is Toadies week and to this point I’ve mentioned a goth club and Tom Waits, neither of these things being or related to Toadies. Well, when it comes to entrance music, Toadies are my number one band. They have a large catalogue of songs that, in my opinion, serve the purpose well. Songs like Backslider off of their debut album, When I Die off of their latest album, and like half of the songs on No Deliverance, including the title track are the perfect mixture of aggressive, dominant and cool. They embody exactly what I want for my entrance music.
Here is my goal. At some point in my life, I want to walk into a bar that I’m almost considered a regular at. I don’t want to be to the level of Norm in Cheers, were everybody “knows my name,” as well as all of my idiosyncrasies and problems. Just somewhere where I’m recognized enough to be in the realm of “I’ve seen that guy around here a quite a few times,” but still with enough mystery to make me enigmatic to them. As I’m walking in, I want a Toadies song, any of the aforementioned, to be playing on whatever jukebox or sound system they have. Having them playing live would work, too, but goes against the other part of my thinking. This cannot be planned. I can’t have someone planted to play the appropriate song on the jukebox for me to walk into. This can’t be like some WWE entrance, staged and fake. This has to happen in a serendipitous way. So while it would be awesome if Toadies was playing live for this, it would be less likely that I would accidentally walk into a bar or club where they happened to be playing than it would for them to come up on the jukebox. I’m pretty sure if they were playing some small, cool venue like that, it would be the entire reason I am going there, thus negating any serendipity involved.
Unfortunately, I have some obstacles to this dream coming true. The first and most important is that, in my life, I have never become a “regular” of that stature at any bar. I don’t like going out enough for that to happen. The closest I’ve been to this is back in 2014 when the Blue Jackets were in the Stanley Cup playoffs. For all six games of their series against the Pittsburgh Tuxedo Chickens, my wife, myself and quite a few of our friends went to Gresso’s Bar on the South side of Columbus. By the end of their playoff run, we were starting to get the level of recognition that I was looking for. However, after the playoffs were over for Columbus, we didn’t go back for a month or two, and all of our cred was gone. The second impediment to my goal is the choice of music. Toadies are awesome, but not exactly topping the charts. An unfortunately large number of people only know them for one song, and Possum Kingdom is not my idea of an entrance song. The odds of someone playing something like Nothing to Cry About are pretty slim.
Still, a guy can dream, right?