When a lad becomes a God of Rock, as I have, he can’t avoid three types of gigs: the awards show, the charity bash and the tribute gig. Try as you may to wriggle out of them, some pawky lawyer type has tied thee up in contractual obligations. Oh there’s been many tributes to yours truly but you don’t really have to attend those. In fact, in many ways, it’s frowned upon if you do.
No, the tribute night cannot be avoided and my story is about one such night and the lessons I learned from Fat Tim Seemly.
Flamin’ Norah, Tim were a fat lad! In fact, much as I liked the lardy fucker, he didn’t bloody half have nothing to really recommend him. He were an odd shape too, for a fat lad. He just looked all wrong, that lad. He once told me that NASA had approached him to experiment with singing in zero gravity.
There weren’t a lot to recommend Tim. He were an odd-shaped, fat, lying, ugly as sin, annoying fucker but I liked him. Don’t know why. Maybe it were sympathy. Couldn’t spend too much time with him because of the stench, but I liked him any road.
Tim were blessed with a great voice but nowt much else. He were fronting his own band, Fat Tim Seemly and the Nipple Magnets, when I met him. They were a progressive, crossover, death metal folk band. Some say Fat Tim were ahead of his time. Others said he were daft as a brush. Either way, he only had moderate success with The Nipple Magnets.
He were a big Blind Willie McTell fan, were Tim. As I were one of the four people who could actually stomach talking to the lad, he asked if I’d take part in a Death Metal Blind Willie McTell tribute night and I agreed. Before I knew it, he had his legal brief stick a contract in me face and I signed the fucker, before chinning the git.
Well the night inevitably arrived and I sitting down, waiting for the soundcheck with Archie Nunchuck, the man the man who invented coolness. He were also the other guitar player in The Nipple Magnets.
What ails thee, Archie?, I said as he sat down.
It’s Tim, he replied, exhaling a plume of smoke from a giant doobie.
Ah look, I said, Tim might be a foul smelling, oddly shaped, lying, fat, annoying fucker with no fashion sense, but he’s alright.
You don’t have to play with him, Johnny, he moaned. It’s a bloody nightmare. Oh yeah, he sings like an angel, but he smells like a camel and he’s also the laziest fucker you ever met.
Lazy? I asked.
Yep, replied Archie. He fucks off every ten minutes because of his… you know… problem. We end up covering for him and the gigs are becoming hard work.
So give him a good chinning and tell him to buck up his ways then Archie. You can’t be going around, looking so miserable. We rely on your coolness, I said.
We’re chinning him every other night, Archie replied. Nothing gets past his stupidity.
Yeah, I agreed, he’s thick as bottled shit alright. Weren’t blessed with much upstairs but a voice like an angel, that lad.
That’s when Tim shows up, and pisses everyone off with a long, long, long speech about Blind Willie. I were close to chinning the lad myself, I can tell you but I assumed that, once he got it out of his system, he’d give it a rest.
So Perky Donaldson-Smythe kicks that double bass pedal into gear and after a killer drum roll and roaring feedback from Archie and me, we launch into The Wabash Cannonball. It’s great. Archie is standing on the keyboards, playing power chords in open D, while I’m setting fire to the bass player’s spare guitar. The moshpit is a heaving being. We crash into a raucous crescendo to finish the song and the crowd goes wild. I’m looking at the next song, Runnin’ Me Crazy, and Tim starts making another speech about Blindfookin Willie! Then he invites the fookin Nolan Sisters up to sing their version of Waterloo. The night’s falling apart. The band is falling apart. Had Archie any hair left, he would’ve pulled it all out. Perky were jumping on his kit and, Tim were shagging an inflatable Dana. Fookin crowd went fookin mental and tore Perky limb from limb but I managed to get Archie and me out of there before it descended into a full scale riot.
Next day, me and Archie met up to mourn the inevitable loss of everyone in The Nipple Magnets, bar him. Him and me was playing an acoustic set in their memory, but then we look upu and there’s fookin Tim at bar.
I thought you were fookin dead, says Archie.
Not a fookin chance says Tim. Where’s me fookin brass?
What fooking money? Says Archie
For the gig, says Tim.
But you caused a foooking riot, says Archie. And Perky’s fookin dead.
A deal’s a deal says Tim and then Archie’s on top of him like a fookin Dervish. Here’s a deal, you fat fookin toerag, an he chins him right there on the fookin spot.
I admired Archie for not killing the fooker and I admired him even more when he strapped on his axe and said, Come on. Let’s play a selection of Nipple-Magnets greatest hits, in memory of Perky. And so we did, working our way through the Magnets’ best tunes; Exterminate The Cloven Whores was so uplifting on acoustic guitar and Serve Me Your Rancid Filth, Whore almost brought a tear to my eye and made me wonder if they had ever written a song without “whore” in the title.
Half way through Satanic Whore Mass, Tim Seemly began to twitch, and Archie unhooked his axe. Excuse me, he apologised.
I never thought that the man who invented cool could ever lose his cool but, as fat fookin Tim went headfirst through the window, I realised he could.
Maybe we all have our limits.
Everything by Johnny Bottleneck