Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Fredrick the Entertainer

About forever ago I had bought tickets to see Naked Raygun and their special guests Dillinger 4 at House of Blues. The show was Friday night, and I took Melle as payback for her strong arming me into the Scissor Sisters show a few months back (although I have to admit, a man in black and white vertical striped, sequin super short shorts dry humping an amp does have a degree of entertainment value). The best thing about punk rock shows is the people - you never know what kind of characters you're going to meet. In this particular case we met Freddie.

Freddie is a chubby, bald (I couldn't tell if this was by nature or on purpose) 26 year old. He was at the show with his step-brother Lou, or as Freddie called him "Lou-dog". Freddie could accurately be described as "high-strung". Our conversation started when Freddie decided that Melle was carrying a fake ID, because it was obvious to him that she was not 26. In fairness to Freddie, she did tell him she was "going to be 27" which is technically true, but made it look like she was lying as she will not actually be 27 for another 8 months. I was slightly offended that he was not at all troubled when I told him I was 29.

Freddie quickly noticed Melle's tattoo, which is hard not to do because it is beautiful and also covers half her arm. We were then given a rundown of Freddie's various tattoos. "This is my dad's initials, and this one is for my mom. You see this one here? That one says 'strength through struggle', which is important. I got that one when I was straight-edge." I found it hard to believe that Freddie, who was drunk off his ass, was ever straight-edge and I told him so. "Well, I mean, except for the drugs. But my friends were straight-edge." He insisted to us several times that this particular tattoo was "important", even though it was obvious to me he wasn't gaining any strength and was clearly losing his struggle. "Then these, do you see these?" he asked, pointing to some dark patches on his forearm. "These are cigarette burns. There's another fresh one under this band aid too. These are all from my buddies that died. I had three buddies die in the last year, so I burned myself with a cigarette for each one so I'd remember, you know? That's what we do in my neighborhood."

I didn't know and neither did Melle. But as stupid as the whole thing seemed it got worse when we asked him where he was from that this is what they do in his neighborhood, and he told us Rogers Park (home of Loyola University Chicago and a Jesuit religious order).

Freddie also seems to lack a short-term memory. A guy went past us trying to get closer to the stage and elbowed Freddie a little bit in the process. Freddie flipped out. "Fuck man! Did you see that guy? He fuckin hit me right in the fuckin face! I'm gonna go fuckin kill that guy!" The guy hadn't actually hit Freddie in the face, unless he had a second face on his upper chest. In preparation to go fuckin kill that guy, he did the athlete pour with the rest of his beer. This is the thing where you open your mouth and pour your beverage over your tongue and down the whole front of your shirt without actually swallowing anything. He then threw his empty on the ground with authority and started for the stairs. I grabbed the back of his shirt to stop him and told him it wasn't worth it to get thrown out right at the start of Naked Raygun's set. This stopped him from going but he continued to stand there, breathing heavily and fuming.

Ten minutes later he erupted again. "No man, fuck it, I'm gonna go kill that fuckin guy that spilled beer all over my shirt. Fuck! Look at what he did to my shirt!" Melle and I looked at Lou-dog who just shrugged with resignation. It was clear he'd been to shows with Freddie before.

Eventually we had to part with Freddie and Lou-Dog because Melle had obliterated her liver, but I will always think fondly of him and his crazy cigarette burning ways. And that's how to attend a punk rock show.

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