Guest Writer: Chris Fabulous tells "Pep Rally Riot"

Friday, July 08, 2005

Today we get a little Chris Fabulous action. I first met Chris probably close to two years ago. He was hanging around Digital Webbing, absolutely gutting people’s stories and everyone was afraid of him except for me. I gutted his story and we started working off-line on each other’s stories. The first thing I edited of his was his mammoth graphic novel Fat Lip, currently being illustrated and looking gorgeous. He asked me I wanted something of mine looked at in return and I asked him if he could hook me up with some artists. He laughed at my naivety and we continued to critique each other’s work.

Chris’ story takes us to Lubbock, Texas – the hearsay around a particular Fabulous Baker Boys show.

________________________

I tell people that it wasn’t “inciting a riot.” That’s hearsay. “The whole thing’s been blown a little out of proportion,” I tell them. I even wrote a letter that they put in the school paper telling off all the boneheads that were punching and stomping people and whatnot. They called it “moshing.” I don’t endorse that MTV crap. I’m all about the too-tight six-dollar suits with socks down the front of the pants, throwing stuff at guys with big cop mustaches, and a good circle pit.

This thing was a fiasco of the highest order, though. Don’t get me wrong. I loved every minute.

See, I’m not even from Lubbock, Texas. I’m from less than Lubbock; a nearby town called Wolfforth with 248,000 less people. Despite that, my high school wasn’t tiny. There were about 1,500 kids at this time, my senior year. Technically my senior semester, since I graduated early.

I don’t know how they do things where you’re from, but in Wolfforth, Texas, high school football is a big deal. You’re either on the sidelines cheering for the ‘roided-up Neanderthals or you’re a fucking communist. I was not a communist, though. That’s hearsay. I just resented being forced to admire and yell for the same Corky-rejects that made sure that every minute of my high school life was as degrading and miserable as possible. It didn’t matter how I felt about it, however, because on Friday mornings during football season, pep rally attendance was mandatory.

Spicing up the pep rally experience was totally mandatory as far as I was concerned. Shouting inappropriate things at inappropriate times, holding up our middle fingers instead of the index during the school song – our version of the Tigers being number one. And, yeah, I got in some pretty serious trouble for turning my back to the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. I made up for it with choreographed crotch-thrusts during the national anthem.

The ultimate pep rally embellishment on my part came when our friend and head of security, Matt Roller, landed FBB a “gig” playing a song at a pep rally. His first cousin was the head cheerleader, and I think he not only talked her into letting us play, but maybe even into the whole concept of any band playing.

We showed up to get set up the night before. The cheerleaders and their various relatives and hangers-on were present, preparing things, and soundcheck consisted of running through a song and seeing that turning our amps up to 10 still wasn’t exactly loud enough to fill the gym. Nothing was mic’d except my voice. We ran through “I Got a Problem,” saving the actual tune to be performed at the event for the element of surprise. Some little shit tried to get smart with me about the lyrics of the song, since he was having trouble understanding them. “What are you even saying, dude?” this little bastard smirked at me. “Well, the main lyric is “I can’t believe my dick’s so big,” I explained. “Obviously, you wouldn’t understand.” I think it was at that point that maybe some of the powers-that-be should have gotten a fucking clue as to what they were in for, but no one said anything and things went on as planned.

The theme for that week was supposed to be “the battle of the bands,” and our “competition” consisted of a group that had been formed specifically for the occasion. I’ll give them credit for writing the song they performed, and for doing a half-decent job for the majority of them having never performed in any kind of musical way before. Everybody in the group was a friend or acquaintance of mine, so I don’t want to talk too much shit about them. They know they were horrible, though. They went on first, and were met with a mere smattering of applause. Then it was “go time,” as they say.

Even I was shocked by the amount of applause we got when we walked out onto the basketball court in front of all 1,500 of my classmates, and the various parents, administrators, etcetera. Our reputation preceded us. It was a far cry from the days of being bullied and spat-upon by the vast majority of the student body just three years prior. I guess it comes with being a senior. I don’t know. Some people had even made signs for us and everything. It was completely surreal.

“All right,” I remember some pud with a cop mustache announcing. “The next band is the Fabulous Baker Boys.” I promptly snatched the mic from him and introduced the tune. I wanted to make a little disclaimer that, as conscientious citizens, we would never swear or curse in public, and that people should not confuse the title of the song we were about to perform with some profane diatribe. “The words to this song are, ‘FBB ain’t nothing to FRONT with, so don’t mix it up,” I said. Obviously, that was sarcastic, and I think everyone got the message.

So we grabbed our instruments, and our loyal security team, Matt Roller and Jeff Kelly were in place, wearing their standard-issue six-dollar Goodwill suits with socks stuffed down the front. Shaun, B, and JME got set and I made the comment that would tip the first domino that would create a Frenship High School legend.

I didn’t incite a riot or anything like that. I didn’t tell anyone to hurt anyone else, or anything like that. All I said was, “I don’t think anyone would mind if you guys came down and danced a little.” And so they did.

Shaun and JME kicked into the opening measures of “FBB Ain’t Nothin’ to Fuck With,” and kids came pouring out of the stands in the way that you see after the hometown team wins the World Series. The way it is when the bench clears at a baseball game and a huge fight breaks out on the field, except this was 1,500 high school kids dancing the violent, bloodthirsty way that MTV taught them to dance to punk rock. Ugly, macho, teenage hormones surging. Screaming and swearing done by people other than me.

Before we even got to the second verse of the song, my mic was dead. I chunked it at the guy with the cop mustache, and the band played on. It took the faculty much, much longer than it should have to just unplug the amps. Even then, JME kept playing for a while.

The remainder of the pep rally was canceled. Everybody went back to class. We loaded out like normal, and I got called to the office over the loudspeaker. JME had been out of school for years and never went to my school anyway, B was in disciplinary school for making a post-Columbine bomb threat, and I guess Shaun was invisible or something. I’d been told I was the “ringleader” of the group before by the principal. I guess he just wanted to make an example out of me, so he gave me three days of in-school suspension and that was it. The “official” reason was “incident at pep rally.” It wasn’t “inciting a riot,” as I later joked. That’s hearsay.

I don’t think anybody that was there that day forgot about my band after that. Attendance for our Lubbock shows was huge from then until we broke up seven months later. I wrote that letter that they put in the school paper. “Moshing.” I don’t endorse that MTV crap. Like I said, just give me a good circle pit.
Not that I didn’t love every minute of this fiasco.

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posted by Chris Fabulous at 1 Comments


1 Comments

Blogger Clint Hughes said...

Well, I have learned through many a punk rock show that FBB ain't nothin' to fuck with, but are you down with APB?

(yeah you know me)

Chris, I've been looking all over for you. This is Clint Hughes and I really want you to call me - (lubbock area code) 577-3278. It has been years since I watched you leave your house and move to the city of brotherly love. I'm not internet friendly enough to get a myspace or a facebook page, but I am still all about phone calls and pop-ins.

2:24 AM  

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