With possible Armageddon & my 30th birthday on the horizon, I’ve decided to dig deep into my well of memories and share some of my favorite stories from the last ten years of my life. FULL DISCLOSURE: While I will be as [karate] honest as possible in the retelling of these tales there will be certain things omitted due to a probable (more thank likely) drunken haze, old-age forgetfulness, and the protection of the
guiltyinnocent. This will also be done in a very non-linear style, since whatever story I post will be based on what pops into my head first, not chronologically.
I can’t recall the exact moment I fell in love with Journey. I can tell you it was before it became cool to love Journey, and I can tell you it was definitely before Glee ruined Journey. I’m thinking it was somewhere post Baseketball, where Journey ‘psych outs’ were all the rage. So let’s go with 1999/2000.
It was 2009 in early June, and I was looking for something to do on a Friday night. For whatever reason the majority of the group was AWOL, although my cousin Mike (from here on out referred to as MTE) WAS around, suggesting we head to Gillary’s in Bristol for a Journey cover band that was playing there. “A Journey… Cover band?” My mind was blown. MTE and I were both looking to have a good time, which would also involve us getting pretty fucking drunk. Luckily for us fellow Journey lover Doug Summers was also interested in enjoying the musical stylings of CAPTURED (the cover band), and offered to be our designated driver for the evening.
We got there just as the band began their first set, and the diverse crowd was already pumped and ready to rock out with whatever they had to take out. It was my first time at Gillary’s, so the three of us took a quick tour of the place before getting settled in. Heading upstairs to the second level (with a great view down to the stage), we made our way over to the corner bar. To my shock and delight, I saw pitchers of Coors Light on sale for $5. Now under normal circumstances I wouldn’t be caught drinking a Coors, but when a Bud Light bottle was going to be only $2 cheaper than a giant MONSTER pitcher of Coors, it’s simple economics. The waitress poured me my jug o’ beer while passing along a couple of plastic cups for serving, not realizing that I would be the only one drinking from this chalice of glory.
Leaving the cups behind I did what any respectable gentleman might do, and started chugging directly from the pitcher. As I turned around I was confronted by a crazy, wacky, and potentially unstable 94.1 WHJY radio personality, asking me very loudly “DO YOU LIKE COORS LIGHT?!” Usually my answer would be no, but all things considered I promptly replied “Yes, in fact I’m drinking a pitcher of it right now!” Impressed with my rugged manliness, economic forethought, and choice of alcoholic beverage the DJ provided me with a Coors Light t-shirt and two free tickets to a local Pawtucket Red Sox game!
High off of the excitement of getting free shit, the shot girl noticed the commotion I was making, deciding to strut herself over and asking if the three of us were interested in jello shots. Now maybe it was because I was psyched for free swag. Maybe it was because CAPTURED was rocking some wonderful Journey b-sides, or maybe it was because she just wasn’t that attractive (mildly, hardly), but I found myself overcome with confidence telling her we’d be interested in jello shots if she gave me a kiss first. Putting up absolutely no fight whatsoever, the bar wench put her shot tray on the nearby pool table and lassoed me right into a quick make out session. I paid her like the good whore she was (c’mon, kisses for shots?), MTE and I enjoyed our shots, and then sent her on her way.
With the realization this all happened within the first 10 minutes of being there I thought to myself, “This is going to be a good fucking night.”
Things proceeded from there just as you’d imagine. Pitchers were consumed, drinks were drank, CAPTURED rocked the building to its core with their lead singer looking exactly like Steve Perry’s clone (quite possibly the actual Steve Perry). I was about four pitchers deep when Doug received a text from his booty call, guaranteeing him a lay if he left for Providence post haste. It was only a little after 11:30pm, and frankly MTE and I were in no hurry to leave. The party was just getting started! Feeling drunk and invincible, we told Doug to leave and we’d find our way home. Doug, the sober one, believed we would figure things out and bolted off to go get his. I definitely can’t blame the guy.
Soon I was split off from my cousin, wandering around Gillary’s and procuring my 5th pitcher of beer. I reconnected with my shot gal, and after a little more making out in jello I took her number to ‘seal the deal’. I can tell you three years later that I’m pretty sure I texted her twice, and never saw her again until I realized she ALSO worked for Showcase Cinemas, where we would make sometimes awkward glances at each other to this day.
Capping the night off with a marvelous rendition of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (I think it was marvelous anyway, granted I was pretty gone at this point), the crowd continued hanging around until CAPTURED performed a killer encore. The lights turned up and the bouncers began to push people toward the exit as I realized I needed to find MTE ASAP and figure out a way home. My drunkenness immediately distracted me from my goal however as I noticed a couple of guys in the corner, scoping out a group of very attractive girls across from them. I slowly approached the dudes, poking my nose where it didn’t belong. “What’s up guys? Why don’t you go over there and talk to them?” I wondered aloud.
“They are way too hot man. I’d just like to get a picture with her,” one kid said solemnly.
“Let me see what I can do,” I replied without a second thought (or any thought, as I was loaded). You’ll have to remember that this was 2009, and The Hangover had just come out the very same weekend. Ruy and I had seen the midnight showing the night before, so the movie was still fresh in my mind. Taking a cue from Bradley Cooper’s character Phil, who was a grade school teacher in the film, I confidently walked up to the bevy of sexy CAPTURED fans. “Hi ladies, how are you doing tonight?” They nodded, smiling at my drunken aloofness. “My name is John, and you see I’m a grade school teacher. My two friends over there think you are the most beautiful girls in this entire bar and they would LOVE it if you would take a quick picture with them to remember this night.”
Why I would preface things with letting them know I was a grade school teacher I have no idea… But it WORKED! The girls were amused, and took a quick snapshot with the horny fellas for their personal collection of spank bank material. Appreciative of my assistance, the dude handed me over his drink– A PITCHER OF COORS LIGHT. Already way past my limit at five pitchers, I knew a 6th would do me in for good. The bouncers started becoming more aggressive with getting the patrons out of there, and the one burly bouncer told me to start drinking up and hitting the road. Without using my brain again, I started chugging.
The solemn masturbater noticed my chugging, and started yelling “CHUG” to help root me on.
“CHUG! CHUG!” He bellowed. Others began joining in, with a rowdy crowd never shying away from an opportunity to chant in unison. Suddenly I realized the upper balcony of people were now watching me, chanting along.
Using the rally of the crowd to help feed my need to finish off the bottomless pit of beer, Steve Perry clone even got on the microphone and started chanting “CHUG, CHUG, CHUG,” with the rest of Gillary’s. I felt like the conquering hero about to slay the beast of a dragon when the harsh hand of reality quickly sunk in. The sinking feeling? Yeah, it was my stomach and it was really pissed about all the beer I had drunken. Slowing down my pace, I could feel the crowd turning on me. I was more concerned with my stomach turning on me so I opted to stop chugging.
Gillary’s was not impressed. “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” was all I could hear, with the entire crowd booing me out of the building. Taking a walk toward the exit, I hung my head in shame knowing I had let everyone down. Silence hushed over the group as I limped away in defeat, but from the back of the room a slow, soft clap could be heard. It was a clap of respect, and soon the entire building roared with a scintillating round of applause. A true show of respect.
I lifted my head up, swung around and struck a huge thumbs up to my sea of adoring fans.
“That guy’s gonna puke!!” A young man shouted from the balcony.
“No I’m not good sir! Have a great night!” I proclaimed as I stepped outside. Realizing I had no more control over my body, I completely vomited all over Thames Street. I don’t think I hit any pedestrians with my projectile vomit, but I could very well be wrong. Damn balcony guy and his prophetic visions.
Thankfully MTE had found me outside, as he had been ‘spreading it on’ with some chicks out there. He put a quick call in to his estranged wife Liz seeing if Liz would be willing to pick us up in Bristol and drive us back to Doug’s house in downtown Prov to get my car, and THEN to drive my car and I back to Pawtucket (where i was living at the time with my Mom and sister). Simple, right?
Liz thankfully agreed, and eventually got us a little after 2am. Gillary’s closed at one, and I have no idea what we did for that missing hour. We got to Providence fairly quickly, and MTE was sober enough to drive me back in my car while Liz followed him back to my place. Sitting in my passenger seat, I realized I was going to get sick again. Lucky for me I had a Dunkin Donuts cup in my holder, and I began puking right into the medium sized container. Getting off the highway, MTE realized he was being tailed by a local police cruiser. The lights came on right as we pulled onto my street, and the game was set. Telling me to be cool while I wiped the puke from my cheek, MTE promised he’d use his Military cred to help us out.
“License and registration,” I could hear the officer say. MTE happily provided his Military ID, and the two began chatting while I kept falling back to sleep. After a few minutes the cop went on his way, and no ticket was issued. I could barely ask why he pulled us over in the first place, when Mike just laughed.
“Ha, apparently I didn’t turn your headlights on. Ooops! I guess I was drunker than I thought.”
MTE pulled into my driveway, handed me my keys and asked if I needed help inside. “Nope I’m just going to lay here for a minute. Thanks Cuz!” That was the last thing I remembered until waking up at 11am that morning, still in my car, covered in puke, all while clutching my newly acquired Coors Light t-shirt. Though it took me the remainder of my Saturday to recover from such an epic night, I’d have to say the events only reaffirmed my love for all things Journey.
Anyway you want it indeed…