I’ve got a beef with owning a damn PA. Owning a PA is a necessity for any band, but it’s certainly a bitch. Two, three, or four speakers, each of which costs hundreds of dollars. Mic stands that perpetually snap at their hinges. Cables that work at home, but not once you set them up at the gig.

If the PA is owned by one member of the band, which is often the case, it’s their duty to lug all the 50-pound speakers out of their house and into the car. Since you’ve got the PA, you’ve got to be on time, so it’s usually your job to double-park and haul it all into the venue as well, while your bandmates roll in, stoned and late. Get it all set up and, inevitably, something doesn’t work. Plus, the drummer needs duct tape. And the bassist can’t remember the chords to the song you practiced last week. When you finally discover the suspect cable and get everything working, while the bar owner breathes down your neck because you’re 15 minutes late starting, the music finally happens.

During the show, you breathe, play, sing, and smile. You rock their faces off. After the show, the rest of the band wanders around hitting on girls until the security kicks everyone out. The owner of the bar never looks outside to notice it was 36 degrees and snowing, or checks the City Paper to see that the Led Zeppelin reunion at the Coliseum turned out to be the same night he booked you, and he wants to pay you half of what he promised because he didn’t make enough money at the bar. You explain that the cost of hiring a band isn’t just the hours of writing songs, practicing, coordinating several people’s schedules, and setting up and playing at their bar for five hours, but also the cost of renting thousands of dollars of equipment that he didn’t provide in his “venue.”

Then you roll up your three dozen cables and break down the speakers and carry them out to the car and drive home and lug them back into the house. Including the one that mysteriously started smoking during the gig and apparently will require a screwdriver with a two-foot shaft to remove the screws to get to the motherboard, which will then require being shipped to a random guy in Michigan because that’s apparently the only person in the whole forsaken country that still works on a Mackie 450.

From now on, I’m the bass player. You bring the PA.

I’ve also got a beef with the drunk guy who spilled his beer on my pedals. No, asshole, I won’t play “Wagonwheel.” Believe me, I’m as amazed as you that she’s interested in dancing with you, especially after you collapsed backwards onto my pedal board and fried the circuitry on my delay pedal. It’s cool. Delay is not that important. That was $150 I spent frivolously, and I appreciate the reality check. Did you really just yell “Freebird?” Is there a club of dumbshits who hang out together and still think that’s funny? This one’s for you, buddy. It’s called “Pop Your Pastel Polo,” you chump. Oh really? Do I have to high five you? OK. Now go away. Ah, thanks. You’re a pal. I’m glad you enjoyed our music that you won’t remember. I, unfortunately, will remember you when I dish out the cash for a new pedal. How is she still dancing with you? Are we that good?

Stratton Lawrence is a local musician, promoter, freelance music writer, and frequent contributor to the City Paper.