"That's What She Said"
by Greta Brinkman

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in a touring band? You can tell at a glance that they’re not from around here, that there’s SOMETHING different about them. You see them slouching in the rest stops, causing a scene at your local Denny’s or IHOP, or ordering triple Jack Daniel’s at the local motel bars (excuse me, cocktail lounges ) at 11:00 AM. They’re the ones who, besides smelling worse than anyone else in the place, have pink hair and a reverse mohawk, or are wearing a suit jacket over a red Union suit, with cowboy boots.

But brave the stench and get a little closer, and you’ll discover what really sets these people apart. They are conversing in some kind of strange incomprehensible gibberish, and laughing at things that not only aren’t funny, they don’t even make any sense! What IS this? A kind of touring band shorthand, or, if you like, “Road-dog Tagalog”, and every band develops their own version of it even before the first fart has dissipated from the van. This kind of retardosity serves two purposes: it serves to bond the group so that everyone feels like part of something, which is important if you’re in a different country every day and don’t speak any of the languages. And, it helps pass the ENDLESS, AGONIZING TIME that you have to be cooped up with the same 4 or 9 or 16 people.

Let me give you a straightforward example that actually isn’t that ridiculous. Some friends of mine were in a band who toured with the famous PERE UBU. They were backstage one night all mad at themselves because they had a bad show, and the famous DAVID THOMAS came by and told them, “Stop whining. NOBODY CARES, and NO-ONE IS LISTENING.” After they got over the shock of having the famous DAVID THOMAS actually SPEAK to them, they dubbed the whole tour the “Nobody Cares, No-one is Listening” tour, and that became their catchphrase and answer to anything. “We need to get gas.” “NOBODY CARES.” “I think my foot is broken.” “NO-ONE IS LISTENING.” See how easy?

My personal favorite, on the last MOBY tour, was to arbitrarily and randomly reply, “That’s what she said” to any offhand remark. Once in a while it really pays off. “Whew, I didn’t sleep very well last night, it was a bumpy ride.” “That’s what she said.” “How’s the new Foo Fighters CD?” “Solid, but a little too long.” “That’s what she said!” “That Norwegian goat cheese is really weird. I think that’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever had in my mouth.” You guessed it: “That’s what she said!”

If you, dear reader, ever find yourself on the road for weeks and months on end, you will need to use tricks like this to salvage what little sanity you started out with. It’s pretty easy, really. If you’ve all seen “Office Space”, for example, you can comment on each other’s “pieces of flair”. Or if everybody was at the airport together and heard the same announcement, then it’s time to remind your band that “If you’re coming from Tacoma , you’re at the wrong carousel”. It may seem at first that touring bands are hopelessly obscure and impossible to understand or make contact with, but once you’re in there you’ll see that it really isn’t very hard. And that’s what she said!

Greta Brinkman is currently Playing bass on tour with "moby". She also has her own band called ATOMIZER. They are a featured artist on my April/May mofo radio page. Go check her out at www.bassgoddessgreta.com.

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