Even though I had a demo floating around with comedy songs about the restaurant business, I still hadn’t performed live in more than nine years. When the Olive Garden fired me for my creative output something switched on in my brain again and I was filled with a powerful urge to get back on stage. Hell I was unemployed so it’s not like I didn’t have time. I was explicitly warned that if I tried to appeal my termination that the hateful heinous hunchback hobag would press charges of sexual harassment because the CD I never gave her had some stuff on it she might have found offensive. That’s okay though: I had NO intention of going back to the evil empire.
The first thing I needed was a message and a viewpoint. I looked back on all the injustices and indignities I had seen us in the industry suffer from. I had seen countless incidents of customer cruelty and disrespect, innumerable times when a tyrannical manager had abused their power over their employees and so, SO many times when a server, a hostess, a bartender or a cook would have to take it because they could lose their jobs at any point for the least little thing. I had experienced my fair share of this kind of treatment but when OG fired me it was the straw that broke the Camel Light’s back.
I decided that my songs and material would be written from the perspective of and in defense of restaurant industry employees, of all my adopted brothers and sisters. It was a bit of a cop out since the ridiculous way that customers and managers treat us makes making fun of them akin to shooting fish in a barrel, but it definitely gave me that unique outlook I was missing. I had a flag to fly, a banner to rally behind and a cause that was just. ‘Dignity and Respect to Restaurant Employees!’ was the battle cry. My stage outfit/combat gear was my old work uniform (a fundamental tenet of guerrilla warfare is that you should use the tools and weapons that the enemy leaves behind). Instead of a protest sign I wrote on my white, merlot-stained apron ‘Soup, Salad and Censorship! Fired for No One Should Ever Have To Listen To This’. Then I wrote the title track to NOSEHTLTT. It’s a song about all the fridiculous shit we have to hear on a daily basis. Plus there’s a line about me getting canned.
Then I got me a gig.
I would often play my guitar on the front porch and apparently my neighbors would listen. Shortly after getting kitshanned one of my neighbors handed me a flier for a car show he was involved with and told me he always liked hearing me play and that the car show was looking for musical acts and that I should go play there. So my first gig in nine years was at a car show, but at least I was trying to get my message of Dignity and Respect To Restaurant Industry Employees out there. Was it a big hit? Were people cheering on my triumphant return to live performance? Umm . . . not entirely. But at least I had something to say to all the friends and fans of mine (I love both you guys!) who for years would ask me when would be the next time I was performing somewhere.
Since then I have performed at comedy clubs again, bars, coffee shops, snow cone shops, talent shows and of course restaurants. And not only will I (hopefully) never get fired from my current job for my act, I get asked to play at the Christmas party at work! No one will catch me saying that I’ve captured the world’s imagination or anything but I can at least say I’ve tried. At least I’m getting off my fat lazy ass and doing something with my so-called talent. I write, I perform, I play, and now I have a blog. Slowly but surely my message is getting out there. I have plans to put down some tracks in a decent studio at some point, but until then keep reading and maybe you’ll be able to hear and see some of this insanity I keep talking about.
Until then . . .
Dignity and Respect
Me, The JerBear