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Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2002 @ 10:59 pm

I'm walking down the street in Ballard (which used to be my neighborhood... this was a few years ago). Thereís a little downtown-ish area in the center of the neighborhood, and itís quiet at night. You know, not hardly anyone on the street. There's a club called The Ballard Firehouse. There was Ratt, Blue Oyster Cult, probably Whitesnake plays there now and again. Anyway, we're getting close to The Ballard Firehouse and there's this dude that looks a bit like Twisted Sister. His long blonde hair, maybe permed, is dry and looking gross. He's got a black leather jacket and he's yelling at us.

"YOU GUYS 21?" he belts out the question like a challenge.

My friend Jeff and I: "Um. Yeah."


We're closer now, and he's still talking that loud.

"Yes," we say.

He's holding five tickets up in the air. He looks to be anywhere between 28 and 36 years old. As we get within handshake distance: "YOU WANT SOME FREE TICKETS TO SEE A BAND TONIGHT?"

"Is it a metal band?" I ask.

"YES IT IS A METAL BAND," he says. When he speaks, his head dips a bit to the left, and then floats slightly back over his left shoulder. Itís a slow lull of a move and his voice inflections follow its motion. His hair frizzes to one direction during the maneuver. Words ending in the letter ďSĒ sizzle like a snake.

"Whatís the name of the band?" I ask.

"ILLEGAL SUBSTANCESSSSSS," he says. Head dip, and frizz.

"Are you in the band?" I ask.

Wanting so badly to say yes, to stake his claim to the brilliance that is local metal, he dips and slurs: "UMMMM... I USED TO BE IN THE BAND. A FEW SHOWSSSSSS AGO THEY GOT A NEW BASSSSSSSSSSS PLAYER," he turns and points to this 17-year-old hardcore kid that's about 5 foot 2 inches tall carrying a bass (with a wobble) into the club. "THE NEW BASSSSSS PLAY ISSSS THAT GENTLEMAN YOU SEE RIGHT THERE."

It tugged at my heartstrings. Hereís this guy kicked out of the band, but still believiní with his whole heart and pushing free tickets to try to cushion the room. The Ballard Firehouse often hosts thin crowds.

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