What a great time we were having! I called around and got us a gig at Amos’ Southend, a venue devoted to live music in Charlotte, North Carolina. I had not played a true performance venue of the sort with a full band in way too many years.
I actually called John who played drums and Rob who played bass on the Satchel Foot album and asked them to come and jam five songs or so as a kind of a reunion. Matone would open, with Satchel Foot playing a quick 30-minute set, then The Deep Shallow Band would headline and finish out the show. WE KILLED IT. All of us. I mean, Matone had an amazing set; Satchel Foot Jumped on stage for the first time in over 20 years with that unit; and The Deep Shallow Band really brought the show home. We had a great crowd that danced and participated. At the end of the show, we were all on top of the world.
I started thinking about getting back into the studio and cutting another album. It took me a long time to come back down to planet Earth, though. So we played another show there in January of 2020, which was the following year, AND WHAT A FUCKING MESS!!! A total SHIT SHOW all of my own doing.
First, let me say that there is a fine line between being cocky and having confidence. I have always been a confident person, but I rarely let myself cross that line into the cocky abyss. My first regret is that I did cross that line, and NOTHING ever goes right when you take that step.. Second, I believed I was a YOUNG wanna-be-rock-star again, and that was FAAAARRRR from the case.
A bunch of people showed up and took us to dinner. The next thing I knew, a shot of tequila was ordered for me. Then another. And another. And so on, and so on. I have ZERO idea why in the hell I was drinking so damn much tequila. I also remember a time many years ago when I was awakened after a full day of drinking tequila by a friend’s voice yelling “Rusty! You are currently arguing with your damn self, man!” Let it be known that my limit is typically two or three MAX, but that night I just kept on going.
I really don’t remember SHIT about the show, except that I was shit-faced. The good news is that we were well-rehearsed and I could keep playing through it thanks to pure muscle and musical memory alone. BUT, I pissed off a WHOLE lot of people that night. We had told one of Dave’s friends he could come up on stage and play a tune for his birthday. When it was time to bring him on stage, I just brushed off Dave, who was trying to cue me for it, shook my head NO, and kept playing right on through.
I do remember a girl who kept coming up to the stage and flipping me off with both hands while yelling “FUCK YOU, RUSTY!” and “RUSTY SUCKS!” I also remember thinking “What the hell did I do to this chick?” only to find out a couple weeks later what had happened. I put Dave and his friends in a really bad spot, and I was totally MORTIFIED. I did my best to apologize. Dave made it clear there were no hard feelings after reading and hearing my apologies, but I had done plenty of damage and had to look inside and do a little soul searching. It was a total mistake and not in any way malicious, but still a complete DICK move on my part and WAY out of character. My only guess is that my mind knew that I only had enough in me to get through the show and if I altered things in any way it was going to go south real quickly.
Then, I also remember that out of nowhere, the PA quit working, the lights came on, and we had to suddenly stop the show. Apparently drinks had been spilled on the mixing board. I’m not sure why I remember that and the girl flipping me off, but nothing else. My best educated guess is that those events were so shocking and so uncommon that they stuck with me.
In the end, I felt terrible, and also like I was lost again and back to square one. We ALL know what came shortly after that—COVID. To me, at that point it felt like The Deep Shallow Band was completely derailed before we could even get out of the gate. It was as if the universe was telling me to call it quits again.