After years of Darius claiming that he’d get around to it, his basement was at last finished. “Fellas,” he gestured proudly once all three of them settled at the bottom of the newly carpeted stairs. “Welcome to my studio.” While Mitch pressed on some of the grey foam tiles, Darius expanded upon the lengths he went through to make the space functional. “My next goal is to get a soundbooth in here. Wanna do professional recordings in the future.”
“Like for an album?” Basil’s head snapped up from the wall mounted guitar rack that he’d been admiring.
“Possibly. I was thinking more soundbites that could be licensed. Been working a lot on production these days, but if we can keep this-” he hitched a thumb at himself, then waggled his index finger at Basil and Mitch. “Going on a regular basis, I’d love to give it another shot.”
While Darius continued, Mitch opened his guitar case and came to the embarrassing realization that he packed his acoustic guitar. “Oh my god,” Basil snickered as he peeked inside after Mitch shot him a helpless look. “Whoops, huh?”
“Yeah, whoops,” Mitch slapped his forehead. “Darius, you still got Molerat hanging around?”
“Sure do.” Darius pulled a left handed electric guitar down from the rack, and both Mitch and Basil cheered, “Molerat!”. Darius acquired the guitar years ago when someone traded it into his store. Its cheap quality was a step above a beginner’s guitar, and not worth tagging for sale due to the real estate that it would take up. That, and the fact that it was a horrid shade of Pepto Bismal pink. Mitch plugged it into the closest amp, and immediately got to work tuning it.
“I may need to borrow her for the gig, is that alright?” Mitch asked.
“Man, just take her home already,” urged Darius. “She’s always been yours. You know that.”
Mitch grinned up at him and gave his thanks, and made his best attempt to get her sounding as pretty as possible. Some day, Molerat’s fate was to be smashed on stage, but until that moment came she’d get as much TLC as Mitch could spare. “We’re mostly doing punk-style covers,” he mentioned. “Jodie’s not looking for anything too polished, just high energy.”
“What about rockabilly? Like Nekromantix?” Basil asked.
“Nah, I think she’s definitely more on board with Misfits style.” He pulled up a Youtube video and showed it to both of them. “Like she wants Pet Semetary, but the way that Groovie Ghoulies plays it. Real crunchy garage rock, y’know?” While they both listened, he plucked a few chords, experimenting with a few basic chord progressions.
“Alright, got it.” Basil nodded, and having already set up, joined in as well. Darius took a seat on the drum stool and readied his sticks. “Let’s maybe start with Monster Mash and go from there.”
Band practice was the most at ease that Mitch felt since his injury; perhaps the most natural before he’d started wrestling at all. Still plagued with self-doubt over his in-ring abilities, he constantly mulled over Rod’s critique. But he’d known music for over half of his life now, and without ever signing anywhere, once upon a time Liner Notes had gotten far enough where he considered their body work an accomplishment. Basil and Darius possibly had different definitions for what success looked like, but the accolades spoke for themselves. They’d opened for bands that had gone on to achieve international fame, and Liner Notes even managed several tours on their own, headlining venues and a local festival. Alongside that, they recorded a full album and a handful of EPs, had a hit song that was a mainstay on an independent radio station for almost an entire year.
On occasion, Mitch still received payments from online sales after he threw their entire library onto a website that Basil highly recommended. It tickled him that anyone out there still gave a shit, and sometimes customers left comments about defunct basements and dive bars in Allston and Brockton that they saw Liner Notes perform in years ago. The nostalgia hit him like a truck, and it deeply saddened him that further dedication towards music wasn’t possible at the time for either Mitch or Darius given life’s circumstances. Basil could reach greater heights, if he didn’t change his mind so often or stretch himself too thin between various projects.
Mitch glanced over while Basil tore up the bass. He always wanted to see him get there, but they all had their crosses. Guilt still lingered for not being able to commit as they stood on the knife’s edge of greatness, instead bailing when the threat of elevation loomed too close.
Maybe it’d stick this time, and maybe Basil would get the flowers that he always deserved.