Song #47: The Mommyheads – “Wedding Day”

October 8, 2020
Song #47: The Mommyheads – “Wedding Day”

Rich got married on a weekend in November, and I got drunk out of my mind.

By the time he met his (then future) wife, I’d made the determination that Rich was asexual, as the only person he’d ever expressed having a romantic interest in was a woman he wrote songs with who was not at all interested in men, and thus completely out of reach for him. Occasionally, someone would express an interest in him, but he never reciprocated, and so I’d decided that sex was just not part of his thing.

One day he called me on the phone, and told me he’d met someone, and was going on a date. This surprised me, and I naturally asked him where they met.

“She works at the mall, selling balloons,” he replied.

“You’re marrying her,” I said.

Rich was the weirdest, deepest, smartest, most talented dude I’ve ever met. I could go on for pages about how special and unique he was, and there are thousands of words about him in this very blog, if you care to look. But if he was going to go out and search for a life-mate, I could probably list a thousand places he’d look before getting to “balloon kiosk at the mall.”

And he met her there, and they eventually got married. I fuckin’ called it on Day 1.

Rich wanted to play in the band at the wedding, and so he asked his best musician friends to play with him. Rich was an excellent bass player, and he recruited his pals with a list of quirky but typical wedding songs for us to play at the reception. We practiced a few times in my basement, and confidently showed up at the wedding, ready for the big day.

Of course Rich had nothing to say about the fact that he was getting married – to him, the ceremony was for the people attending; he’d already “married” his wife in his mind, when he popped the question. There were no nerves, no anxiety about getting married. But as we started getting closer to the reception, I could see him starting to get uptight about playing.

“Dude, I’m actually really nervous,” he laughed.

So we did a shot of whiskey.

One of the other guys in the “band” saw us, and said “Hey, no way you guys are doing a shot without me!” So he bought another round. One of the other guys asked if he was nervous, and when he said “kinda,” that guy went and bought a round. I think we probably had four or five shots in us when we got up onstage.

Rich and me, sharing a shot before taking the stage. Rich is on the right.

We made it through our half-dozen or so songs without incident, and then had more celebratory shots afterward. Rich finally relaxed. He wasn’t a drinker at all, and he was hammered. Jesus, I am a drinker and I was hammered. He asked me to bring his beautiful Rickenbacker bass home with me and made me promise to bring it in the house with me so it would stay warm, and of course I left it in the car for a week.

They were happily married right up until the day he died. We were 32. At this point he’s been gone for a lot longer than we were friends, but I still can’t hear “Play That Funky Music” without tearing up. I’m surely the only person on planet Earth who has this reaction.

When he was sick, a few of us rented space in a rehearsal studio in Totowa, run by this German guy we called Rudolf Schenker. Maybe he was Rudolf Schenker; he was an older, metal guy with long, dirty blonde hair. We loaded in and set up, and jammed for a couple of hours. We didn’t have anything special to play, but at one point, we sort of fell into a jam that was a little magical, one of those things where we were playing and looking at each other, wide-eyed and smiling because we felt like we were in a zone. It sounded great, it felt great, and we kept going for about 20 minutes. After taking a quick smoke break, we went back inside to try and recapture it, but none of us could quite remember what we’d been doing.

We agreed to get together again, but the post-9/11 world was crazy, Rich got sicker, and he left us at the end of January.

Up until the pandemic, those were the last two times I played music with other people. Locked up in the house, though, I set up with my sons a few times – they play in a metal band, one on bass, one on drums, and me, on Rich’s old keyboard. We did not play “Play That Funky Music.”

Here’s “Wedding Day,” by The Mommyheads. It originally appeared on their 1992 CD Coming Into Beauty, released on the Simple Machines label. We reissued the track on our Finest Specimens CD. There are 25 days to go until the election, and if you buy any download from us during that time, we will donate all the profits to Swing Left to try and fumigate the White House.

~ by Al on October 9, 2020.

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