The stage is set. Our instruments are all tuned up and ready to rock. Our roadies have finished their sound check of all the amplifiers, microphones, and monitors to achieve a perfect mix and volume for the show. While the crowd eagerly anticipates the start of the set, my band mates and I slam one last drink backstage before showtime. Finally, we make our way on stage and are greeted by the roar of the crowd. Minds are blown, faces are melted, and panties are dropped as our band launches into the first song of the night. We are Gang of Lust, and we came to bring the fucking thunder.
Nowadays, all of what I just laid out above is just a fantasy I play out in my head to help pass the time as I slog through work days and CPA study prep. A few years ago though, that was a reality for Gang of Lust, the cover band I played in with my friends in college. Just like some people reminisce on the glory days when they played high school football, I will always fondly remember my short-lived musical “career” as the bassist for the biggest and baddest cover band on the planet. Any time I get a chance, which is usually when I’m drunk, I will gladly talk about how I played in a cover band in college. Hell, even my PGP profile picture is from a show back then. I wasn’t being a smart ass when I answered this week’s Roundtable question saying the best concert I ever attended was one that our band played. I did it because I genuinely believe it (And to shamelessly self-promote our band that hasn’t existed in years).
Everything about the experience was a ton of fun, but the highlights of our time together were definitely the shows we played. And not to sound cliché, but our fans (AKA our friends who used our shows as a convenient excuse to get blackout drunk in public) were what made the shows as special as they were. They always came out in full force to get rowdy, sing along, and spread the word about how good we were. They created an atmosphere that was second-to-none in terms of fun, which resulted in packed crowds. After all, who doesn’t want to get wasted and flirt with strangers while we play “Take Me Home Tonight” in the background?
Speaking of which, it also helped that our set list was perfectly designed with a wide variety of songs for college kids to sing and dance too. One minute you could be rocking out to our cover of “I Believe In A Thing Called Love,” and the next thing you know you might find yourself grinding on some girl as we perform our rendition of Akon’s “I Wanna Fuck You.” It was an eclectic song selection and part of the allure of coming to our shows. People had to see it for themselves to believe the fact that a band of white dudes really did cover Afroman’s “Colt .45” live in concert.
But my appreciation for playing with Gang of Lust goes beyond just playing shows and trying to fend off groupies everywhere I went. At the band’s core, we were just a group of dudes who were friends with each other and liked rocking out. Practices could seem tedious at times, but I viewed it as a chance to hang out with my friends and work on something really cool that not a lot of people have the time nor talent to be able to do. Performing on stage also helped improve my presentation skills for school and work. If I could go on stage in front of a hundred or so people and deliver tasty bass lines without letting my nerves get the best of me, then giving a presentation about nerdy accounting shit to a small group of colleagues would be no problem.
And of course, if we were going to play like rock gods then we had to party like ones too. That just came with the territory of naming our band Gang of Lust and playing Buckcherry covers. We drank oceans of booze, snorted mountains of cocaine, and were constantly drowning in pussy. Okay, so that might be slightly exaggerated. None of us actually snorted blow. But there was definitely a lot of booze and wild sexploits. Like I said, we had a reputation to live up to.
Sadly though, those days are gone. All that is left of them are moments captured in time in the form of pictures, videos, and our dormant Facebook page. We used to start our shows with Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69,” and it’s uncanny how perfectly it describes my time playing in a college rock band. It started off as a few guys in school at the University of Illinois forming a band and trying real hard. Then we had a guy quit and another one get married not long after graduation. And although we never got far after our senior year, I’ll never forget those times. Those were the best days of my life..