Trouble Shooting with Palmettos Pt. 2

[ 0 ] August 27, 2008 |

"I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. And if you don’t stop to look around every once in a while, you just might miss something.”

Mop2 Sometimes, the remedy is as simple as a good road trip. If anything, only to get away from your problems and routine for a few days. Different towns give a different perspective on shit- tomfoolery and a tan doesn’t hurt either.

Riding in The Hiss van has always been a treat. I’ve been from England to Austin with these boys and theirs always sparks of brilliance out of a necessity from boredom. Truck stops usually providing comic relief. Wacky t-shirts and whacked out locals never dim the applause light. Or George Reece (bass) explaining the truck stop chapels- Actual tractor trailers that have been transformed into roadside holy hot boxes, sometimes with a kick-ass mural on the side with Jesus, maybe truckers, and if you’re lucky, a lightning bolt. He says they have pews inside but no preacher, just a T.V. and VCR with a tape you pop in. I ask would it be wrong to steal the tape?

“Yeah, that’d be wrong, dude,” he says. “Just leave the tape, but put a porno in there with it.” I can see the headlines now, “Porno Preachers Strike Again!” God bless you, George.

And you can always learn incorrect, but better truths from someone in the van. We couldn’t figure out how Randy Rhoades, guitar player for Ozzy Osborne died. Was it a car wreck? Plane wreck? Or maybe drugs?

“Na,” Adrian reassures us, “he was hit by a plane… he was doin’ a bad ass guitar solo in a field.” That makes sense, actually. Someone should update Randy’s Wikipediea.

We reach South Beach and it’s just as we left it. Some of the most beautiful women in the world packed onto a tiny island off A1-A. And the best part is, other than the knucklehead tourist, half the guys are not in competition for said women. They’re on Team Ricky Martin.

We head to a local marina for drinks with the promoter for the night shows. It’s wonderful. There’s a nice breeze off the canal, and it’s then I realize boats must release that same scientifically unproven endorphin in your brain that makes you not give a shit. It’s the same effect as palm trees- they just make you feel good.

Another thing realized is the absurd amount of women arguably ranked as a “10” in Miami Beach. It’s quite ridiculous. And given their rampant numbers, it simply lowers their value to those of us not on Team Ricky Martin. A 10 is suddenly an easy 8 simply by census- and that, well, makes you feel good. Holding a pitcher of beer poolside at the marina, I’m wearing an airbrushed t-shirt, jean shorts, broken sunglasses, and after riding all day through the Everglades in a van, I’m sweating like Noriega in a Panama court room. This can’t be a good look. But all is well after I see a Mexican Paul Weller and his +1. There’s no way in hell I look goofier than this guy.

Another great thing about Miami Beach is all the weirdo’s the island proudly puts on display for you. Like bad Jimmy Buffett merchandise, they just keep coming. Later, we see a buff, shirtless Haitian dude nonchalantly walk buy with a boom box that’s blasting “She Blinded Me with Science”. My first thought is, “goddamn, that’s a big I-pod.”

My second thought is, “man… that was fuckin’ awesome.”

After the guy walks by, no one in the band says anything. With perfect timing, Milton chimes in, “Yeah, I think that dude’s in Vice City.”

And yes, if a shirtless Haitian dude blasting Thomas Dolby on a boom box doesn’t make you feel good, then all the palm trees in South Beach aren’t going to help you, kid. You got problems.

At the gig, we’re across the bridge at Churchill’s in Little Haiti. It’s a bar not unlike Star Bar or the E.A.R.L. What it is unlike is every place I’ve been to in Miami. The antithesis of everything South Beach. No pretension or art deco, just simple and dirty. The olive to Miami’s martini.

The Hiss have another great set. Better than Tampa. No pretension or art deco, just simple and dirty. And maybe that’s why the boys have been overlooked locally the last couple years- Adrian makes its look too simple. He and the rest of the band really are amazing. Really worthy of a sweaty t-shirt, messy hair, and a balled up fist in the air. A dirty rock n’ roll party band with enough hooks to stretch across Alligator Alley. The bourbon to Atlanta’s Coke.

Holding court at the bar with new recruits for the Dept. of Nightlife, I can’t help but to keep noticing the next band on stage. After a few songs, I’ve taken more than notice and make my way to the stage. I have to. The Jacuzzi Boys are really fucking good. It’s jangling 60’s rock taken straight from the Black Lip’s playbook. But it’s the 2004 Black lips. The ones where you watched the show in amazement and said, “Man, if they could just get their shit together.”

Outside on the curb talking to the Gabriel, the Jacuzzi lead singer, he really is charming. At 23, living in Miami via Venezuela, he said that as a kid he bought a thrift store guitar with no strings and started playing Three Six Mafia songs.

His Jacuzzi influences he hand writes in my notes: King Crimson, ass, something scribbled out, gangs, and tits. We talk for while- Bullshit art schools that have commercials during daytime television, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and even some Ferris Bueller philosophy on life. But as charming as the kid is, it’s hard to concentrate on an interview when we keep getting interrupted by beautiful Puerto Rican girls in short shorts hovering above us. And that’s when you remember the real task at hand here. Thanks for your time, Gabe. And for the rest of the night I have Mick Jagger’s voice in my head, “…I got some Puerto Rican girls here juuust dyiiiin ta meet choo!”

After a couple more bars, it’s 5 a.m. and a few of us are on the beach. Adrian’s making “man-castles” (he says sand castles are too feminine) and I’m in the Atlantic. It’s a beautiful thing. With the sight of a lit up South Beach- this is the right light. Salt water on your skin, and palm trees in your peripheral- this is the right breeze. This is the different perspective on shit, and we’ve got all day tomorrow for tomfoolery and a tan. I really needed this road trip with the boys. More than they needed me, I’m sure.

The best part about the beach, other than the boats and palmetto’s, is how you can sit looking at the ocean and know all your problems are behind you. Out there in the Atlantic, you’ve got all that covered. Just a silly way of putting things in perspective. Put something small up to something grand.

Walking bare foot down Ocean drive, its 7 a.m. and the suns up. I remember when I was distracted by Puerto Rican short shorts while on the curb, Gabriel took my notes and started writing. It reads: “Life goes by fast. If you don’t stop and take a look around hot Puerto Rican sluts will kneel down next to you and [love you is scratched out] get you hard and leave.”
Close enough.

“I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Life moves pretty fast. And if you don’t stop to look around every once in a while, you just might miss something.” –Ferris Bueller

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