Wednesday, 10 February 2016

The Birth of Satin

Shortly after the success of our first Brampton show, we decided to hold another Wiggaz/Black Belt Jones double header at the famous, or infamous, El Macambo club in Toronto. I'd played there a few times over the past few years, and even though it was somewhat of a rundown, sketchy place, it was always a pleasure to do my thing there. The walls were adorned with photos of bands that had blessed audiences over the decades, including the Rolling Stones. It always felt magical to step on that stage which had been shared by countless legendary performers. 

The "Elmo" had a downstairs and an upstairs, and in these days most shows were taking place on the ground floor. The was no actual backstage area per-say, so the bands would congregate in the kitchen, which was located behind the stage. The kitchen contained a stairwell at the back of the room that led to the upstairs, and that was generally where the herbal olympics would take place. I have many fond memories of sharing drinks and conversations back there with a lot of great people who were class acts.

A mere week or two before the show, we were all somewhat shook by some news that Mike Myers dropped on us. Mike informed us that he would be getting married to his girlfriend Myra, and he would not be able to join us at the upcoming show. Not only did this mean we were out of a bass player, it also meant that Wiggaz now had no vocalist. Since we had two guitarist it was a pretty easy fix for Black Belt. Either Mike or Paul would play bass, and the other would play guitar...or perhaps each of them would play a bit of both. Regardless, it was a simple bandaid to apply.

Wiggaz on the other hand were in a bit of a pickle. I sat with them at the kitchen table of the Slayer House one night and we all brainstormed, trying to come up with some ideas for a temporary replacement. We eventually came to the conclusion that I was really the only person who knew their lyrics inside out, my only dilemma was I didn't want to be seen as the same vocalist in two different bands performing on the same night. I proposed the idea of possibly wearing some sort of disguise and the boys were on board. 

Greg later mentioned to me that his sister had acquired some devil mask from a haunted house job she temporarily held that past Halloween. I told him to bring it on by, and in the meantime I took a trip to my parents place, as they had boxes of old clothes in the basement. After some rummaging through boxes and closets, I dug out one of my father's old suits that had to be from the 70s. It was beige and plaid, and what I would refer to as a "Herb Tarlic suit" similar to those worn by a character on the old television show "WKRP In Cincinnati" I also found an interesting silk dress shirt that was printed with ghetto like buildings...It screamed disco. The coup de gras was a pair of brown leather platform dress shoes, also straight off of Soul Train. My ensemble was complete, and I was ready for the show. 

I never did see the devil mask until the day of the gig, and it was more incredible than I had anticipated. It was very form fitting, the lips hooked into my lips, the jaw was slit under the cheeks enabling mouth movement, the brow even sat snug in my brow. Nose and ears fit into place perfectly. It was as if this mask was made for my head. I put it aside with my get up, and got ready to hit the stage with BBJ.

Despite being handicapped one player, we managed to pull off a decent set that night, and got the usual warm reception that we were rapidly growing accustomed to. There was a bit of a break between bands, so I cooled down, caught my breath, and had a drink and a smoke. From there I started suiting up, and everyone "backstage" was dying with laughter at "the suit" Wiggaz had a song called "Satin" and with my slick threads and devil mask, Satin was now here and real... In the flesh. The time had come for Wiggaz to hit the stage. I was nervous yet focused, as I didn't want to screw up.

I honestly don't remember much of the performance that night, but I do remember that having that mask on seemed to transform me. I was generally a bit shy on stage, but in full costume it seemed to open me up more and I was a complete mad man. We gave the on lookers quite a show that night, and after our final song we shuffled off stage to a roaring applause. As soon as we got back stage Greg approached me with a wild look of euphoria in his eyes and proclaimed "DUDE YOU GOTTA BE OUR NEW FULL TIME SINGER AND I WON'T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!!!!" 

That was it. The Wiggaz were now OFFICIALLY born. I was overwhelmed and taken back by the whole thing, and I really couldn't stop wondering how Mike was going to take the news that he was no longer in the band...

(Artist conception of Satin in Saints Row videogame)


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