Who Are The NDI?
The wanderlust is building, the countryside is calling. Let's get in the van and drive and drive and drive and fill foreign stages with our glorious tacky debris, blast their brains out with our new-found power, make them hate us, make them love us. We are Skipper, Goodtime, and Pigtail, and we know NOTHING. We are dumb, snide hillbillies from Bucksnort, Tennessee. Our hardcore songs are about camping and vomit; our country songs are about mobile homes and cheating farm wives and we do not give a shit.
What could be more ridiculous than a bass solo? It sums up everything stupid and self-important about rock bands. So let's have a bass solo! From Skipper, who literally can't play bass! Let's have him just stand there on stage and hit one or two spastic notes, lots of dead air, that ever-present gnarly hum of corroded wires, and here's the thing -- let's act like it's awesome. Because compared to any other rock and roll bass solo ever played by anyone, it is. All bass solos are stupid, and Skipper's is no more or less stupid than the most artistic, studied, accomplished, serious bass solo by any other rock band in this or any other century. We know it, and soon the crowds know it. It's funny because it's true.
And then Skipper produces a balloon, blows it up, and does that squeaky air-release thing into the mic, while Pigtail instructs the sound man in the correct way to make the innocent little squeal sound like a Concorde jet landing on a sperm whale: "Soundman, please apply 50 dB's of backward reverb and 3 grams of double-sideways echo to the microphone!" Some sound men get it, some don't. When it works it's a frightening tempest of feedback and escalating screechy echoes. One of my favorite parts of the show. And even though it's a balloon solo, it's still a bass solo. It's a bass solo.
What could be more ridiculous than a drum solo? Pretty much nothing. We absolutely love Led Zeppelin, but our love encompasses their stupidity, so we fully appreciate John Bonham playing a drum solo with his hands. So let's get GT up there, and give him not drums but our heads, our mammoth-cave-helmet-wearing heads, to bang on. Listen to the sharp rat-a-tat of wood on safety plastic! It cuts through the smoky club, impossible to ignore. And now that we have your attention, you can't miss GT's true virtuosity -- he's playing the other dudes' heads, good bit, pretty funny, but check it -- he's fucking wailing! Seriously.
GT sits down at the drum set. The set! It's just a kick drum, a snare, and a hi-hat. That's it. And then he starts playing it…playing the holy bejeezus out of it. Putting his weight into it, his solid bones, heavy legs, strong back, pouring it on, smacking the shit out of it, rolling the hi hat, now making it crash, rim-shots, brutal bass hits. Years of held-in power, anger, release, smashed down on this poor little collection of innocent targets. A fucking air-raid.
What could be more ridiculous than a guitar solo? A fancy, twiddly, spot-lit guitar solo from a wealthy and famous rock god? A long one, too -- so long the other dudes leave the stage for a smoke backstage. A guitar solo that, I don't know, also includes a theremin, or a violin bow, or another guitar you play with your foot, or all three. Glorious! I want in on it! So without thinking it through too much we combine the most blockheaded, and therefore most important, rock riff ever -- the intro to "Smoke on the Water" -- with a feat no rock cretin has ever tried: we'll see your theremin and raise you an oven mitt. Can it be done? Can I play the riff with, as Skipper announces, "a fully functional oven mitt" on my left hand? I don't know. But I do know this: It Don't Matter.
It's time for my guitar solo, and I hoist my Les Paul strings-side-up, and I site down the neck at the crowd like I'm aiming a gun, get my slick-as-shit two-tone loafer on the old Crybaby wah wah pedal, and here's my solo: a frantic back-and-forth across the strings, open and unfretted because I'm holding the heavy guitar up with my other hand, just six open strings at full vibration, full volume, and the wah wah glissandos up and down the tonal range, and it sounds like shit, noise, a harsh wall of shitty noise, but with GT pounding that tribal beat and Skipper doing his best to keep up, it sounds right. And look here, in front of the stage: almost a hundred people crammed up front, rocking, blissed-out faces upturned. We can do no wrong, because the more wrong we are, the more they love us.