Oh man what a wedding reception this is. My niece makes a beautiful bride. You guys are a great wedding band, one of the best I’ve heard. I used to be in bands you know. Yeah, played guitar. In fact I think I might have a few of those guitar riffs left in these old hands here in case, you know, someone might need me to use them. Hey, let me get up there and do a song with you guys. Yeah I know you’re the band and you’re paid to be here but if you ask me this reception could use a little spicing up, and nothing spices up a wedding reception like an out-of-nowhere surprise musical performance by a relative.
You guys gonna play some Led Zep? Because I love me some Led Zep. Used to play it every weekend with my band and this little bar in New Jersey. Wanna know the name of our band? I’ll take your silence as a “yes.” It was Potatoes and the Chips. I was Potatoes. I had to give all that up, not all of us are lucky enough to be able to follow our dreams like you guys do but let me tell you: the passion never dies and neither do the skills on the fretboard. That’s the part of the guitar with all the notes on it. Oh, right, yeah, of course you know that. Just talking a little shop, one musician to another! Man, this reception is a bummer, right? You know what makes receptions even more fun? When the bride’s uncle who everyone in the family had pretty much given up hope would ever turn his life around jumps up out of nowhere and starts rippin’ into some hot Led Zep riffs with the wedding band.
Maybe we should wait for everyone to finish eating. You don’t want to get too rocking while people are sitting down. Build up the drama. Let them spend more time whispering, “Did Uncle Paul actually get invited to this? Where is he sleeping?” I brought my guitar with me, it’s in my car so I’ll just go get it and we’ll show this place a good time. What’s that? You think I should go sit back down with my wife? You know what my wife would absolutely love right now? If I did used someone else’s special day as an opportunity to put all the focus on myself.
Oh I see, I think I know why you’re being so resistant. You want to close with the special guest star. Make everyone say, “Wow he’s not as drunk as I was expecting him to be!” Yeah that’s smart. I’m gonna pull the sheet music for “Immigrant Song” up on my phone. Look at all the kids here. Oh, kids love to dance. And they love when their relatives do really fun, unexpected stuff. Imagine how these kids’ll react when one of their relatives is up on the stage with the wedding band? “What’s happening?” Is what they would probably be asking themselves. “Mom, dad, you told me Uncle Paul was dead and we should stop asking about him!” Are you guys talking about the set? I get it. Lots of civilians here. They can’t tell shop talk when they see it but I can. I used to fight with The Potatoes about set lists all the time. Now none of them will friend me on Facebook.
Look, I’ll do the first half of the song with you guys and you can make a joke about me having to leave the stage because I’m too good and everyone will laugh and hug me and realize that some people need four trips to rehab to make a change. It’s an authentic family moment! Relationships get broken in ways that take a long time to mend and sometimes the only way to mend them is with a surprise musical performance by a relative that they thought had long ago forgotten his musical dreams! You’re destroying this family with your selfishness! Is that what you want to do?! You’re turning down a chance to jam with the lead guitarist and singer for Chips and the Potatoes! We won second prize for hottest rock and roll haircuts at Donahan’s Whiskey Bar’s Battle of the Bands, but you’re too busy finding the sheet music for “It’s Raining Men” to care! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. Maybe we should patch things up by jamming on some Zep, huh? Ok, ok, fine. I get it. Hey, do you guys need a roadie? I can carry gear but I’m legally not allowed to leave the state.
John Frusciante is a writer and stand-up comic living in NYC, where he regularly performs at the UCB Theatre. He has written for The Onion, Slate, Comedy Central and more. Follow him on Twitter @johnjfrusciante.