It’s Only Rock & Roll Part 3
So, after the relief of getting through the 3-month contract in Patong, we took a well-earned one week holiday in Bangkok – seperately. Anyone in a touring band will tell you that after months of living in each other's pockets, you need time away
from each other to re-charge the batteries.
Bangkok was a different ball-game to Patong. The thing that immediately struck me was that the bargirls seemed a lot less friendly and approachable than they were in Patong. I guess that is the same with people in every big city. My first experience of Bangkok was great though. I didn't really trek anywhere that far from Sukhumvit Road and just explored as many places as I possibly could.
After stumbling onto Sukhumvit soi 4 (hehehe). No, let me stop right there. The Patong pub owner had already briefed me on a good hotel and where most of the nightlife in Bangkok was, so the word "stumbling" only has comedy value and absolutely no truth in it whatsoever. Anyway, after finding soi 4, I wandered down, looking for decent watering-holes. I spotted this place called The Warbler (many of you will remember this place, I'm sure). It attracted me for 2 reasons: It had live music and it served Indian food.
Anyway, I sat down and ordered some Indian food, which my Thai female companion described as "utterly disgusting" (the same way many of us feel about Thai desserts which, like many things in this country look great, but under the surface, aren't that great!). The house band were all Thai, except for the lead singer, a Frenchman named Tommy, another great singer and entertainer. Tommy and I got talking and before I knew it, he got me up on the drums for a few songs. It was good to play with different musicians for a change and I already knew a few of the songs they were playing. I mentioned to Tommy that I would be back at some point and that I would pop back to see the band. These guys were a lot more professional that the band I was in. Thai musicians seem a lot more willing and capable of actually learning songs properly than Farangs.
So, after a few days break, we were off to the Alps again. As soon a I arrived there, I began to miss Thailand. Meribel was cold and snowy and of course, the first week or two, you are guaranteed to catch some nasty flu bug in that freezing cold air. It's much less unpleasant to catch flu in Thailand than it is in the Alps, let me tell you.
I kept getting emails from our old bosses back in Patong, encouraging us to come back and work there again. Unfortunately, because of their attitude towards us and mainly the reduction in salary, the boys were just not interested. I, however was. Sometimes Thailand can blind you to certain truths that you just seem to turn off from. Thailand had its claws in me and I was hooked.
There are certain musical reasons why Thailand could entice a musician away from Meribel – an easy life. In every venue we played in the Alps, you have to bring everything with you, drums, amplifiers, p.a systems, the lot. However in Thailand, most venues have their own p.a systems and drum kits. Sure, the drumkits aren't great quality, but any drummer with half a brain (yes folks, not all drummers are thick) would bring his own cymbals and snare drum with him. So, these were the options:
Driving around in dangerous conditions.
Lugging heavy equipment in and out of cars
(while trying not to slip on patches of thick ice).
Putting up with the French attitude to the English.
Unattractive British chalet girls.
Getting around on a motorbike (a 5 minute ride from my apartment to the pub).
No lugging gear around
(just bring cymbals and snare drum and leave them locked up in the pub).
Thais are a lot happier than the French.
Stunning women as far the eye can see.
So, that decision was a no-brainer for me. However, trying to convince the others proved an impossible task. I emailed the bosses in Patong and told them about the feelings in the band towards working for them again. They promised us everything; a one-year contract with work permits, a car to drive around in and a discount on our accommodation.
The band still said "no". I was gutted. I absolutely hated Meribel and started pining for Thailand. Then came some good news. The pub bosses in Patong offered me a job with another band (2 English guys we met who performed acoustically at an outdoor venue). They had found a Thai bass player and were going to work at the pub starting in August and wanted me to work with them. Of course, I jumped at the chance and flew out there 2 months after the ski season had finished.
After arriving back in Patong and having booked in to a reasonably priced hotel, I headed for the pub to have a pre-planned meeting with the bosses. I was told that they were away in Phi-Phi island and would be back 5 days later. When I eventually met up with the pub owner, I was assured that everything was well and on-course.
However, this was not the case. There had been some kind of argument between the 2 English guys and the bosses (rumoured to be over money), so they went back to work for their previous employer. I was left without a job and wondering what to do.
Although feeling extremely disappointed and let down, Thailand had its claws in me and I had no intention of returning to England. I had caught the Siamese bug hook, line and sinker. After 2 days thinking about what the future held, I packed my bags and headed for Bangkok.
To be continued…….
Cut to the chase please. We have waited too long already.