the peawees/Memories from the back of the band - tommy gonzalez column from punk rock raduno 2 fanzine - 2017
The Peawees were on stage on Friday, July 14th, 2017
Ciao a tutti, belli e brutti! Here I find myself fast approaching the 4 year anniversary of my arrival in Italia, and what a wild ride it’s been. I came here with two suitcases full of records and the clothes on my back. Now I’m sitting in my house that I share with my beautiful fiancé and our beautiful (but wild) daughter, looking out our window, past my bbq grill, over the terrace, and into the Milano sky. Truly living the American dream on the other side of the Atlantic. Leaving my beautiful state of Texas was something I never expected to do, although I traveled a lot with different bands I was always ready to return to my city and friends in Austin. When I left I knew I had lot of work to do upon my arrival; find a job, learn a language (still working on that), detox from my dependence on tacos and bbq, and my biggest concern… find a band. Which brings us to The Peawees.
I came to know The Peawees through our mutual friend Basetta. A short time after I arrived he told me about a friend of his named Herve. Herve had recently moved to Milan and was looking to start a band, Bassetta gave me a handful of Peawees cd’s and I went on my way. I didn’t know anything about the band. I started listening to the music and learning some of the songs and a few weeks later I met with Herve. After two practices we decided to put the band back together with Carlo, who was already a member and now living in Milan. I practiced almost exclusively with Carlo for a few months before going to La Spezia to meet with and try out our bass player, Fabio. It was our first practice all together and we fucking sucked. I think we’ve gotten a lot better since that first practice but it was a long road to get where we are now. I’d like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts about each of my band mates, and we might as well start with Fabio.
Tall, dark, handsome, and younger then the rest of us is our bass player, Fabio. He’s a sound engineer, a tour manager, a gardener, and a million other things. If you need help repairing your house or car, or have questions about Italian land marks in other cities, or maybe your curious about a plant you see in a picture or on the side of the road, Fabio is the guy to ask. He really knows everything… except The Peawees’ songs. From our very first practice he has always showed up unprepared. It makes me crazy, but in the end when he has a deadline, like a gig or recording session he always pulls it off and he is always good. It helps that he is a fun guy to party with after the gig and he almost always drives. That’s a real sweet thing. Memorable moments with Fabio include him falling off the toilet seat and hitting his head in Zurich, snatching cannolis from the car window in Palermo, being the only guy who eats meat with me, and countless after parties on the dance floor with him and Carlo.
That brings us to Carlo, the rhythm guitarist. Carlo and I have a special relationship. If one of us has a bad idea that we are not sure about, we rely on each other to make certain that we go through with whatever bad idea we might have had. We are the perfect enablers for each other. Carlo likes to joke that if we were friends in our twenties we would be dead or in prison. I like to think it’s never too late. Another thing you might not know about Carlo is that he really loves cock. Maybe not in the way you are thinking, but he loves the word cock. It’s become an obsession within our band to take popular songs and change the lyrics to be about cock. “I love rock n’ roll” becomes “I love cock n’ balls”; “She’s got a ticket to ride” becomes “she’s got a cock to ride” (transvestites are also a popular theme in our songs); “It’s raining men” becomes “It’s raining cocks”, you get the idea. If Carlo writes our set lists before the gig I will find the paper next to my drums with his version of all of our songs; Don’t cock at my door, Need a cock, Bleeding for cock, Cause you don’t know cock, etc. I have to admit he is not the only one guilty of this but I will say, he is the “cock master”. Memorable moments with Carlo I can’t really speak about as they are too scandalous. I can say that no matter what we do if you follow Carlo’s protocol of a shower, a banana, and a little Tai Chi the day after, you will be back on “The Road to Cock n’ Roll” in no time.
Last, but certainly not least is our frontman and leader Herve. Herve is a rock n, roll perfectionist, obsessed with the groove, beats per minute, and every minute detail of every song. In the end it always pays off because he is a great songwriter, but it takes a lot of patience and a lot of time to get his songs up to his standards. The only thing that takes longer then Herve writing a song is Herve getting ready. I imagine his bathroom mirror has a permanent stain of his image burned into it like an old plasma TV that got left overnight with the dvd menu on. If Herve says he will be ready in ten minutes, I can go drink a beer, read the newspaper, get myself ready, relax for a few minutes and when I go to meet him I will still be waiting. If he is coming to pick me up he will be late and he will always blame traffic. As if he didn’t know there was traffic, just like the time before and the time before that, he always arrives and seems genuinely surprised about the traffic. If I go to meet him at 7:30 at his house because we have practice at 8:00; we will leave the house at 7:55 and then he will suggest to go for a dinner. He is a late motherfucker and he’s always hungry. I’ve suggested to him many times to start eating meat again but he just doesn’t listen. He’s very stubborn like that. Memorable moments with Herve include a time in France at at club called La BAzka. It wasn’t so much a club as it was a farm, but there was a stage and a lot of drinking going on. Sometime around 4:00 am Carlo and I decided we should play another set and went and woke up a sleeping and drunk Herve to do it. He agreed without hesitation and led us to the stage straight out of bed with guitar in one hand and waving us onward like a general leading his troops into battle with the other. He arrived to the stage and with one last rally of the troops he yelled at us “Let’s Go” and fell flat on his face. It was hilarious. After he jumped up we went into our second wasted set without a hitch, performing songs we had never practiced or played before and a ten minute version of Stand By Me. Rock n’ Roll history on the farm.
And what could the Peawees say about me? After they read this I’m sure they’ll have a lot to tell. I’m a beer destroyer, a grouchy guy when I’m not fed, and I often have trouble making it to the bathroom after a long night of drinking. They could say, “You’re an asshole too, Tommy. Writing about your band like that!” But it’s not true. Writing about your band is easy, writing about your friends takes a lot more honesty. The Peawees have become the best friends I have here in Italy, and I think I’m a pretty lucky guy to say that. So if you happen to be coming to The Punk Rock Raduno pay close attention to our set. When you see Fabio you might notice him faking his way through at least one song. When you see Herve you might notice him turning around to the drums to give me the look that means slow down, or get in the groove. And when you see Carlo, just show him your cock!
Tommy Gonzalez column
Punk Rock Raduno 2 fanzine, 2017