There are a lot of things I will do to protect the public image of my company or a client. Sometimes it even requires after hours research.
In a smoky dive bar.
A semi-successful local band recently released a CD with a song about my workplace. Weird, I know. In almost 20 years of PR, this is a first for me. It's actually a really good song. It shouldn't be a huge issue, but something like this has the potential to bring you good press -- or bad press -- so you want to check it out. You want to be on top of it. You have to be prepared.
So when I read in the paper that the band was playing at a local club near my house, I figured we had to go see what it was all about.
I've seen The Green Room from the outside -- a very small establishment in a row of storefronts on main street. Weekend nights you can drive by and hear the loud music. But I don't have much use for small, smoky dive bars and loud music.
We arrive at 9, the time the paper said the show would start. The place isn't very crowded. A few people are drinking longnecks at the low-ceilinged bar; a couple others are shooting pool.
I've seen this place before. Not this exact place; I've not actually been in here. But every town has this bar. In Memphis, it's called The Poplar Lounge. I spent a lot of my early 20s there.
The place has green walls that look like they were painted with leftover paint. Like accidental green walls. The Accidentally Green Room. There's a microphone on the stage, but no drums or anything. It seems it might be a while before we hear any music.
About 9:45, the "opening act" goes on. Nobody said anything about an "opening act." And yet here we are: a guy and a guitar. Every song sounds just like the last one, and starts out with, "Here's one from my last album..." His girlfriend is chain smoking at a table down in front with her friends. They probably plan their Saturday nights based on where he's playing this week. She is me, in my 20s. In my defense, my boyfriends had a lot more talent than this clown.
After he plays for an hour, they finally begin setting up the stage for the headliner. This takes another half-hour. My age gives me away not by the way I look or dress but how I keep yawning. I even had a coffee before we came, too.
It seems this will never start. The stage is finally set, but the musicians are standing in a corner, drinking beers. The drummer is doing yoga stretches on the floor. The lead singer motions to his girlfriend and now it seems we'll get started as soon as he blows a doob with the sound guy.
The first song is about whiskey. The second song has the f-word in the title. The tunes are catchy and short. The third song is the one about my place of employment. Lucky for me, he's not a talker, and he doesn't explain the connection. Most people probably think he's singing about moonshine. My work here is done.
I want to stay longer because I'm really enjoying both the music and their show, but I'm getting second-hand-smoke cancer just sitting here. My husband and his asthma are spending more time on the patio than in the actual bar. After five or six or seven songs we go home.
I age 25 years in the five-minute car ride. By the time we arrive home, I'm 46 again.