Guest Blog: Wise Girl Singer Abby Weitz Recalls Spilling Her Guts, Literally, to Joe Strummer
[Editor's Note: Thanks to her confessional songwriting (see: 'So Broken,' 'Stuck In This,' etc.), Abby Weitz has been called the "female Rivers Cuomo." In addition to sharing the Weezer frontman's penchant for autobiographical lyrics, she and her band, Wise Girl, bash out punky, poppy tunes the bespectacled tunesmith would surely approve of. A while back, Weitz emailed and offered to write a series of blog posts detailing her adventures in the New York City music scene, and boy are we glad we took her up on it. In this, her third installment, Abby tells of the time heavy drinking and an ex-boyfriend's midlife crisis led her to spill her guts, quite literally, to a beloved punk icon. Best to not read this one while eating...]
(Writer’s note: Most of the names that I discuss in this blog have been changed to protect myself from looking like a bigger asshole than I already am.)
I moved into my first place in Manhattan when I was 18. That first “apartment” was in the New Yorker Hotel. I was attending CUNY City College (that lasted two months), and the hotel had a program where college students could rent a shoebox of a room for a semester at a time and live alongside the Moonies. It was quite the experience.
I also had a friend of my older brother’s driver’s license, who I looked identical to, and a 33-year-old married boyfriend named Mike. Having that license helped me get into some really interesting situations considering the fact that I could “legally” drink, and drink is what I did.
Mike and I didn’t last more than a year, and I took the breakup hard. I made a pact with the evil voice inside of my head that if it would just shut the f— up, I would feed it boys, booze and rock n’ roll. And that, my friends, is how I got over my married, over-the-hill, prune-juice-drinking, loser ex.
Niagra was a bar that I would frequent around that time. There were always bands playing downstairs, hot rocker boys lingering, and it was cheap! This girl Kristen and I decided to meet there to get drink and discuss an all-girl side project that we were planning on starting. Kristen was going to front the band with some rock vocals, and I was going to play guitar, sing backup and write the songs with her.
This side project never happened because, 1. Kristen couldn’t sing for s—, 2. Kristen claimed that she was 28 but looked 40-plus and 3. Kristen creeped me out when I was sober.
I know you’re probably thinking, “But how could a 40-plus-looking ’28-year-old’ creep out a fearless, independent, self-absorbed, massively egotistical 19-year-old?” Well, friends, Kristen would frequently rub my thigh while smirking at me in the creepiest way, saying “I am caressing your thigh platonically.” That’s all it takes, folks!
We were hanging out at Niagra, many drinks in, when I ran into this photographer named Bronques. Bronques would always photograph my friends and I at these dance parties called “mother—er”. I ran up to him and screamed, “Bronques! What are you doing here motherf—er?” as if I knew him. He was super friendly and asked if he could shoot some pictures of me inside of the bar. I did my cheesiest “trying to be sexy but I’m just way too awkward and clumsy” poses in the doorway of the bathroom, while Kristen watched with “platonic” googly eyes.
Many drinks later, the clock struck midnight. Kristen was out like my sobriety, and I’d be damned if someone was gonna stop me from drinking more vodka with my new best friend I’d made at the bar, “Dude.” Me and Dude were hanging out talking, shooting the shit, when all of a sudden my ex, Mike, walks in with two teenyboppers. They were walking towards us and I whispered to Dude, “F—! You need to pretend to be my boyfriend right now,” and started feeling a slight case of the spins.
He smirked and put his arm around my waist and his face really close to mine. So close that I could smell the turkey club dinner special from Subway on his breath. Gross.
They passed us without Mike seeing me, so I ripped Dude’s hand off my waist, told him to back the f— up and stormed away to the bathroom. I wasn’t in the mood for the scent of hot garbage mixed with last night’s Thanksgiving dinner in my face. I was fuming! How dare that f—ing asshole come to my stomping grounds with these college sluts? I could have sworn I’d seen them flashing their lady parts on an infomercial for ‘Girls Gone Wild: Cancun!’
I stared in the bathroom mirror and did a little self pep-talk, which I frequently do even when I haven’t been drinking. “You are better than this. Don’t let this loser get to you. He is old and wrinkly. You are young and awesome.” Then it hit me: He was about to be 35, and I still had all of my 20s ahead of me. “Oh my god he’s having a mid life crisis,” I said out loud to the blurry, mirror image of myself. I’d finally cracked the code!
At this point, the bathroom was spinning. I had to get out of this place.
On my way out, I realized I’d left my coat at a table where Kristen and I had been sitting earlier. I walked to the back where the tables were and who was sitting at the table where my coat was? Of course, it was Mike.
I walked up to him and his ‘Girls Gone Wild’ posse and grabbed my coat. He stared at me with a look of “please don’t hit me” while I not so carefully tried to keep my balance intact, with an angry mug on my face. I had to say something, but what? This was the man who f—ed me up. This was the man who made me realize that love wasn’t real. This man wasn’t even a man.
I asked both girls to excuse us for a minute. The less slutty looking girl walked away while the other, who happened to have a giant camel toe from her shiny turquoise nylon leggings, was not moving. I got in her face and asked her, “Are you fucking deaf? I asked you to excuse us for a minute.” She looked at Mike as if he were supposed to defend her, but he shrugged with a puzzled look on his face and she stomped away like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, sighing really loudly.
I asked Mike to stand up because I had something to say to him. I looked him in the eyes as best as I could, trying to ignore everything spinning behind him and slurred, “You’ve got five years left! Five years and it’s all over. You’re f—ed,” and I walked out. It sounded like a death threat, but what I actually meant was that he would be 40 in five years and young girls would want nothing to do with him.
Standing outside, I was really pleased with myself and looked to my left to see this giant Joe Strummer mural painted on the side wall that I’d never noticed. “Is this new?” I thought to myself and took it as a sign that everything was going to be OK. In my head, Joe Strummer, the legendary badass, approved my unintentionally threatening the life span of my ex-boyfriend. I’d done the right thing.
The spins then took over me, and I lost control of everything, including the undigested food in my stomach from earlier that day as I projectile vomited all over Joe Strummer. While puking all over the mural, I leaned into the wall, trying to cover my face, convinced that no one would see me puking, as I apologized to Joe Strummer in heaven at the same time.
“I’m sorry, Joe. This isn’t personal. I swear. I know that you were there for me when no one else was, and I mean no disrespect by this. I just don’t want anyone to see me throwing up.”
Once I finished my business, I wiped my mouth with the sleeve of my jacket, lit up a cigarette and called my friend Rob.
“Hey Rob, where are you? I’m just leaving Niagra, it was pretty lame. What? You’re in the neighborhood headed to Brooklyn? Yeah, pick me up. I’ll totally come out to Union Pool.”
Rob picked me up and we headed out to Williamsburg, where I proceeded to continue drinking and made out with a hipster on a bench with my fresh-squeezed throw-up breath.
I guess Joe Strummer doesn’t hold grudges.