"The chief enemy of creativity is 'good' taste." -Pablo Picasso
(The following is B2P bassist Andrew's diary. It is in no way meant to express the opinions of anyone else in the band, or the band as a whole.)
4.08.08 - Where Are They Now?
Sometime after midnight a couple weekends ago, Jeri and I had just returned home from a party and I ended up furiously digging through a box of old videos in my closet. I was looking for my VHS dub of Wes Craven's "Deadly Friend" and happened upon a tape that contained several Born To Please live performances. She was about to go to sleep, but when I put on the tape, she perked up and we sat watching ourselves for a few minutes. It's been five years since the band broke up, and close to ten since it first started. So much has happened since then, she and I have been through a lot together and accomplished a great many things. It shows on our faces. At one point, I commented, "you look like a kid," to which she replied, "that was before I had a broken heart." It was more than she needed to say, but important none the less. A lot has happened to her heart, and mine, in the years since Born To Please ended. But I wouldn't trade any of it for anything, because we're closer now than ever and definitely went on to bigger and better things. The band was very much just the beginning, and lead us to so much we never knew we needed.
Justin, our drummer, is currently in California attending law school. We both remain in touch with him and Jeri has seen him a few times on her trips out there to visit a wonderful amazing knockout chick she intends to marry one day soon. Before Justin left, I'm happy to say Jeri and I did a couple of shows with him just doing assorted cover songs we all really liked. Mitsu of Boss/Pinkeye played bass and I played guitar. Coincidentally, we played one of these shows on the very same stage that Born To Please made its final bow on years earlier. The thought never crossed my mind that night, I only realized it later, but it was almost three years to the day.
Santiago started his own business after the band broke up, and said business continues to thrive to this day. He is still in Atlanta and I keep up with him via his personal journal. As far as I know, he hasn't ventured back out as an acoustic act (which is what he was known for prior to starting Born To Please with me in 2000) and isn't involved with any sort of music projects I'm aware of. In 2006 we took the stage together for a reunion show of our high school punk band Evergreen, playing to an enthusiastic audience full of familiar faces. I can't blame him if he's too busy for or just plain burned out on songwriting, but I can't finish this part without saying I hope one day he becomes re-inspired.
Like I said before, Jeri and I continue to work closely together on a variety of things in a variety of different mediums, things that have taken us many places and put us in touch with some of our heroes. It has been surreal, at times, to say the least. We still play music together and have recorded demos and done shows here and there for special events over the last five years. Currently we've been jamming together in the basement, her on guitar and me on drums. And it doesn't sound half bad.
In the years since its demise I have gained a perspective on Born To Please that I could never have had when it was together. Had I never met Jeri, my life would be so different right now I can't even imagine it. Short of the woman I married, she has single-handedly changed my existence. As an artist, I have achieved many of my wildest dreams as a result of our collaboration and friendship. And the bond she formed with Justin endured and continues to stay strong. So it wasn't all chance. It wasn't just something a group of musicians did. Born To Please was, as Karen O says, bigger than the sound. It was the beginning of the rest of our lives. I have not listened to any of our music since it ended, I have not once given our album to a new friend or even so much as linked this site to any of our subsequent projects. Unlike other things from my past that were either left undone or cut prematurely short, unrealized and unfulfilled, Born To Please has a definite beginning and end. It served as the catalyst for so much, it was what my future would be built on and my heart forever changed because of. My greatest success still lies ahead, and the legacy of B2P is that whatever it may be, I can trace it back to here.
1.31.03/Lenny's:Out of the blue, we got a call from Rick, the guy who used to run sound @ Dottie's before it shut down and re-opened as Lenny's. Out of all the places B2P ever played, Dottie's was the only one where we felt truly welcome, cared for, and appreciated. Likewise, the staff and patrons of Dottie's were always very receptive to our music and had a genuine love for what we did. I wasn't sure if Lenny's would be the same as Dottie's, so I never bothered to look into booking us there when it re-opened. Not until Rick called and I found out he was running sound AND booking bands on Friday nights. That's right, they let him book whomever he wanted, and he called us. We hadn't seen him in two years, and he still remembered us. How cool is that?
Coming back to that double-wide trailer "dive bar" felt like coming home to me. I won't lie, 2002 was a rough year for the band. Despite having released our CD and getting a spectacular interview with Creative Loafing magazine, things were very difficult. We really loved playing all-ages shows, but they were hard to find and you never knew how long those places would last. Doing things our own way musically left us in a weird spot too, the bigger clubs having a hard time booking us with any other bands. I found myself playing harder and harder and hurting myself physically, just to give the people that did come see us their money's worth. So stepping into Lenny's and immediately being in that atmosphere again was incredible. It made me smile.
The opening band, Rocket Number Nine, was the band I was in before I formed Born To Please in 2000. Their lead singer/guitarist Matt Comegys is one of my best friends, I grew up across the street from him in Doraville and have known him since I was 11 years old. Their music is great and I couldn't think of a better band to have play before us, you won't hear anything like them on the scene. Matt is like me in that we follow our imagination despite what people think or say. It's always been like that, but it has never made things easy.
By the time we played, Lenny's was packed, and the area in front of the stage was full of people we knew. People I hadn't seen in years, people I'd just seen the weekend before, and people we always had cheering us on whenever we played Dottie's. Last but not least, Rick the sound guy showed up, and it was like a huge light went on in the room. There is no one working in any club I have ever played that is even close to Rick. He's funny, he's kind, and he's got tremendous energy. And oh yeah, he is the fuckin' MAN as far as stage sound goes. It was perfection. A rare thing indeed.
We gave that place one hell of a show, let me tell you. I was blown away by how awesome we were. I could see it in Justin's face when he cracked on the snare and kick for the very first song, he was into it and ready. It was loud and good, and it filled my head immediately. Santiago, a man whom I've shared the stage with over the past 10 years more times than I could count, took the ball and ran just like I knew he would. He is still the best guitar player I know. Jeri had the crowd in her hand the entire time, ripping through each song with absolute perfection and amazing dexterity. Every time I looked at her, she was smiling or tearing it up. Sometimes both. As for me, well, the rest of the night was a blur. I had way more energy than I ever remember having at a show before, and was quite surprised at how nuts I went. Non-stop. Someone got some really good pictures is all I can say.
Before I knew it, the show was over and I was loading my gear into the car once again. I stood outside for a long time, talking to people that came to the show and thanking them. That's something that never gets old to me, having someone come and pay money to watch you perform. I put it out there as hard and as good as I can for them. I never shorted an audience in my life. At least I can say that. When I got home, I was unable to sleep. I sat up in a chair and listened to a tape of the show. It's astounding, we haven't been that good in a long time.
So why was it the last show? Well, because honestly at this stage of the game, Born To Please has completed its mission. We're done. Finished. All I ever wanted was for us to be as great as I knew we had the potential to be, and we did it. Anyone who was at Lenny's that night would tell you the same thing. The applause was thunderous, the smiles were abundant, and the bootys were a-shakin'. You cannot ask for more than that in my opinion. For the first time in a long time, I gave and I got right back. I do not wish to return to where I was before. I made everyone happy and they did the same for me.
I never set out to prove anything to anyone but myself. In that respect, Born To Please was a resounding success, and we have retired undefeated.
CLICK HERE for the 2002 DIARY
CLICK HERE for the 2001 DIARY
CLICK HERE for the 2000 DIARY