by Brian Keith Giovannini
"Uncle Meat is the frown line on the face of music."
--Matt Smith, lead guitarist
After stomping the life out of a couple of roaches in my bathroom recently, I decided that it was finally time to clean up my place. The root of my problems was probably the scattered array of M&Ms littering my carpet beneath the old newspapers, month-old laundry, books and assorted trash.
After an hour or so of spring cleaning, I noticed I had cleared a path to my guitar sitting in the corner. I gazed longingly upon my faithful companion who had been patiently sitting there unmolested for several months.
Having no more janitorial chores to detract me from my studies, I carefully lifted that old instrument from its stand and ... realized my amp was still turned on from January. D'Oh! No matter, I unplugged the guitar, tuned it and played through a few riffs. After some Pixies and Pink Floyd, I returned the guitar to its home and went about business as usual.
All that fingering of chords and bends and hammerons and offs brought back memories of days long past when, like every other guy in existence, I played in a band. Of course, there was really no chance of Uncle Meat gaining fame and an extended multimillion-dollar recording contract, but still it was fun to play in public. Unfortunately, as far as bands went, we sucked.
We'd head out to Lynn Eusan Park, turn up the amps to about five billion decibels and watch the squirrels and other assorted rodents run for cover. Hell, Pat Buchanan even considered calling me to ask about the possibility of Uncle Meat playing on the border to help deter immigration.
I recall one particular episode when we were planning to include a stirring rendition of Froggie Went A' Courtin' (a la Bob Dylan) in our next gig. I figured that the only way we could salvage the nearly indecipherable song was for me to sing it while wearing nothing but a frog puppet on my member. Sadly enough, the rest of the band dissented.
As with almost all college bands, our demise came about when a crucial member (the lead guitarist) graduated and moved on to the real world. Without his musical and lyrical genius, Uncle Meat could not survive.
Seeing my guitar sitting there, the dust building on its steel strings, I felt compelled to call up our lead guitarist, Matt, at the engineering firm where he now works. After reminiscing on Uncle Meat's World Tour (Motto: We killed them in Amsterdam), Matt fell silent on the topic of those old days of irate phone calls. (Motto: Turn down your *bleep*ing amps!)
But as band members know everywhere, what can top the raw emotion that spills forth when drunk guys try to manipulate thousands of dollars of electrical equipment while shaving their chests and screaming into a microphone?
And I'm sure the fans loved us too.
Giovannini plays his guitar on the MTV.