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Finney and His Band Have Gone AWOL

September 2010

The last Friday of the month, Uncle Steve's was supposed to have a concert by Admiral Porkliver. Stoughton Finney had built up everyone's expectations for this particular performance by assuring us that something very big was in the works. We were told that fireworks had been purchased, along with several gallons of orange juice and a wheelbarrow filled to the brim with laundry detergent. Apparently, there was a coordinated plan for making use of those items, but alas, we may never know exactly what it was. According to Stoughton, the group had spent the last three months in almost complete isolation in order to compose and rehearse an Olympian musical masterpiece, a symphonic avant-garde blues-and-polka composition with strong aboriginal Australian and Coptic Egyptian influences. The five hour song was to be sung entirely in Czech. Stoughton had translated all of the original English lyrics using Google's online translator. Posters were put up all over town announcing the event. I even took out an ad in the local paper in the classifieds section to let everyone in Bratwurst and the surrounding area know that a momentous and historic cultural event was about to take place at Uncle Steve's. Norm Fabian and I got everything ready for the big day. We anticipated a large crowd. However, in the end, the only people who showed up were Norm and I and the members of Admiral Porkliver themselves. Even my good friend Joe Minsk missed it, so there was nobody there to film or record the concert.

In spite of all that, Stoughton insisted that they plow ahead, and true to his word, they started off the epic song. After about fifteen minutes someone did indeed show up. It was Bert, and he went up to the bar as usual and got started with his drinking. A big fan of the Rocking Dudes, Bert has never shown much interest in or enthusiasm for Admiral Porkliver. In fact, after only a few minutes, Bert got up to leave the bar, his beer only halfway drunk. When Norm asked him why he was leaving, he flatly stated that he couldn't stand to listen to another minute of the band. Well, somehow Stoughton heard this comment over the big ruckus that he and his band were making, and he raised his arms to silence his band mates. He then told Norm that he would have to make a decision. Either Admiral Porkliver could continue on with its concert or Bert could stay and drink his beer. Norm then jokingly remarked that at least Bert was making some kind of financial contribution to Uncle Steve's by paying for some beer, whereas Stoughton and his pals had never paid anyone a cent for anything. So, Stoughton just said, "Very well, we won't be a burden on you anymore," and with that he and the rest of the band gathered up their equipment and left the room. As for Bert, he stayed until almost two AM and contributed quite a bit of money to Uncle Steve's and quite a few empty beer bottles to the floor before finally staggering out into the early morning air.

Well, we expected that this was just a little hissy fit from Stoughton and that tomorrow things would be completely normal as if nothing had ever happened. However, the following day, Admiral Porkliver was nowhere to be found. Their bus, still unrepaired and un-drive-able, was still parked next to the club, but when we went inside to check, we noticed that they had taken most of their personal belongings with them.

Quite frankly, we have no idea where they went or even how they got there. And we have no way of knowing if and when they will ever come back.

Stoughton, if you are reading this -- please come back to Uncle Steve's. Norm was just joking about you guys not contributing anything to Uncle Steve's. Of course you have contributed plenty to the club, although not in a monetary way, and we are all very grateful for that. But you've got to admit that you can be pretty impossible to deal with most of the time. Anyway, Norm feels terrible, he's convinced that he's run you off, and he always has this sad and guilty look on his face. He tells me that he apologizes and that if he could go back in time he would have kept his mouth shut. So, please come back for Norm's sake, and if you can't do that, then please come back for the sake of your many devoted and admiring fans, almost all of whom must have missed the Friday concert for perfectly good reasons that had nothing to do with the quality of your performance. You can't take these things personally, man. You know how it is, the music business is ruthless and sometimes you get bad breaks. So come on back. Annette just promised me that she'll make you the red velvet cake with white icing that you like so much if you come back. Also, if you don't come back soon we won't have anyone to play here for four different nights in October, unless we somehow find someone to fill in for you guys on those days. And right now, we can't think of anyone.

- Jacob Silverman

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