Across from Memorial Park in downtown Millenburgh is the Nova Cafe, a 1950s style restaurant with a long counter and elevated stools, round little tables and a jukebox full of no-longer-popular music.
Much like the clientele, the place is a blend of retro and run down. The customers are a mix of young downtown hipsters looking for cheap coffee, college students eating grilled cheese sandwiches and crusty old characters resting between trying to score in the park. This is where Tyson and Jay meet Julie to work out plans for Hellakill's fundraiser.
The boys meet up beforehand at the bus station to walk the few blocks to the cafe. Jay lights a cigarette. Look at that, he says to Tyson, pointing to a transient curled up in a blanket and sleeping in a doorway.
Broad daylight, Tyson says. This town is getting worse. We ought to move, really. New York. L.A. We could go to London. Get a working visa there and we could tour all of the European Union.
Yeah, right. And we could sell our kidneys to pay for the airfare.
They get to the front door of the Nova and pause while Jay finishes his cigarette. Jay looks in through the front windows.
Is she in there? Tyson asks.
I can't see her.
Hmm. Tyson looks down the street in each direction. You know, I don't understand why she's the one we're getting to help organize this. Her band isn't so big that they're setting up giant shows. What does she know about putting a major event together?
Jay shrugs. I don't know. But the way she was talking the other night gave me the idea that she knows more than us. I mean, shit, what do we know about putting something together ourselves? All we ever do is sign up for festivals and look for bars that will let us play. We don't really create anything, you know?
We create music.
How noble. Jay flicks his spent cigarette butt into the gutter. Here she comes.
Julie walks up the sidewalk toward the two young musicians. She's wearing a thrift-store leather jacket and black jeans, her blonde hair pulled back into a pony tail. She smiles as she approaches.
Hey guys. What are you doing standing around out here? It's cold.
Had to wait for Joe Camel to finish his butt, Tyson says, jerking a thumb at Jay. Let's go inside.
They head in and take a table. They make small talk while the withered old waitress delivers their coffee order before getting down to business.
Okay, Julie says, pulling a notebook out of her school bag. I called The Venture. You want to use that place, right? Same as the other benefit?
The guys shrug and nod, watching her, glancing at the pages of her notebook.
I checked their rates, she says, and they need five hundred in advance to book the place. They have their own sound guy and they operate the bar. They keep the liquor revenue and you guys would keep the door and advance sales. Now, she peers at the numbers on the page, fire code has the house limit set at eight hundred heads.
Jay and Tyson exchange looks. Okay, Tyson says. Thanks for checking that out.
Now, she continues, if you've set your profit target at five grand, you need to set your ticket price so that you can cover your expenses and still comfortably be in reach of your goal. If you set advances tickets at seven dollars, the very best you'll be able to do is fifty-six hundred. That leaves you very little margin for error. Better to make it eight bucks advance, ten at the door, so that if you do well you can pass six grand. That's the best case scenario.
Right, Jay say, scratching his head and looking at her figures. What's the worst case scenario?
You don't make your original five hundred back. But you only need to sell sixty-three advances tickets for that.
Jay looks at Tyson. You know, sixty-three actually sounds like a lot of tickets.
You've done a lot of math, Tyson says, looking over the scribbled notes covering Julia's notebook pages.
I'm a business major, she says. This is nothing. So you're having, what? Six bands play?
Um, yeah, Jay says, but we haven't lined them up yet. So far it's just Hellakill and Pattern Disruption.
Julie smiles at the mention of her band. Right. So the best thing to do would be to pick a tentative date. Make sure the hall is free that night and start inviting bands. When you get enough bands committed, you book the hall. She sips her coffee. This is just an idea, but it might be good to offer the bands something for playing. Some token gesture type of thing.
Right, Tyson says, nodding. Like we got beer tickets at the women's shelter benefit. He leans forward with interest.
I'd be happy to do that, Jay adds. It's the least we could do, assuming we can afford it.
Julie scribbles some numbers down. So you estimate six bands, say five members each to be on the safe side, maybe three tickets per member? That's ninety tickets at three bucks each. That equals two-hundred-seventy for booze.
So that's seven hundred and seventy dollars with the hall deposit, Jay says. That will come out the money from the gig at Duke's, I guess. He shrugs. I guess if our goal is five grand we can budget that much.
Yeah, but we sure better sell a lot of tickets, Tyson says. Otherwise we're going to lose money and make serious fools of ourselves.
That reminds me, Jay says. Who sells the tickets? Do we just sell them ourselves?
You could do that, unless you want people to actually buy some, Julie says. No, I'm just kidding. They'll sell advance tickets at The Venture, but you'll need to sell them at a few different places as well. You should set up a table in one of the main building at the IUM campus a week before the show. A week-long permit for a table is forty bucks, but I'm not positive about that. I'll double-check. You'll have to find people to work the table. Preferably people with lots of friends on campus, so people stop at the table. And you'll need to make up some big signs and stuff.
So the campus? Tyson says. Is that it?
You can usually buy event tickets at some stores, right? asks Jay.
Right, Julie says. Underground Records on Fifth Avenue usually sells event tickets, and there might be a few other places. I can look around for you if you want. The places that sell the tickets usually take a cut though, so you'll have to work that into your budget.
Shit, Jay says. This is getting complicated.
Yeah, that's event planning for you, Julie says. Had you guys figured on much of this stuff?
The boys look at each other. Not in so much detail, Tyson admits.
Yeah, Jay says. I'd been thinking more about like, the show side of things.
Like some of the stuff this guy was telling us about the other night. Some stage theatrics or lights or some shit like that.
That's more money if we want to rent extra lights, Tyson says.
Maybe, Jay says with a nod. But we have to be career-minded. Like who knows, if we do actually get eight hundred people in the place, that would be the biggest paying audience that's ever been in front of us. We need to put on a fantastic show. Oh, and I think it would be cool if members from the other bands got up and played on songs with us. You know, like guest artists.
That would be awesome! Julie says. I could get up and sing 'Peaches' with you.
Or some other song, Jay says. But you get the idea.
The problem would be how to rehearse with the other bands, Tyson says. Or really, how to rehearse at all. We don't have any gear, even to keep fresh with.
You guys can rehearse all you want with our gear, Julie says. Our whole band is agreed. We're totally going to ride your coattails through this, with the gig at Duke's and then the fundraiser. It'll be good for our band, so you can come to my place and use our stuff any time.
Which is great, for everybody except me, Jay says. I can't play Scott's Strat. I need to get my hands on a left-handed guitar. I'll be honest with you; I was hoping to use the money from the gig at Duke's to replace my Ibanez. So if that money goes to paying for the fundraiser, I still won't have anything to use except that old Sears piece of crap.
They sit in silence, unable to suggest a solution to the lefty guitar problem. At last they finish their coffee. Jay and Tyson thank Julie profusely and make plans to keep in touch about the dates, the lineup of bands and times to rehearse in Julie's garage. They pay and leave, Julie walking in one direction and the boys in the other.
You know, I think she likes you, Tyson says.
What makes you say that?
Every time she looks at you her eyes get all big and shiny.
How romantic, Jay says. You must be a song-writer or something.
Hey, I'm serious. You should ask her out.
Why not? She's good looking.
Yeah, but I don't want to date a chick from another band. You know what would happen? We would end up playing every show forever with Pattern Disruption. Or both bands would end up being destroyed because I wanted my girlfriend to sing for us. Or I would end up with them. Could you imagine if Cobain became the guitarist for Hole? The universe would have imploded.
Okay, okay, Tyson says. Anyway...
Or what if she gets really famous? Do you know who I would become then? Gavin Rosendale. Remember that guy from Bush? Nobody talks about Bush anymore. They say 'Who's Gavin Rosendale? Oh yeah, Gwen Stefani's husband.' I don't want to be that guy.
Dude, okay. Calm down. Tyson shakes his head. Forget it. Look, I was thinking about the band website and stuff. You know, the MySpace page. Do you think Danny could help us out with that? Because I'd rather not spend a lot of time on it myself. Not really my thing, you know?
Jay laughs. Danny? Danny doesn't have a MySpace page. What makes you think he knows anything about it?
Well, he's in high school, isn't he? I thought all high school kids did that stuff. And isn't he always on the computer?
No, he plays video games, not computer games. But I'll ask him. Maybe he knows someone.
They get down to Jay's bus stop. The stop for Tyson's bus is on the other side of the block. Think about the bands that we should ask, Tyson tells his friend.
Yeah. We need to set this up as quickly as we can, Jay says. I want to have proper gear to play that battle of the bands in Indy.
I forgot about that, Tyson says. You want to play that, huh?
Jay nods. Yeah. We need to do something new. It could be good for us.
All right. Talk to Danny, okay? I'll call you tonight.