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    The Back Line


            In the vernacular of live rock ‘n’ roll, the row of instruments and amplifiers behind the band is called “The Back Line”. To a gigging musician, there are few sights more joyously heart thumping than a selection of drums, guitars, and various electronics at the back of a stage. Especially if it’s the stage that you’re soon going to take.
            Iconic logos and names from companies like Marshall, Gibson, Fender, Tama, Zildjian, Ampeg, Shure, and Alesis brandish the equipment. Lights of all colors twinkle and blink, barely hinting at the amount of raw electric power that’s corralled within a plethora of circuits, tubes, wires, magnets, transistors, and computer chips. All that power focused through dozens, sometimes hundreds, of speakers for one objective: the creation of loud, passionate, emotional, body shaking music. Made by people, but delivered through machines both primitive and complicated.
            It’s simple. Without the back line, there’s no show.
            This particular photo is what the Back Line typically looked like at my house when I threw a party and asked my band to play. In addition to the music equipment, I have a good friend, the same guy who took this picture, who’s absolutely brilliant with interior space. He’s responsible for all the lighting and set design. Having a live band at a party always adds something special, making the evening an “Event”. But having the room the band plays in transformed into a rock club for the night, complete with colored, flashing lights and a disco ball, made these Events legendary. People would talk about them for months, often years, afterward, and always inquire about the next one.
            Throughout the years, I’ve thrown over fifty of these parties, far more than anybody else I know. I’ve been blessed with the physical space needed to host these shindigs, as well as all the necessary resources; including helpful, talented, and generous friends without whom I could never have pulled these off. I was also given the gift of knowing how to throw a party. A combination of ability, skill, sense of humor, instinct, talent, desire, and luck. Some of it in my very DNA, and some of it acquired through the lessons of life.
            Hopefully, one of the legacies I leave will be the parties I threw. And not just because they were lots of fun. I look at a party as a special gathering of my tribe. A ritualistic and somewhat sacred event that brings out not only the best in me but the best in other people. I try to impart that philosophy, that vibe, that energy, into every party I throw. If I’m successful, the event is not only a rip-roaring blast but also possesses that je ne sais quoi that transforms such events into truly magical gatherings where life long memories are born. Like a World Series game that you went to, or the first time you got laid.
            I know that’s shooting for the stars, especially when we’re talking about something as potentially perfunctory as a Halloween party, but if my reach exceeds my grasp, so be it. I’ll die with a smile on my face, knowing that I threw some of the best parties anybody whoever attended one had ever been to.

    ©2009 Clint Piatelli. All Rights (and a Back Line of Wrongs) Reserved.

    Reader Comments (2) mention of Mesa Boogie?? Les Paul Custom? LOL
    Yes, I remember this scene quite well and have many a photo
    from the infamous Halloween Cape Party. This has been the
    inspiration behind a local Halloween party called "Pimps n' Ho's" and
    is in its fourth year as an annual event. Dance cages, stripper poles,
    black lighting....well...we'll stop right there and "keep it in Vegas" so
    to speak. We do need a band. You guys travel? lol Good times.

    Diamond Dave

    May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Lee Roth

    Diamond Dave, ALWAYS a pleasure hearing from you. I'm honored and flattered that something I created could be an inspiration to YOU. I'll tell you what. The Lost Boys don't play together anymore, but I"LL travel to your neck of the woods for a party and hook up with you and other local musicians to put together a band over the weekend. Just give me some lead time. We'll make it happen. Peace.


    May 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterClint Piatelli

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