My First One Night Stand

Hanson at SXSW in 2008.

Before I moved to NYC I was managing a band called The Gaskets. We would play in New York regularly and I had booked us a show at a bar called Arlene’s Grocery.

There were four of us in the car on the ride up to New York: Teddy & Ross of the Gaskets, myself and our friend Alex. Alex did their sound from time to time and it gave him an excuse party in NYC.

We didn’t have much of a draw in New York yet but the booker at Arlene’s loved the band and would always fake how many people came to see us so the bar would let her keep booking us but the crowd was better than normal when the band started playing. Unfortunately for us the sound was terrible. They were just two guys with a sequencer and a lot of sound guys couldn’t figure out how to turn up the box loud enough for some reason. Most of the time the sound guys would figure it out pretty early in the set but three songs in it still sounded like they were playing out of a boom box so I decided to go talk to the sound guy.

What I didn’t know was that Alex had beaten me to it. He had already told the sound guy how to fix it and apparently he just didn’t listen to Alex. So when I walked up to the sound booth I got one word out of my mouth before the sound guy started screaming at me. I just yelled back something about turning the fucking sequencer up and he picked up a fucking Thermos and threw it at my head. He missed by a few inches and it went flying into the crowd.

The sound never got fixed, but it was a great crowd and everyone seemed to be having a good time. After the show this group of scantily clad women who were right up front dancing the whole time started talking to us. They were promoters and their whole thing was just being hot girls who go to shows and party with everyone. Seemed like a decent gig.

They left right after our set but told us to hit them up later. They were headed to a few other bars and wanted us to come out with them when we left Arlene’s. We wanted to support the other bands on the bill so we stayed there for a while. By the time the show was over it was snowing and we never ended up meeting the girls.

With a snowstorm approaching Alex and I split up from the Gaskets. Both of them had girls in town and Alex and I were staying with one of his friend Justin just north of the city. It was probably only a few miles away but it took us 45 minutes to get there because it was snowing so hard. I was pretty sure we were going to drive off the road into the East River on multiple occasions.

When we woke up the next morning there was snow everywhere. We just happened to time our trip to NYC just perfectly with one of the worst snow storms in the cities history. There was more than a foot of snow on the ground. We didn’t really know what the fuck we were going to do. I called the Gaskets and they had to get home and wanted to leave that night.

Alex, Justin and I spent probably an hour digging out Justin’s car. Fortunately it was an SUV and once we got out of his neighborhood the driving wasn’t so bad. The snow was actually starting to melt but it still took us forever to get into the city and it was dark outside when we all finally met up at Ross’ girlfriend’s place.

When we got to the car it was in way worse shape than Justin’s SUV. Snow plows had piled more snow on top of it and now that the sun had set and it dropped below freezing again it was pretty much a giant ball of ice. We were fucked. There was no way we were getting out tonight.

Alex and I didn’t really know what to do. We didn’t really know anyone else in the city and Justin had already driven back home and we weren’t about to ask him to come back and get us. Not exactly sure why we couldn’t stay with the band’s girls but it was almost 15 years ago so don’t give me a hard time about it. I don’t even think Alex’ friend was named Justin. Maybe it was Patrick?

Anyway, I had an idea! I would call the girl from last night and see if she would let two strange dudes crash at her place and for some insane reason she said yes.

When we got to her apartment she looked like a completely different person from the night before. She was in pajamas and no make up and she looked super normal. The night before she had looked like this rock and roll degenerate and now she looked like an RA of a dorm. Her place was super normal too. I spent most of my life hanging out with scumbag punks and I had never seen a place that looked so normal. I know I have now used the word normal four times in this paragraph but it was just such a strange thing to see after meeting this wild rock promoter 24 hours earlier.

We hung out with her in the livingroom for a while but it was a Sunday night and apparently she had a real job to go to in the morning so she was headed to bed. There was only one couch so she said one of us could stay in her room. I had (and still have) terrible insomnia so Alex told me to take the bed.

When I got into her bed I couldn’t really tell what the vibe was. But I wasn’t about to hit on this woman who was so nice two random dudes sleep at her place so I took my Ambien and tried to go to sleep. I was just about to pass out when she curled up against me. We started cuddling and a few minutes later we were making out and then she grabbed a condom from her bedside table.

I was fucking her from behind when I noticed her tramp stamp tattoo. It was like this circular blob thing that kinda looked like letters. It kinda looked like a rounder Toyota logo. Did you know the Toyota logo spells out the word Toyota? That’s not super relevant to anything but that’s the kind of thing I think about when I am high on Ambien and not asleep. I couldn’t figure out what it said so I asked her and she wouldn’t tell me presumably because we were in the middle of fucking.

When the sex was over she went to sleep right away but my insomnia had taken hold. The strenuous activity had shaken off any sort of Ambien effect and I laid there for a couple hours just waiting for it to be the next day so I could dig out a car and get back to my own bed.

As the sun began to rise I could start to make out things in her room. The lights were off when we went in there and I never got a good look at things. Her room had the same sort of dorm room vibe of the rest of the apartment complete with a bunch of posters.

If the rest of the apartment hadn’t made it obvious that her rocker image was a facade her bedroom did the trick. There were posters for Creedence Clearwater Revival and the Steve Miller Band and fucking Hanson. A the bottom of the Hanson poster there was a circular blob. I kinda adjusted my eyes to the light and that’s when I saw it. It was the same circular logo I had seen a few hours ago and it spelled out Hanson. She had a fucking Hanson tramp stamp!

When Alex and I left her apartment the sun was shining and it was somehow 50 degrees out or something. All the snow on the streets was gone. When we got to the Gaskets’ car it was still covered in snow but it was pretty easy to dig out and we got on the road and I never saw the secret Hanson fan ever again.

Years later I had moved to New York and started working as a photographer. The Gaskets were still together but none of us were living in the same city so they weren’t playing a lot. We had been to the South By Southwest music festival in Austin four years in a row as a band, but this year I would be going alone.

My first year at SXSW as a photographer was a fun one. I got hired to photograph Dim Mak Records party. It was three or four days at this Elk’s Lodge or something. There was a pool and a bunch of good bands and DJs and my job was pretty much to just be back stage and take photos of bands hanging out. It was a great gig.

I got the lineup when I first got there but it wasn’t until the second day when I found out there was going to be a surprise guest… and that guest was fucking Hanson!

All the super hip bands and DJs backstage started laughing when we found out. People started making MMMBop jokes and ragging on them. We couldn’t figure out why they were on this bill.

The word got out they were playing and a bunch of Hanson fans showed up. They were almost all girls in their early 20’s who I assumed had loved them as kids and just thought it would be cool to see them. Weirdly enough my friend Nikki showed up and I kept asking her about why the hell she came to see Hanson. She told me she was a huge fan so I got her backstage so I could continue to make fun of her for being a Hanson fan.

When Hanson showed up I went outside to take a few photos of their set. They got about two songs in when they did a cover of Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers. If you know anything about me know that I am a huge fucking Bill Withers fan and there version was one of the best covers of any song I have ever heard. It blew me away. I started looking around and all these hipsters who came out to make fun of Hanson were staring in stunned silence. Hanson was fucking amazing. One of the guys who was making fun of them earlier told me “I need to quit music because I could practice for the rest of my life and I will never be as good as Hanson.”

After their set they came backstage and I had to take a bunch of photos of them. I told them how blown away I was and introduced them to Nikki. She had earlier told me they were super Christian but I wasn’t going to miss a chance to tell them about how I had my first one night stand with someone with a Hanson tramp stamp. They started cracking up — “You had a one night stand with a Hanson groupie!?”

Once Hanson left Nikki told me that she actually knew the girl I had slept with. Apparently in the world of adult women who love Hanson that tramp stamp was kinda legendary. The two girls lived 3000 miles away from each other but had become friends via their Hanson fandom.

A few months later I got an email. It was from the Hanson groupie. Nikki had told her all about our Hanson experience. Fortunately she thought it was hilarious and wasn’t mad. And then she asked me if I had any web design needs because she was building websites full time now. I wasn’t and I never heard from her again.

The end.