07 December 2005
The Man Who Ruins Everything
There are some people in this world that simply rub us the wrong way. James, on the other hand, is generally patient and accepting of most. He is rarely bothered by the kinds of clueless, self righteous and self-aggrandizing fools that make my blood boil. However, when he is annoyed, he is fiercely annoyed -- and not by the people you'd think. Stirring his ire is a motley cast of seemingly unprovacative characters who would not garner any emotions -- positive or negative -- from most of us.
For instance, Queen Elizabeth and the entire British Monarchy: "total bullshit." The completely innocuous Dave Matthews: "a fucking jerk."
But to James, Public Enemy #1 is Peter Wolf.
I learned this a few years ago when we were going to see Bruce Springsteen at Fenway. We'd popped into Copperfields to have a drink and meet up with Billy J. We overhead the group of people next to us talking about they'd just spotted Wolf outside on his way to the Springsteen show. Out of nowhere, a jovial Jimmy became irate; he swore loudly and started mumbling to himself.
"What's wrong with you," I asked.
"Fucking Peter Wolf. He's going to jump up on stage and ruin everything."*
Billy J. showed up several minutes later, heard the name Peter Wolf, and without even knowing what we were talking about, said, "That guy's a whore."
Sure enough, Wolf jumped up on stage that night to join Springsteen in a rendition of "Dirty Water." While it certainly did not ruin the night, it was pretty annoying.
At Monday's U2 show, Bono acknowledged Wolf in the audience, along with retiring Globe music critic Steve Morse. Whether intentional or geographical, Wolf did not claw his way up to the stage and try to hog the spotlight...and I was grateful. I thought maybe he'd changed.
But just hours later at a party for Steve Morse at JJ Foley's, Wolf relapsed. Bono showed up late night to toast Morse and Morse, in turn, toasted Bono. It was a testament to their 25-year-long relationship as rock star and critic. It had nothing to do with Peter Wolf. But, unable to help himself, Wolf hopped up on a table, made a completely unneccessary statement,and proceeded to lead the crowd in "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." In short, he destroyed the moment, he ruined everything.
Have to hand it to you, James, you're spot on with this one. His behavior is likely what's keeping the J. Geils Band out of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.