“What Means ‘Raunch?'"
The Raunch Hands van rolls along a postcard-perfect two-lane road in Austria. The drive began after last night’s final encore. The band have brought with them a large cache of that town’s local spirits and have left behind a nightclub janitor’s nightmare, a restaurateur who is now questioning his career choice, various bodily secretions, a cymbal stand which will catch up to the band four nations from today, a very happy drug dealer, and a whole bunch of people who will be calling in sick to work today. Within the van are the five band members, chattering, smoking, thoughtlessly, incessantly drinking, their driver/roadie/soundman/entertainment coordinator/day nurse, and an investment banker from Bonn, Germany who quit the firm to go on the road with these guys and sell t-shirts. He is curled up in a corner of the van, unconscious. He sports the same Armani suit that he wore to the Bonn gig, a single Italian wing-tip, and a five-day growth of beard. Crumpled in his hand is a recent article from a Frankfurt newspaper reporting his sudden disappearance. He is very pale and will probably have to be dumped off at a clinic in a few days, but he has a huge smile on his face and carries with him a very handy VISA Gold card. The van approaches tonight’s venue, a youth center housed in a 19th Century women’s prison, which lords over a high, verdant hill.The band is a half-hour early as the van winds its way upward. A few youth center volunteers lounge by the entrance, turning in unison when they hear the too-loud music emanating from the van, which is still 300 meters away. The van pulls up, and its doors spring open. “That’s Life,” by Frank Sinatra, is insanely blaring. As the band emerges, about twenty wine and beer bottles clatter down onto the drive. The Raunch Hands have a stretch, adjust their shades, and survey the ex-prison as though they have just arrived home after a long trip and want to see if the place looks the same. One of the youth center people has run inside to tell her co-workers about the spectacle by the door. The entire staff now fills the entrance, gaping. The band, oblivious, wordlessly thread through them and split up inside the club for the dressing room, the bar, the crapper. The bartender returns to his post and asks the band members seated there, “What means ‘raunch’?”It’s time to do it all over again.