Jack White or Jail:
An Anti-Concert Review From the Front Lines of Music Journalism
Words by Brittany Norvell
Knoxville, TN – Southern belle and Waster staff writer Brittany Norvell was all set to cover Jack White’s tour opener in Chattanooga. But instead she spent the night in jail. In true Gonzo style, she recounts the turn of events that ruined a perfectly good night of rock n roll. Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the ‘anti-concert review’.
Let’s be different. Let’s be honest. No one writes a story of how they didn’t do something. Especially one filled with scandal, and sirens, and medical tape. “It’s amazing what a young, pretty, somewhat smart girl will do to herself.”
“WASTED YOUTH!!”…the conversation rang blankly above me as I lay nearly motionless on the hard jail cell floor. “FUCK!….Where am I?…..How did I get here?â….and who the hell is gonna cover Jack White!? Double Fuck.
Friday night was full of anticipation. I’d been waiting for over a month and a half for the concert that would give me the journalistic credibility that I’ve aspired to achieve my entire career. This was to be my opus. Guaranteed to legitimize everything I’d written down in #2 pencil in my ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Freshman Civics journal. I was going to be among the top tier of those in my same position of executive judgement.
Not that our opinions could ever “make or break” a career of an established musician(s). But it’s nice when an artist recognizes your hard work and is pleased with what you write about them. So why would they not be hurt/insulted by the opposite. The likes of Spin, The Pulse, and Rolling Stone would be represented in the media room of a small south eastern venue that has become the new darling of AC Entertainment.
The one day of tickets sales was a frenzy. The 1,700 plus standing room only venue sold out in a matter of minutes. Music starved savage youth gobbling them up, and the ‘privileged’ with connections to AC were amongst the lucky few would be in the audience for the show. After all, Mr. White is one of the most popular indie and influential guitarists of this post-MTV generation.
In comparing myself to the late great Hunter S. Thompson, I somehow always find myself becoming part of the story I was sent to cover. Possessing that rare talent for being able create a story from whatever screwball situation that might have been thrown my way. Gonzo, it’s called, and in its truest fashion early Saturday morning began with blue lights blaring in my rental car rear view mirror.
“Ma’am! Do you know how fast you were going? 60 mph!! The speed limit here is only 35! How much have you had to drink? Where are you going? Where did you come from? What is your purpose on this Earth, and why are you screwing up so bad?!”
I didn’t have any answers for him, but I knew once he pulled my record I was doomed. Hours later in a white cell out in the middle of God’s Country I found myself counting down the time between the visit from my bail bonds man and calculating how long it would take til I could drive safely and happily in Chattanooga to make the show, as the short drive from Knoxville to Chattanooga can easily be made, if needed, in a little over an hour.
The dread soon began to spread hotly up my spine and through my veins as I realized no on was coming for me. Panic. And down I went. Maybe my knees were locked too long. Maybe my weave I’d gotten only two weeks before was too tight. Or maybe it was the realization of missed opportunity due to ultimate stupidity that floored me. Either way, I was stuck, and I couldn’t even call my dog.
You don’t wake up kindly from these unique sorts of episodes. A quick aggressive rub to the sternum brought me arching and half screaming, half breathing back to life. Now more sirens, more lights, and awkward silences with uniformed officials.
“Your blood sugar is 385 which is dangerously high young lady. Why didn’t you tell the officers that you had diabetes or blood sugar problems? And by the way, if you ever fake a seizure we have this little tool, a drill, here. See it! Well we drill right into your leg to bring you to, and it leaves a mark. In my mind I could see the young man drilling heinously on some poor sap refusing to cooperate and come to. It would be an awful sight.
I’ve always gone to the Lord in times of stress as most good Southern Baptists do. More hours of being hooked up to monitors that flashed and made signals that were completely indecipherable to me, but made perfect sense to trained professionals. Thank God for those who serve for the greater good. I like to think that in some backwards way that I do too. That in there very least, individuals can point at me and tell their young daughters, “Don’t you dare be like her!”
But none of this mattered now. It’s 10 o’clock and Jack is probably taking the stage soon.
The concrete building is vibrating now with excitement and will rise provided the atmosphere of the crowd. He will come on stage, immersed in the backlit glow of stage lighting. His all female band will strike a few chords and the man of the evening will heartbreakingly string out a tune on his……. guitar. All will swoon.
In the end, all the favorites will have been played, both new ‘Love, Interruption’ and old, ‘Seven Nation Army’ via the White Stripes era of his stellar musical career. He will then pack up and leave the small southern town merely hours from his new adopted home in Brentwood, TN and continue onto the next leg of his almost entirely sold out tour.
And here I am. Foot cuffed at the end of a hospital bed dreaming of everything I missed and hating my very existence. Terrible. Just terrible.
So I’ve decided today to write honestly, feverishly, in hopes of entertaining you with something a little different than the norm. In the end, here are my few words of advice: “Don’t smoke. Never drink. And always use sunscreen!”
TheWaster.com | Cuffed