I called Dave and Drew last night to tell them this, but it's worth posting here. I swear I am not making this up.
Last night, some old college buddies called me up and invited me out for a beer at a local Elks club. If you've never been to an Elks (I had not) it's just like a VFW/Legion. In a nutshell, it's old people hanging around, drinking dollar beers, chain smoking, playing pool/darts, karaoke, etc etc. They have a free buffet and everyone knows each other, there are prizes, contests, member benefits, shit like that. It's actually pretty cool if you're older, but I'm 33 so I felt a little out of place, but not terribly. I'm too old for the club scene, but I'm too young for the Elks scene, but really it's not a bad place at all to have a couple of cheap beers and fling some darts around. I'm not a member or anything, so my buddy had to sign me in. (He's about 35).
So it's Saturday night at the Elks, and it's apparently a busy night. It's a longtime member's 70th birthday party, so there's cake and little presentations for her. A bunch of old Vets got up and sang a few country karaoke songs for her, and all ~100 or so people in the place sang happy birthday. That's followed up by the presentation of an award for "Elk of the year", to a guy that's maybe 75. Good times, he's a jolly good fellow, huzzah, all that. After the birthday and awards stuff is over, the jukebox pops on and it's a bunch of safe, country songs. Garth Brooks, that "I got friends in low places" song, you get the idea. The buffet comes out, everyone's having dinner, we're playing some darts. Again, good times.
The jukebox in the "club" is one of those new ones that has internet access. Myself and my friend are talking to a local who's standing by it, just making friendly, casual conversation while she picks her song. I think the most daring thing she played may have been I Drink Alone, and a few Doors songs. So as she's chatting up my buddy, I lean into the jukebox and just out of innocent curiosity, I poke the keys to see if there's some King Diamond in there. What do you know, there is.
Now, I'm hardly a metal looking guy. I wear jeans and golf shirts, drive a BMW, play golf and drink good scotch. But I am, indeed, a pretty big metalhead. And there's no way I'm going to be one-poke-away from King Diamond and not poke "Welcome Home". I just couldn't bring myself not to do it. I figured with a completely packed Elks, and a line at the jukebox all night, it'll be 50 songs before KD even comes up anyway and by that time, it's 5 in the morning and everyone's gone, not to mention that the thing probably resets when it's shut off.
I can't find the fucking video on Youtube amidst all the covers and parodies, but here's a link to it. You know this song. Everyone knows this song. This song is awesomely ridiculous. Even as a kid on my BMX bike my friends and I giggled at this tune.
King Diamond Welcome Home (Reissue) Music Video
So we walk back to our darts game, and I honestly completely forget about it almost immediately because really, what are the odds?
So Achy Brakey Heart (or something like it ends), and this is where my tale takes a turn.
On comes King Diamond.
And for one reason or another, the recording quality of said tune is about 500% louder than every other song played that night. I'm not talking a little bit louder, or even conversational loud. I'm talking "Oh my fucking god, I can't hear myself think" loud. So loud, that every speaker in the place is crackling and distorting and churning out GRANDMAAAAAAAAA louder than I've ever heard King Diamond in my entire life. The King himself would say "turn that shit down" if he were there.
So there I am. Surrounded by scores of old vets, in this private club that I'm not a member of, assaulting these poor people with King Diamond at a decibel level that would drown out a fucking 747. The looks on their faces ranged from shock and horror to outright agony, as hearing aids all over the place had to be shorting out from the unbelievable, crackly, screeching GRANDMAAAAAA! being emitted from the cheapo Wal Mart speakers all over the place. There had to be a dozen speakers. Speakers by the bar, by the pool tables, in the men's room, in the entryway. There was no getting away from it, for anyone. Just maddening, inescapable King Diamond everywhere.
Now, what was I doing during all of this? I could do nothing but sit in the corner, with my head down, uncontrollably laughing my fucking ass off like I have never laughed before. I didn't dare make eye contact with anyone lest I be ousted as the culprit. A peek here and there to reaffirm the horror in 70 year old Helen's eyes. The angered sneer of the Elk of the Year as he sat at the bar staring down his Tom Collins, no doubt angry that he survived Vietnam, Korea and WW2 only to have to endure the seven minute studio version of Welcome Home at his Elk of the Year inauguration. And all the while, there's me. The disguised metalhead, sitting in the corner on the verge of soiling myself as I'm trying to cover my ears from never-before-heard-of volume levels of the King.
I left shortly after. I don't think I'll go back.
My god I haven't laughed that hard in a while.
I'd have done the exact same thing though.