Hey gang, Colin here. As I've said many times, Ricki C. is my favorite rock n roll storyteller. In my humble opinion, everything he posts on Pencilstorm is pure gold, as good as any rock story you will read in ANY publication. But of all his great writings, I think his essay, "The Bathtub" could be on the short list of greatest rock stories ever told. It originally appeared on his old MySpace page, and in his former blog "Growing Old with Rock n Roll" and then Joe Oestreich made sure it was published in the footnotes/index to his acclaimed Watershed memoir, "Hitless Wonder - A Life in Minor League Rock n Roll". (In fact, just the footnotes to Joe's book are better than Butch Walker's actual books. Seriously, thumb through a copy and prove me wrong.)
Anyway, with the Rolling Stones coming to town, we decided to team up with the very cool and new Six One Four Podcast so Ricki C. could tell the story of "The Bathtub" himself. Please do yourself a favor and give it a listen. I promise you'll be glad you did.
Click Here to listen to Colin and Ricki C. telling the story of "The Bathtub" on the 614Cast. They start at the 27 minute mark after the excellent Eric Davidson interview.
The Bathtub by Ricki C.
I was 13 years old in October 1965. Eighth grade just was not working out. I had been a shy, book-reading child, now hormones were kicking in. I loved rock & roll but I just knew I was NEVER going to know how to talk to girls. (This was years before I got a hold of a guitar.) One really bad Saturday night I decided to kill myself. I had it all worked out. I’d seen a movie just that week about a guy getting electrocuted when a radio fell into the bathtub he was in. (I was a very impressionable child.)
After everybody had left for the evening (my mom and dad were working their second jobs, my sister was on a date, my brother was at the bar) I went around the house and found a radio with a cord long enough to reach the bathtub. I ran the bath, plugged in the radio, settled into the warm water, said a little prayer for forgiveness, and let the radio drop. What I hadn't factored in was that although the cord was long enough to reach the tub, I hadn't filled it full enough. Right when the radio hit the water the plug pulled out. I got a nasty shock, I was seeing big purple and black blobs in my field of vision, but it didn't kill me.
I lifted the radio out and laid there in the water a few minutes to let my head clear. I got out and ran some more water in the tub until I was certain I had the right water level for the job at hand. I plugged the radio back in and what was playing? "Get Off My Cloud" by The Rolling Stones. I stood there naked – dripping & chilly, eighth-grade skinny – and listened to the entire song. Right at that moment I quite literally loved that song more than I loved life itself. And then a thought came very clearly into my head: "What if the next Rolling Stones single is even BETTER than this one, and I never get to hear it?"
I set the radio down on the sink, got back in the tub, took a bath and went to bed. If "Danke Schoen" by Wayne Newton or "Roses Are Red" by Bobby Vinton had been playing at the moment I plugged that radio back in I'd be dead now. Long live The Rolling Stones. So began a life of rock & roll. Thanks Mick, Keith, Brian, Bill & Charlie.
© 2005 Ricki C.