Harry called Chris in the middle of January and told him to come over to his penthouse condo. He also said it was an emergency. Chris could hear him chewing on the other end of the line, something that sounded suspiciously like a banana, so Chris wasn’t sure he believed the urgency. Nevertheless, he made the trek over to his cousin’s condo. It was freezing outside, snowing, and generally miserable. By the time he made it to Harry’s place, Chris was also fairly miserable. His socks were wet from the snow and he couldn’t feel his fingertips any longer.
“Yeah, but can you feel your fingertips normally?” Conor asked him when he said as much, as if Chris was being unreasonable. Chris glared at him, but Conor laughed so he got the impression that it wasn’t effective.
“What is this?” Chris asked, holding his hands out to gesture to the set up in the living room. Conor was standing behind a microphone and a guitar. Harry, meanwhile, was standing behind a microphone and a bass guitar. There were amps set up haphazardly everywhere and all of the living room furniture had been shoved to the side of the room, including Harry’s outrageously white sectional. There was a drum kit set up behind them, but the stool was empty.
“Seems incredible to me that, as a music producer, you would never have seen a couple of guitars before,” Conor answered with a heavy dose of snark.
“I hate you,” Chris told him in a low, dangerous voice before turning to Harry for an answered instead. Harry had his long, generally unyielding hair pulled into a bun at the back of his head and he was holding a half-eaten apple in his free hand, bass in the other. He’d eaten a remarkable amount of fruit in an hour window of time.
“We’re forming a band!” Harry declared excitedly.
“Alright,” Chris said. “So not exactly an emergency then.”
“No, it is an emergency,” Harry assured him firmly. “We need a drummer.”
Chris looked at the empty drum kit.
“I’m not going to be your drummer,” he said.
“What? Why not?” Harry demanded. He took an enormous bite of his apple. The resounding crunch was so loud that it felt like it had occurred inside Chris’ ear canal. He grimaced.
“Because I don’t want to be in a pop band,” Chris answered.
“No, we’re not a pop band,” Harry explained. “We’re a punk band.”
Chris looked between Harry’s bird-printed shirt and Conor’s backward baseball hat meaningfully. He had very little faith in their ability to form a punk band. People in punk bands raged against society. Harry and Conor’s discography to date included a great many gentle folk-pop songs about taking midnight drives with wholesome girls in sundresses.
“I don’t think so,” Chris told them.
“No, no, really,” Harry returned adamantly. “We’ve already written four songs. Would you like to hear one?”
Despite his efforts to the contrary, Chris was intrigued and he did in fact want to hear one.
“Sure,” he said nonchalantly. Harry nodded and chucked the remainder of his apple somewhere into his living room behind him. Chris was mildly concerned about that, but before he got a chance to voice his concerns, Harry settled his bass in his hands and nodded at Conor. Then he leaned into the microphone, even though Chris was their only audience member and roughly four feet away from either of them. Their downstairs neighbours would hate them. On the other hand, they were Harry Everett and Conor Hughes of Five Party so their downstairs neighbours would most likely hate them in secret, but ask for a selfie in person.
“This one’s about our old tour manager Justin, who quit halfway through one of our tours and then did a series of inflammatory interviews about us because our old bandmate Kai slept with his girlfriend,” Harry explained. “He’s the one who started that rumour about me having syphilis.”
Conor snorted into his microphone and Harry shot him a dark look. Chris was just impressed with his use of the word inflammatory.
“It’s called ‘I Don’t Know Why You’ve Screwed Us Because We Weren’t The Ones Who Screwed Your Girlfriend’,” Harry continued into the mic. Chris had one very brief moment to marvel at the song title before Harry and Conor began playing. Chris was, despite himself, genuinely impressed with their punk song. It involved a lot of guitar screeching and a general cacophony of tuneless noise that added credibility to the song. The lyrics were incredibly blunt and quite loudly sung into the mic over Conor’s truly aggressive guitar-playing.
“I mean, that was genuinely actually quite impressive,” Chris told them after the song had ended.
“Yes,” Conor agreed.
“Now will you be our drummer?” Harry asked enthusiastically.
“Still no,” Chris answered and Harry’s face fell. “But I will find you a drummer.”
Harry beamed at him.
The drummer Chris found ended up being Gord. Chris knew a lot of musicians, but none nearly as desperate as Gord. Most of the other musicians he knew were either established enough not to need to have other jobs or they had real jobs that prevented them from being the part-time casual drummer of an unnamed, untested punk project featuring two past members of a British boy band.
“We’re not unnamed,” Harry said defiantly when Chris said as much in his introduction of Gord. It was just as well that Harry had interrupted him because Gord hadn’t seemed too thrilled with the intro.
“Oh yeah?” Chris replied. “What’re you called then?”
“The Fucking Mouthfuls,” Harry answered proudly. Gord snorted.
“Rude,” he remarked, but he looked delighted. Chris rolled his eyes.
“The three of you will be a great fit,” he remarked dryly.
“Yes,” Harry nodded, taking a bite of yet another apple. Chris had forgotten to ask where the other one had ended up. Harry and Conor were going to end up with a pest problem, like mice or possums. Although, Chris would consider Conor already a pest problem.
“That’s a great moustache,” Harry told Gord as he brought him over to the drum kit. Chris shook his head and sat down to listen to the rest of their rehearsal. Conor had written a song called “Fuck You, Pamela” about his accountant and Chris was sincerely interested in hearing it.