Guest Blogger: The First Heartland Studio Experience

Schadenfreude - Heartland CafeHow fun. This week we have another installment for our guest blogger Josh K. Josh is celebrating our 10th year in existence by blogging fond memories of the past decade. Today? More of the Heartland Studio memories in honor of our first ever return appearance to the Heartland (next door at Red Line Tap).

The story I’m about to share is the tale of my first Heartland show, which may – in actuality – be a combination of several different recollections. But that’s the Heartland in a nutshell, right? Shit, I was only 19!

I rolled into the city on a Thursday to visit Briscoe and McCarthy, who were living together in a God-awful Columbia College dorm room on State and Roosevelt. On Friday, Justin invited us over, split to Cotler’s Liquors on the corner of Damen and Argyle (don’t look for it, it’s not there anymore), bought a case of Corona and then promptly left us to rot in his filthy fucking apartment while he went to the theatre to rehearse.

So there we were at 1947 W. Argyle, #3 with a case of beer, no working television and a mandate to get to the theatre 15 mins. prior to showtime. Long story short, by the time we got to the theatre, the line was out the door… and we were toward the back. Plus, it was super cold outside.

No problem. I knew the doorman. ENTER (stage right): Tommy Pritchard.

Tommy worked the door in the early days and had to prioritize who got in and who stayed out. And, on this night, the pressure of the job was starting to take its toll. He was super surly and a bit frazzled by the large crowd and people clambering to see the show. I had drank a few beers and was probably a bit obnoxious, but I remember telling Tommy something to the effect of: “Hey man, Justin said we’re good.” His response? A cold stare, a finger in the face and the menacing phrase: “Not now dude.”

If you know Tommy, then you know he doesn’t mince words and doesn’t fuck around. I just shut my mouth and put my head down.

I couldn’t get inside to tell Justin. I couldn’t call (this interaction pre-dates the proliferation of cell phones). It was freezing cold and I wasn’t making any headway with Tommy, who knew full fucking well I was in the city for the sole purpose of seeing this show.

Frazzled Tommy (who hopefully can’t read) finally snapped and yelled: “That’s it. Sold out.” I tried one last time to plead my case, but in typical Tommy fashion, he said: “What? It’s not my fault you didn’t get here on time.” That was it. We jumped on the red line and headed back to the dorm.

That, my friends, was my first Schadenfreude experience. A drunken, frozen night spent in line outside the Heartland bargaining with a drunken, frozen Tommy Pritchard. Soon after, Tommy abandoned his post as Schadenfreude door man and handed the reigns over to a burly, red-headed whippersnapper named Mark Hanner. And the rest, they say, is history.

While Tommy and I have long since mended fences, my father still feels the need to lecture him on the meaning of “family” each time they get together… which makes Tommy and I more than even.