When last I checked in with Floyd of Fat Wreck Chords fame, we were debating African genocide versus the Holocaust, peppered with Orville Redenbacher anecdotes. (See Bouncer, “War of the Words,” July 5, 2006.) Needless to say, on our next jaunt out I wanted to tread a bit lighter with the record label owner. We have a healthy rivalry that often veers into out-and-out arguments. Or we try and top each other in the maxim department. He usually wins.
He began his latest aphorism with “Here's what you have to know about bars in San Francisco.” Floyd said this with a finger pointed skyward, his eyes excited, and his brows raised in a scholarly yet boyish salute to knowledge. We were in the Richmond, heading to the wine bar at Q. “There are three types. You got your Irish bars, your hipster bars, and the bars that have two Asian women working at them.”
The thing about Floyd's pearls of wisdom is you can't really tell if he has already thought them out, or if he is pulling them out of his fundament right then and there. Having only been to one bar with an Asian bartender in my whole S.F. experience — in Chinatown, of course — I suspected the latter. Floyd tells the best stories, though, so I keep him around. I knew if I plied him with beers at the wine bar, the tales would start flowing like the Orinoco.
There is always a wait at Q, but the bar area — tiny as it is — is usually available for seating. The place is basically an upscale diner, with tater tots and risotto sharing the same menu. They have an extensive wine list, and were I the sort to know a damn thing about wine, I would tell you more about it. But I have only recently figured out that there are wines other than “red” and “white,” and that they have names and come from different parts of the world. I ordered something called a pinot grigio, because it reminded me of the mouse on The Ed Sullivan Show, and settled into more talk about nothing. I had a specific “nothing” in mind. I asked Floyd to tell me again my favorite tour story of his.
Floyd is part of Incredibly Strange Wrestling, the goofy Lucha Libre hipster thing where the wrestlers have names like Macho Sasquatcho and El Homo Loco and they battle it out in a giant ring. The only difference is, unlike regular professional wrestling, the matches are choreographed beforehand.
Floyd is “The Sheik of Physique.” When he wrestles, he wears a Sheiky head scarf thing, genie pants, and not much else. The look emphasizes his rather gordo girth and grandly callipygian derrière.
The story goes like this: After a raucous night of performing, the gang stumbled back to their hotel and promptly passed out. The crew included Floyd, who, after stripping down to his boxers and removing his dentures (Floyd lost all his teeth at an early age, due to an advanced sugar addiction), settled into a long winter's nap right in front of the door. Also in attendance were a wrestler who actually went to professional camp for the sport, and Raspu-teenie, a midget known for swan-diving off the ropes and straight onto the belly of the Sheik of Physique.
This was the cast of characters that greeted a couple of Japanese tourists when they tried to return to their hotel room, only to find the door pressing up against some large, cushy object. It seems the hotel staff had muffed up the electronic key card device. It also seems that the wrestlers were too drunk to notice that the room that they were in was not their own. Eventually Floyd woke up — after about, oh, say, the fifth whack of the door on his ass — and moved out of their way, and by then the midget and the beefcake had also woken up and poked their heads around the corner to see what the commotion was all about. Dang, I told Floyd, I would've given my momma's left kidney to see the faces of those tourists.
We shared calamari and I finished my wine. It was pretty good. It tasted like “white.” I told Floyd my similar story, involving an apartment in Japan. I lived overseas for a semester, teaching English at a combination college/wedding chapel/golf course. I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with two guys from West Virginia who had never even left their state before moving to the Far East, a kid named Caz who listened to Mariah Carey all day, and an assortment of personality rejects who moved to Japan because no one in America liked them. I was sad and lonely.
Finally, one weekend we got to go into Tokyo. It was like walking across the desert for days and finally reaching an Aquafina vending machine. I heard Guns N' Roses pouring from a bar, and to my ears, it was the mermaids singing. We drank beer and chatted up other Americans, then we went to Caz's friend's apartment and crashed. Addresses in Tokyo are totally fucked; completely impossible to figure out. On top of that, everyone leaves their house keys in an urn next to the door. So, I think you know where this story is going. We stayed for two great nights in an apartment that we thought was Caz's buddy's but wasn't (apparently the people were out of town). We figured it out when Caz's friend called his cellphone and asked him where the hell he was. At this point we had already drunk all the booze and eaten all the food in the place, and I had also greatly enjoyed the lady's vintage hat collection.