Ryan Wells at The Commodore - Written and posted on Facecrack on April 9, 2017
This is a really great photo. It instantly flooded me with several thoughts...
I think about things like when your mom gave me a lifetime hockey ban in her house when you were 11. I was over for dinner. I put what I made in the oven then went into the living room to hang out with you. We got talkin' about hockey. A hilariously heated argument over who was the best goalie.
To begin with...you were an 11 year old kid who thought he could stand with me in a sporting trash talk war. Haha...bad call kid! I gave you a few pokes to get you goin', and when I did you got this huge smile on your face. Then your arrogant little ass started takin' shots at me to purposely wind me up. You and your shit-eatin' grin. I knew that you were doin' that on purpose, so I obliged you and let you have it...to the max. The more I dug in the bigger your smile grew.
In the height of the fun we were having I heard your mom call my name and ask me to come into the kitchen. I got up and walked around the corner and saw her there in tears. She had only heard what was goin' on, and had not seen how much fun we were havin'. Your mom thought I was being a total asshole berating her little boy. I started laughing and explained what was going on and that you were totally loving it...that everything was cool.
As soon as I had your mom at ease with what was actually happening, she started gigglin'. Even though she was gigglin', she motioned with her arms as she said, "That's it! I don't wanna hear another thing about hockey." So I started laughin', and egged her on to the point of...
-Not even hockey stick?
-Not even Wayne Gretzky?
-But it's Wayne Gretzky!
"That's it, no more hockey ever again! You're banned for the rest of your life from anything to do with hockey in my home. I don't want to hear another word! That's it!"
When she said that, I looked at you and said, "I guess that's that! Can't talk about hockey anymore! Bummer maaan!"
Then I got yelled at again 'cause I said the word 'hockey.' I turned to you though 'cause you were laughin' just as much as I was. I can safely say you thoroughly enjoyed watching your mom lay that lifetime ban on me. It was pretty hilarious. It wasn't the last time we'd get yelled at from gettin' carried away though. I mean, we even found a way to take crab-apple golfin' on the beach too far.
You phoned me a few times to come watch some world football with you during the 2002 World Cup and the 2004 Euro Cup. (Who would have ever thought Greece would win that shit!) The first Euro Cup game I came over to watch with you was the best. You phoned me up at 5 or 5:30am or some shit on a Sunday morning. The last thing you told me was to come downstairs, but be quiet 'cause your mom was sleepin'.
I get to your house and come downstairs. We start watchin' the game. One of the teams was one I just freakin' hate 'cause they're notoriously whining, diving babies who need to be punched out and replaced with real men with integrity. The easiest thing to say next is that you followed my lead, and I wasn't there 10 minutes before your mom was cursin' us out to shut up from up in her room. We'd quiet down a bit, but kept gigglin', which quickly escalated into more shenanigans. Each time we'd get even rowdier until inevitably your mom was standin' at the bottom of the stairs cursing us out again. She told me I already had a lifetime hockey ban, and asked me if I wanted a lifetime soccer ban too. That probably wasn't the best thing for her to say 'cause it only made us both laugh more.
Maaaaan...your poor mother. She's so awesome!
Some years later, I saw you at REO's video store just before you were about to get your first ever bit of gear 'cause you wanted to get into DJ'n. I said, "Sweet. Do you know how to do that?" With another one of your big shit eatin' grins you said, "Nope...but the only way to learn is throw yourself right in isn't it?!" Then you started gigglin'!
I asked you what your stage name was gonna be if you had one in mind. You said, "Ryan Wells! That's the name my mom gave me, and I don't need another name." I was thinkin' to myself, "How fuckin' awesome is that?! Everyone's got all their ridiculous made-up names and he just throws down as himself." I remember feeling I had a lotta respect for that. (To this day, every time I see one of your posters, I still think of when you told me that before you even began doing all of this, and I smile.)
Now lookkit you, yuh suave mutha-fucka! Tearin' that shit up...all the way up! Photos from all over the place...even one with Ice Cube! ICE MUTHA-FUCKIN' CUBE maaaaaan!!! Daaaaaamn!!! Throwin' down at Shambhala...and this shit at The Commodore. You continually blow my mind, but at the same time, I don't find surprise in what you do. I always knew you'd freakin' crush it, and you're just living the inevitable as far as I'm concerned and I love watching it unfold.
This one of you at The Commodore Ballroom though... This is somethin' really special as far as I'm concerned. When I saw The Mickey Hart Band at The Commodore I got to go backstage after the show with some good friends. It was pretty excellent. I said "Hi" to Mickey, and then went and sat down next to Vince. I was sittin' on the Floor, and Sean was on the couch right behind me. I said "Hey Vince." Everyone started pullin' out spliffs and bowls. Vince looked at me, gave me a fat bag of herb, and asked me to start rollin' spliffs. I said, "OK...How many?" With a 'matter of fact' look on his face, he said, "All of it," then he started grinnin' and said, "we're leaving, and I gotta smoke it all before I cross the border in about an hour, so we should roll it up." So, I happily got at it. I enlisted Sean to help so we could pump them out. I broke it up, put it in papers, and then without lookin', I'd stick my left arm up in the air so Sean could take it and roll it. When he was done I'd reach my right hand up. He put the spliff in it while I raised my left one with the next one broken up and in the paper. I'd spark the one Sean would hand me, have a couple draws, then pass it to Vince. It was a continuous cycle til the herb was done. Me and Sean and Vince got superbly roasted. Smile, smile, smile!!!
When I was gettin' started on the first one a buncha people started askin' Vince questions and stuff. I passed him the first spliff and next thing I knew the two of us got totally immersed into a conversation about surfing. (Surfing stands side by side with The Grateful Dead as the greatest things to ever exist. The very best things in the entire history of things.)
That surfing conversation made its way to us talking about tequila because Vince had just been on a surfing trip in Mexico and he indulged in some of the gnarly nectar. I told him I would way rather eat LSD, it's not nearly as messy. He liked that.
It was one of those very surreal moments of my life...sitting there gettin' roasted as fuck while me and Sean, one of closest best bros of my life, rolled spliffs for a keyboardist of the Grateful Fuckin' Dead...who I was deep in conversation with about surfing and tequila. That was not lost upon me. It still isn't.
The next time I was at The Commodore was when me and Chad went to see the Leafs - Canucks. That was the year the boys made it three rounds deep in the play-offs. (For those who don't know...that's miraculously amazing for us.) It was great. We carpooled with Dano and Timmy. There were a couple hilarious pit stops along the way for sure. (Put Dano, Timmy, and Chad together and watch the hilarity ensue...it's pretty much guaranteed.)
For the game we had sweaters, blue wigs, painted faces with stickers, signs and the whole deal. Me and Chad were right off the ice. Our seats were right beside a couple who had season tickets and were both wearing Canucklehead sweaters that were autographed by the whole team. They Hated us! That made us both happy that just our presence could get under the skin of their sorry-for-their-luck-Canauck-bastard-selves!
Chad and I could see Dano and Timmy in their seats too. Even though we were sections away from each other we still were able to enjoy the game together...and Liquid Larry too! (Fuck that guy was fun.) Eddie the Eagle was standing on his head as we drown out stupid Canuck-dom with, "Ed-die, Ed-die" chants in their own building! He shut them out. We Win!! Canucks can suck it! It was awesome!
Outside after the game we saw Brent Sopel (Defenceman for Vancouver) arguing with his girlfriend/wife. We all thought that was hilarious. We saw a few other Canucks too, but I didn't give a shit 'cause they were only Canucks and not worth caring about as far as I was concerned. (I still feel the same today...only more. )
Probably the literal definition of serendipity for me in my life happened next though. Chad and I decided we should try our luck at the sold out Spirit of the West show. As soon as that was in our heads we scurried to the hotel so we could get cleaned up. When we were ready we strolled on up to the Commodore...and had a smoke on the way.
There were people everywhere looking for tickets when we got there. We picked our spot to try n' score some tickets. I kinda just stood there all baked and zoned out watchin' the people. After a quick couple moments I simply said, "This is gonna be a tough find." With a convinced, yet optimistically serious look on his face Chad said, "Don't give up bro, you never know, some guy might've gotten stood up and wanna get rid of his tickets." I started laughin'. Chad said, "No...I'm serious...it's happened to me before." We both had only just started laughing at that as a cab rolled up to the curb. This guy in a suit and trench coat pops outta it, B-Line's straight towards us, and says, "You guys need tickets? I just got stood up and I don't wanna go now, so I have two tickets." Me and Chad looked at each other with big-ass grins and said, "Hell yeah!" It happened literally that fast. That wasn't just a good call, Chad, that was the greatest call ever! Me and him were psyched as fuck! We went in, found Dano spinning in the back, and then all got to gruuvin'. It was great!
When I looked at this shot of you playing the Commodore for the first time, and each time since, I get flooded with all these years of amazing memories. So many people have stories like this of their own from that place. Now you're helping people create new ones for themselves. I don't know how to say the proper words for the amount of happy it makes me feel to see this image of you bro! From a lifetime hockey ban and crab-apple golf to throwin' down at Shambhala and blowin' the roof off The Commodore Ballroom... Seein' you grow from a hilarious little punk kid through all of this has been really great.
Keep crushing it Ryan! I always look forward to seeing what you do next!
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.