The Venetia Fair

The past few days for myself here in Boston have been quite a blurry mess of unclear thoughts, confusion and concern. Trying to get a grasp of the reality and seriousness of the situation has been virtually impossible and frustrating. Forgive me if my attempt at putting this into perspective falls short of expectancy. My views are not nearly as strong as those who have lived here in Boston their whole lives and/or have witnessed these events first hand and I am far from a writer, but here goes nothing…

Brief backstory : My name is Michael Abiuso. I am the guitarist of the band The Venetia Fair and I own and run SwitchBitch Records and SwitchBitch Recording Studios. These are my full time jobs and due to the nature of these jobs I work very closely with tons of bands and people in the surrounding area and I consider them all family.

On the day of the Boston marathon I was in the studio working on cover songs that we (The Venetia Fair) are doing for our Kickstarter backers when my phone rang. My first thought was “it’s 2013, everyone’s busy, why isn’t this person texting/emailing me?” It was my mother…ignore. Two minutes later it rings again and it’s my father. This was weird in that my parents are split up so I figured I should see what was up. When I answered, my Dad said “oh, I’m glad you picked up, are you on tour, at home in NY or with the band in Boston?” (he always says “the band” because I don’t think he knows the name of my band). Once I explained that I was in Boston I was directed to stay inside and check the news.

When I first read there was an explosion at the Boston Marathon my initial thought was “ugh what a shitty accident, I wonder if everyone is ok, and what idiot left their gas stove on this time?” I had a similar reaction on 9/11 because I never assume that anyone has bad intentions. After watching videos, hearing about two explosions on the scene of the marathon and seeing photos of the Boston streets covered in blood I quickly realized how foolish my thought process was. My heart went straight to my mouth as I immediately stopped what I was doing to call my mother back. I then had to get in touch with my cousin who goes to BostonUniversity along with members of my band and all the local bands on SwitchBitch Records to be sure that they were ok and somewhere safe.

They were all quite shaken up. Janele of The Wicked was in Boston but she couldn’t talk and was leaving immediately (her story will come later). Our friends in local Boston band Emma Ate the Lion were extremely lucky. They had taken photos hanging out right where one explosion occurred only moments later. Crazy right?

I followed the news and allowed it to slowly fizzle out as days passed. At this point I was under the assumption that the terrorists had won this battle and were long gone.

On Wednesday nights The Venetia Fair along with SwitchBitch artists Ramsey, The Wicked and other friends often meet up at a place called the Tin Whistle for “wing night”. It was this evening that I saw Janele and realized how shaken up she was from everything. She explained that on the day of the bombing she was walking from the PrudentialCenter in Boston towards the marathon when she heard a very loud and very clear explosion. She stopped in her tracks, saw people coming her way and immediately turned around and started walking the opposite direction. Startled by the sound of the second explosion, Janele quickly evacuated the city while the scary realization set in that no one around her could be trusted and there was nowhere within her vicinity that was safe. Fortunately she made it home unharmed. This night at the Tin Whistle was the first time she had left her house since the Boston marathon. It seemed like she had really needed to get this experience off her shoulders and I was more than happy to be the one to listen and provide comfort for her.

Another day came and went until Friday morning at 6am when I had received another call from my Dad and a text from my Mom instructing me to stay inside and this time lock all the doors. I read the news to learn that the previous night an officer was killed, explosives were exchanged, car chases, robberies and a shootout that left one of the two suspect bombers dead occurred. The entire city was shut down on this Friday morning. There was no school, no businesses open, no public transit running. This was extremely difficult for me to wrap my head around especially because Mr. Chark (bassist of The Venetia Fair) and I were literally right in that area the previous night with AssPoop (AssPoop).

My second state of panic occurred. I had to get in touch with everyone again to be sure they were all home safe, only this time Joe (The Venetia Fair keyboardist) was headed into the heart of Watertown (red zone) to get his sister out of there. It turned out that all the roads were closed and he was forced to head back. His only option was to be in touch with her via phone and be sure that she stayed inside because somewhere within a few miles of her there was an armed and dangerous terrorist.

Joe came straight back to the studio where Benny (vocalist of The Venetia Fair), Mr. Chark, AssPoop and I were tuned in to the Boston Police Radar. We all sat there listening while informing our friends, families and loved ones what was happening until finally suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev was in custody.

As I look back it all seems so surreal. My mood was all over the place. I was terrified for everyone including myself, particularly when the police radar announced visibility of suspect along with a forty-gallon tank. Although extremely far fetched, I envisioned this being a bomb, hearing it go off on the radar and then seeing it come and engulf all of us in the studio. If that were the case I wouldn’t be able to share this little piece of history with you. I’m glad that didn’t happen and that this all seems to be winding down with time.

Quick thought: When I wake up every morning there is a short period of time before I fully gain consciousness. Within that time period everything is fine. There are no memories formed of positive or negative things that have happened in previous hours, days or years. This time period can be one millionth of a second long for all I know. Now put yourself in Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s shoes. You just got shot and crawl into a nearby boat to take shelter and spend the night. The next morning you open your eyes and before consciousness, everything is OK  Within milliseconds your heart starts pounding as realization sets in. You just murdered a handful of people, you injured a portion of a city, the world hates you, the entire city of Boston is on lock down looking for you to kill you and you are awakening into this world cold, alone, half dead in a pool of your own blood on a fucking boat. At this point it’s too late to reconsider. What would your thoughts be? Your thoughts on what you’ve done determine who you are.

Big thanks to Substream for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with you. By the way, I write music better than papers.

-Mike Abiuso of The Venetia Fair



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