I said that in earshot of a bartender yesterday and she politely/frostily/eyerollingacidtingevoicedly instructed me never to say that to her again … or maybe just never say it … period.
What’s it mean, anyway? Panzer learned how to say it in Russian and it makes even less sense to them …
Ah, summer in Seattle.
Sunburns, white puffy flesh sizzling to order, the scent of sunscreen wafting across the dance floor.
As is, we forget how to drive in the rain or snow first thing every fall, we forget the powerful intoxicating powers of the sun for those 2 or 3 weeks we see it in the Pacific Northwest.
I tried to experience it myself so as to report back to you, dear readers, and prepare you for the pleasures and dangers of this alluring heavenly body.
At first, I tried my hand at outdoor festivals, but from reading my last missive, you’ll recall how I was forced at gun and stress ballpoint to stay inside a small trailer, out of reach of the heat rays emanating from the skies.
Next, we tried our hand at camping. Last Monday, research assistant Mifune and I boarded the pickup and headed east, always East towards the mountains. We ended up outside of Roslyn, WA. (where they filmed Northern Exposure) in a groovy little campground called Red Hat or Red Mountain or Red Somethingorother. By the time we unloaded our scientific equipment (beer), it was raining and darkish. Got the tent up in respectable time and the fire caught on the first match!
Now comes the part where I put my finger where I shouldn’t have and burnt the living shit out of it! Extremely nice 2nd degree burn on my left index finger. Suffice to say that I won’t be playing guitar for a while.
Tuesday’s experiments were hampered by research assistant Mifune’s bad behavior, as in his saying, ‘Take me off the leash, Dad, and I’ll conduct field research the likes of which you haven’t seen before!’
‘You’ll run off and I’ll never see you again,’ says I.
‘Not true,’ says he, eyeing the highway uphill from the campsite.
Still leashed, we head down to a little beach down from the tent. Apparently, it was Mifune’s first glimpse at open water and was he ever confused! He would bark at rocks that I tossed into the water, but when he quite daintily dipped his paws into the water, he freaked out and almost snapped my arm in half.
Aside from that, the sun spent half the day hiding behind small, insignificant looking clouds. Decided not to burn my finger again.
Wednesday, we awoke to startlingly beautiful blue cloudless skies just in time to pack up and leave.
Back home, a friend from out of town stayed for a few days and that’s all it took. 2 days of the backyard and beverages and I have a healthy tan/burn/full body-peel happening.
Other than that, things have slowed down to a brisk pace. More festivals are coming up, but my phone remains silent. Most likely, word of my demands for Samurai swords has spread throughout the production community and everybody is pitching in to get me A VERY NICE AND VERY EXPENSIVE AND VERY VERY VERY SHARP set and they don’t want to call until an appropriate pair has been procured.
But I wouldn’t wait too long, kids. My calendar is filling up.
I’ve got lots to do
Work on the front house continues. We’ve filled up our 3rd 15 yard dumpster. Most of the framing is done, we’ve begun wiring and plumbing can’t be far behind. After we’re done there, we move on to my remodel, which includes a new recording studio addition and quadrupling my bathroom (can you say party shower?).
The release date for the new record is August 23. I’ll add a link for Origin Records and merch stuff.
The Hand of Dog t-shirts are almost gone. The original batch just has the picture of Jazz w/o text. Maybe do 2 runs, one with and one w/o text.
A couple of great shows passed through the Tractor last week. We were visited by the Campbell Brothers, whose Gospel tinged Sacred Steel shook dust from the rafters. Local pedal steeler Dan Tyack sat in and added to the filling jarring experience. Later in the week, Chuck Prophet and Pete Krebs rocked the joint.
And last night …
Last night …
Anyway, last night was Link Wray, a most famous rock guitar pioneer (credited for having invented the power chord).
We paid the 50% deposit weeks ago. Wednesday night, we get a call from the road manager (?) saying that Link won’t go onstage unless he gets paid in cash beforehand. No problem, old school Chuck Berry stuff. The road manager reiterates that he wants to be PAID IN FULL, as in 100% of the dough.
But no, say we. We paid the deposit. The check has been cashed. You seem to have misunderstood the dynamic of the deal … .
No, reply they, we are QUITE AWARE of how things work. Although we cannot explain the internal combustion engine or make sense of most of what Einstein was babbling about, we FULLY COMPREHEND the concept of NO CASH NO SHOW.
So, we wonder, what became of the 50% we already paid.
Well, reply they, the agent and we are parting ways.
‘YEAH AND SO?’ says we.
YEAH AND SO NO MONEY NO SHOW!
After speaking with the agent and being reassured that the show will go on (where have I heard that before and why am I searching for my wallet and my scrotum?), we await the day (and have ALL OF THE CASH ON HAND JUST IN CASE … )
Because they lent us a guitar amp, Eddie and the Helldregs was the 1st opening act on the bill. Eddie wants so desperately to be Iggy Pop and the Helldregs wouldn’t know the Stooges if they beat them up in an alley after a gig. This being said, they were pretty cool. Loud but not earwaxmeltingly so, animated but not cartoonish. What I probably missed by not hanging out on the Sunset Strip in the last millennium. Up after Eddie was a rockabilly band that I’ve worked with numerous times over the years.
I’ve been stuck at the console, so I have no idea if Link and the Wraymen are here at all. Making my way backstage, I encounter the drummer of the above-mentioned Wraymen. I point out to him the drum kit that I had partially assembled and told him he could have the stage. He nodded and looked away. I then ran the risk of repeating myself when I pointed to the drums then the stage and back at him. Again, he nodded.
AHA! A psychic connection was made and in his own silent way, he said ‘Do it for me, ass monkey!’
Fine’the sooner the show is up, the sooner the show is over.
Shall I be proven wrong?
Read on, literary spelunkers, read on’
OK, I set up the drum kit and the bass rig, mic the Marshall half stack and retreat to the board.
It can’t be that simple
I fight through the small but vicious crowd and find the drummer.
‘What’s your lineup again?’ I ask.
‘We’re in Bellingham tomorrow night … ‘
It takes only a few minutes to convince him that I really want to know who’s going to be onstage tonight, so he relents.
‘It starts as a quartet, but when Link plays, it’s only 3 people.’
‘Um’ Link isn’t playing guitar?’
He thinks about that for a minute. ‘Well, not at first. See, the bass player plays guitar before Link comes up, the bass player disappears and the singer sits down.’
OK, so what part of Idon’tknowwhatthefuckyou’retalkingabout don’t you understand?
I have to send him into the dressing room for a Drummer-to-English dictionary and/or somebody who can clue me into what’s going on. After 3 round trips, I discover that Link’s trio is actually 6 people and an OompaLoompa. Alexander (he who made the revealing phone call) starts out on guitar then switches to bass when Link comes onstage (as per drummer boy). He has a Nelson haircut and is wearing a black fluffy billowy blouse. Alexander also requires another guitar amp even though he’s using the same amp that Link will use and won’t need it when he switches to bass.
‘But why does he need it?’ I ask Murphy, the Tractor manager.
‘Because I told him we had it.’
‘But he doesn’t even need it,’ I inform him.
‘But he wants it!’ I send Drummer Boy back into the dressing room for what turns out to be 7th time for info. DB (Drummer Boy) says that Alexander probably won’t use it (NO SHIT) but wants it anyway, even though he wants it on the WRONG SIDE OF THE STAGE for his use.
(Remember: The sooner they go on, the sooner I go home.)
DB is kind of tall, thin, goofy mustache and beret. To what end, I’m not sure. Bass player #1 is seemingly nondescript, but that will prove to be a false assumption later.
The band begins.
The play LOUD.
They play with PASSION.
They play SHITTY 60’S COVER TUNES.
I thought DB mentioned a singer … .
Here he comes
It’s thin Elvis. He’s in all black, black tunic with a leopard skin collar.
He, like his compadres, is competent but COMPLETELY SUCKS SHIT.
After 6 or 7 songs, Alexander primes the crowd for THE MAIN EVENT.
THE REASON WE’RE ALL HERE.
THE REASON YOU CAN GO TO SEE HARVEY MANDEL TOMORROW NIGHT.
Link hobbles onstage with the help of Alexander and what turns out to be his girlfriend or wife or ?
Link is short, stocky, old. Link has a ponytail halfway down his back. Link has a leather jacket.
LINK IS OLD. It takes a while to put his guitar on him and figure out the amp.
Link begins with Rumble, his signature tune. It goes over great. He does 3 or 4 more, each one becoming more challenging to get in tune.
Oh, did I mention that the wife/girlfriend is now the tambourine player?
Typical wife/girlfriend gig. I’m sure that’s how Linda McCartney got her start.
OK, after 5 tunes Link hits one of his patented Power Chords and drops his guitar on the stage then shuffles off.
Quite the dramatic ending, but why is he ending now?
After about 10 minutes of crowd noises, Link is dragged back onstage, does one more tune, drops his guitar again and then reverts back to his subatomic level.
Or is it?
Total time of various Link Wray music(ians) onstage, oh, about 45 minutes. The contract, which obviously doesn’t mean shit to them anymore (as if it ever did) called for a 75-90 minute show. They must’ve thought that included opening acts as well.
So, I’m thinking that the show’s over and I zero the console. But wait’Alexander is back onstage with his guitar.
Is he going to show some awestruck concertgoer a few of his powerful licks or pose for a beefcake photo?
No, they’re setting up to play again!
WHAT THE FUCK?
I find Dan and Murphy (club owner and manager, respectively). During the show, they were both upstairs performing quality control on a bottle of cognac. Murphy just shook his head and said he didn’t want to talk about it. I find Dan rummaging through a box. I ask him what’s going on because Alexander said he specifically told them to go back on. He looks at me and said something about a light bulb in the men’s bathroom’
OK, I reset the console on the fly and they still only play 3 songs, old fucking surf tunes.
‘This is why I drink!’ I mutter to anyone within earshot.
We leave for the Oregon coast in a few days for the annual family vacation (my favorite oxymoron).