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Sunday, April 8, 2007

The Ranch

Hey, check out this new interview with me at The Dish where I ramble on about the Tempe music scene.

Anyone feeling nostalgic? Boy, do we have a show for you.

To continue from last week…

The summer of 1993, Dusty and I drove once to Roger’s family’s ranch in southeastern Arizona, and Roger came into town once. The ranch was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been. Miraculously, it was 15 degrees cooler than in the city, even though it was farther south than Phoenix and less than half an hour from Mexico. Desert and cacti rolled out in every direction from the run-down ranch house where we'd jam. I fantasized about sitting on the porch and reading a book all day, catching the light breeze as it rolled off the mountains.

But we were there to rock.

We set up our equipment in the front room of the house and proceeded to blow the doors off the place. We jammed all night, the same four or five songs we’d played before, but this time we actually knew them. I bet any living creature within those 5,000 acres knew what was going on, a strange thunder coming from the house, a storm brewing within its walls. We stopped only to pour tequila or to pop open a beer. We played the songs over and over again until early in the morning when we couldn’t play anymore.

Then it happened.

I don’t know who noticed it first, but there was a full moon that night. Dusty was the first to go out, and Roger and I followed. Roger and I watched from the porch as Dusty stood on the dirt road and stared up at the moon, the desert breeze rustling his white Bermuda shorts. Suddenly, Dusty, who sang back-up in the band but was notoriously shy with his voice, started to sing:

Lady, when you're with me I'm smiling
Give me, whoa-oh, all your love
Your hands build me up when I'm sinking
Touch me and my troubles all fade
You’re my
Laaaaaaay-daaaaay.

I was stunned. Here was Dusty, normally reserved with his singing, belting out the most pristine version of “Lady” by Styx I’d ever heard. It was a kind of celebration. We all knew something was happening; the full moon, the clear night, the desert, “Lady” by Styx, it was both so beautiful and so ridiculous. It was a vibe we’d remember.

Roger and I joined Dusty out on the road, miles of open desert surrounding us. We did some strange drunken salute to the moon, marched in place or raised our arms or something, but the moment had passed. We were already a band smiled upon, given something. Dusty and I drove home the next day, dazed and hung-over, but neither of us spoke of the moment from the night before. Nothing needed to be said.

Next week, Roger comes back to Tempe with new songs.

Art

3 comments:

Kathy said...

As usual...AWESOME! Thanks so much for reminiscing here where we can all take a trip down that memory lane with you. It's great to get the history, especially for one like me who is a latecomer to the bandwagon. Can't wait for the next one! :-) ~ K

Sally MacLennane said...

Lady by Styx...that's hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Its great to read about your experiences jamming away. I cant wait to read more :-) T. Jarrett