Saturday, June 28, 2008

Plumber's Butt

First of all, a new gig!

I will make my encore appearance at the ever-charming Uncommon Ground in Wrigleyville on Thursday, September 18 at 8 PM. I will be playing solo acoustic, and I will be featuring some new material, along with all of your old favorites, Refreshments and otherwise. I'm tempted to call this the Cubs Clinch the Pennant Show, but past experience keeps me from making such a stupid mistake. Suffice it to say you should mark this one on your calendars now before you forget and waste your Thursday night watching some inane tripe on TV.

When people ask me about being on the road with the Refreshments, I'm always ashamed at how little I remember of it. I don't want to continue the weird reverse-romanticism of the road being this awful existence. I don't think it is an awful existence. It's just that, unless you're Led Zeppelin, it's unmemorable.

Valhalla, I am coming.

I do have one very clear memory of being on the road with the Refreshments, and it seems a great time to tell it to you since it features Brian Blush, whose new band the South Slope Cutthroats has recently joined the line-up for the 2nd Annual Laying Down the Law Show on August 9th.

Flash back to the winter of 1995-96. The band had finished its debut record for Mercury, Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big & Buzzy, but the label had yet to release it. We were touring with local heroes the Gin Blossoms and Dead Hot Workshop, and we were traversing the western United States in our used-but-new-to-us Econoline van. This was to be an easy day; we had all day to drive from Seattle to Ketchum, Idaho with no gig that night. The drive was supposed to take about ten hours, but with snow in the Rockies it wound up taking about 14. We were just about to Ketchum, it was 1 A.M., when Swaff, Tempe legend and our road manager, pulled over to get some gas. Blush, who'd been sick for a couple of days, had one bench in the van to himself--I don't think I'd heard a word out of him the whole trip--and I had a bench to myself, trying to sleep a bit before Ketchum.

Everyone else had gotten out of the van except the two of us. Some clown had left the side door open, so I was getting a good dose of Idaho winter blowing in on me as I tried to sleep. I looked up to see what the deal was when I was affronted by the person at the pump across from us.

I don't know what he was doing--filling up a gas can, working with something on the ground--but in his arching over he exposed to me the largest expanse of plumber's butt I'd ever seen.

So I smiled and lay back down.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I heard this noise. It started as just a rumble, grew into a titter, and climaxed into a full-fledged giggle. It was Blush in the bench behind me, chortling at the bad moon rising just outside the van.

It seems silly now, but that's my most vivid memory of being on the road with the Refreshments: some Idahoan's butt crack at 1 A.M., Blush giggling like a schoolboy from the bench behind me, and me unable to keep from chuckling too.

I think Brian started feeling better after that, and so did I.

Gotta love rock 'n' roll.



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