greetings and salutations folks,
ahh..where to start?..i guess the reality of me being given the great opportunity to be a BFD guest host finally sank in when the phone rang at my cheesy convenience store gig and scott chatfield was on the other end...he was in cleveland and wanted to know what i had prepared for BFD and crew, and wished to check out the club that they would be playing at...of course, this just happened to be the time of day when every retiree in my dinky hometown decided that the 1/4 mile drive to the grocery store would be a bit too much...and besides..this was a convenience store, right?...not too convenient, if you ask me..so i'm juggling lottery tickets and mystery deli meat while trying to give scott directions..scott's quoting "clerks" and i'm laughing my ass off..i manage to give him a vague estimate of the distance to the club and a brief outline of my plans...a friend's house twenty minutes from the club for sleeping and hygienic purposes, and mad flyering..word of mouth..etc...i had checked in with some local papers, and the main entertainment rag was already doing an article..so the print end was grooving, the club was already on top of most major advertising, and everything was rolling along smoothly..i pummeled cleveland with flyers a few days later...and then..disaster strikes...my "friend" who was supplying the aforementioned residence decided that she hates pretty much everyone (including myself) and no longer wishes to speak to anyone that she was acquainted with...exit the free lodging, and , mind you , this is mere days before the shows i begin pummeling Scott's mailbox with apologetic mails...he responds with much understanding..and understandably, i still feel like shit...(an interesting postscript to this incident..the previously mentioned "friend" is moving home because "no one seems to hang out with her anymore, and she can't understand why"..karma perhaps?)
the day of the show arrives...the gang had spent the night at a hotel, and i was hoping to meet up with them at mike's clinic at guitar center that afternoon..my ride was late, and we just missed them at the store..so after spending a little time annoying the salespeople by playing every really expensive guitar in the store (parker fly deluxe through a boogie dual recto sounds great!)..we bounce on over to chi-chi's for lunch and i manage to get in touch with bryan at the club right before soundcheck..we eat, and head for the club in my drummer's mid 80's nissan sentra (no exhaust, bald tires, and flaccid gear shift)..
when we finally get to the club, i am directed backstage by no other than mr. thomas nordegg...warm greetings and introductions are exchanged, pictures are taken, john zorn's genius in the form of naked city and buckethead's desire to come watch cartoons at mike's house are discussed, and the band continues with their pre-show preparations..i have to say at this point how impressed i was with the professionalism i observed that night...the band worked intensely on vocal parts for various songs, and various aspects of the show, while i noodled on bob tedde's strat..(with a warmoth neck, if i recall correctly, and the biggest frets on the planet)..it took me a week to get bob' s voice singing "15 years ago i looked at the stars...etc." out of my head...everyone was incredibly friendly, and seemed very grateful for the help i had given them, dulling the sting i still felt about the self-implosion of the sleeping accommodations....
i meandered back and forth during the opening band, snagging the occasional free band beer (newcastle brown, no less..i've got to play wilbert's)..a pretty sizable crowd had accumulated by this time, including a good representation of my personal friends, and the club was pretty solidly packed by the time BFD went on...i can't remember the set list to save my life so i'm not going to even attempt to go there (especially since the only cd i actually own is hat...purchased at g3 and signed by mike outside the show...he noticed i had just bought the cd and asked if i wanted him to sign it..is this guy cool or what?)..in the pre show hustle, mike had forgotten my introductory duties, and brought me up onstage to announce the band a few songs into the set...i was completely caught off guard, and must have looked like a deer in headlights on the video tape (hey, i'm a guitar player, not a front man)..i mumbled a few words and..exit, stage left...and busted up laughing as soon as i got away from the stage...i do remember the song "potato" as a personal highlight...i have this friend who attended the show, and for some unexplainable reason he finds the word "potato" absolutely, indescribably hilarious, and can be sent into fits of uncontrollable laughter by the mere mention of this particular starchy little morsel...you can imagine the results...i didn't know if he was going to pass out or throw up...the rest of the show was amazing, the intensity and monstrous musicianship displayed had me practicing non-stop for days afterwards...the band improvised a song composed entirely of parts sung by random audience members..(my contribution was the word "cheese")..and a fine time was had by all...i have several friends who are now die-hard keneally/BFD fans, simply on the basis of this show.. after the show the band spent time chatting with the crowd, and i listened to my friends sing praises of mike & co....the band was on a pretty tight schedule..so i rounded up a few of my friends and we helped with the load-out...i spent a bit of time talking to jason discovering how to survive as a musician in la without starving to death (you have to work..all the time..any gig you can get)..and in my semi-inebriated state ran up to mike and told him if he ever needed a guitar player to get in touch with me..the equipment got loaded, and after bryan asked me how the hell to get back to the highway..we all cruised off into the proverbial night....
interesting things i learned:
a couple friends of mine and i also attended the athens show, most of which i spent balancing drunkenly on tables with bob tedde's disposable camera, trying to get pictures of the entire band around the huge pole in the center of the club. i did get to spend a bit more time talking to mike after the show, discussing radiohead, seeing jerry seinfeld in a deli, and the pros and cons of moving to cali. although plagued with technical problems (mike's wireless taking an early night off being the most memorable), idiotic and/or unresponsive patrons (that drunk guy..gyrating like a madman... who thought mike's pedalboard was a good place to leave his beer) and all the atmosphere of a crypt, the band pulled through and put on a mighty fine show..
all in all i had a great time, i still want to jam with mike and BFD, and i couldn't possibly have been more impressed with the talent, professionalism, and all around coolness of the band and crew..many thanx to mike, scott and everyone else for a fantastic experience, i'd do it all again in a minute.
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