We arrived in Memphis at the Hi-Tone early and loaded in. After gorging on an excellent pizza on the house Kyle, Dean, Shades, and I went over to Jack Yarber's a few blocks away. Jack is a Memphis institution-- the Oblivians, Compulsive Gamblers, Cool Jerks and whatever other five projects he has going on at the moment take up the man's life. In a word, he's obsessed like me and thank God he hasn't slowed down. I respect the guy a lot, if I don't know him all that well. So it was even cooler when I touched base with him and he was like "Yeah man, come over."
We walked up the steps to his yellow apartment building and could hear guitar playing-- you just knew it was him. I'd been to his place before, back when I was 19 or so, playing guitar with Ko and the Knockouts. We'd spent a few days playing Memphis and Mardi Gras back in 2000, and I met a lotta cool people when I was younger. He was great then and even cooler now.
Anyway, Jack and I had discussed us backing him up on a few tunes, and so Kyle, Dean, and I plugged in and bashed through some songs for later that night. Kyle looked Iike a kid who just caught a home run ball. I was loving it too. It's these connections you can make through music that make me so happy. This is why I do this-- to have Jack go, "I don't know, was that song a little too, um, wimpy"? No Jack, it was fucking great. Dean added a mean sax lick to "Blew My Cool" that when we heard it, we knew tonight was going to be fun. Theresa Kereakes, a mutual friend of The Sights and Jack, drove from Nashville to hang as well. Always a doll, with great rock 'n' roll stories (she was there), she added a nice female balance to our dude hang.
We got to the Hi-Tone and found Detroiter Cheyla Wagner and her two friends. They took a Megabus from Detroit to see us. I thought that was very nice, and so we hung with them before and after the set. The set was great, and Jack joined us on the last three tunes. It was pretty fucking fun to be onstage with Yarber, singing backups five feet to the right of him. I wanted to say to him, "hey man, let's do another", but it was time for us to get offstage. Backing up Jack refreshed us as a band, and it shows we are flexible and can do anything. I am grateful Jack joined us, and it made my night.
After the gig we went to longtime friend of the band Bruce Pates' place, also known as the Pates Motel. I usually get annoyed when you stay at someone's place and they want to show you their mint copy of some original pressing of a long forgotten 45 by a band that probably sucks in the first place, but Bruce is different. The dude's place is a lifetime of sweet shit. And, he a genuinely nice person who's knowledge of the world I live in is uncanny. I mean, we watched a Pirates live '79 bootleg. Who has that shit? Who, besides Bruce, myself, and a few other nerds, even cares or remembers who the Pirates were? That is one example of why Bruce rules.
And so that brings me to now. We're somewhere in Hotashell, Texas on our way to Dallas. To pass the time in the van, Skip built a model car (an early birthday gift from his wife Ashley's family), Jarrod plays sudoku, Shades has taken a vow of silence (probably sick of us), and Dean (usually) has headphones on. Kyle puts a pillow over his head and when semis come by he sticks it out the window fishing for a honk. Me? I feel like my fingers are going to fall off from texting a girl. Yeah, my ex broke up with me and now I've fallen hard for someone else. Someone I just met last Friday pouring beer at the Pig and Whiskey festival back home. Someone who has got a hold on me, hard. I didn't mean to, it just happened. It's the feeling I thought I'd never have again-- the teenage boy has a crush thing. I am a little boy. I guess when you get a certain feeling you gotta just go with it. I am.
All the best,
Today's high according to Jerry Sprinter's thermometer: 103
Photos by Shades