I am sitting in the back of Jerry, Stevie Wonder's "Talking Book" album is playing, and we're dying to get home. We're closing in on Chicago, coming straight from the gig in Fargo last night. We're driving straight home from Fargo to Detroit.
But enough about that -- after our time in California we journeyed up the West Coast, landing in Portland in the late afternoon at my good friend R.J.'s place. I knocked, I called, but no one was home. After twenty minutes his girlfriend Katie pulled up. R.J. was home, but he was sleeping. Now I understand how awesome Katie is.
We played our club gig at the East End in Portland and we had a good time. Shades' old friend Mira, from Detroit, requested a "slow dance" song, so we busted out "You Really Got a Hold On Me" and went into "Bring it on Home to Me" as well. The crowd went nuts -- it was perfect.
After Portland we made our way to Seattle and Skip's cousin Peter's place. Peter was a sweet host; grilling, having local brew, and blasting KEXP all afternoon. We played on KEXP in 2005, and I've always loved the eclecticism of that station. They do it right, like WFMU in Jersey City, NJ. Peter got us full and ready for the gig, so we made our way to the Comet Tavern in the Capitol Hill district. I enjoyed walking around the area, it was rich in interesting street folk. Kyle and I found a wastoid tossing a piece of paper in the air. This dude seemed mesmerized every time it fell back to earth. It's called gravity, bro. He had a Burger Records pin/button on, a Fusco-esque hairdo, and was rockin' socks with Birkenstocks.
Everyone at the Comet was cool as hell, from Shane the bartender to Nicholas the soundguy. I was not happy to be last of a four-band bill, but the other bands were nice and good, so it worked out. We hit the stage and holy shit the room erupted. Spinning Whips went on before us and they had a great live show -- I knew we had competition. But we went on and just slayed from start to finish. The room bounced the entire time -- the crowd was dancing. "Dancing." I say that like I was surprised, because I still am. Many shows everybody's doing the "Stand Around," as I think (wink wink), Ray Charles once sang. It was so warm in that room; warm from the love in the room, and warm from the bodies moving. I wish Seattle was only five hours away from Detroit.
The following morning Peter made us coffee, got pastries and showed us the recording of the show from the previous night. I cringe like hell at this stuff -- I can't stand to watch myself on screen, let alone listen to a live recording. It was hard to sit there and watch it, especially with others around. It was a great show, but I prefer to enjoy the moment. Why do I need to see it? I was there, I know how it went. Anyway, it was a gracious gesture of his and I should be grateful -- he is a good man.
We reluctantly left the comfort of Peter's palace and headed to Whitefish, Montana. We pulled in to my sister Kim's friend's place around 9:30pm. They are Neil and Corrie. I'd met Corrie many years ago and I knew Neil is a Sights fan so we were in friendly territory. After speaking with Neil, we helped ourselves inside and waited for the homeowners to get back from their dog walk. They arrived a few minutes after us, and a short, white-haired dude was walking right behind them. He didn't look like a dog one would walk . No, he is Zeke Zychal -- the unofficial mayor of Whitefish. The guy was a character- I am drawn to bullshitters, characters, people who can spin a tale. They are way more interesting than my cell phone or the tv. Zeke was in "the 'Nam," and one of his phrases was "everybody's connected." I could talk to this man for hours, and I wanted to. Unfortunately, even the old guy had a bed time and so he split. I hope I see him again one day, but I doubt I ever will.
Neil and Corrie, being the awesome people they are, ordered pizzas, had beer ready, and were just the sweetest people. We walked to the beach, saw the Big (or was it Little?) Dipper, and soaked in the night. It was a comforting, lovely stop as we're nearing the end of our U.S. tour.
I talk about this a lot, and maybe I write more about the people than the shows at times, but really... the people who open up their homes to us are incredible. I enjoy sitting in their place, hearing the local lore, taking in their way of life. It is way more interesting than staying in another bland hotel hell every night. For them I am eternally grateful. We're all in this mess together and these people make our life on the road tolerable -- and fun.
All the best,