While I was taking the dog out for his first walk Monday morning I could hear, wafting over the neighborhood, the faint sound of a trumpeter playing scales coming from the high school. Time for Band Camp! If somebody had kicked in with the timbales at about that time I would have had to have grabbed my trombone and headed over, heedless of the fact that I've more than used up my high school band eligibility.
Band Camp - hazing sophomores (we had three-year high school, so they were the lowest of the low), laughing at the weaklings passing out from standing at parade rest for ten minutes in the 98 degree heat, learning the marching band arrangements of classics like Rikki Don't Lose That Number and Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke (and the inevitable Eli's Coming), teaching the new kids the obscene cheers that we'd learned from the seniors when we were sophomores and realizing that once again the football team was going to be so bad that the only thing that was going to put people in the stands was us. And we did.
It Was Better Before They Voted for Whatshisname
Saw the Knitters last night at the Cradle with JennySlash and PC and... damn! Two hours of country-punk goodness. I used to want Warren Zevon's voice until I first heard John Doe and he's only gotten better. Last night was also the first time I'd ever seen Dave Alvin live and he absolutely blew me away. Damn fine crowd for a Tuesday night - I think Exene was a little confused by the lack of dancing, not realizing that apparently a law was passed in Chapel Hill around 1988 making any dancing other than moshing and stage diving an offense punishable by kicking your ass all the way to Durham. But the band did finally seem to realize that the audience really was digging it and they seemed to be having a good time too - good enough to not only come back for the obligatory encore but a second one as well. One of the best shows I've seen in a long time.
Speaking of great shows, Lex mentioned that Vassar Clements passed away earlier this week. I had the great fortune to see him in the fall of 1979 at the old Mad Hatter in Chapel Hill. I'm not sure what I expected but it was not this 50-year-old fellow surrounded by a stage full of kids half his age playing something that sounded much more like the Dixie Dregs than Bill Monroe. I just remember Clements playing these amazing licks with this unlit pipe clenched between his teeth, looking around every once in awhile at the guys in the band like a proud pappy. He was a one-of-a-kind musician as at home playing blues or jazz as he was playing bluegrass and we'll miss him.
As usual, Billmon over at the Whiskey Bar gets it just about right:
At this point, to call the Commander in Chief detached from reality would be an insult to paranoid schizophrenics everywhere.
I'm a Believer
As I was doing the grocery shopping at the Teeter tonight, I realized that not only was I whistling along to Smashmouth's cover of I'm a Believer, every single person I could see in the store, from women 10 years older than me to the high school kids stocking the shelves, was either whistling, humming or singing along with me. Ah, the power of Neil Diamond!
Life is Good
Sunday afternoon, coupla beers at Woody's, Women's Pro Beach Volleyball and the PGA championship on most of the many tubes... yes, life is good.