Thursday, July 01, 2004

Things I Think About While Running (Hege V edition)

I was running down Airport Road Wednesday morning and realized that Hege V's House of Tears was starting up on the MP3 player just as I was coming up on the real House of Tears and I thought, "hey, that's a good lead-in for a blog entry about Hege!" And it went a little something like this...
I was running down Airport Road Wednesday morning and realized that Hege V's House of Tears was starting up on the MP3 player just as I was coming up on the real House of Tears - the house Hege and some of the other guys were living in (and featured on the cover of the album). Kinda cool!

I didn't know Hege in high school in Charlotte despite being the same age since he was at Myers Park while I was at Independence (and Charlotte's a mighty big place). I do remember as a freshman at UNC noticing this long-haired guy wandering around downtown with his jeans tucked into his cowboy boots and a Tom-Baker-Dr. Who-length muffler hanging around his neck looking like somebody's idea of a cowboy poet. I saw him playing at Festifall a couple of times but it wasn't until I was a senior and my friend Handsome Dave was playing bass in a band with him that I knew who in the hell he was, or more accurately, who his daddy was. But I didn't actually meet him until I booked Gumbo Ya-Ya at the club. They weren't zydeco as the name might imply - more a rock and soul review, lotta Stax-Volt kinda stuff but without the horns. Good party music. Hege was great - you could tell he was born to be on stage. Then he switched gears and formed Hege V and the Bijous with some of the same guys but doing country rock or rocking country or ten years before its time. That prompted our one instance of getting the club on national televison, when TNN sent a crew out to tape one of Hege V's shows for a segment of "Crook and Chase" on George Hamilton IV and his following-in-his-footsteps (sorta) son. They taped the whole concert and I think about 10 seconds of it made it into the show, but you could clearly see the club banner at the back of the stage so that was pretty cool. House of Tears is still one of my favorite albums from that period - all original Hege V material produced by Mitch Easter.

The last time I saw George was at Spirit Square in Charlotte a couple of years later when his dad was part of a History of Country Music live thingie - actually got a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. IV for the only time. I know it was partially the setting, but having grown up in Nashville around the Ernest Tubbs and Hank Snows and Porter Waggoners, I got a real kick out of how South Charlotte the IV's are (and I mean that in a good way). Instead of a country twang, Mrs. IV's got that honey-dipped Charlotte accent that I can hear anywhere in the country and know when a woman's spent a good deal of her life shopping at South Park Mall. Very nice folks...

So I guess Hege V really is following in his father's footsteps by being more famous in Europe than in the States. He's got a number of CDs out that have no US distribution but that apparently rake in the euros - if anybody finds a source for 'em, let me know. I always thought he was a hell of a nice guy and an incredible showman so I hope he really is doing well!
About this time I realized that the song was going to run out before I actually got to the House formerly known as being Of Tears so I had to decide - do I pretend that it really did all kind of come together? Or do I change the first line to something less coincidental and cool? Well, I refuse to embellish just for literary effect but I liked the first line - so I hit "replay"...


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