Well, I pulled into Austin and after a few trips around the block I finally found a place to park the car. At 5:30 in the afternoon the streets were already crawling with music fans as well as the bands loading in gear. I knew that Ian MacLagan was playing at the (really cool!) Lucky Lounge at 6 so I headed that way. I knew I was at the right place when I saw the drummer (Don Don?..that's what Mac called him) and Scrappy taking their places. Mac, funny as hell as usual, started up the boogie woogie and the Bump Band fell in behind him. After being in the car all day it was just what I needed to start the weekend off right. I grabbed a Guinness (or maybe 4) and started shaking my ass like a teeniebopper. Mac and the boys took a break so I walked next door to the Red Fez to see my boy (and OakTeam guitarist) Big Daddy Dave as he and Tres Chicas hit their last 3 notes. Shit! But just my luck Garrison Starr was tuning to go on next. I wasn't real impressed with her newer songs but Man! I love her voice! I bet she sits there watching "American Idol" and says "ALL 'a ya'll can Kiss My Ass!". Jules Shear USED to be great. He came up next a totally didn't rock. But he's got more hit songs than you can shake a stick at and I used to love one of his records so I had to allow him some slack. Plus I think he has has some medical issues lately. "Oh Shit! I'm sure Mac has started back up by now!" I thought, and sure enough I missed a few songs but the ones I heard were the ones I came to hear, the Faces songs and the ones from his OLD solo records. Later that evening I caught up with old friends, Brad Rice and Buddy Zapata (AKA "Z-Dork"). We happend by the Continental Club and had a few more cocktails and later split for some fish tacos. I made it back somehow out to the hotel and stayed Thursday night with Walter Clevenger and The Dairy Kings.
We got up Friday and headed over to Threadgill's across the river on 1st Street. This was the reason I came, to show up and sing my track for the Nick Lowe Tribute show presented by Walter and Burnside Distribution (the OakTeam's new distro guys!). After a few other corny acts (Shit! did I say that outloud?!), Walter and the boys tore through a few of Nick's songs and then started calling up guests. I was fourth on the list after Rick Shea ("Never Been in Love"), James Intfeld ("Lonesome Reverie") and Ron Flynt ("I Knew the Bride.."). It all pretty much went off without a hitch as talked up my new $6 haircut.
Carina kidnapped me and said that I HAD to see Willie Nile so I left even before the Nick thing was over. We got to the Tap Room and Willie had already started bringing folks down. She said he REALLY rocked the night before but today he was dedicating all of these lame (musically..not lyrically) songs to dead people, the victims of the Madrid train bombing, Jeff Buckley, etc. etc. I had to get outta there, I hate those quiet gigs where everybody is hanging on the guys' next practiced joke or whatever so I left and was immediatly better for it. From the rooftop a block away I heard the soulful singing that could'a only been one man..Big Al Anderson! I strutted my little fancy ass right over there and figgered out that the entrance was down a sticky smelly alleyway. I was just in time (as I had no invitation) to walk right in with a couple who flashed some kind of proof that they were supposed to be there. Ya see, I wasn't about to buy one of those wristbands that allowed you to see all of the acts for the low low price of $175!, so I was just winging it and it worked out well..I was lucky. Most of the time I knew the folks that I wanted to see so they got me in. Anyway, Al and his crack ansemble played music for finger-foods most of the afternoon set but did kick it up on the last few numbers giving us a glimpse into what to expect that evening at the Parish.
But man! I didn't expect THIS! Like I said before, I had no wristband so I called Al just before he went on. He called me right back from the stage and sent someone down after me. Soon thereafter the ass-kickin' began! Al was ready to rock again and it showed by the songs he chose. One rockin' number after another like the good 'ol days of NRBQ (no offense to present day Q..is there one?). The second song was a one new one called "Loving You" that he said Van Zandt had covered. That was a rockin' bitch! He was in rare form playing his ass off just like the way ya love him and singing his ass off too! Definitely the best show I saw on the trip, if not this year! Really really great!
Since it didn't matter who I was gonna see after that I didn't really bother. I got up with my friends Jeff Reese and Carina and we watched basketball and then went to Opal Divine's and had a few drinks and called it a night. Due to snoring issues from the night before and the availability of a quiet place to rest I went home with Jeff and had my own room.
We left his estate around noon on Saturday and headed over to Guadalupe and 17th to hang out with a bunch of other older people that didn't need to be seen in the light of day. There was a Pop gathering over there and I humored the idea with Jeff hoping to somehow be rocked at some point. I was wrong. One after another, each band tried to out-suck the ones before them. You know that giant sucking sound?..it's usually Pop music. Too many chords, too much thinking...it's more than a redneck from North Carolina can take. I mean they sang purty and all but damn!..can I help you guys pull whatever it is up your ass out of it? Carina, Jeff and I were writing a song called "Storebought Titties" during the show we were so bored. We were hoping to shop it to one of the acts to maybe loosen them up a bit.
And now...what you've all been waiting for..The winner of the suckiest band award goes to.....drumroll please...wait a minute, I don't want to cause any trouble here so I'll just use his initials...R.I.C.H.I.E F.U.R.A.Y...The singer from a once famous band that has now taken more of a Las Vegas approach to country music. I wanted to kill and kill and kill during his set! Carina's friend Vickie said with tears welling in her eyes..."This is just sad!" Finally after about 4 boring hours Peter Case got up there and didn't suck followed by Matthew Sweet and Suzanna Hoffs who also didn't suck but only played about 5 songs. I ran into NotLame owner Bruce Brodeen at the Suckfest and we bought each other drinks there and as we made our way over to Jovita's, where Walter was once again rockin' the joint with not only Nick Lowe songs but a few of his own great ones. Everybody split up and I ended up at Ego's with Carina to see James Intfeld's bootscootin' show down there. As more margarita's were consumed we tollerated his fine singing through a really muddy and shitty sounding PA. Well, we THOUGHT he was singing through it..and so did he. After about an hour they realized that the front speakers weren't on! It sounded great then, but too late, it was time to leave.
Jeff was back at Carina's hotel taking a nap and pulling his pistol out on a suspicious character sneeking around his truck. When Carina and I got back over there he and I headed back to the ranch and caught up on our basketball scores before konking out.
After a quick pack job in the morning I jumped back in the car for what was to be a long day of driving in very scary torrential rain and wind almost the whole way to Meridian, Mississippi. Once there I watched the last half of The Sopranos, went to Aweful House and got an omelete and passed out. The driving on Monday wasn't as bad until I got to Gaffney where the rain caught up with me once again and made things interesting. The trip back was almost 4 hours longer because of the rain. But here I am! Same 'ol shitass!