Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Doing Tommy's Laundry

Once again, I’m but a month away from five years of doing the promotion and booking at the Boulder Outlook, and that anniversary has me in full-on reflection mode.  But for this one, I don’t have to think back very far.

Something happened yesterday that got me thinking about all the odd little requests I’ve received over the years.  Tommy Castro and the Painkillers arrived at the hotel Sunday night, and played a sold-out, two-nighter Monday and Tuesday.  So, yesterday I run into Tommy at reception, and he’s purchasing quarters and holding a small bag of laundry.  Oh, and he had his bike with him, getting ready to take advantage of the beautiful weather we’re enjoying on the Front Range. 

Anywho, we talked about the show the night before, the weather, you know, just a brief catchup.  Then he jokingly asked me, “Hey, you wanna do my laundry.”  To which I replied, “Well, I do live to serve.”  We laughed.  Then he said, “Actually, do you think you could put them in the dryer for me while I’m out riding. “Of course,” came my reply.  Well, a woman beat Tommy to the hotel’s one public washer, so I said, “Just give me the bag. I can handle this.  Go enjoy your ride.”  So, about half an hour later, when the woman’s clothes were in the dryer, I found myself hunched over the washer, laughing hysterically at doing Tommy’s laundry.  Why is this so funny?  Oh, dear reader; have you any idea how many women would have LOVED to have been in my position?  Let’s just say I now know the answer to the age old question: boxers or briefs.  The answer can be had for a price.  I also know that Tommy can more than compete with me in the multiple-black-T-shirt department. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

If you've heard this story before, don't stop me, because I'd like to hear it again. - Groucho Marx

Next month is the five-year anniversary of my time at the Boulder Outlook, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how my life story has taken paths I would have never predicted, leading me to the stories of so many others. Like a great book, great stories change the audience forever. Bells can’t be un-rung, and some stories’ rings echo in the heart and mind eternally.

Some of those stories can have me in tears of laughter at the recall. Like when Mike Zito told me about his first time both meeting and jamming with his guitar hero, Chris Cain. He said after about twenty minutes into a 45-minute jam with Chris, he thought to himself, “Damn! I’m holding my own up here with Chris Cain!” As they left the stage, Mike noticed Chris had a broken string, and asked, “When did you break your G string?” To which Chris replied, “About an hour ago.” Mike said he just sunk inside, thinking, “Chris Cain just kicked my ass all over the place with a broken G string.” While all that is sacred, tears are rolling down my face right now.

Speaking of Zito, he was here a couple of weeks ago, and we had our sacred 9:30 a.m. breakfast date. It’s become a tradition, so much so, that we don’t even bother confirming any more; we just both show up. Anyway, I told him what is one of my all-time favorites, and it involves Steve Spirn, guitarist and Tommy Castro’s former, long-time road manager/sound engineer, Jimmy Thackery, and an enveloped stuffed with cash. Coincidentally enough, this was told to me by Steve, also at breakfast. Here’s what happened (I have received permission from both parties to publish this):

It was the last day of a January Blues Cruise a few years ago, and Steve was on the upper deck fixing some sound issues when an administrator approached with his pay: an envelope with fourteen, one hundred dollar bills in it. She insisted he count it in front of her. Steve said he thought it was a bad idea given the amount of wind at sea, but he did, and then stuffed the envelope into his back pocket. Not long after, Tommy was going on stage, following Jimmy Thackery. Something was amiss with Tommy’s amp, so he called Steve over for an adjustment. Steve reached into his back pocket to retrieve his screwdriver. Do I need to tell you what happened? The envelope flew up in the air and disappeared before anyone could even track it visually.