Happy Neil Young’s birthday, everybody. In 1993, under circumstances now murky, our show in Madison is cancelled and we end up shoehorned onto a bill at a club called Brett’s in Milwaukee, a place never heard of before or since (and in fact one I can find no sign of through popular search engines). We opened with three Neil Young songs and closed with one more. But my primary topic of the day is the forever young Jad Fair. Our 1998 tour in support of Strange But True continued at the Middle East in Boston 16 years ago today. We not only convinced Jad to perform “Calling All Girls,” but four years before the Mission of Burma reunion we also get Roger Miller–whose Binary System opened–to pick up a guitar and blast out “I Walk Through Walls” and “Rebel Rebel” with us. Things are a lot quieter on stage when Georgia and I opened for Half Japanese at Chicago’s Cubby Bear in 1988, in fact, it’s the proverbial too quiet. Faced with a coin-op basketball game that’s competing with Georgia and my acoustical sweet nothings, I earn soundman extraordinaire Gary “Elvis” Schepers lasting respect by sacrastically asking him to increase its volume in the monitors. In subsequent years he’ll appreciatively recount the incident pretty much whenever we cross paths, far from the usual house engineer reaction to my uh dry wit. For me the most memorable patter of the evening came at our pre-show Thai dinner when one member of Half Japanese (I want to say John Sluggett) requested of his server a dish “as hot as you can make it” and lived to tell the tale.