Definitely Clean

The Clean Compilation, which we first heard on its 12-song-cassette edition, blew our minds.  When we found out that they were coming to CBGB and Maxwell’s in the spring of 1989, but that we would be in Europe, I was crestfallen.  Far and away the best part of the mess of that European tour was that among the excess of off days, we were a train ride from Amsterdam on June 8, when the Clean and Chris Knox were playing the Melkweg.  (Coincidentally, the Feelies were nearby at the Paradiso.)  Afterward we went backstage and met them.  Chris gave us a copy of Tall Dwarfs’ Dogma, and personalized it with a salute to Georgia’s parents.  Then–six people with nothing to lose on the late night streets of Amsterdam–we all went out for hot chocolate.  Robert recently sent me a copy of that night’s setlist, but I don’t need a reminder of the way it felt when Chris Knox sang “Beauty.”  And as it happens, 14 years later, we’re playing with the Clean at First Avenue in Minneapolis.  The whole band joins us at the end of our set for “Nuclear War,” and again during the encore on David Kilgour’s “Seemingly Stranded.”