Seventeen years ago today, we are playing with Barbara Manning at the Troubadour in LA. I’m selling t-shirts while Joe attends to other business and someone approaches the table and says he’s a writer for The Simpsons. Sheepish that I can’t recognize a Simpsons writer on sight, I ask his name, and it’s Donick Cary. Though his face needs an introduction, his name does not. As soon as Joe returns, I take Donick backstage to meet Georgia and James, and before you know it, we’re contributing our music to “D’oh-in’ in the Wind” and are modeling wigs on Parks & Recreation. Meanwhile, a gentleman named Hector has been in touch, asking if we’d let him play the trumpet solo from “Shadows” (performed on I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One by Jonathan Marx) during the show. We don’t make any promises, but invite him to come by early for an audition. He does, and he sounds just fine–he’s got the job. We let him know where in the set it lands, and are seconds away from going on when someone, can’t recall if it’s James or Georgia, but it’s definitely not me, remembers that we’ve changed the key of “Shadows” from the one we recorded it in. The last thing we hear as we go on stage is the sound of Hector trying to transpose the solo, which has less than a calming effect. But in my recollection, it goes great, and if you know otherwise, please keep it to yourself. Two years earlier, we made our San Antonio debut at Taco Land. There’s no stage, it’s possible that we’re lit by nothing more than some overhanging light bulbs, the power definitely goes out not once but twice during our set, and we have a blast. A few weeks later, we’re hanging around the northwest awaiting the start of Lollapalooza, and are opening for Doug Sahm’s Last Real Texas Blues Band. I get a belly laugh out of Augie Meyers when I tell him that we just played Taco Land, which makes my day. In a gruesome postscript to this story nearly 10 years to the day later, owner Ram Ayala and employee Douglas Morgan were murdered during a robbery.
Finally, I’d like to reminisce about something a little more current, and thank each and every person who came to see us in South America over the last two weeks. We had an amazing time.