I shot the governor

November 14, 1995: We pulled into Ottawa, was feelin’ ’bout half past dead . . . oops, sorry, been spending a lot of time with the Basement Tapes this week.  Anyway, I don’t recall being especially tired, but our van was definitely sluggish; the electric windows were not going up and down with their usual sprightliness.  I didn’t give it that much thought–we had a show to do with the Pastels and Phono-Comb, after which we were going to drive back into the U.S. to put ourselves in striking distance of the next day’s date in western Massachusetts.  Ottawa was impatient for winter to begin, and a heavy snowfall made sure that the venue was sparsely attended.  When we went on, the audience was scattered throughout the place, which definitely made the atmosphere less than electric.  After our third song, we had the idea to pull out an acoustic guitar, sit on the lip of the stage and sing two songs unmiked.   It could have gone either way, but it had the desired effect: everyone moved up front from wherever they were and stayed there.  Ended up being an especially fun night–Dallas Good joined us for a couple of songs during the encore–until we got back to the van and discovered that the electrical system had taken a few more steps toward kaput.  We were able to get the driver’s side window to open, which was lucky because the windshield wipers were down for the count and snow was continuing to fall.  We went to Plan B: I would drive the van to a nearby hotel with my head out the window, the only way I could see and the next morning Joe would wake up at dawn and try to get it fixed.  At 9 a.m. 19 years ago today, Joe knocked on Georgia and my hotel room and gave us the tragic news that the governor was shot and there would be no way to get the replacement part until the next day.  Horrified as we were about the assassination attempt, we were unclear how that impacted our van until Joe clarified that the governor was in fact an auto part.  We were stranded in Ottawa, forced to cancel the night’s show, the first time we could remember having to do so.  As long as the Pastels were passing through town en route to the following date in Boston, we asked them to pick up some t-shirts we were having delivered to us in Northampton; meanwhile I tromped through the snow in my sneakers, bought a pair of boots, and the band spent the evening seeing Powder.


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