We have spent almost all of our time in St. Paul at the intersection of University and Snelling. We played a show there. We bought drumsticks at the drum shop there. We had coffee there. We had our air conditioning line repaired there. We had an oil change there. We went through the car wash there. Sam Nice had dinner there. We just hung out there while waiting for these other things to happen. We must really like it there.
Of course, come to find out, that’s the most murderous intersection in St. Paul…
Don’t worry, everybody, we’re all still with you. It’s just funny when the public perception of these places and what one actually experiences are not actually very similar. Sure, the place itself is decidedly odd. On the south side of University Avenue is your typical strip mall: Target, McDonald’s and all that. On the north side there are pawn shops, adult video stores, halfway houses and seedy bars (including, of course, the one where we played). And directly behind those seedy bars and halfway houses there are family homes with tree lined streets and gardens. The result is more than a little disconcerting.
The show, in spite of later learned dangers about this neighborhood, went well. We had perhaps our best performance of the tour and were able to share what we’ve been up to with a city that we love, but have neglected visiting. (It won’t be so long next time, twin cities!) We played with Mike the 2600 King, who I always want to call Mike the 2600 Rex for some reason, and who is also a marvelous dj. He broke out one of our all time jams (“Strobelight Honey” by Blacksheep for those of you scoring at home) in the midst of a set of classic and super rare breaks and jams. He ran the gamut as far as mixing techniques and had us entranced.
We were able to make some new friends at the show, which is always great. Just as important, was the opportunity to see and play for old friends, two of home graciously put us up for two nights. (Colby and Yi-Lo, you guys are the absolute best. A thousand thank yous to you both.)
We discovered that friendly and honest mechanics extend beyond Canada, as the guys who fixed Bessie’s leaky line gave us the straight skinny and did the work we needed done quickly and without a fuss. We discovered that Jiffy Lube alway
s skips something (like this vacuuming that they are so proud to advertise). We discovered a fantastic drum shop, which, in a strange and ironic twist, The Rocket was unable to visit with us. We discovered ourselves, in essence.
(I’m kidding. I wasn’t going to get deep like that with you.)
There was barbecuing on Monday night, a meal spent discussing and recounting the extensive evidence of Fernie’s ghosts. Another tidbit that has come to light is this: about one hundred years ago, a rockslide a few miles outside of Fernie leveled an entire town. Half of a mountain slid off of itself and covered up one whole village, killing everyone. Nothing has been done, apparently, except that a road now runs through it and there is a small sign with a brief description of the event. If any place is ripe for being filled with ghosts, it’s this one. Trust me.
The meal eaten, we adjourned to the television for a bit of inspiration (not where you might expect, but be patient). Colby, being a fantastic bass player and true appreciator of funk music, was to be the host with whom we finally watched Bootsy’s Rubber Band, live in 1976. Bootsy is a huge influence on my bass playing on Ooh La La, Sha Sha… and on Patrick and Colby as basssists in general. His show also incorporates James Brown-type transitions like you see at The Miss Fairchild Show. In fact, seeing Bootsy do those transitions is a part of the inspiration for us. We bring our modern brand of funk to the table, but that’s no reason to leave the Show by the wayside.
And next we head to Madison, where we’ve never before played. It should be fun. We like Wisconsin, too.
Mike the 2600 King/Rex is a thing.
Skewers is a thing.
The most murderous intersection in St. Paul is a thing.
Clean Bessie is a thing.
Old friends is a thing.
Bootsy’s Rubber band is a Funk thing.