The more comfortable an audience feels with the band, the more likely they are to participate in sing-alongs, dance-alongs and clap-alongs. Of course, they are also more likely to yell thoughts, opinions and obscenities at us. (One favorite was at a Boston show, when one guy wouldn’t stop yelling “What’s your name? What’s your name?” with superhuman lungs, so loudly that we could hear over the P.A. system.) Tonight, it was apparently name game time. As soon as I picked my flute, one such adventurous fan screamed, Jethro!!!!” Daddy Wrall was dubbed “Wolfman” by another. Later that evening, Mr. Nice called Lil’ Sam, because, in her words, “he looks like a Sam.” (And presumably, he’s little.)
So, why not? The Lawfirm of Wolfman, Jethro and Lil’ Sam, now open for business in sunny Bloomington, IN, where it was a solid 90 degrees yesterday. I hope you don’t mind us changing our names again like this. We don’t mean to confuse you, but how can we stoop to refute such astute monikers, dude? (Plus, look at those photos of Wrall. They may not be cute, but this Wolfman thing is a hoot!)
Jake’s is an enormous venue, one of the biggest we have played. We could certainly have fit the entire ten piece band on stage, so it’s too bad we didn’t bring them with us. We had an extremely competent sound man in Ramsey, who did an excellent job, and we shared the stage with the inimitable Fluffy, who started and finished the night with some fantastic dj sets that included some of our favorite jams. Early in the first set he brought out “Remember the Time,” harkening back to our night in Billings. He also played “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” the Taco version, which is a recurring theme in Fairchildland, one we haven’t had an excuse to mention until now.
During the making of Ooh La La, Sha Sha…, Wrall, Sam and I spent quite a few hours analyzing the melody of “Putin’ on the Ritz”. We were inspired to do so by a long since abandoned horn line that was briefly under consideration for the record. The synth horns that we used in the demos for OLLSS (they’ve been destroyed, so don’t get your hopes up) were very similar to those in that particular Taco number, so we had no choice but to delve in and see what that song is all about. Apparently, it’s about faking it ’til you make it, also known as the Realistic Optimists Credo.
Needless to say, with “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in our mind, we couldn’t help but to take care of business on the big stage; I’m happy to say that it was a great show. Our friend Matt, a longtime fan, came down from Chicago with a crew from IU. We would be remiss to not mention Katie and Amanda, who did their research, and showed up at their first show ready to participate like Fairchildren do. It was a great time for all and thank you to everyone who came to show. Y’all are great, great, great. (Thanks to you too, Fluffy, for sharing the stage, putting us up and being a great guy.)
Waiting to get paid at the end of the night, we were greeted by a few wandering locals. Now, they couldn’t have been too local, since Ricky spoke with a Scottish accent and Lizzo with an English one. Now, Sparky, that guy could have been from Indiana, but who can be sure? They apologized to us for their city, though I can’t say why, and chatted us up about beef jerky and other things. Ricky was a vegan, but Sparky, knowing that local jerky is the best jerky, gladly accepted Wrall’s offer of some. Ricky will soon marry Lizzo’s daughter, which may explain why they would be in town. The moment that Ricky announced himself Scottish, Wrall saw his opportunity, placed his arm around the man’s shoulders and launched into a rousing, heavily-accented rendition of “Loch Lomond,” which Ricky joined immediately and unabashedly.
“You’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road.
And I’ll be in Scotland, afore ye.
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonny, bonny, bonny, bonny banks of Lochlomond!”
(Hey, we do it for the blog. For you folks. It’s a risk, but in the end, isn’t it worth it?)
Wrall’s Scottish accent perfected in the context of that traditional sing-along, he felt confident enough to test the accent in some regular conversation, but somehow it came out sounding like a highland version of Arnold. “Get to da Choppah, Lass!”
We introduced ourselves. Ricky, meet Trick. Trick, this is Ricky:
“Hi, I’m Patrick,” said Patrick.
“My father’s name,” said Ricky. “I believe it means…”
Well, it does for him, anyhow. Great people. Happy marriage to you, Ricky!
We hit the road in the morning, but not before watching the town filter towards the stadium for some early tailgating. At our particular (admittedly low) level of notoriety, we are not above recounting tales of our being recognized at movie theaters and street corners. It’s rare enough that it’s memorable. And especially in places where we’ve barely played, it’s as surprising as it is welcome to hear our names shouted by strangers. Daddy Wrall was of the beneficiary of this experience while walking from breakfast to the van. He was crossing the street when he saw a girl and her mom sitting in a parked car.
“Hey!” he heard the mom say. At first, he didn’t know they were talking to him and kept walking, ignoring them. “Hey!” she repeated and he realized they were talking to him.
Pointing to himself, he mouthed, “me?”
Wrall was still confused. He thought to himself, “What’s about to happen? I’m not from around here. I can’t answer any questions, give any directions.” But he walked toward the car anyhow, in uneasy anticipation.
“Are you the lead singer for Miss Fairchild?” asked the girl.
Realizing that he wouldn’t be asked how to find the booster club headquarters or the best falafel joint in town, his demeanor changed. He smiled, “yes I am.”
“I love your music! You played at Jake’s last night, right? I actually couldn’t come because I’m underage.”
“That’s too bad.”
Mom interrupted, “wait, what’s the name of your band?”
“Oh! There’s a Fairchild in Cleveland. Any relation to them?” She started into a lengthy story about a band or a family, it was difficult to say. “It used to be…and then this guy went here…and then…so she…” And so on and so forth.
This time, the girl interrupted, “Mom, I’m sure he has to go.” And he did have to go. All the way to Milwaukee. I wish I could have been there to recount her Fairchild story completely. Either way, let us never question the memorableness of our Wolfman Wrall, whether he be in an orange suit or a navy blue hoodie.
Stopping for five minutes every couple of hours has become such an indistinguishable part of our traveling, I often forget to recount some of the interesting things that happen at these stops. Before I tell (and show) this next one, let’s jump back in time for a minute, to some very clever graffiti:
The air hand dryer on the Steamship Authority ferry to Nantucket is where said graffiti was displayed. The instructions on the front read:
1. Press button.
2. Rub hands together vigorously.
3. Dryer stops automatically.
Some sharp soul had added, by scratching into the surface of the dryer:
4. Wipe hands on pants.
They really aren’t very effective are they? Until now, that is. At “Gas” in Lafayette, Indiana, there exists the hand dryer to end all hand dryers. Observe:
It scared the dickens out of us, but shoot, it worked. Lil’ Sam almost lost a finger (and Wolfman a tooth) in the process, but, darnit, our hands are dry. Until our next stop, this is Jethro signing off, Milwaukee bound for the last show of this particular tour. We’ll soon be home, with a whole new brand of blog.
Locally produced beef jerky is a thing.
Miss Fairchild on the Marquee is a thing.
Getting embarrassed by Mom in the presence of pop superstar Daddy Wrall is a thing.
75 cent Margaritas are (apparently) a gross thing.
Sam “looking like a Sam is a thing.
Sound guy waiting for the right band to come along and take them away from all this is a thing.
“When possible, make a legal u-turn” is a thing.