OK, I’m officially burned out on Graham Parker. It’s only a temporary situation, of course. I’ve been listening to his music since high school, and it’s a part of my DNA. But right now… a little breathing room is in order.
When I found out Graham had reunited his original band, the Rumour, and would be playing in Philadelphia on my birthday, I went into a frenzy. Every day in my car, I blasted nothing but classic GP. And on Friday I went to the show, and saw all of them on stage together. It’s one of those things that seemed outside the realm of possibility, yet there they were. It was a genuine thrill.
But now I need to give it a rest for a while. I think I overdid it. I’m like my aunt’s old cocker spaniel which jumped up on her kitchen counter one afternoon, and ate two pies and half a bag of raw potatoes. Some kind of switch inside my head was flipped, and things got out of hand.
But we had a great time on Friday. Steve and I allowed the GPS to guide us to dr. drofub’s house, and he had a high calorie spread waiting for us. It was right up my alley, too: cheesesteaks, fries, and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. Oh, hell yeah! It was excellent.
We met his wife, mother, and two young children. Everybody was exceedingly friendly and pleasant, and I appreciate their hospitality. I really do. Surf Reporters are the best! I hope I wasn’t too awkward and weird, though. I always worry about that… Many people think I’m a weird son of a bitch, but it’s mostly because I’m ill-at-ease with other members of the human race. Nothing weird about that, right? Hello?
Buford/Drofub even gave me a birthday present, which went above and beyond. He buys vintage audio equipment at yard sales, and that sort of thing, refurbishes it, and sells it. He has a lot of great old stuff from the 1970s, and gave me a set of speakers and an amp, along with all the necessary (brand new) wires, etc. I’ll write a full review, once I have it set up. Very cool.
After we’d had a few beers, listened to some music, and ingested a foot of steak and Cheez Whiz, we climbed into Buford’s Suburban, and drove into Philly. While in transit, he announced there was a cooler of beer behind my seat. So, we continued drinking in the parking garage, while blasting Cheap Trick. It was like 1979 all over again, except we weren’t swigging Mickey’s Big Mouths this go ’round.
Almost as soon as we arrived at the show, some drunk guy walked up to us, and started talking shit about Steve’s Ohio State jacket. “Fuck Ohio State!” he spat, completely drunk — before the opening act had even hit the stage. He was an old guy, too. Even older than me.
Buford, who should be a counselor of some kind, instantly defused the situation. The guy stopped giving Steve shit, and switched to a more generic rant. “I have two daughters at Penn State,” he slurred. “Seventy-five thousand dollars a year! I’m fucking poor!”
The dude was SMASHED. He continued: “But my grandmother is 97 years old, and as soon as she kicks off, all my debt will go away. I’m counting the days!” How charming.
He went on to call his wife a drunken whore bitch slut, or something along those lines. He was getting all cranked-up again, so Buford offered to buy him a beer, walked with him to the bar, and reportedly told him to stay away from us for the rest of the show. And he did. Somehow Buford pulled this off without causing the guy to yell, “FUUUUCK YOU!” Impressive.
The show itself was great. The Figgs opened, and they were fun. Then Graham Parker and the Rumour took the stage, and played a mixture of new songs, some classics, and several tunes I wasn’t familiar with. And I know his stuff pretty well.
About halfway through the show, though, he went into “greatest hits” mode, and had the place rockin’. Everybody knew the words to every song, and shouted along. The band was great, of course, and I couldn’t believe what was happening before me. They played two encores, and closed the night with a Jackson 5(!) cover. They definitely left everyone wanting more.
And after we filed out of the place, dripping with sweat, guess who we bumped into? Yep, our old buddy. He was now wearing a ludicrous fringe jacket. I’m almost sure he hadn’t been wearing it earlier; maybe he’d checked it? I don’t know, but was like a cross between Foster Brooks and Buffalo Bill Cody.
“People in there don’t like me,” he said, now near tears. Man, this guy was the gift that keeps on giving! We stood there listening to his sob story, and I absentmindedly took out a tin of Altoids. “Hey, can I have one of those?” he asked.
He put his booger hooks in there (great!), fished out a mint, and promptly dropped it on the sidewalk. “Want another?” I said, with no enthusiasm. But he just bent over, picked it up off the ground, and popped it into his mouth. We were on South Street in Philly! That thing was probably covered in shit spores, urine, AIDS, and Hepatitis. Not to mention SARS.
The dude had switched from Aggressive Drunk, to Sad Sack Drunk. And we listened to him whine for a few minutes, then began the separation process. “Take a fringe off my jacket, to remember me by!” he said. WTF? Buford ripped one off, and I took one, but Steve refused. This seemed to wound our buddy, but Steve was already halfway down the block. I think he’d had enough of this guy.
And by the way… that jacket probably cost $500. It was no cheap piece of junk. Ugly, sure. But not cheap. And he was begging us to rip pieces from it, like it was a flier on a telephone pole. The whole thing was bizarre. My piece of fringe is now hanging from a bulletin board, here in the bunker. A souvenir of yet another night of weird shit: hanging from the purple tack.
I’ll leave you now with something I learned about — from Buck — while in transit to Philadelphia Friday night. I’m sure you guys have seen the trailer for a new MTV show, called Buckwild. If not, here it is. It’s filmed in Sissonville, West Virginia, which is less than 20 miles from where Steve and I grew up. And is (get this!) Buford’s hometown. See how nicely this all ties together? I’d like to get your thoughts on the new show, which is being described as a hillbilly Jersey Shore. Good god! Use the comments link below.
And I’ll be back tomorrow.
Have a great day, my friends!