Archive for February, 2006

February 25, 2006

For the Record

I’m quoted in an article about B-Side Records in this week’s Isthmus. Record stores are a sacred place for me and many folks of my generation. I grew up in a small college town but in the early 80’s Cedar Falls had a couple of decent record stores. I loved going into just to look at the posters and flip through heavy racks of lps even when I was broke (which was most of the time). As the decade wore on, these places all folded and my only option was to enter the local mall and pick through the craptastic selections of the local Musicland. They did boast a decent bargain bin–for $3.99 I got a split cassette of After the Gold Rush and Harvest–but the feel of a mall music store always left me cold.

Here in Madison there are lots of options for music: Mad City Music, B-Side, and Resale Records are the main ones I go into but there are tons of other used shops all over the place. There’s something great about hanging out with strangers looking at records (or cds or whatnot) with tunes playing in the background and oodles of music paraphernalia adorning the walls. I’m a nervous and shy person who sometimes has trouble answering the phone or talking to strangers or walking into a store but record stores do not frighten me because music is so everything to me. Plus in Madison I know many of the clerks who are either fans or are in bands or are just nice enough to take an interest in what I purchase. Music stores are so 20th century and just like the movies and the newspapers I’m afraid they’re going to fade away way before their time.

February 22, 2006

Why, part II

1. Why aren’t there alleys off of every street in every neighborhood in Madison? They’re all over the place in the Regent Street area but over on my side of town we have none. Alleys are sensible–your lot may be a bit shorter if you want a garage but you can build a wider house since you don’t need a driveway. Alleys free up the streets for kids to play in since folks will store their cars behind the house, not next to it. I’ve had dreams where Madison Kipp (my neighbor on the other side of the fence) goes out of business and the city creates an alley for all of us on the already paved lane that borders my yard.

2. Why is my name so hard to spell? I think I’ve been around and doing music for long enough (and had enough press coverage) that the misspellings would cease. Years ago I was interviewed for an article (one of the first about me) and during the face to face portion, I saw the interviewer write my name down correctly. He also had one of my cds in his possession which he also had in front of us at the interview. Yet the article arrived and there it was, that extra “t” that seems to follow me everywhere. I’m not offended anymore when folks get it wrong but just curious as to how it happens over and over. I figure once I got my troubles would be over. I used to tell people that Tom Scholz was my uncle but that confused most folks and did not assist with the correct spelling of my name.

3. Why do some people get mad about cabs? If I do not have a call in front of me–and even on the busiest Saturday night that does happen–and someone flags me down, I will stop. Picking up a flag is good business and I do it as much as possible. But sometimes I work only the calls that come through our dispatcher and cannot pick up folks who hail. Most people just wave until they realize I am not slowing down and leave it at that. Other people do stupid things like jump out in front of me or shout insults. Once in a while–this happened twice on Halloween–folks actually come up to the cab and pound their fists on the windows while I am cruising by. I’m baffled by the anger–the insinuation is that I am the only cab available and the fact that I didn’t pick you up is an insult and also means I am a stupid motherfucker. But in reality, isn’t it the other way around? If you’re rude and stupid I’m definitely not picking you up.

February 9, 2006

Two Big Things

I just learned that one of my idols Mister Ray Davies is returning to the Barrymore Theater on March 13. Ray was here a few years back and put on an excellent show, mostly with acoustic guitar doing hits (You Really Got Me, Set Me Free) but also delving into the enormous Kinks catalog to play such gems as Australia and 20th Century Man and Autumn Almanac. Ray has a new record out and I believe will actually have a band this time, so I am urging all of you to get out and see the man in action. He’s about as charming a stage presence as I’ve ever seen, especially considering how many shows he’s done and how many times he’s had to play Lola.

Also of note is that WORT is now streaming audio for most of their programming! I listen to many shows and it’s especially nice when I’m in the cab. But now folks from all over the world can tune in and enjoy the plethora of programming available. I urge folks outside of Madison to at least check out Mel & Floyd who are on Friday afternoons at 1pm cst. These guys are offer some of the funniest political and news commentary this side of the Daily Show.

February 4, 2006

Guess, it's true

I drive cab two nights a week and sometime during the day before each shift I check out the major events going on in Madison. Not only is it good for business–I can cruise past the Barrymore after a show gets out and pick up someone going downtown–but its also handy for the folks who get in my cab and want to know where to go. Nothing keeps the conversation going (and the tips flowing) like appearing to know what the heck is going on.

Some days I’m too busy to read the paper or check on the Daily Page and I wind up out of the loop. Tonight I drove some folks to the Kohl Center and had no idea what I was taking them to. The two couples were talking mostly about movies they hated (among them American Beauty and Identity) but mentioned something about “the show.” I knew there was no basketball at the Kohl Center (yes, I read the sports section despite my disinterest in most sports, mostly because many many folks in my cab want to talk about the Badgers) so I scrutinized my passengers as best I could to see if I could tell who they were on their way to see. They were all wearing jeans but had big coats on so their clothes were not very telling. I could have asked but I decided I’d wait until they were out of the cab to ruffle through my bag for a newspaper.

I cruised down Dayton past the Kohl Center and saw some dudes in cowboy hats and realized my C & W gut instinct had been correct. And waaaay down Dayton I saw some young women wearing those horrible short skirts that look like they were made out of Elvis’ bedsheets or something. Indeed, when I finally found my copy of the Isthmus there was a big ad for Rascal Flatts at the Kohl Center.

Which made me wonder about the bigger question in Country music today: Is Kenny Chesney gay?