Peggi is about halfway through Amy Rigby‘s memoir, “Girl to City,” and she’s loving it. I will get my hands on it next. Amy was in town last night and she alternated between reading and playing songs. The songs, many of them older, were related to the passages she read and the combination compounded the experience.
She started reading a chapter called “Elton Girl,” (her nickname in middle school because she was such a fan) and she got to the part where she wins two tickets to an Elton John concert from her hometown Pittsburgh radio station. She stopped to tell something that wasn’t in the book. Something that had just occurred and that surely will be in the next edition.
While traveling across the country on this book tour she has been listening to the Elton John’s autobiography, “Me,” and Elton has a chapter in there where he talks about calling Stiff Records and offering to play keyboards for a tour they were putting together, the ulterior motive being he had a crush on Wreckless Eric. Amy’s husband! Amy stopped the car and called Eric.
Amy finished with a bang in a string of songs that began with the anthem, “Do You Remember that?” (video below), her Tom Petty karaoke song, “The President Can’t Read,” and the perfect closer. “Hey, I love you. You’re perfect. Don’t ever change.”
The cold snap changed the color of our giant pumpkin from rusty yellow to a deep orange. I figured we better get it out of our doorway before it thaws so we rolled it into our wheelbarrow and took it across the street to ask our neighbors if we could roll it down the hill behind their house so the deer could have it. Other years we’ve rolled our pumpkins down the hill behind our house but we have a road down there and if they manage to get through the trees they zoom across the road and wind up in the creek. This year’s pumpkin was big enough to take out a car so we rang Rick’s bell. The crazy thing is that when we let it fly it scared the hell out of the three deer that were down there and they hightailed it out of sight.
Rick and Monica asked us if we’d like to come over for dinner and we took them up on that. Eric and Amy were staying with them. Both Eric and Amy are art school veterans so we started the evening looking at my paintings and talking art. I’m thinking of buying one of Eric’s Kodak paintings.
Dinner conversation switched to music as we discussed matters such as whether The Stooges or The Ramones made a bigger impact on music. Eric has a piece in the new Mojo about his upcoming reunion of the Len Bright Combo but he is defiantly moving forward. The Mojo interview contains this killer quote. “It might even sound modern now but in the ‘80s it probably sounded horrible to people because in those days every snare drum hit was an event in itself.” And Amy is at the top of her game. She is a brilliant songwriter. I am a huge fan and am looking forward to her book.
Wednesday was a funny night. People expected a big band version of Margaret Explosion but Pete was the only special guest able to make the gig. His piano playing was great and worth the free admission. We packed up quickly and drove out to the Lovin’ Cup in Henrietta to catch the the tail end of Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby’s set. Eric seemed out of sorts and off his between song, free-association game. He kept looking over to the noisy crowd gathered around the bar. Twice he asked if they could turn the tv off. “You don’t go out to watch tv.” The edge added to the excitement for me and musically they sounded better than ever. I love how they trade songs and support one anothers’. I love it when Eric sings high harmonies to Amy’s voice and I loved it when they smiled at each other and kissed in the encore. This is way post punk stuff.
Peggi talked to Amy after the show and Amy told her they felt like they had to do some different material because they’ve played here so often. How many times has it been, six or seven? We’ve been to them all. Eric even did his “Men In Sandals” fashion send up even though Tom Kohn, the one that brought him here, was sitting at the merchandise table in open toe footwear. Their three song encore included a beautiful version of Tom Petty’s “Walls Fall Down.” We learned that before we got the club the bar had a beer tasting and some those idiots stuck around for the show. Eric told them to “shut the fuck up” and someone who had come to the show chimed in only to get thrown out by the club owner.
OK, so I sort of caught Eric by surprise but it’s a good picture of Chris Schepp, Rochester’s number one Wreckless fan, and the expression on Chris’s face perfectly captures the mood at last night’s house concert. As if we were living in our own dream this fifth Rochester appearance in the last few years was right across the street from our house. When we moved here and got to know the hosts, Rick and Monica, we learned they were Amy Rigby fans but had never heard of Wreckless Eric. We had never heard of Amy but we loved Wreckless. When Eric and Amy first came through town as a duo we spotted our neighbors in the front row. I told Amy this story last night during their break and she said it often works that way. I also told her the song about her daughter makes me cry. She liked that.
Last night we were in the front row in our neighbors house and I held my camera in my lap. I caught them doing a Tom Petty song and Amy’s beautiful “Don’t Ever Change.”
We started out sitting with friends in the back of the room at Lovin’ Cup but had to move up when Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric took the stage. We found a spot down front with Chris Schepp. That’s his cream soda bottle that gets placed in front of my camera in the movie above. I was drinking the Rocky Mountain IPA and it was way too strong for me. I propped my camera up on a jar with a candle in it, a lit candle, and I melted the bottom of my pocket Nikon. Ah, but we had a good time. These two are so charming, so relaxed on stage, so comfortable with themselves. They’re not afraid to stop songs, which they did twice, and their between song banter is worthy of Gracie and Allen. We came to these two through Wreckless Eric’s songs from the mid seventies. They were unlike anything else at the time and “Whole Wide World” sounds as good today as it did back then. In fact I prefer it today with just two guitars. Amy more than holds her own with beautiful songs.
They did both sides of their new single, two really odd songs, one Amy’s, one Wreckless’s. They have their own thing going on. but ironically, their new cd is all covers. We bought a copy on the way out. In true Wreckless form none of the tags were there when I ripped it in iTunes so I had to enter my own. I misspelled ‘favorites” at first as the name of the cd is “Two-Way Family Favourites,” English style. It includes sensational versions of “Fernando” and “In My Room” and the Byrds song in the video which they dedicated to Dennis Hopper.
Chandler Travis Philharmonic played at the Bop Shop on Friday night and Ricky, the cross dressing drummer extraordinaire and Candler’s Incredible Casual bandmate, was back home in Cape Cod. Chandler has put more space in his arrangements which almost sounds impossible with six big guys in the band. He writes NRBQ/Colorblind James like rock/popsongs and has sweet voice but he shines as the evening’s mc in pajama pants and clown hats. He performed a beautiful song with words written by David Greenberger from the Duplex Planet. We talked to him after the show and he told us he has a third band that does a cover of Pete LaBonne’s “Pajama Pants Baby”. That would work.
This little horse is less than week old and already running around like a miniature race horse. He may be a race horse someday because the three horses in the corral next to him compete at the track in Canandagua. His mom was being very protective and and didn’t want us to get too close so we continued on our way.
We headed down the hill and over to Spring Valley where the mustard green is already covering the ground in the sunny spots. Not only is it invasive, it also gets a head start on the competition. We hung around on one of the ridges that dead end up there overlooking the marsh. The vegetation is just slightly more brown than grey at this point.
Most of Saturday was devoted to chopping up the big pine trees that fell on the street’s pool lot during that heavy snowfall. There was enough sun out there to get a burn so we felt especially warm in Rick and Monica’s living room on Saturday night for their house concert. Connie Deming dedicated a beautiful song called “Beautiful Boy” to her son who was sitting nearby and she told the crowd that the setting reminded her of a Joni Mitchell song. She proceeded to do a spot-on version of Ladies of the Canyon. Maria Gillard followed and sounded great. Like Wreckless Eric, she is full of personality and most enjoyable between songs. As she laughed at one of her own stories she told the crowd her uncle used to say, “No one has more fun than people.”.
Today’s paper had a picture of “Rain” doing their Beatles tribute. I guess they are in town at the Auditorium. It was one of those dreamlike pictures where the people sort of look like somebody you know and you stare at it but something is off.
Maybe my perception was altered by the dream Peggi told me about this morning. We had a big party and my brother and sister-in-law’s RIT buddies were all here with my family. I was thinking,”we don’t really know their RIT buddies”. My mom sat on the coffee table that my brother built and it broke so my brother tried to fix it. Maybe it was the Vox amps in that picture but something triggered “From Me To You” and that damn thing was stuck.
I went to Kevin’s blog hoping to cleanse my mind but he didn’t have a fresh post up there. He has some cool links to other music blogs so I followed a few. I bought an Amy Rigby/Wreckless Eric 45 with PayPal bucks and then found the perfect audio antidote.
I took this photo over by the Public Market on Saturday. The dog is real.
It really bugs me that the Quicktime Pro “Export for Web” feature generates a movie that is not supported on the iPod Touch so I’m through with it. I put five or six movies from this blog (including my shaky Wreckless Eric / Amy Rigby video with extra footage) up on YouTube today and I switched the links. I hope I don’t effect the price of Apple stock with that. And I see the Bobby Henrie & The Goners video I put up there in my last post has a hundred views already.
Old guys are allowed to have favorite cashiers at Wegmans. I asked mine were the charcoal was and she led me down the aisle! She pointed to a big pile of Briquettes and I said, “no, regular charcoal.” She said, “What is regular charcoal?”. I saw a few bags of the old fashioned lump charcoal and I grabbed one of those and thanked her.
We were thrilled to hear Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric were coming back to Rochester so soon after their last performance here. You’d think it was boring in France where they currently live. They got off to a slow but steady start. I say “slow” only because the highlights for me are the bantering between songs. They intensify the music. Like when Eric’s guitar fell over and he went off on a beautiful tirade about creeps who work in music stores and try to sell you all this junk, with their Fender t-shirts and know it all attitudes. “They start talking about a movie and they tell you the whole fucking story”.
Amy Rigby who seemed overwhelmed by Eric’s antics last time they were here really held her own this time and contributed equally to the banter. She said she was all dressed in black until the Gay Pride parade went by on Goodman and went to the rental car to slip into this dress. We watched part of the parade and saw Mayor Duffy again as he strutted by to a round of cheers. I took a shaky movie of Amy’s fantastic tribute to Joey Ramone.
We got there just as Jenna and The Horselovers were finishing their set. They sounded fuller than ever with the addition Jack Schaefer on lead guitar. Jenna looked great in her pink dress. We love her voice and are big fans.