Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Freedy Be You and Me
Got a note from my old pal Freedy Johnston yesterday. He's playing Maxwell's Friday July 10th! Well, that's good enough reason to pry my lazy ass outta the cave. And an early show to boot, which clinches the deal.
Freedy and I were labelmates back in the day. Rock and roll brothers. The kind of brothers that have really good stories about each other that you will never get to hear. Unless you buy me a whole lotta top shelf whiskey when you see me out. Which you won't. See me out. But if you have a spare bottle of Johnnie Walker Green, shoot me a note and I'll give you my mailing address.
Freedy and I were both signed by the label-that-shall-not-be-named at the same time. He was from Kansas and I was from Illinois. We played a buncha double bills back in the day. And he occasionally called me in when he was short a second guitarist. Which I loved. Being a full time front man, on the rare occasions I got to be a sideman, it was like a trip to an amusement park. All the fun, none of the pressure. We had some great times.
Fer instance, 1990 at the Rodeo Bar. (Or do you say Rodeo Bar?) It was Freedy, me, my ol' buddy Rich Grula on bass and Will Rigby from The dB's on drums! An all-star band in my book! Freedy popped a string. This was back in the day before Freedy had guitar techs falling all over themselves to work for him. So he was changing his string. (And the smoke from the damn bull head wasn't helping matters at all!) Well, you don't gotta beg me to fill time! Which prompted the following impromptu moment. And Freedy was more than happy to join in the reindeer fun.
And then there was the time I talked Freedy into sitting in at an Otis Ball & The Chains frat party. Yup. The same one from the previous post. Hoo boy! I'm telling ya, I ain't lying. That show was an event. After the show, Freedy told me it was the most fun he ever had performing at that point. Probly my most favorite as well. Here's a taste of dat!
And, hey! It was a frat party!
I don't think I've ever told Freedy this, but his second record, Can You Fly, is one of my all time favorite records. I rank it with Brian Wilson's Pet Sounds. It really captures a very personal time, yet it is built on a universal soul that any feeling person can relate to. Truly a masterpiece. The first verse of the first song tells the story of the album. I hope he doesn't mind me splainin' a little, but he was running well over budget on that record. The label wasn't gonna cough up any more. So he sold the farm he inherited from his grandfather. He used the money to continue recording the album he wanted to make.
"Well I sold the dirt to feed the band
Falling right through my hands
Yes I sold the map up to the sky
Falling down always"
Yeah. I like that record a whole lot.
So Freedy, I'm coming to see ya, buddy! Been too long. Yup. Been too long, rock and roll brother.
Addendum - Great show!