Breckenridge, CO – “Camp-Smoke-A-Lot-A-Ganga” – Joshua’s – December 19, 1998

I slept amongst moth balls last night after our Breck show in our sound guy, Howard’s basement. Howard is probably the nicest guy I’ve ever met but his windowless, cement, cellar walls reminded me of a prison cell. I fell asleep to The Door’s, singing “This is the End.” Plumes of ganga smoke made phantom, puppet-like shadows against vibrant red and orange hallucinogenic posters stuck to the wall with masking tape.  In the night, the cold crept between the felting in my supplied wool army green blanket like an unwelcome lover. As I struggled to recall the events of the show earlier, I regretted taking that final hit off of Howard’s Alice In Wonderland-looking hooka pipe.

The drive to Breckenridge had been breathtaking I recalled, with arrow-sharp switchbacks, each offering a new angle on a jagged sky.  Silent mountains stared disappointedly down at us like overdemanding parents wondering what to do with a wayward child. 

Zuba, Kipp’s band, played Joshua’s the night before and we choreographed a meet-up at the Frisco “Loaf & Jug” to exchange Zuba CDs for my best friend Nisa.   Colorado Bands are constantly crossing tracks through the mountains. Occasionally we ask favors of one another like “Hey, we sold out of CDs last night at the venue you’re playing tonight.  Can you sneak into my ol’ lady’s shack on 12th and Pine and pick up a case of 30 for us.  Try not to scare the dog.”  or “Our bass player’s girlfriend’s sister’s hairdresser needs a ride from the gig in Vail to Telluride.  Can you swing by Eagle and grab her after your gig in Aspen?”

Early for our rendezvous with Zuba, I peed between two cars in the parking lot.  We slow-strolled “Loaf & Jug’s” isles, loading up on chocolate-covered pretzels and machine-milked mochas.  The sun was riding the horizon low, like a cowboy in a tired saddle.  We kicked at dirty islands of snow parked between 18-wheelers as we waited for Zuba to appear.  When their rust-red van pulled next to Moby their band poured out like crinkled socks from an overstuffed drawer.  We exchanged hugs, recent gig war stories, and a case of Zuba CDs for my best friend Nisa.   Nisa looked adorable in her ironic polyester Lily Pulitzer pants, fuzzy orange sweater, and butterfly hair clips.  Our bandmates mingled for a tailgate smoke and a coffee then, once again, we were ships in the night.

Kenny, Nisa, Brian & Friends

After soundcheck we grabbed all-you-can-eat linguini at “Rasta Pasta” and Howard took us back to his place “Camp-Smoke-A-Lot-A-Ganga,” where we all got naked and took an epic hot tub under newly hung stars surrounded by a playground of untouched snow.

The place was packed when we got back to Joshua’s to play at 10:00 PM.  Annoyingly, no one had been collecting money from the door so by the night’s end, we only broke even after paying Howard and our bar bill.

I think it’s fair to say our first set was…. hum….. challenging. There was a distinct split between audience members who might be future fans and those who just out to get piss-stinking drunk. Our second set was much better and Howard said we’d gotten a great response for our first time in Breckenridge. He reassured us, “Breck’s listening crowd only comes out to Joshua’s about twice a year and they came for you.”  It made us feel better.

Reader interactions

4 Replies to “Breckenridge, CO – “Camp-Smoke-A-Lot-A-Ganga” – Joshua’s – December 19, 1998”

  1. Sally,

    I do hope a lot of young singer songwriters are reading your blog and taking note. Maybe to some your accounts sound like the world’s best adventure, while, to others, the tales sound like the trials and tribulations of an unhoused person. It all comes down to temperament and expectations, but you are laying everything out there and I Iove it.

    As mentioned in many of my previous comments, your vivid depictions of the Colorado landscape make me homesick! “Dirty islands of snow”! Perfect description- so beautiful when the snow is fresh, and so ugly after a few days of car traffic!

    How many lives do you think you lived during your touring years? (As in: a cat has nine lives). Certainly a few!

    Keep ‘em coming!

    I can’t remember what it felt like to be 24

    1. Hey Cindy,
      It’s epic to remember my 20s. I think I must’ve lived 9 lives with every tour. I hope those touring babes launching their musical careers can benefit from those, like myself, who went before. Although it’s such a new time in music I wonder sometimes what’s the same.

  2. “Once again, we were ships in the night.” ❤️ Idiom?

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