Madison, WI – “Egg on my Face” -The Mango Grill – May 14, 1999

I’m guessing you’ve never played a set with your fly down. What about an entire show?

The Mango Grill was pretty full for the week after graduation. Most patrons sat up front, their eyes at about, I don’t know…. crotch level. There was no green room in Kathy Griswold’s charming, family-style restaurant turned venue, so I made my grand entrance from the restroom, which ironically had a green door, near stage left (sometimes you’ve got to improvise). This entrance was also convenient, I told myself, as I got to use the facilities while I waited “in the wings.” But somehow in my pre-show excitement, I forgot to zip up. This might not have been catastrophic. After all, my painter’s jeans were baggy. In fact, they were intentionally unrevealing. But!!! Because I was holding them up with a belt, my unzipped pants formed a gaping hole that left little to the imagination.

Kathy Griswold taking orders for her famous mashed potatoes at The Mango Grill

The first set I thought we played really well so I was dismayed the audience looked away from us seemingly distracted or bored. I was pleasantly surprised, however, when at set break those same seemingly unenthusiastic characters raved about how much they were loving the show and bought tons of CDs (we’re down to 60 now … uhho).

The thing is. All those Wisconsinites had more than ample time to confront me about my nearly naked state and not one of them did. My bandmates, facing the same direction as me, were excused. But why did not one Cheesehead pull me aside and point out the cavernous hole sharing the spotlight with me? Perhaps they each expected someone else to do it? Perhaps they secretly liked the side (peep)show? Or perhaps no one saw this illicit feature? NOT. This brand of ‘egg on the face’ was a stunning Easter souffle I assure you.

What’s nice about embarrassing the shit out of yourself on tour is that you’re gone by morning and no one in the next town is any the wiser. Casually you can then call your booking agent, depending on the vulgarity of the embarrassment, and ask him to kindly pass over that stop on the map for your next 2-3 routings.

So how, you wonder, did I find out about the open gate? Kenny pointed it out as he and Dellucci harnessed Moby for a late-night 4-hour trek back to Minnesota where we’d forgotten some of our equipment at The Caboose.

“Sally Taylor, paging Sally Taylor,” He pointed at my pants, “please bring your tray table to the upright and locked position” And suddenly all my slightly askew interactions throughout the night came into sharp focus.

But…. after my initial humiliation, some roll on the floor, full band laughter and a commitment to never buckle before a precursory zip, I found gratitude. Yes, gratitude folks. It’s stuff like playing a gig with your panties showing that makes you remember that this music stuff isn’t about candy-coating art with glitter to feed your ego. It’s about sharing time and space and giving an audience the opportunity to see humanity in the nude (and I mean that mostly metaphorically).