San Francisco, CA – “Day Drinking” – Day Off – July 6, 1999

The first of autumn’s coolness lingered in the trees. Morning—or what we called noon—arrived, spreading a layer of sunlight over my bedding. I woke up on the floor in a soup of mismatched sheets. I was dehydrated and sweating despite the refreshing breeze and the open window. I lay sprawled on a wall-to-wall beige carpet trying to remember where the hell I was.

This is a common hazard of life on the road. Honestly, most days when I wake up in a new place I don’t even bother finding out where we are as long as someone knows where and when sound check is. But when I wake up on something as novel as a floor in somebody’s home office, it’s disconcerting enough to warrant retracing the events of the night before for clues as to why I’m both A. alone and B. not in a hotel room.

Hummmmmmmm….. Where was I…..Where….Was…..

Ah yes! I remembered, proud of my relatively quick recall, I was in Mrs. Judy Delucchi’s second-floor office in Chris’s parent’s house near San Francisco. The Delucchis were graciously hosting us for our three-day break in the Bay Area. I adore the Delluchis! What strikes me most about their loveliness is just how quintessentially family-oriented they are. Judy and Bob are married with wonderful, stable children who seem adept at managing their lives. Most impressively, they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Being surrounded by them over the holiday weekend was going to be amazing.

I splashed water on my face, stretched my very tight hamstrings, and went for a quick jog around the cul de sacs of their quaint Suberb. When I returned, the rest of the band was up. Chris D. was chopping fresh fruit, Kenny was cooking French toast, and Heather was upstairs packing after her and Kenny’s makeshift honeymoon (spent in a van with a band)—not exactly the most romantic getaway, Kenny! Meanwhile, Brian was by the pool, talking on his cell phone and attempting to clear leaves. Poor Brian! Every leaf he scooped out with that long, praying mantis-like strainer seemed to blow right back into the water. Bob (Delluchi Sr.) was at the BBQ, cracking one joke after another to Soucy who wasn’t 1/2 way through his laugh before Bob qued up another.

Over breakfast, Chris D. mentioned that a rep from the historic Anchor Steam Brewery had attended our show in Sonoma and invited us to tour the brewery when we came through San Fran.
“Should I accept?” Delluchi asked. Of course! That was a no-brainer. We love Anchor Steam beer plus we had a day off with nothing to do.
“Tonight?” I asked, digging into Kenny’s French toast.
“Well, Tom actually suggested we come over now. Anyone up for some day drinking?” Five hands shot up.

Upon arrival, the entrance smelled like hot cereal. Another tour was already in progress, so Tom and Dan whisked around the back and gave us the exclusive, behind-the-scenes experience. Our first stop was downstairs at the bottling area which brought to mind images of the Lavern and Shirley Show opening credits and I started humming the theme song.

Tom and Dan caught some beers off the conveyor belt on their way to be labeled and handed them to us, fresh and uncapped: “This is as fresh as they come, boys and girls,” he said.

And so began our Willy Wonka tour for adults. We got a VIP backstage pass to Anchor Steam Brewery and learned from the top brass about the history, art, and science of making the best beer San Francisco has to offer. At the end, there were T-shirts, hats, pins, cards, CDs, and, of course, beer—plenty of beer.

By 4:30, we stumbled out of our tour and into Haight-Ashbury, hoping to shop off some of our afternoon buzz before attempting the drive home. I bought an oversized vintage “Skalar” leather jacket at Aardvarks, a second-hand store, and we wandered through the Japanese gardens and parks imagining what this place must have been like during its free-loving, 60’s hippy heyday.

As we drove back to Chez Delluchi, we reflected on how lucky we are to have opportunities like this as musicians. Thanks, Dan and Tom for a stellar day. From here on out Anchor Steam Beer will be on all our riders.