Washington, DC – “NO SAL, you cannot wear that on stage” – The Metro – September 15, 1999

A snap shot from the van enroute to Williamsberg, VA: Soucy’s making teeth sucking noises. His feet are dangling over the back of my seat and into my face (hummmmm, smells good). Kenny and Chris are rocking out to Stevie Wonder in the front eating fried chicken.

Chris & Kenny’s fried chicken eating soundtrack

I’m shuckin peanuts and Brian is working in his new digital organizer, the Sharp Wizard OZ-590A

“I love you guys.” I say spontaneously, and without looking up they sigh sarcastically: “What did we do?” They know how much I love them and respect them, and how grateful I am to be on this adventure with them.

It was raining the morning when we woke up in DC for our Metro gig. I felt the extra weight from atmospheric pressure bearing down on my eye lids as I found my way to the bathroom in an empty room. I didn’t feel like trecking into the rain, into the van to retrieve a proper outfit from my overstuffed bag so I made an outfit from my bandmates abandoned PJs scattered around the room.

With knee-high rainbow socks, green camouflage flip flops, a red-armed gray baseball shirt, and a pair of bright yellow shorts, I knocked on our second room door. The boys burst out laughing at me. I was both delighted by their scandalize reaction and too tired to change so I went for coffee, to the Post Office and eventually, to The Metro in my outlandish attire. The pinstripe straight, buttoned up DC populace treated me like some sort of exotic zoo animal let loose in the city. Some pointed me out to their friends with disgust and distain and others broke out in hysterical laughter.

50 years later. #dc1968

I was half toying with the idea of playing the show in my eccentric ensemble—mostly out of laziness but also because I stongly believe that laughter scares ego and a performance without ego is always a good show. But when Nimi Alisbah, my high school roommate, saw me she said “NO SAL, you cannot wear that on stage.” She’d brought tons of friends to the show and was adamant I make a good impression.

Grabbing my hand, she carted me off to the backstage area—just a walkway really, with some stickers on walls, coils of speaker cable, guitars on stands, guitars in cases, and a raw bulb that burned with a hiss. I turned an orange milk crate over and sat down on it leaning into my bag. I changed into a tank and some jeans (but I kept my rainbow socks on). Nimi approved and the show went stunningly well. We were the headliner on a roster with 5 acts. The rain didn’t keep people home and I realized, staring out into the crowd, just how lucky I was to be doing what I love— living my dream, making a living (ish), traveling with some of my best friends in the world.

After the show the rain started back up in earnest. In the hallway of a green room I slipped back into my quirky outfit and rolled my half-zipped suitcase back to the van. I was asleep, open mouth snoring, before Moby’s tires even hit the onramp.