Bulgy Eyes, Barney Fife, and a Bootlicker

Ches PatioA few months back, our dear friend, Courtney Robbins, happened to be playing in Prescott at The Raven Café with her excellent rock outfit, also dear friends, The Cordials. She mentioned that she was now booking a Sunday afternoon patio show at Che’s Lounge in Tucson, and asked if we’d be interested in playing it. In that moment, it dawned on Jen and I that, with one exception, we had forgotten to play any shows in 2013. Oops!
This is the inherent danger of not having a band: we got busy recording, writing, redesigning the website, and making a video, and we just forgot to play live.  Jen and I quit our own band back in late 2012 to go the duo route, so we didn’t have any other players scowling impatiently at us with crossed arms, tapping their feet, and glaring pointedly at their watches. Our first – and only – duo show in February of 2013 was well-attended, even got into the local paper. But then, we focused ourselves on the aforementioned stuff and: WHAM, we look up from whatever knob we’re twiddling and it’s been a year since we played a live show; a year and a day, to be exact. We had been left to our own devices – literally – for too long.
During the past few weeks leading up to the Tucson show, we discovered that not having a band greatly reduces the “Bulgy-Eyed Sharp-Singer” phenomenon. This is the unfortunate habit Jen has of bulging her already huge eyes at the crowd and kind of Barney Fifestraining to hear herself over too-loud drums and amps, thereby going a bit sharp. Of course, I have my own version of the Bulgy-Eyed Sharp-Singer phenomenon, where I really over-sing – giving my voice a kind of Barney Fife/Kermit the Frog timbre – and kind of harangue the crowd with ever-too-much guitar noise. So really, “Fifey-Froggy Guitar-Pummeler” is interchangeable with “Bulgy-Eyed Sharp-Singer.” And no one wants to see or hear any of that.
DH_ChesPatioAnd at Che’s Lounge, I’m happy to report, no one did see or hear any of that. In the absence of a sea of amps and drums, we were relaxed and could hear ourselves just fine (even without a single monitor).  We proceeded through a couple of sets smoothly as you please, no major hitches. For our first gig in 366 days, we really couldn’t have asked for better. Amazingly, near the end of it, people were throwing down cash on our Akai MPC-500 sampler! (We didn’t even think to bring a tip-jar). Jen was dancing in/with the crowd, and generally, there was much rocking out.
In the aftermath, one guy even offered to pay $50 for Jen to allow him to lick her boots. Our friend Jill, the proprietor of Che’s, was appalled at this. She and Courtney seemed gravely concerned that poor Jen was being harassed in this way. But really, this is the kind of thing Jen – with her perverse sense of humor –absolutely lives for. She told him, “OK, but I’ll spank you with my glockenspiel mallet if you do it wrong.” Talk about bulgy-eyed, that poor guy nearly detached both retinas.   I think he got thrown out before the boot licking had a chance to happen. Too bad, really, the pictures would have been priceless.
bootlickerSo, we’re off to a rollicking good start in 2014. We’ve already got shows booked in Phoenix and Prescott and we’re back in Tucson for another show in 2 weeks. Playing live is back on the menu. So beware all you bootlickers out there, a non-bulgy-eyed Dutch Holly is coming soon to a stage near you.