Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Almost Famous

From my latest on BostonMagazine.com:

I just got home late Saturday night from the last of the Buffalo Tom touring for 2011. (Because, really, why would a rock band want to play on a Saturday night and come home instead on a Sunday?) It had been an especially intense little run of five West Coast shows in four cities, three states, and four days — flying each leg from Boston to San Fran, to LA, to Portland, then driving overnight to Seattle for a daytime lunch performance, which was broadcasted live on the excellent KEXP, and then a late-night club performance the same night. Flying home the next day, you would excuse me for sleeping the whole flight.

Back at Logan, I rounded up my guitars (always the last bit of luggage to arrive at baggage claim), and bid adieu to the band and two-man crew until the next time. I loaded up the cart and went up to meet my taxi driver, an enormous individual who did not leave his seat as I loaded the stuff into the trunk.

Making small talk, in between labored breaths, he proceeded to list all the classic rock knowledge he had accumulated, with a particular slant towards local rock history, such as the warehouse in Waltham where Aerosmith once rehearsed and recorded. Sadly, limits of his expertise betrayed him before he could come up with the name of the lead singer for the J. Geils Band.

“Peter Wolf,” I volunteered.

“What’s dat? Oh yeah, Petah Wolf. Right,” he affirmed. “So, are you famous?”

“Well,” I wearily started to explain, “Not really. We had our day in the 1990s, but never hit it really big like all of those guys.”

He paused in pensive silence for half a minute. “I can tell you’re not famous because you’re carrying your own equipment.”

You noticed that, eh, I thought. While you were sitting there watching me load my guitars into your cab, for which I will nevertheless tip you 20 percent for some stupid reason?

And that’s about how it goes. No respect for trying to keep a dream alive in one’s 40s. We must suffer the indignities of a cab driver pointing out that he can tell we’re not famous.

Rest of post here


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3 comments:

Randy Reichardt said...

.: I enjoyed reading your column, Bill, saddened by the realities that you described therein. I wasn't aware that bands like GGD and PJ had opened for BT once upon a time. I never understood why a higher level of success was never realized by such a great band like Buff Tom. Did the record company not promote you with enough vigor and enthusiasm in the mid-90s? Certainly the band deserved it.

Buffalo Tom still brings it. My regret is never having had the opportunity to see you until May 2010 in NYC, but it was worth the wait. It also saddens me to think you can't do it for much longer, but if you choose to perform in Boston, I'll fly there to see shows. And I, like tens of thousands of your fans, will remain grateful for the catalogue you have given us to date.

All the best. - Randy

Precious Roy said...

No, you mightn't have gotten famous, but I can't imagine my life without 'Let Me Come Over' in it. That's gotta count for something even if it doesn't pay your rent (or if you already spent the 10-points minus all the recoupable costs and free good and breakage deductions, etc. in your record contract).

Ray said...

i still remember to this day buying let me come over in a uk record store because i liked the cover (i think i bought in-utero at the same time!). since then i've seen you guys 5+ times, you are the most played on my last.fm profile etc. i went to the dingwalls gig this year with a friend who liked you guys back in the day. he came out saying you were one of the best bands live he had seen! keep it up Bill.