A number of months ago, I was getting coffee at my neighborhood coffee shop, when a younger guy asked me “Hey, did you used to live at the apartments down the street?”
“I still live there,” I replied. “Did we used to be neighbors?”
“Yeah,” the young man, whose name was Cole, said. “I recognize your voice.”
“Am I really that loud?” I asked jokingly.
“No, but you were always on the phone in the courtyard, holding a glass of wine. It was pretty distinctive.”
This guy had been my neighbor alright.
Cole went on: “Does Redhead still live there? How about Guy With Dogs?” I realized he had a Seinfeld name for all of us.
I asked, “Who was I? Guy on Phone with Wine?”
He thought for a moment, then said “Shirtless Guy on Phone with Wine.”
This guy had DEFINITELY been my neighbor. He had all the details right.
He asked if I was a musician, and of course I am. I asked if he was a musician. Of course he was. We exchanged band names.
I asked, “How long have you guys been together?”
“Only about three months.”
“What kind of band?”
“Reggae,” he replied.
“Oh, do you play at Flamingo Cantina?”
“Sometimes,” he said, “but not for awhile. We just lost our bass player.”
I said, “Oh, that sucks. Why did he quit?”
Cole said, “Well, we played a festival in Spain, and after the trip I think he was just kind of burnt out.”
I said, “What the fuck did you just say?”
For the rest of the conversation, I pumped poor Cole for information about how a three-month-old local reggae trio ended up playing shows in freaking Spain.
His answer was that there was this newer festival, put on in some Andalucian villages by a guy from Austin, in concert with a guy from those villages. I asked Cole for contact info for the Austin guy. He directed me to the festival web site, and I immediately filled out the contact form, expressing to whom it may concern that I and my band were very interested in being involved.
I told Cole maybe I would see him in Spain next year. We messaged on Facebook a few times, but I never saw him again. I heard through the grapevine that he had moved to New York.
From the contact form, the Austin-based organizer, a laid-back guy named Phil, got back to me and agreed to meet me for coffee. We got along fine, and after minimal badgering I had his tacit approval to be on the bill.
He wanted to see us live, so I invited him to our next shows. He told us he would come to the show we were opening for John 5. John 5 became famous playing guitar for Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, meaning phantasmogoric gothery is a big part of his image. As such, we heavied up the show and I put on more makeup than usual. It occurred to me – would Phil think this was our usual image, and think we were a bad fit for a village music festival in Spain? It didn’t help that although I prepaid his ticket, the wires got crossed and Phil ended up paying when he expected to be comped. He was reticent for a few weeks thereafter, and I was terrified that I had blown it, because I was already staking a lot of my ego on this opportunity. A guy who jumps on opportunities and plays music for audiences in foreign countries … that’s who I wanted to be.
Eventually he confirmed that we were on the bill if we wanted to be, and all that was left were logistics. That’s a story unto itself, as well as the story of the festival and the subsequent travels, and how I paid for it. But that is another blog … or blogs, plural.
For now, I am currently in Spain because I badgered my way onto a festival. I’m posting this from Málaga. The trip so far has been:
- Málaga, Spain
- Ronda, Spain
- Benaoján, Spain
- Montejacque, Spain
- Villalengua Del Rosario, Spain
- Grazalema, Spain
- Granada, Spain
- Tangier, Morocco
Still to come:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Berlin, Germany
Moral of the story – you get nothing if you don’t ask for it.
What things have come into your life solely because you went out and got them?