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Topic: I hung out with the Soledad Brothers last night! (ssc) Return to archive
25th March 2006 12:01 AM
Child of the Moon Posted wholesale from my LiveJournal etry this morning. Not sure if any of you guys are Soledads fans, but this was still a lot of fun. I got to drink with Johnny Walker, for chrissakes!)

On Wednesday I noticed via the Willamette Weekly that the Soledad Brothers were playing in Portland, at a little joint down on 3rd and Burnside. Hell, I thought, it's only five bucks! I'm there! So after a short - yet so, so long - day at work today (yesterday, whatever), I went home, got dressed up, and went out to P-Town for the third time in five days to see a band I really did dig a lot, but unfortunately hadn't had much exposure to outside what my sister had played for me.

I'll admit it was a great way for me to gloat towards Leah, since she adores this band... in particular, drummer Ben Swank. So, anyway, I got there and sort of hung out for a while... I was actually a couple of hours early or so, thus I was allowed to watch a group that sounded suspiciously like the Soledads do a soundcheck for a while. Thing is, they didn't LOOK like the Soledads, not from the pictures I'd seen. I'd seen pictures of southern-fried rock-and-rollers with long hair and blue velvet suits. The dudes up on the stage doing soundchecks were... normal guys. Johnny Walker in particular was a shocking sight: he'd cut his long curls and, it seemed, had put on some weight. Maybe it was just the toll of the road, or perhaps just a shirt that was too tight on him, but it was truly disarming to see a real-live rock and roll band acting like regular guys. You think about it, you dream about it, but when you actually see it? It throws you for a loop.

I wanted desperately to get some autographs, but I was extremely nervous. I finally made my way toward the merch stand where the Soledads stuff was. Johnny's girlfriend was running the table at the time, and I sort of told her, ever so sheepishly, that I was a fan and would love to get their autographs. She was TERRIBLY sweet, and she made me feel very comfortable around these guys who I was busy perceiving as gods. The ice was broken when no less a man than Ben Swank himself told me he liked my shirt (my Keef for Prez t-shirt), and Johnny and I struck up a little conversation. In time, I'd secured both of their John Hancocks. And the show hadn't even started yet.

The first band up was Portland's own Dry Country Crooks. They were a cool little rockabilly-punk-style outfit, not unlike Link Wray or Horton Heat or any of those guys. I managed to have a cool chat with their guitarist, Paul, and he was a really cool guy. In the midst of this, I also began chatting with a random girl by the name of Lisa, who was from somewhere in Washington, but had really lived all over. She was very nice, someone I could talk to and not feel like I was completely alone.

At one point some friends of the Soledads asked me to sit down with them, which delighted the hell out of me. Granted, the band had gone out to another bar for drinks, so I was just kind of there with them, not quite knowing what to do or say. The next band was Heartless Bastard, another great country-rock-punk band with a gorgeous female lead singer/guitarist. They tore the place down, and I wondered how the Soledads were gonna follow that.

Well, up they came, now wearing clothes SLIGHTLY more becoming of the rock stars they are... okay, it was still just a bunch of shirts and slacks and ties and stuff, but they still looked cool. Without a beat, they tore right into their set. Earlier I'd asked Johnny if they'd play "Prodigal Stones Blues," which was the first song of theirs I ever really heard, and he said he might be able to swing that. So halfway through, they went right into it, with Johnny giving me a sly wink during the first verse. YES! Their entire set kicked ass, culminating with a Grateful Dead-style feedback jam at the end. I told Ben afterward that I loved this segment, and he said, "Really? Everyone else usually hates that part. But thanks man!" Ben was very cool, just a regular dude, someone I mightr even hang out with. Johnny was extremely laid-back, I liked him a lot. Dechman, the new keyboard player, was the quiet one, but he was still quite cordial. I didn't really get to talk to Oliver Henry that much - he was fairly elusive, and I didn't get his autograph. Oh, well. Win some, lose some.

So the show was over, Lisa was gone, and another weird girl began to chat me up. I then realized I needed to catch the MAX before it was too late. I wasn't sure what time it was, so I tore down to the nearest station, only to find it had just stopped running for the night. Fuck. I went back to the bar, tried to see what I could do about getting home. Unfortunately no one could help me, although the Soledads said that, if they could have given me a ride back home, they would have. They were on a schedule, of course, so it was out of the question. So I stuck around until the bar began closing up at 2.30. I was still slightly buzzing from alcohol (I ran up quite the tab, ha!), so I bid Johnny and Ben adieu and tried to sort myself out. The bouncer at the door, Bill, was VERY cool, getting me a bottle of water and lending me a few bucks should I find some all-night cafe or something.

So what did I do? I stayed out on the rainy streets or Portland for two and a half hours until the next MAX to Hillsboro came. I found a sheltered spot outside the Pioneer Square Starbucks, bundled up, and listened to the CD player that I had very wisely brought with me. It was absolutely bizarre - I was still wide awake, so I didn't worry about falling asleep out there, but I was definitely afraid of being caught, so I kept a watch on the reflection in the window across from me. I was hidden out of sight behind a wall, but I could see everything beyond the wall through the reflection. I'll tell you, I had one or two close calls.

So, two and a half hours - and albums - later, the MAX finally came at right around 5 AM. After a quick stop at the Orenco Starbucks, I came home and typed this up. The Orenco visit has left me extremely depressed after a night that was surprisingly fun and interesting, so now I just don't know what the fuck to think. It's another long story... I don't feel like typing it up.

Now? I'm going to fucking bed. Good night... or day. Whatever.

And that my story.
25th March 2006 08:25 AM
Sir Stonesalot GeeezuzFUCK!

You saw the Soledad Bros...AND The Heartless Bastards for FIVE BUCKS!?!?!

I've been wanting to catch the Soledad Bros. for years. They haven't been anywhere that I can get to...

Portland used to have a pretty happening scene going on...sounds like there's still something going on.

Lucky you.

Oh, yeah, I got one of those Keith for President Ts too...always gets some comments.
[Edited by Sir Stonesalot]
25th March 2006 10:55 PM
Child of the Moon Yeah, no kidding! I really dug the Heartless Bastards. Do you know how long they've been around? I didn't really get to talk to any of them... not just because I was too nervous to, but also because I was busy flirting with Lisa from Spokane and hanging out with the Soledads. ;-)
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