PopCanon Reunion is ON, Motherfuckers!

That possible PopCanon reunion I mentioned here a while ago is actually happening. After almost a full month of maddening 6-way emails about schedules and other details, we finally settled on a date of October 15.

It will be in Gainesville, Florida (naturally) at a new club called Double Down Live (not to be confused with the ZZ Top album of the same name). As always, our good pals Squeaky will open. The famous PopCanon Fight Song has new lyrics for the occasion.

We are scared to death.

It’s been more than ten years since we’ve played together as a group. Some of the band members have not been playing much music at all in the past ten years. Ned said on the phone to me, “This is going to suck, isn’t it?”

I said, “Maybe. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve sucked.”

Ned replied, “Yeah, but we haven’t sucked on stage in ten years.”

I said, “Maybe you haven’t, but I still do it all the time.”

In all likelihood, it will not suck. We will have a couple of rehearsals the week before the show, and we all have a couple of months to brush up on things individually. I am very very excited about it, and I believe we still have a lot of fans in Gainesville that will be excited about it too.

Man, we love to rock.

So now, to prepare the set list.

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Road Trip Days 17-19

My second day in Gainesville was a whirlwind of meeting various people for breakfast, lunch, coffee, dinner, or drinks. I did reconnect with several friends that I haven’t seen in a very long time: former Squeaky frontman Harry Monkhorst and his wife Kristin; my very good friend Holly Ray, who was my first roommate in New York; Gary Brummett, who played bass in my old band Eurotoaster and then disappeared off the face of the earth (apparently he was at Durty Nelly’s the whole time–who knew?); another former bandmate Merryl Malter; and the esteemed poet and cookbook mogul Ian Finn. There were a lot of other people on my agenda, but I pretty much made plans on a first-come first-served basis, and I just couldn’t meet up with everybody I wanted to see in one day.

The next day, I was due to  meet another old friend, Corey Thompson Kirkland, in beautiful historic Eufaula, AL. At this point, I had put nearly 3000 miles on my 1998 Volvo station wagon since leaving New York on Dec. 1. And the whole time, I’d been hearing a little rumble from the driver’s side front wheel that I didn’t much like, and I planned to have someone look at it when I was going to be in one place more than two days. But as fate would have it, not long before I pulled into Eufala, the noise got worse–much worse. I called Corey just as I was crossing over the state line from Georgia and said, “Okay I’m driving over Lake Eufaula now. But something is seriously wrong with my car. Is there a mechanic in the metropolitan Eufaula area that you can recommend?”

She directed me to Jac’s, where a very nice mechanic named Keith quickly ascertained that I had a bad wheel bearing and that if I’d driving on it much farther, my wheel would likely have flown off the car. So my timing, as usual, was impeccable. I left the car with Keith overnight, and Corey came to pick me up.

Now I should say that Corey is essentially the queen of Eufaula and knows EVERYBODY, and we got royal treatment everywhere we went. The highlight of the evening, though, was karaoke at a dive bar everyone calls “the airport” because the city air field is literally right behind the bar. This is one of those places where, as the saying goes, they like both kinds of music–Country and Western. Here is a transcript of what ensued when I took the stage for my first song.

Host: Next up we have a city slicker from New York City.

Me: Well, I LIVE in New York City, but I’m not FROM there.

Audience member: You talk like you’re from there.

Despite that awkward beginning, my rendition of “King of the Road” was well received.

Next morning, I picked up my car, which was now running much better, and returned to Birmingham. On the way, I called my friend Warren to firm up plans for the evening. Warren and his wife Tia are friends of mine from New York who just moved down here, and I had promised to take Warren out on the town when I got back.  I picked him up at eight and took him to Marty’s to hear some bluegrass music. Then we met up with my friend Adam Guthrie at Metro Bistro where we heard an acoustic duo play a few songs. And then the three of us went to Bottle Tree to hear some rock and roll bands. So we pretty much ran the gamut of the Birmingham music scene in one night, and a lot of it is kind of a blur. But Warren seemed to have a good time.

Road Trip Day 16

I got to Gainesville, FL in the early afternoon. I lived here from 1994-2001, and I played in a few bands. By the time I left I was feeling a little like a rock star, or at least a big fish in a small pond. And I was thrilled and flattered to find that the town has not forgotten me. This was the first thing I saw when I started walking around.

But more on the Common Grounds show later. First stop was my book signing at Goering’s Book Store.

After the sort of disappointing experience in Dothan, I really didn’t know what to expect. But I was really pleased with the turnout, and the bookstore was happy with it as well. I reunited with several old friends and made a few new ones.

That theme continued at Common Grounds. I was really just overwhelmed with the love. And I was so busy chatting with everybody, I forgot to take any pictures. I’m sure some will show up on Facebook soon enough.

Frog started things off by showing some videos from his trip to New York a couple of months ago. And then the brilliant Tom Miller read some of his famous poems, including possibly the best poem ever written by anyone, “Flea in My Urethra.” This was followed by a rousing set of country dance tunes by Gainesville legend Rob McGregor (and friends). I was seriously honored to have all these talented folks perform at my party.

Finally I took the stage, and things started off well enough until I started taking requests, and then I had trouble remembering some lyrics in a song or two and the chords in another song or two, but it was all in good fun. I’m still reeling a bit from it all.