Sunday, February 17, 2008

The polar opposite of Patti Page

My old friend (and House Levelers drummer) Sterling just sent me an old video tape of a tv show the Levelers did in 1990. I barely remember doing this, but it's been a blast to watch. We were playing in Norman, Oklahoma (home of the Flaming Lips) and some University of Oklahoma journalism students filmed us for a tv show called Upclose. The tape has the whole program and then all the raw footage. Pretty primitive stuff, so I'll spare you the boring material. Here's a 7 minute interview with the band when we were just starting out and still liked each other. Just kidding - the real malaise didn't set in till 1992 or so.

It's weird to see yourself on film when you're much younger. So fresh-faced and skinny, with lots of hair. Kind of depressing, actually. It's fun to see Grayson with short hair and being goofy, so unlike his more recent serious blues poet persona. I remember when I first met him I thought he was like this total surfer guy. But now he kind of reminds me of Brett Farve. I think they grew up in the same area of the Gulf coast.

And Sterling was already such a bright, funny, articulate guy. It's odd - when I was young I thought I'd always be meeting and hanging out with really smart, witty people that I'd have tons in common with, that they would be everywhere. As it turns out, they're not as common as I thought they'd be. I've been lucky to find friends like that in Portland, but it certainly makes me continually value my friends from the old days in Ohio and New Orleans. Anyway, check out the clip if you want - highlights include Sterling's impression of a drunken fan, me stating my preferences for bathing and Grayson's not-quite-believable claim that he loves sharing our company. But the guy who introduces the program may be my favorite part of the whole thing...

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