I don’t know if this is going to make any sense, but Boulder, Colorado is the one place that’s not California that I had ever been that was the most like California.
The people, first of all, lots of brightly colored clothing and sun-bleached hair, guys slumped in surfer attitude, girls chipper in that L.A. way. Then, the food, bean sprouts and avocado and tofu everywhere (even at the steak and ale type pub where Chris and I would later eat). I wondered if there were a lot of Californians living here the way there were a lot of New Yorkers in Florida. And Dave wasn’t the only ultra-laid back person we met either.
We arrived at the theater with the Rockies casting sunset shadows into the valley. Boulder is also very pretty, I have to give it that. Growing up around New York, big mountains are something you see reproduced in panoramic photos, framed and hung on walls. To have that view out your window every day, would you get bored of it? I didn’t think so, but what do I know.
The theater where we were playing was in the college neighborhood, instantly identifiable by the used record shops, poster stores, and cheap eateries along its main street. It’s like college towns are almost as thematic and defined as Chinatowns or Little Italies or something.
The power situation had not resolved itself by the time we arrived and me and Kevin and Dave sat down in Dave’s little paperwork-heaped office to discuss our options.
“The power company assures me we’ll be back up tomorrow, but with a crew here now they say it’s going to be several more hours before we go up tonight. The doors are set to open at 7:30 for an 8pm show. We could try to push the time back, cut the opening band, say, and open the doors at 9:30 and have you play at ten. But there’s no guarantee that we’ll be back on the air, so to speak, by then.”
“Could we play acoustic?” I asked.
“Yeah, but it’s the lights that are the real problem. We don’t even have enough juice in the generator to run the house lights, and it’s a fire code violation if we can’t light the exits and aisles. It’s lights.” Dave sat in a rolling office chair that looked like it was as old as he was. “If we could reschedule the show for tomorrow, would you guys be able to do that?”
“We’d rather not,” Kevin said with a glance at me.
“There’s nowhere else we can move to?” I leaned against Dave’s desk, careful not to upset the precarious heaps of paper. “No other space?” In Boston, often clubs and theaters shared an owner and venues were often switched at the last minute to accommodate lagging or skyrocketing ticket sales.
Dave shook his head. “No place we can get a permit for anyway. Like there’s campus spaces at CU, but not gettable on such short notice.”
“Can I make a phone call?” I stood up straight, planning to go to the pay phone in the lobby, but he pointed at the heavy black rotary phone on his desk and then left the room to give me some privacy, I guess.
I tried to get through to Carynne to ask her how important the interviews were, or if they could be moved later, but I got her answering machine. So I tried Digger.
“Digger Marks,” he said in his professional voice.
“What are you doing still in the office? Isn’t it like eight there now?” I said, in that same giving-shit tone that Remo always used.
“Seven,” he said. “How the hell are you?”
“We’re okay, but we’ve got a problem.”
I explained the delay and the San Francisco media situation.
“I dunno, kiddo. If it’s all print media…”
“I’m sure they can reschedule. It’s up to you.”
“So hey, I have some news for you.”
“Galani Gilliman is signing on.”
“The supermodel? Going to be a DMA client.”
Digger Marks Agency? “Oh. Great.”
“I think I’m going to need an LA office though.”
“Well, that’s great, old man.”
I found the rest of the guys on the loading dock. Colin and Ziggy were laughing and red-faced sitting on the tailgate and I could see they each had red welts on their right forearms. “Rock, paper, scissors,” they said in unison and each threw out a hand.
“Damn!” Colin held out a flat hand to Ziggy’s scissors. Ziggy licked his forefinger, held Colin’s arm by the wrist, and slapped it hard. Then they both laughed again.
“We have a decision to make,” I said. “And I’d like your input.” I outlined the choices, cancel, or do it tomorrow and do a buttload of driving afterward.
“Buttload of driving,” Bart said, raising his hand like a school kid.
“Driving,” Chris concurred.
“Buttload,” Ziggy said and he and Colin laughed again.
“Alright, driving it is. I’ll tell Dave we’re going to clear out and come back tomorrow.”
Kevin stayed with the others and Bart followed me this time, down the darkened hallway to the lit office. Dave wasn’t there, but another guy with blonde tips in his hair and a goatee was. “Have you seen Dave?” I asked.
“I was going to ask you the same,” he said. “Hey, you’re Daron the Moondog.”
“Just Daron,” I told him and we shook hands. “This is Bart.”
“Cool. Jason. I play guitar for Stumblefish. We were supposed to open for you guys.” He shrugged and looked down like aw-shucks. His T-shirt was so thin and faded I couldn’t make out what it used to say. “I guess the gig’s off, though.”
“We were thinking we’d stick around and just do it tomorrow,” I told him. “That’s what we came to tell Dave.”
“Alright!” It sounded like aw-rye. “We can do that. Oh man, that is the best news I’ve had all day.”
Dave came in then, his eyes obviously bloodshot. “Hey,” he said to us.
“We can do it tomorrow,” I said.
Dave sat back into his ancient chair. “Cool. Cool. Coolness. Cool-ness.” He pumped a fist in the air and Jason met it with his, gently. “You guys are the greatest.” He smiled. “Jas’, were you guys still going to do that frat party tonight, too?”
“Yeah, man. They’ve got electricity, after all.” He looked up, the soft fingers of his hair shifting away from his eyes as he did. “Hey, you guys interested in a good party?”
Bart and I looked at each other. “Yeah, sure.”
“Aw-rye. We’re playing for this party at CU. At like ten o’clock. Oh, it’d blow those guys minds if you showed up.”
Bart mimed some air guitar and then his head exploding. “You think we should play?”
Jason put a hand to his cheek. “It ain’t formal, not really. It’s more like a house party, just jamming and stuff. But yeah, we’d love to jam with you guys. Oh man.”
“Sure, I’m up for it.” Bart cracked his knuckles.
“It couldn’t hurt to bring guitars,” I said. Oh, why the fuck not.
“Just stick with me,” Jason said. “This is cool. They’ll have food and everything. And beer, of course. Hey, come back to my place and meet the other guys.”