Seattle Has Finally Learned to Count in Spanish

Yes, I know, it’s been over a week since I said I’d be putting up more pics from the Peacemakers’ show, and I’m sure you’ve all just been dying waiting.  Here they are:

Now they’re getting it!

Allow me to do my part to convince my fellow Seattleites that you should, indeed, wear a straw cowboy hat:

Mexico, May 2006

I wear a straw hat now.  Straw hats are cool.

And yes, that is the Peacemakers’ logo tattooed to my shoulder.  If you wonder why, just go see one of the shows.  Then you’ll understand.

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For Roger: Disco Ball

The rapture happened, my darlings.  Well, for me.  Well, rapture in one sense, anyway.  After an early evening in with the new episode of Doctor Who (and what better evidence that this is, indeed, the Tribulation than the fact that we now have to wait two bloody weeks for the second part of this two-parter?), my friends and I headed out to the Peacemakers concert.

It.  Was.  Fantastic.

But it’s the Peacemakers, so those of you who know what kind of show the Peacemakers put on already knew that.

I’ll have plenty more pics and gushing a bit later, but I wanted to post Roger’s disco ball first thing.  He loved that thing.  So here it is, in all its glory:

Disco Ball at Neumos
Roger and Nick with Disco Ball Overhead
Peacemakers con Disco Ball

And, amazingly, video in which both sight and sound are relatively clear:

Have I mentioned lately that I love my camera almost as much as I love the Peacemakers?

If there’s a better way to spend the end of the world, I can’t really think of it – unless, of course, it’s one of their Mexico shows.  But we wouldn’t have had a disco ball there, so perhaps this worked out for the best.

One (or Two) For the Road

Silver Fox has a post up about road songs:

So one day, I’m in the passenger seat of some other geo’s truck, being driven from place to place through thick trees and over rutted and roily dirt roads somewhere in central Idaho, in search of particularly fascinating outcrops — any outcrops would do, given the number of trees and lack of visibility — and JS, the geo-type whose projects I was visiting, pulled two of his newly made road tapes out of the glove box. The tapes, filled with road songs, were meant to be played while on the road, any road. Brainstorming while we listened, all the while watching for outcrops, we came up with a million more road songs, and a rather loose definition.

A road song must contain a word pertaining to roads — road, highway, freeway, byway, street, interstate — or it can instead contain words pertaining to cars, trucks, semis, and railroads or railway cars. Travel songs without mentioning the roads or railroads or the vehicles don’t count, and airplane or boat songs are generally out. Exceptions to these rules may exist, but I can’t think of any.

And it occurs to me, there’s a perfect road song she may never have heard:

See? It’s even got the word “interstate” right there in the title.

And there’s a second song that doesn’t quite qualify as a road song, but it’s about being a long way from home, and it’s wonderful, and so it shall be included here:

Silver, my dear, if you enjoyed those, and wish for just a little bit more, let me know, and a CD shall be on its way to you directly.  The Peacemakers have plenty more where that came from.

Lyrics below the fold.

Lyrics for “Interstate”:

Well, the fact of the matter
There ain’t no facts involved
Take it further
It doesn’t matter
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Well you should have known better
Dead thoughts and lost horizons
And to take it further
It don’t get any better
Well out here on the border
Ain’t nobody asking questions
No I don’t need a miracle
But I could use a push in the right direction

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
and a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
When they crossed the state line
They were just in time to fall
Asleep at the wheel

Last fact of the matter
Never was no facts involved
And to take it further
It never really matters
Well out here on the border
Ants drag bones across the hot dry ground
and over there at the trailer park
They got a million souls at the lost and found

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time
To fall asleep at the wheel

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall–

Handgun and a bottle of Boone’s
And a “69” Ford and a new pair of shoes
Left from Boise Idaho ’95
So I was just in time to miss
the Five O’Clock news
The velvet black Interstate was something to feel
Spent $5.99 on a stone cold meal
Another bottle of wine
I was feelin’ just fine
And when i crossed the state line
I was just in time To fall
asleep at the wheeeel …

Lyrics for “Mekong“:

Barkeep
Another Mekong please
Yes of course,
you can keep the change

A new glass here
for this new friend of mine
Forgive me, I forgot your name
Flip a coin
What shall we talk about
Heads I tell the truth
and tails I lie

Well I came all the way
From Taipei today
Now Bangkok’s pouring rain
and I’m going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
for fifteen thousand miles

But is it true
It’s always happy hour here
and if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Barkeep
We need to go around again
One for me and what’s his name
My new best friend
Deal me in and I’ll
pick my cards up off the floor
I’ll see a lucky coin
And raise a pack of lies

Smile to the girl at the door
Another 4 dollar whore
But don’t look her in the eyes
She’ll break your heart

We came all the way
From Taipei today
Still Bangkok’s pissin’ rain
and we’re going blind again
And I haven’t seen my girl
in fifteen thousand miles

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time
And here’s to life

Well is it true
It’s always happy hour here
And if it is I’d
like to stay a while
Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

Well as cliche as it may sound
I’d like to raise another round
And if your bottle’s empty
Help yourself to mine
Thank you for your time

And here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Here’s to life
Again

This is What I Abandoned You For

Look at this face.  Do you really think I could stay home and blog about idiot politicians with this face grinning in downtown Seattle?

I haven’t missed a single year with the Peacemakers since 2003.  It’s not a show, it’s an experience.  And I can’t get that experience across in a blog post.  So here’s what you’ve gotta do.  Go check out their tour dates.  They’ll be in a city near you soon.  And I don’t want to hear, “But Dana – I live in England!”  They’re coming to England in February 2010.  They’ll even be in Scotland.  You have no excuse.

That’s right – my homestate band is going international, baby, yeah!

Follow me after the jump for more concert pics, and a spirited attempt to get across the essence of what a Peacemakers show is, including shocking revelations!

Friday night, I collected my intrepid companion and a friend I shall call “Kali” to preserve her reputation among our other coworkers, and after Mexican food, we headed for the Crocodile Cafe in downtown Seattle.  Magic was in the air, my darlings – it actually stopped raining.  Behold the power of the Peacemakers: they can even stop Seattle’s rainy season in its tracks.

And we got there early enough to install ourselves right at the stage.  This is key.  If you’re going to a Peacemakers concert, don’t hang back like a shrinking violet.  Grab a shot of good tequila and get yourself up close.  Roger requires shots.  This is a good way to introduce yourself.

Massey Ferguson opened.  Now, most opening bands just sort of keep the stage warm while the late-comers trickle in, but Massey Ferguson puts on a hell of a show themselves.  And Ethan Anderson plays the flute.  The flute, people.  How can you not love a rock band whose lead singer plays the flute?

(You people who never liked Jethro Tull can just leave the cantina right now.  Flute + Rock = Awesome.  Especially the way Ethan plays, which doesn’t sound like Jethro Tull at all.)

So no shit, there we were, not even inches away from the stage.  We met up with a gal from Tucson, Arizona who, like me, was a huge enough fan of the Peacemakers to come to their show alone since she hadn’t been in Seattle long enough to meet other folks.  Yes, you can go to a Peacemakers show alone.  You’ll meet plenty of friends.

I wish I could capture the experience in words.  It’s impossible.  But we’ll try some images, and a few words, and see where we get.

Whilst waiting for the Peacemakers, a group of us started comparing tats.  Yes, we are hardcore fans.  I didn’t get a chance to get a photo – too busy showing ink – but here’s a shot from Mexico:

Now, mind you, before I became a Peacemakers fan, life was completely different.  I didn’t own a black straw hat.  I’d never gotten up the guts to go to Mexico – hell, I’d only been as far out of the country as Vancouver, Canada, which doesn’t really count.  I didn’t like tequila.  And I sure as shit never intended to get a tattoo.  If someone had told me in, oh, say, 2002 that I’d enjoy all these things and the Peacemakers, too, I’d have proclaimed them insane.

Especially since (shocking revelation alert) I didn’t even like the Peacemakers.  This is how I know I can’t get the experience across in words, or even by playing bits of their music and showing you awesome pictures.  My dear friend Justin did these things when he became a Peacemakers fan.  He sat me down and patiently played a few songs.  He waxed enthusiastic over the ecstatic experience he’d had at their concerts.  He talked about Roger as if he were talking about a demigod.  And at the end of it all, I nodded politely and said, “They’re all right, I guess, but it’s really not my kind of music.”

“You have to go to a show,” Justin said.  “You won’t understand until you’ve seen a show.”

“Meh” wasn’t in the vocabulary back then, but if it had been, I would’ve said it.  I’m not a huge consumer of live music.  I don’t like being packed in with a bunch of sweaty drunken people listening to third-rate sound systems when I could be enthroned at home listening to studio albums and writing my arse off.  I enjoy the occasional show, but I’d never become a bigger fan of a band after seeing them live.  If I didn’t like their studio recording, their live stuff wasn’t going to be any better.  And there my opinion stood.  They were Justin’s thing, not mine.

Justin, however, doesn’t take “meh” equivalents for an answer.  And he spent the next several months working on his Plan.

He forced more of their music on me.  He evangelized.  And then one fateful day in April, he came to me and said, “Roger’s going to be here.  He’s touring solo.  And I don’t have anybody to go with.  Would you please?”

He’s a good liar.  And he’s got puppy-dog eyes.  I caved.  I nearly killed him when I got to the bar and found David sitting there, which meant I wasn’t the only person Justin had convinced to come with him, and I’d been had.  But he’d bought my ticket.  And he and David were talking about having Roger Clyne’s babies.

David’s gay.  Justin’s not.  The fact that Justin and David were plotting together how to have another man’s babies intrigued me.  I stayed despite being the victim of a con job.

Roger came on.  He played us songs.  He told us stories.  I was lucky enough to see him when they were writing Americano, and so was among the very first to hear “Switchblade.”  I got to hear him introduce the entire band as if they were there, which is an amazing thing to see on a solo tour.  By the end of it, several things had been decided.  I was a die-hard Peacemakers fan, I was going to Mexico, and I’d be the surrogate mother for Justin and David so that we could all have Roger Clyne’s babies.

It’s that incredible.

I had my first shot of tequila that August at Nita’s Hideaway in Tempe, AZ, in preparation for Circus Mexicus.  By the end of that year, I’d written a story based on the Peacemakers and that gorgeous Mexico show, and I proudly owned a straw hat.  When it came time to choose my tattoo, I knew there was only one piece of art I’d be proud to carry for the rest of my life: the Peacemakers’ logo. 

Yes, they’re that good.

There are as many stories as there are concerts, but I’ve told you enough to perhaps convince you that this band is unique.  I’ve seen a lot of shows now, and I can tell you that no band puts on a show quite like this.  No one.

If you’re already a fan, you know what I mean.  If not, grab a friend, catch a show, and have the time of your life.  But not before you’ve enjoyed the highlights from this show.

We were right at Nick Scropos’s feet.  Nick has filled Danny White’s bass-playing shoes, and then put on his own.  The man can play, my darlings, and what’s more, he can play to an audience, which is a very different thing. 

Isn’t he beautiful?  Wait til you hear him play.

P.H. Naffah, poor man, is always stuck in the back with the drum set.  But we had a good view of him, too:

Look upon him, my darlings.  He, along with Roger, has been there from the beginning.  All hail the mighty P.H., and say unto him, “Grow the ‘fro, bro!”  He’ll know what you mean.

Stevie, alas, has left the band.  I miss Stevie more than I can say, but Jim Dalton’s doing his best to fill the void:

That’s the thing about the Peacemakers: some of the faces may change, but the essence remains the same.

Yup.  The energy’s still there.

And so is Jason Boots, who doesn’t just sell the t-shits, but plays the trumpet:

He’s getting damned good at it, too.

Here’s a photo that expresses what we all feel about Roger:

The nice thing about reaching out to Roger is that you won’t have a bunch of security guards there pushing back, and when Roger gets through playing, he reaches back.  Awwww….

Here’s a photo that explains why, while I’m happy Roger’s happily married, I’m also a little sad:

I’m not a marrying sort, my friends, but if a man with his personality, talent and looks wants to put me on a pedestal and write me songs like “Green and Dumb,” I’ll buy the damned ring myself.

We’re lucky Alisa allows him to tour a country full of salivating females (and males!), and doesn’t mind us drooling a bit.  That said, I think I shall applaud her choice by drooling a bit more:

Mmmm.

You might get the impression it’s all about Roger.  But I have proof it’s also all about Nick:

At the end of the show, Nick shook my hand and gave me the set list.  That’s right.  Lil ol’ me got the honor of the set list.  Excuse me a second.

SQUEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Ahem. Sorry.  Coulda knocked me over with a feather, you could.  Hardcore fans will understand why this is such a thrilling moment.  And speaking of fans, I’d just like to take this opportunity to give a shout-out to the fan who brought me the bit of the set list that had been separated from its brethren sometime during the show.  That was one of the sweetest gestures ever.

You, my darlings, can enjoy the set list vicariously, if you like:
 

I’m putting it up here so that Ed Brayton can look upon it with utmost envy.  I hope he gets the opportunity to retaliate someday, perhaps with one of P.H.’s drumsticks.  Hee.

Roger came over at the end to apologize for not wearing my hat.  I’d held it out for him at one point, and he’d meant to come back for it but never got the chance.  S’okay.  For one thing, it was too hot for hats.  For the second, he’s worn my hat before, and moreover let me wear his:

Roger, mi sombrero es tu sombrero, amigo.  Even when you don’t get a chance to put it on.  And next time, I won’t forget the Patron.

Lastly, I just want to congratulate Seattle.  When I first came here in 2007, the crowd was a little thin, and people couldn’t count en español.  The crowd’s gotten larger, there’s more folks properly straw-hatted (although there’s room for improvement there) and everybody’s roaring out ¡uno dos tres quatro! like pros.  Now all that’s left is for everybody to learn how to call for the encore.  Remember, my darling denizens of Seattle: when the Peacemakers walk off the stage, we wait a minute, and then start chanting ¡uno mas! ¡uno mas! until they return.  Do that, and you will be able to give the Arizona fans a run for their money.  Nothing would make me prouder.

And that, my darlings, is what I abandoned you for.  Do you forgive me now?

Peacemakers Postscript


Take careful note of the engraving. This is the official flask of En Tequila Es Verdad, and if you want one, you can get your very own here.

Only the finest tequila is going in mine, which means it stays empty until I can afford same.

Nothing can be as pure awesome as that flask, except for this:


That’s right. As the Daily Show once said, “Ten F@#!ing Years!” Happy Anniversary, mis amigos!

If you ever need to find my car, it’s the Nissan with both that bumper sticker and this one:

I’m done being a total geek now. We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

Sheer Bliss

The Peacemakers were, as always, beyond awesome.

Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t good enough for my poor ol’ camera, so you’ll have to content yourselves with some older pics. Here’s Circus Mexicus, May 2005:


The Seattle crowds are getting better. Still not enough straw hats – they’re hard to come by up here – but at least everybody’s learning to count in Spanish. Everybody roared all the words to the songs. Everybody knew all the in-jokes, made Roger proud, and had a spectacular time, and that definitely matters more than haberdashery. However, if I come into money, all of you horribly hat-deprived fans shall have only to ask, and the hat of your dreams is yours.

Roger & Me at J.J.’s Cantina, Cholla Bay, Mexico, in October 2005. You’re dying of envy, aren’t you? You’re pure-yellow jealous he’s wearing my super-awesome hat, and I’m wearing his, and he even remembers my name.


I took a friend tonight who, judging by his face, is now in love with the Peacemakers. I didn’t ask if he’s of Justin’s opinion and now wants to have Roger Clyne’s babies, but that’s okay. I’ll be happy to have Roger’s babies for them both.

Yes, I’m a hopeless fangirl. However did you guess?

Here’s Roger taking the traditional shot of tequila from the audience at Circus Mexicus, May 2006:


If we all lived by the Peacemaker’s creed, life would be utterly simple. Bring peace, take care of each other. That’s it. That’s what Roger tells us to do, every show, and his music makes it happen. I can’t explain it to you. You’ll have to be there. But if we could translate that feeling of love and beauty and community into the everyday world, there would be no war. There would be no dogma. There would be no conflict. Just a lot of people drinking the world and enjoying each other immensely.

I noticed something strange this time. Now that I’ve made the full transition to atheism, now that I’ve grown utterly comfortable with my lack of faith, I felt completely free. Free to enjoy the music, the company, and the beauty. Free to live in the moment, without pressure, feeling the joy and wonder of the world flow through me. I’ve felt this way at Peacemaker’s concerts before, but there was always a touch of anxiety under the sensation. This time, there was no anxiety. Just bliss.

Christians in the future may ask me, “But don’t you miss God? Don’t you wish you could feel the Spirit in you?”

And the answer is, “Not a bit. I have all I need, in the music, in the people, and in this world.”

Even atheists can feel transcendence. Even we can feel this boundless sense of love and awe, but for us, it comes from the natural world, and from the wonders our fellow human beings are capable of. I don’t need to believe in a perfect God in order to have perfect moments like this. For me, it’s actually easier to have them without trying to convince myself of the existence of just such a God. As the song says, “Better beautiful than perfect anyway.”

While the moon wanes and waxes,
Surely death and taxes
Are lurking out there.

Life is grand,
Love is real,
And beauty is everywhere.

Celebrity Theatre, Phoenix, AZ., 2007