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Danks for the Memories... the Unexpurgated Version

Friday 6 June, 1997
Follow the Green

In case you're wondering why there are no pictures from the first and second shows, I'll tell you. The first show, I was sizing up the scene. The second show, pictures were taken, and the roll followed to Albany, half-done, and in the camera. I awoke the next morning to the lazy muttering of freebeeranchicken's coarse-whiskered mutt, Stanley, whom I took for a short walk. But somewhere in between thanking the guys for the crash space, trying to coax Stanley back into the house on the gorgeous summer morning, and eating a really sweet orange, bought the night before in the Price Chopper supermarket on a late-night food run...I carelessly left the roll of film on an amp or something. Anyhow...Didgeridoo Dave and I tracked the Danksters down outside a nearby hotel. I took some pictures, and we all hit the road. Jim Walsh, the super-savvy and industrious moe. wonder-publicist, was along for the ride as well, serving as the promotional legs to Topper's managerial torso (neither might achieve much without the other). With his long, authentic, flame-red locks, Jim's a fireball that comes off like Eddie Haskell: a fiend with a heart of gold (or shall I say "copper"). As we all wended our way up through the hills, Jim suggested we take the scenic route, along Lake George, rather than zooming off to Burlington in a big hurry. Chuck continued along with his brother-in-law, and the rest of the clan veered off along the water...but not till after we had some lunch.

Rosie's diner set up a proper atmosphere of Americana. Just outside Lake George, the entire place was being besieged by motorcyclists, in town for some sort of convention, we'd gathered. Everyone made fun of me because I'm a vegan (like vegetarian, except even weirder: no animal products whatsoever). I resorted to the usual diner fare: greasy fries.

David Gans sure can talk, and boy can Gibb Droll not shut up either. But the two have got a lot to say, in terms of what they speak over and through a tune. David tried to foist a salad on me, but I don't like cherry tomatoes, so that was out. Dave Ruch, fellow vegetarian, resorted to the greasy grilled cheese sandwich, and we sighed in mutual sorrow at the sorry state of vegetarian road accommodations.

Striking and misty along the horizon, the Green Mountains rolled creamy in the afternoon light. David is a storyteller. As Brendan drove, his silent back told unspoken tales of millions of miles of sure-driven road, while Gans told us about what it's like to be behind music. To live it and love it, but to know it all too well, in it's convolution behind the scenes. I put my head down and listened to his rich, thorough voice, recounting the pleasure and the pain of what had risen out of some of the most powerful music ever presented on a stage, and all I could think about was a Frank Zappa quote: "Information is not Knowledge, Knowledge is not Wisdom, Wisdom is not Truth, Truth is not Beauty, Beauty is not Love, Love is not Music...Music is the Best." Despite whatever goes on, I feel that will always be so.

The night's show at Club Toast featured the local color of the otherwise hard-touring Strangefolk and the Gordon Stone Trio, with driving, funky bluegrass, and well-constructed and honest folk concoctions. Gans joined Strangefolk on the Beatles tune, "Dear Prudence," and soon Strangefolk's John Trafton and members of the Gordon Stone Trio joined the fray for a group jam on the raunchy Gans tune, "Crazy Crazy Crazy." Chuck, David and Dave (whose arm had begun to pain him, thus causing him to sit out on the mando for much of the evening) did another extra-steamy take on Bill Monroe's hoot 'n holler tale of the hilltop's fiddlin' "Uncle Pen."

"...If you've got jelly, we can jam!"
D Gans


ONWARDS TO 7 June >>



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