So let me see if I can, here on Monday evening, recall everything that happened this weekend at Raz. Last we chatted about music instead of how damn tired I am, we had successfully pulled off singer-songwriter night. Since this is a pretty random blog, and I’m a pretty random guy, I’m just gonna see if I can give you a decent flavor of Friday through last night.
Friday, 4:45pm: I roll down to the campground after a little nappy-poo, and my BBQ guy asks me did I forget to pay my electric bill. This is nothing new — we blow fuses all the time. Unh-uh. Not this time. We boiled out another transformer, this one a 25Kva transformer. Last year, we boiled out a 15Kva. So, praise be to Texas-New Mexico Power, they had a 37½Kva transformer waiting for me this year. Now I don’t understand electricity at all, but the guys who do tell me that this is pretty big. 90 minutes later, after scrambling like crazy to get the sound board and PA on a clean circuit and the show back up and running, TxNM has the new transformer up on the pole, connected, and we’re back in business. Seems our ambient temperature of 110° was just a bit too much for what we were trying to do. By way of comparison, the first year they did this festival here, they did it with two externsion cords running out of the bath-house. Safe to say we’re growing.
Saturday, 11:15am: I roll down the hill to check on things, since the sky is black as night off to the northwest. A few folks are standing around, having roused themselves from their drunken slumber to order up breakfast tacos and coffee. As we are standing there discussing whether that is thunder we hear, a 70mph wind blows a blinding cloud of river-valley red sand over the ridge line and into the campground. Two tents immediately go tumbling into the barbed wire fence, and then into the river. The gate area, a 10×20 metal pole awning setup pulls up out of the ground, breaks it’s guy ropes, and does a Wizard of Oz over the ridge, into the trees and on top of somebody’s little gazebo. 30 seconds later, we get about 3 inches of rain dumped on us in about 30 minutes. I spend that half-hour holding another metal-poled awning that is protecting about $1MM in sound gear. Water is rushing down the hill and over my feet, I’m soaked to the bone, and I’m watching dollar bills and hours of prep work float by on their way down to the Brazos. Plus, lightening is crackling all around. I’m figuring, if I die right now, maybe the portajon guy will forgive my wife the debt out of a sense of tragedy. When the big weather is over, we’ve got three more collapsed tents, and four new lakes on the campground (that are still drying out.) The good news is that it sure did keep the dust down for the rest of the weekend, and it cooled it off so damn much I was shivering while I was standing there. The bad news it seems to have knocked my satellite out, so no Rangers for TFG.
Saturday, 7:30pm: a conversation:
The Wife: Hey, is that Billy Joe Shaver?
TFG: (looking at the back of a brown cowboy hat) I don’t know…let’s go see.
TW: Can we do that?
TFG: Whose land is The Man standing on?
[couple of minutes later]
TFG: Billy Joe? Welcome to our place, this is my wife, blah blah blah – thanks for coming down and being a part of our festival.
BJS: Pleased to meetcha, blah blah blah – happy to do it, thanks for having me, purty place you have here.
[couple of more minutes later]
TW: Man, he’s just so nice.
And he is. Just a helluva guy. He signed autographs for an hour after the show — didn’t care what it was he signed, he was just kind enough to do it for about 200 people. Then he just left. “See yall next year.” I can only hope.
Sunday, 4:00am: Holy effin’ crap! How did it get so late? Where are the cops? They’re usually here at midnight on the nose to shut the music down! Raz just wrapped up 30 minutes ago. I’ve gotta get some sleep.
Saturday, 9:30pm: My BBQ man pulls me to the side and shows me his newly-delivered stash of pure Texas moonshine. Well, hell yeah!, I took a slash. Smooth…very smooth. And another slash to top it off.
Friday, midnight: Davin James is absolutely positively blowing me away. This cat has got a future. Wearing green boots with big inlaid dice on them, playing some beautifully warped fusion of today’s Texas music sound and 70s Marshall Tucker/Waylon Jennings/Lynyrd Skynyrd. It was simply awesome. I’m a full-bore convert. I want mutton-chop sideburns and some bell-bottom jeans. And a Flying Vee guitar.
Sunday, 10am: Bleary-eyed, three generic ibuprofens sloshing around in a pot of coffee inside my severely abused body, I roll down the hill to see what’s happening. A group of hard-cores surround a cooler in golf carts and lawn chairs. They’ve been picking and singing all night long. How do people do that? Hell, yes, I want a breakfast burrito, but I’m too late. Mountains of trash. Dumpster’s already full. Pile it on, brother…fill up the trucks. After that I just kind of wander around gathering trash in as many piles as I can. I found 8 shoes, and not a one matched another. Probably twenty busted camp chairs. Two broke-down tents. One broke-down awning. No broke-down cars or anything of value.
TW: Honey, can you help me get this golf cart unstuck?
[we walk over to cart; I get in front to push it off the ridge it's hung on; she jumps in and stabs it]
TFG: Reverse, reverse! Stop! Ow! Crazy @#$&in’…OWWWW!!!
I would call it an accident if she hadn’t swung a hard-right 180 and hit me again coming back down the hill. Then she drove off without a word, and hid the golf cart in a grove of trees. One knee is mangled, and the other one just hurts. In her defense, she was a bit tipsy, having finished off a half-gallon of te-kill-ya and about 400 of those little airline wines. And she was severely apologetic the next morning as I moaned and groaned about the house and woke her up to a tremendous hangover. [ed. note - some parts of this narrative may be enhanced, but ed. has one sore-ass knee, that's for sure]
- Best New To TFG Band: Cosmic Dust Devils — first I’d heard ‘em, and I like ‘em a lot. I wanna go see them play next time they’re up this way.
- Best Lack of Change: Frank was almost adopted by three different women until their husbands put their foot down. I’ve taken to calling him our spare dog — around in case one of the other ones break down.
- Most Energetic Band: no contest — Thrift Store Cowboys. Plus, they say their new CD is gonna be out at the end of the month. Plus, they dedicated Lights of the Prison to me and Cindy — a song about how pretty the city looks from the prison. These guys still give me goosebumps when I think about the talent they’ve got.
- Best New Band Lineup: Jay Johnson’s young guns have gelled, and they’re really tight. Go see them.
- Best New Food Item: corny dogs — man, those things are great. Since I never go to the State Fair any more, I never get to eat ‘em, so I’d forgotten how good they are hot out of the grease.
- Best Hayseed Moment: when someone threw a tarp in their truck bed, filled it with water, then hung up a pre-printed banner over it that said Redneck Jacuzzi. And people got in it. And stayed in it. A pre-printed banner!
- Beers drank - 58
- Belts of brown liquor - 7
- Belts of clear liquor - 3 (2 of moonshine)
- Belts of Texas Tea (a concoction that sneaks up on you) - 2
- Smirnoff Ices drank - 1 (nasty, nasty stuff, that)
- Packs of Marlboro Mediums - 20½
- Pots of coffee - 6
- Chopped beef sammiches - 2½
- Corny dogs - 3½ (Frank just walked up and chomped off half of one while I was holding it)
- Breakfast burritos - 5
- Hours of sleep - 24 (that was as of Sunday night, whereafter I clocked a solid ten hours)
Sunday, 7:00pm: Sitting around after all the sound gear is packed, all the trailers are pulled out, all the trash is piled up. Just sitting on the stage, listening to Willie Nelson on someone’s car CD, drinking beer and telling lies and complaining about how our old, tired bodies can’t take this kind of crap any more. And then starting to plan for the permanent roof stage, the new electrical work, the possible headliners for next year, maybe even doing a fall two-nighter. Yeah, we’re gonna do it again next year — bigger, better, and bolder, baby. How could we not? But I’m not straying in front of any golf carts driven by my lovely bride.
PS There are more posts, including pictures, on all of this tomfoolery over at The Fat Guy, if you’re interested.