Welcome to the fifth installment of Brave Combo’s virtual newsletter. We will update this every month to keep you informed about Brave Combo shows, tours, recording projects and other newsworthy items.
Besides current events, we will also have other features, such as interesting moments in Brave Combo history, suggested listening from the members of Brave Combo and chances for you to give us feedback on certain issues.
My God! Life with Brave Combo is interesting and fun a lot of the time. But it’s not easy. When we tour, we don’t get much sleep, food choices are ridiculously limited and dealing creatively with boredom can be, well, boring. At home we’re constantly overwhelmed by office work, there are never-ending deadlines and expectations that seem unreasonably high. However, we do get pleasant surprises almost daily and the perks and expressions of support can be amazing.
This was April 1998. A real land of contrast. We began the month with a short swing through some favorite Midwest cities. Our fans came out in great numbers (thank you all), the shows were intense and we had a new CD to hawk. But we rarely spent the night in the same town of our performance, usually driving out a couple of hours in the direction of the next gig. In fact, we drove 18 hours home after the Chicago show, leaving the Windy City at 3 AM. We had to do this to be ready for BC office business first thing Monday. The next weekend we played a company party in Dallas on Thursday, a club in San Antonio on Friday, a wingding in Utopia on Saturday and a festival in Houston on Sunday. Then, on Tuesday, we flew to Los Angeles to play a huge party for the 200th episode of The Simpsons, returning to Texas just in time to play four festivals in three days. It was a month of limos and nasty convenience store bathrooms. We enjoyed the Hyatt on Sunset (Jeff was in the elevator with Little Richard) and a motel in Rosenburg, Texas that was obviously the center of that town’s teenage gang activity. And speaking of motels, we discovered a really , really good one; Ramsey’s Motel in Nevada, Missouri. It’s homey, clean, quiet, spacious and unique. The owner was friendly and the maids were friendly. They let us stay late without making us feel guilty. Oh yeah, there were no florescent lights. If you’re going on vacation anywhere in the USA this year, take an extra day and stay at Ramsey’s Motel in Nevada, Missouri.
A brief account of the Simpson’s party: About 600 – 700 people gathered at the House of Blues on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood to honor the longest running animated series in the history of television. There was a fabulous buffet with plenty of food for vegetarians and lots and lots of doughnuts, cookies and candy. Phil Hartman was the MC and he introduced the character voices that were present. Then Matt Groening spoke a while and introduced us as his favorite band. We played about two hours, said goodnight and walked across the street to our hotel.
As we bid a fond farewell to April, May comes roaring in and promises to be just as hectic. We’re returning to the Ennis, Texas Polka Festival after about a ten year absence and we’re making a rare trip to the northwest to play dates in Seattle, Portland and Salt Lake City. And, musical comrade Phoebe Legere will be visiting from New York City. I don’t have time to say all there is to say about this incredible performer.
Our new CD, Polka Party, is budget-priced everywhere. Please buy several.
Interesting Moments in Brave Combo History
Over the last five years, I have been witness to three metal twisting, glass breaking, heart in your throat, just like in the movies, car accidents. I ain’t talkin’ fender benders folks. To tell them all here would take much too long. Maybe someday I will put out a book. But for now , I would like to recount the most colorful of the three.
It was Tuesday afternoon, around three o’clock. We had just finished lunch about an hour before, and were now driving through the rolling hills of New Mexico. Bubba was driving and I was riding shotgun. The sky was slightly overcast and the landscape was mainly dirt hills spotted with short , stubby trees and patches of brown grass. The view was wide open except for the barb-wire fence that stood ten yards off the road on the right shoulder and ran continuously along side of the highway, breaking only where dirt roads lead to the occasional farmhouse, small building, or fruit stand.
We had come to a particularly winding part of the highway. The traffic was light. The road was two lanes in either direction, divided by a grassy median. At the time I was looking down, deeply enthralled in video poker (earlier that day I had gotten a Royal Flush, so I had a lot of points to burn). I looked up quickly when I felt Bubba let off of the gas.
Up ahead we could see a small pickup truck speeding around the bend on the other side of the highway, much too fast for this twisting road. His tires caught the soft gravel of the shoulder and his tail end swung out, pulling him off of the asphalt and down the gravely slope one the side of the road. Bubba had slowly pulled onto the shoulder, and we had now come to a complete stop. As we watched from what we assumed to be a safe vantage point, the truck continued to struggle for solid footing, spinning his tires and spitting up gravel. Finally it lurched out onto the highway. It appeared at first that the driver had over estimated the power necessary to get out of his predicament, because he had crossed both of his lanes and headed into the median. When he had totally crossed the median and started across our side of the highway, it was obvious that something was wrong. We all stared out in disbelief, he was still gaining speed. He crossed in front of us, ran onto the shoulder, through the barb-wire fence and headed right for a fruit stand. The whole time still accelerating. The fruit stand was not a very strong structure, mainly plywood and blankets, supported by the back wall which was cinder block. Without hesitation he plowed through the fruit stand and exploded out of the side, (miraculously passing between a large tree and the cinder block wall with only inches to spare). Chickens and dogs scurried away. Fruits, bunches of dried red peppers, and splintered wood went flying (cue the banjos). The truck rolled up a small mound and finally came to rest at the foot of a sapling, no more than three inches in diameter.
I kept my distance as I approached the truck, not quite knowing what to expect. I could see the driver, a dark skinned male with long black hair, sitting in the drivers seat with his head tilted back. As I stepped closer he opened the door and slowly stepped out. He seemed dazed. He had a cut on the bridge of his nose and his eyelids hung heavily over his blood-shot eyes.
“Are you all right,” I asked?
He gazed silently at the debris in the farm yard.
“Please don’t call the police,” was his response.
As he stepped away from the truck I could see a healthy collection of beer cans, both empty and full.
By this time the yard had filled with band members, onlookers and one old lady speaking rapidly in a high pitched dialect that I could not distinguish. The driver wandered aimlessly through the crowd and at one point offered our own Joe Cripps some money for the damaged property, he said he could pay half up front, (Joe says that he turned down the offer).
Meanwhile, Carl and Bubba had gone to the nearest building to call for help. It turned out to be a veterinary clinic, and the doctor was in the middle of performing surgery on a dog. They eventually got through to someone and headed back to the scene.
Around this time, the driver decided that it was time for him to leave. He went to his truck, gathered his beer cans in a sack, and proceeded to walk towards the highway. Several of us followed him from a distance. At one point he stashed his sack under a bush. Then a few minutes later we watched as he hid himself in the ditch that ran just beneath the shoulder.
We stopped on the road just above him and could see a small fire truck coming slowly towards us. We all began to point in the direction of the hiding man. With some coaxing they were able to apprehend him without incident.
After they had him safely in the back of the police car, they told us that he was on his way back from meeting his parole officer. They asked Bubba and me for our account of the accident. I told them what I had seen. Then they asked for my name and social security number, which I gave them, all within earshot of the drunk driver.
I hope that he will have forgotten my name by the time he gets out of prison.
I also hope that he’s not checking out our newsletter!
It’s back! The mailing list is once again fully operational. After much consideration we have decided that the best way to govern the list is to not govern it at all. So here it is, raw and untamed. Open to anybody with a desire to express themselves. For those of you that wish, you can use the filter to stop mail from anybody who’s messages bore or offend you. Enjoy.
Fri May 15 – The Boar’s Head
Location – 2820 NW 63rd St. – Oklahoma City, OK, Phone – (405)842-2729
Opener – Sailor
Record release party.
Fri May 29 – The Aladdin Theater
Location – 3116 SE 11th St. – Portland, OR
Sat May 31 – The Tractor Tavern
Location – 5213 Ballard Ave. – Seattle, WA, Phone – (206)789-3599
Sat May 23 – Dallas Artfest
Location – Fair Park, Main Stage – Dallas, TX.
Time – 4:00 PM
Sat May 23 – National Polka Festival
Location – S.O.K.O.L. Hall – Ennis, TX.
Time – 8:30 PM
Sun May 24 – National Polka Festival
Location – K.J.T. Hall – Ennis, TX.
Time – 5:30 PM
“Te Seguire” – Los Palominos, Sony
Soundtrack from the motion picture – “Danzon”, DRG
“Trio(Motian, Peacock), Duo (Hall)” – Bill Evans, Verve
Jeffrey – at age 12, Jeanett
Joe – at age 13, Christy
Carl – at age 13, Angie
Bubba – at age 13, Elsa
Alan – at age 11, Cindy
Danny – at age 12, Kathy
I used to think that when people said, “the phone is ringing off of the hook,” that they meant it was so busy, even when they lifted up the receiver, it still continued to ring. After much thought, I have come to the conclusion that it means it was ringing so much, that it physically knocked the receiver off of the phone.
Although I prefer my original thought on this matter, I must concede that the later is probably closer to the truth.