September 29, 2009
Wednesday Sept 23rd, 2009
Dropping in on the General Assembly; The vicissitudes of road life; We don’t need no stinking air conditioner.
We’re finally in Cleveland, looking forward to our first day off after eight shows in a row. Our second show in New York went well, at Sullivan Hall down in NoHo. After the show the fans constituted a four to one girl to guy ratio, so spirits were high. The next morning I hopped the C and F trains to the Brass Lab in Chelsea and got my horn fixed by the crusty fellow that works there. He fixed my busted bell in no more than seven minutes and charged twenty bucks for it. Then I went back to meet the bus in the Bowery. A friend of Kim’s who owned a restaurant brought us two big cardboard boxes of rice, potatoes, spicy fish and braised oxtail for which I was deeply grateful, and I threw a plate of that down right on top of a chicken mole sandwich from Cafe Habana.
“Take FDR Drive.”
“I don’t think we’re supposed to go that way.”
“We’re taking the FDR.”
That was the conversation that occurred just minutes before our RV was surrounded by the police seven hundred meters from where the president of the United States was meeting with Middle East leaders at the the United Nations General Assembly. We sat on the curb of the expressway under guard and watched diplomats fly past in bullet proof limousines, while gunboats patrolled the East River. We watched our driver get arrested, handcuffed and put in the back of a police cruiser.
“Merry Christmas. You can be on your way,” said the officer after forty-five minutes or so. “By the way, what kind of music do you guys play?”
“It’s a fusion of reggae and jazz and funk,” said Mingo.
“Oh yeah? You guys like the Black Eyed Peas?”
Our show in New Haven Connecticut, was a little sad because our friend and roadie was in a New York City jail, and the show was lightly attended, which was too bad, because we played a passionate set, and the opening band was top-notch. The Big Takeover has a powerful sound grounded in a core of of reggae classics. Toad’s Place treated us with respect, which just goes to show that you don’t need a big crowd to have a good show.
Later that night, as the RV wound its way back down through the northern suburbs of New York, the conversation went something like this:
“What’s the vertical clearance on this RV?”
“It’s like thirteen feet, why?”
“I think that sign said eleven feet.”
“What’s that one say?”
“Ten and a half.”
“There’s another one ahead. What’s it say?”
We left an air conditioning unit and a half lying somewhere in the vicinity of the Cross-Bronx Expressway. After they hit the overpass at seventy miles an hour, the departing air conditioners knocked the access ladder halfway off the back of the vehicle and left two gaping holes in the roof. Today it rained. Hello, Cleveland!
P.S. I wanted to mention at some point that we played with Junior Marvin at the State Theater in Falls Church. Junior Marvin was guitarist in the Wailers from 1977. At the Virginia show he rocked hard, putting Harrison’s guitar pedals through their paces, and sang a while on Marley’s “Exodus”. Nobody in the band could believe he was old as he said he was. Jamaicans do not age normally. This is one of the things I’ve learned playing reggae music.
“Diesel” Dave Chachere