So Maise and Iris are out of ideas, and they're dying to hear all about my holy-grail-that-is-Eric-Gaffney-performing-at-my-feet story, so I decided to set five minutes aside and whip a little something up to help them out. I'm nice like that.
If you've been paying attention, then you realize that I am a big fan of Eric Gaffney, the vastly more talented co-founder of Sebadoh - the other being the wildly overrated Lou Barlow, who is still pretty good, but not all that and a bag of chips...and who was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr by one J Mascis, who is totally dreamy and a living legend, and...where was I? Oh, right, Gaffney.
I won't drill down into the minutiae, but suffice to say that for nearly a year, Eric Gaffney and I went back and forth about him playing in my venue as a part of a new audience development initiative. I would pitch the idea, he would say no, they were no draw, no one knew who they were. I would write it off, only to hear from Gaffney two months later saying that his email address had been hijacked and that he was thinking now that it would be a good idea. Then he got into a drunken bicycle accident and had fractured like ten bones in his upper body and wasn't doing much but recuperating. When I had written him off completely, though, I suddenly received an email from him totally out of the blue, wondering about setting up a date. After all of the back and forth for more than six months, I was unsure about whether to make him a formal offer, but in the end I did and he accepted, and we had a show (it was a double bill with Edie Sedgwick).
There were some things about the show I would do differently if I had a chance for a do over, but really - that moment when Eric FUCKING Gaffney walked through the front doors of my theatre with his guitar case and asked my staff member "Where do I put this?", well...I really can't have asked for more than that. I had PMS and was pretty emotional and spent a large portion of the evening crying. Really. I was even walking around with a camera in one hand, a Kleenex in the other. JR is not afraid to show JR's emotions.
Now, for the real confession - I'm terrible at writing show reviews. When I'm there, I'm just there in the moment, and I tend to forget a lot of the details, and when it's a show at work, I'm paying a lot more attention to pretty much everything else happening. But through the magic of being JR, however, I was fortunate enough to get a recording of the entire event from the soundboard, and it's great. I promised not to share or swap it, though, so instead of songs, I give you the second best thing - stories! The FoG show was heavily punctuated by Eric's stories, and it was impossible to tell whether they were true or not, but that didn't diminish their amusing nature. (They also served to confirm the backstory that I had given him in my mind, that he is the indie rock version of Kramer. It's so totally true.) I've uploaded maybe half of them for your edification.
Before we get to the stories, though, let's take a peek at a few pictures, right?
The marquee outside my theatre; I caught Gaffney taking a picture of it on his cell phone (theatre name removed to protect the innocent).
Eric Gaffney, looking up at the stage lights, perhaps wondering what would happen if one fell on his head during the performance. Did I mention that he was 45 minutes early for sound check?
Eric "Fields of" Gaffney on my stage within a stage. I know next to nothing about playing guitar, but he had something on this acoustic (a pickup?), that would allow him to switch it from acoustic to electric. He was actually getting some (intentional) feedback out of it, which was great. Overall, though, the performance was largely acoustic, with foot percussion (the drum in this pic is Edie Sedgwick's).
Eric Gaffney, telling one of the stories. The performance was lengthy, and as full of stories as it was of music. Most of his stories were amusing non-sequitirs. I bet you wish you were there.
This is sort of, visually, Eric Gaffney in a nutshell to me. There is something special about him; if I could read auras, I would probably see something good in his, and in this picture it's almost as if you CAN see his aura...he's just vibrating at a different frequency than other people.
Foot percussion. Yes, it's a tambourine, and he forgot his at home so we had to buy him one for the night. Since we bought it, it belonged to US not HIM, which meant that I totally swiped it after the show. I was going to take the set list, but went with the tambourine instead. I ended up with the set list, too, which came back with the recording of the night. Awww, yeah.
You might be asking, "JR, how come there is no picture of you and Eric Gaffney, both giving a thumbs up to the camera, or shaking hands like Elvis and Richard Nixon?" Well, kids, the reason for that is that it's not the nature of my relationship with him...yeah, I'm a total fan, but I wasn't in the role of fan that night, I was in work mode. We talked at the end of his set about the whole thing (and specifically about the size of the audience, how I wished it was more), and he was extremely supportive, wacky and totally cool. Exactly what you'd expect.
So, yeah, now you want to hear the stories? Enjoy.
John Cougar Mellencamp
Fields of Gaffney
Did you know that Gaffney's ex-wife is Peaches' manager?
Catharsis of Phlegm
How Kramer-like was this story? A friend named "MDR"? Remember Kramer's friend FDR, with the birthday wish?
Open D Is Tricky
This one might be my favorite.
Dr. Gene Scott
Pretty sure he's talking about a televangelist (look it up on Wikipedia). This is particularly nuts out of context.
I Was Eating A Lot of Captain Crunch
Lucky To Be Alive
He breaks it down right about here. (And seriously, he didn't remember it? Whoa.)
Paper or Plastic
This is at the top of the show, when he whipped out the merch.
I like when he howls in this.
Okay, okay, I caved, and I'll include a tasting of the music that was a part of the night.
Locket Love clip (Ramones cover)
So, that's it. My dream came true.