Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Maytags Album Release Party

Yesterday, I get a text from an old buddy of mine, Mr. Dustin Smith.  We go way, way back.  For one, I’ve been watching him play music for probably 10 years now.  Super talented guy.  Great voice, talented songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.  Then we started working together at the bar, and I saw another side of him.  Hard, hard worker.  Meticulous.  Organized.  Easy going.  Guy is a true inspiration, and has taught me a few things over the years.  I care about him a lot.

So he texts me yesterday, and invites me to his album release party at Wooly’s tonight.  You know what?  I feel like I haven’t seen a full on rock show for awhile now, I’d love to see Dustin again, so why not go to the show, hear some great music, and show my support?  I respond, I’m in, see you there.

Today’s been a great day, real productive.  There’s been a PILE of bags in my basement waiting to go to Goodwill, and TODAY’S THE DAY I’m going to take care of it.  We’re talking, I’ve been walking by this eyesore for 5 months now.  It started out small, just a bag or two, but then has grown exponentially since the beginning of the year.  But then of course, you do one thing, that turns into, I’M GONNA ORGANIZE MY ENTIRE FRICKING BASEMENT.  But I’m feeling good and motivated, let’s get it done.

I call up to my son.  Liam!  Can you come down here, please?  He comes down after five minutes.  Yeah?  Yeah, could you help out your dear old dad?  He says, no.  I say, c’mon.  Help me out here.  I want you to carry all of these bags upstairs, out to the car for me.  We’re taking them to Goodwill.  But…but…I’ve got to help Henry with his Leggo’s.  I say, that can wait.

Miraculously, he gets to it, and I keep on organizing on my end.

I pause work half-hour later, go upstairs, load up the car with the Goodwill stuff.  I finish, let’s go, boys, we’re taking a road trip!

The boys get in, we drive cross town to the Goodwill, pull up, everybody jumps out, I open up the trunk.

A nice lady comes out with a cart, we start loading everything in it.  There’s board games, clothes the kids have outgrown, a lamp, stuffed animals.  How do we accumulate all of this STUFF?!?  I look down, my 5 year-old son Henry has his hand in one of the bags, and pulls out a CD.  Oh here we go.  Henry, we’re giving that away.  I don’t think we even have a CD player in the house.  The case says it’s KIDZ BOP.  More of a reason to get rid of it.  He says, no.  I WANNA KEEP IT.  I say, c’mon Henry.  You’re not going to listen to it.  He gives me a frown face, holds the CD close to his heart.  He is not giving that up.  Whatever.  I guess we’ll keep the CD.

On our way back home, Liam my oldest son says, I want to hear this CD!  He’s holding up the KIDZ BOP.  You know the things we do for our kids, am I right?  He says, Look.  It’s got Who Let The Dogs Out on it!!  Not a terrible song, per se, but if I go the rest of my life without hearing that song again, I think I’ll be fine.

I give a begrudgingly, ok.  Give it to me.  He takes out the CD, and just at first glance, it doesn’t look like the KIDZ BOP CD, but a recordable CD.  Someone has scribbled something on the CD in blue Sharpie.  He hands it to me, I don’t really hesitate to look at it thoroughly, I’m driving, trying to be safe, I put it in.

It takes a moment to load in, the music begins to play, and it’s

Dustin Smith.

It was a bootleg copy of a Dustin Smith show a couple years back recorded at the Vaudeville Mews.  I remember the sound guy that had recorded it, was playing it over the PA system a couple days after they recorded it, and I told him, DAMN!  That sounds so good!  I gotta get a copy of it.

And it ends up in my CD player in my car THE DAY OF his album release show.

I love it when things like that happen.

Dustin Smith plays tonight July 29th with his band The Maytags at Wooly’s in the East Village, Downtown Des Moines.  Show starts at 8:30.

See ya there.



Play Misty For Me

Scott Smith played Noce last night.  What an amazing guy.  He’s 80 years old, been in the music business for 58 years, knows thousands of songs by heart.  Sharp, sharp guy.  I always enjoy my interactions with him when I see him.  And I’m always learning something new from him.  Every once in awhile, when someone yells out a song request, he’ll say, I don’t DO that one, what else?  I asked him, why don’t you DO that song?  And he tells me in so many words that he doesn’t want to glorify the kind of lifestyle the song is portraying.  He’s a lounge singer with morals.  I like him.

During his show last night, someone yelled out, PLAY MISTY, and he says, true fact, in my 58 years of being on stage, that is THE MOST requested song.  He plays the song, and I listen.  I wonder why this song is the most requested song ever?

At the end of the night, everybody’s gone, Scott sits at a table by the stage, drinking a glass of water without ice.  It may have had ice at one time, but it doesn’t anymore.  I go up to him, say, Scott.  Mind if I sit?  He says, please do.

I say, I have a question for you, and I want you to think about it before you answer.  He says, shoot.  I say, during your set, you mentioned that Misty was the most requested song ever.  If you were to get your head wrapped around things, why do you think that’s so?

He doesn’t hesitate.  Well…  There’s been a number of artists that have had hits with Misty.  In the 50’s, so-and-so did it.  In the 60’s…

He goes on to tell me the history of the song, who all covered it, and had success with it.

I say, ok.  That’s fine, but doesn’t really answer my question.  If you were to wrap your head around things, why do you think this ONE SONG resonates with so many people?  What is it about that one song that stands out from all the others?

This is when he takes a brief pause, briefly.

After a moment, he says, well…  It’s a romantic love song.  People like the story behind it.

I say, what is the story exactly?  What are the lyrics?

He tells me the lyrics:

Look at me, I’m as helpless as a kitten up a tree;

And I feel like I’m clingin’ to a cloud,

I can’t understand

I get misty, just holding your hand.

Walk my way,

And a thousand violins begin to play,

Or it might be the sound of your hello,

That music I hear,

I get misty, whenever you’re near.

Can’t you see that you’re leading me on?

And it’s just what I want you to do,

Don’t you notice how hopelessly I’m lost

That’s why I’m following you.

On my own,

When I wander through this wonderland alone,

Never knowing my right foot from my left

My hat from my glove

I’m too misty, and too much in love.

I’M JUST too misty,

And too much

In love…..

After he gets done telling me the lyrics, he didn’t even have to tell me the reason why so many people love that song.  I knew why.

First off, half-way through him saying the lyrics to me, I choke up.  I literally choke up.  I feel TEARS coming on, I can’t explain it.  He’s not so much reciting the lyrics, as talking to me.  And this is where it’s at with the song.

EVERYBODY wants someone to say those words to them, and mean it.  It’s like the dream.  For someone to feel so passionate about you, that they “get misty” when they hold your hand, or feel like a thousand violins play when you’re near.  On the other hand, we’re the narrator.  And if you’ve never been the narrator in your life, and felt that kind of love, I’m sorry, you’ve never lived.  To feel TOO MUCH in love, that you want to cry when you’re with them.  Tears of pure joy, not sadness.  But maybe complete sadness, because you know, deep down, that this kind of love is fleeting.

Scott will be playing on Wednesdays at Noce for the next month or so.  Please come in, and check him out, if you haven’t already.

And I’m sure if you ask nicely, he’ll play Misty for you.

Just try not to get too choked up.



Stop Reading The News

Last Friday, I decided to quit reading the news.  Well, let’s see how long I can go without going to CNN, or Huff Po or TMZ for my trashy, Hollywood news.  I needed a change.  I was getting so wrapped up in current events, it was really bringing me down.  “Consumed” is an appropriate word for it.  What’s happening in politics, oh did you hear what he said on Twitter today?  Cops killing African-Americans, cops getting killed.  It was becoming too much for me.  It was my WORLD VIEW.  Everything is going to hell!!!  There’s no one to trust!!!

Something that prompted me to lay off on the news for awhile was a stand-up routine I watched on Netflix.  I’d been hearing for years about this controversial comic who died in the 90’s named Bill Hicks, and I stumbled on his last special on Netflix called Bill Hicks: Revelations.  It was quite good, I’d recommend it.  In one part, he’s talking about being obsessed by the news, watching it 24/7.  Murder, corruption, rioting, it’s really getting to him.  Then he looks out the window, and the birds are chirping.  He thinks to himself, where is this all happening?!?!

This was back in ’93, and I was feeling the same exact way, and it’s over 20 years later.

So last Thursday night, I said, that’s it.  Tomorrow morning, I’m going to wake up, and I’m going to change my routine.  I’m not going to open my eyes, grab my phone, open up CNN, then my other news sites, then Facebook.  Oh yes, my friends.  Facebook too.  That’s everybody sharing the “news” and it can be a real Pissed-Off Fest.  So gotta turn your back on that too.

The weekend was actually kind of tough.  I had a busy weekend at Noce, so took my mind off things.  But I felt an EDGE.  Reading all that crap is just another addiction in a long line of addictions we pick up.  You stop doing it, guess what happens?  Yep.  Withdrawals.  I felt like I was missing out.  I wonder what’s happening out there?  And it truly was a strange, eye-opening experience.  Almost INSTANTANEOUSLY all of it vanished from my life.  No more shaking my head at the ridiculous things the Presidential candidates were doing.  No more anger at all the injustice happening in the world.  It was just me, and those who came in my path over the weekend.  And now, in five days, my life has changed dramatically for the better.

Guess what I did last night?  You will never guess in a million years.  Ok, I’ll tell you.

I read a book.

I used to always be reading a book.  I’d go to the library, and check out ten books, and religiously read for 2-3 hours a day.  Somehow, I stopped doing that a year and a half ago.  Part of it was my frustration on finding a good book that kept my attention.  Then when I started studying for my real estate license, and working two other jobs, I ran out of time.  But a big part was I was spending too much time reading the news.  And that’s not peaceful reading, as you can imagine.  It stresses you out, it affects you, in so many negative ways.  It becomes a part of your life when it doesn’t need to.  You don’t need to read about all of the terrorism happening in the world.  It does you no good, and may make you paranoid.  You stop reading that crap, you look out the window, and indeed, it’s ACTUALLY a nice day.

And the birds are chirping too.

I’ve decided I’m going to keep on going with this.  Maybe you should think about joining me?  It’s super-simple.  Tomorrow, wake up, and just don’t read the news.  Sorry, don’t look at social media.  Do it for three days, see what happens.  You can make it for three days, surely you can.  You’re a strong person, with massive amounts of will-power.  This will be CAKE for you.

And then at the end of the three days, reflect on your life, and see if you have more of a positive outlook on things.

I think you may be surprised.


Steve E. George

It’s Thursday night, blues night.  I gotta say, it was my idea.  I’m talking to the GM months ago, I say, why don’t we do a blues night on Thursdays?  Bring in a different crowd.  We’ll do an homage to Blues On Grand.  Call it…Blues on Walnut.  He says, alright.  Sounds good.

Now the GM’s like, that was my idea.  To do a blues night.  I’m like, yeah.  Good one.

Steve E. George is playing tonight.  Cool dude, I really like him.  I actually met him a couple years ago, we worked on a training video together.  It was about sexual harassment in the workplace.  Guess who played the sexual harasser?  Yep, me.  Naturally.

I remember I asked my wife the night before the shoot if she’d run lines with me.  We read it thru, and she’s like, yeah.  You don’t even have to ACT.

Then couple years later, Steve comes in, come to find out, he’s a blues singer with a band.  And I’m behind the bar.

He’s a character.  Great voice, and he’s really comfortable on stage.  He’s kinda cocky, in a funny way.  I like him.

But what’s funny is, he thinks my name is Curtis.

Hey Curtis!  What’s going on?

And he says it a lot.  Maybe he’s one of those people likes to say people’s names.  Maybe he read a book one time.  Like how to make friends.  You GOTTA say people’s names, they love that.  Then they’ll want to be your FRIEND.

I don’t really use people’s names.  It’s like, hey, my man.  Maybe that’s why I don’t have friends.

I kid.  I’ve got two.

Anyway, he’s in the bar, and we’re talking, and he’s calling me Curtis.  Ok, not THAT big of deal.  It IS my last name.  And sometimes people call people by their last name.  But that’s not the case here.  He’s calling me Curtis because he thinks that’s my first name.  My first name is actually Clint.  Last name Curtis.

I had a guy in high school made comment one time, hey, you got two first names!

His name was Doug Scott.

End of night, Steve E. George is at the bar, we’re talking, I say, you know what Steve?  Is this going to be it with our relationship, or do you want to keep on going?  He says, what do you mean?  I say, you know, you come in, I’m the bartender, you’re the customer, we say our pleasantries, OR, do you want our relationship to grow, keep on going?  He says, well, yeah, let’s do it.  I say, well, then good.  Then you gotta learn my name.  My name is CLINT.  NOT Curtis.  He laughs, he’s embarrassed, BUT our friendship grows.

It’s midnight, everybody’s gone, Steve E. George is leaving, he’s holding a Hawaiian shirt on a hangar, and he’s wearing an ALMOST identical Hawaiian shirt.  I say, hey Steve E. George.  NICE costume change!  A Hawaiian shirt for a Hawaiian shirt.  He turns to his lovely wife, and says,

Do you see why this guy would be good in a sexual harassment training video?!?