Last Post From the Capitol Bowl: Power of the Press, Paul's Prowess, and Pride

Beer and packing up had to wait.  What skills I lack as a guitarist -- and they are many --are made up by the knack to BS.  And that knack was getting a workout.  I was asked questions about the Sierra Surf Music Camp, our instruments, and our music. 

Usually, people with musical questions talk to Paul, and I am left to answer questions like, “Where are the restrooms?”

For some reason, this time was different.  But I am certain it was NOT because I wowed anyone with my musical talents.  Maybe a certain level of wisdom was being inferred from my gray hair.

We also had to be hosts.  After all, we are not rock stars who retreat to a “green” room full of food, liquor, and groupies.  Instead, as our friends left, we thanked them for coming out.  They in turn told us how much fun they had had.  How much they liked the Capitol Bowl.  How good we sounded.  How well we played.  All of that was exhilarating, validated our hours of practice, and meant that I managed successfully to hide the “I am as nervous as a prostitute in church” feeling that came over me at the beginning of afternoon.

During the “hosting” process, I learned that we missed opportunity to gain some young fans.  My sister pointed out that a group of kids were having a birthday party.  “You need to learn ‘Happy Birthday’ and then play it for the kids.”  Hey, let’s put that on the list along with guitar face training.

At last, I got my hands on a beer.  It counteracted some of the caffeine which had fueled me through the day.  But the beer had no affect on the adrenalin which continued to run through my system.

Becky and I lingered until everybody including Paul, Don, and Glenn left.  As we packed up, random thoughts flitted in and out of my mind.

What is the power of the press?  The effect of publicity in a “legitimate” newspaper?  Unplanned and unsolicited by us, we were mentioned -- actually semi-featured -- in The Ticket.  Some of the guests told us that they had read about us there.  Good fortune --good luck -- brought some folks to the Capitol Bowl to see the Pups. 

Apparently, the publicity also brought to the forefront some guilt feelings harbored for more than 40 years.  While we were setting up, middle-aged guy with a shaved head walked up to Glenn and said "hello."  He continued that he saw Glenn’s name in The Ticket but could not stay for the performance.  He came to apologize for punching Glenn when they were in Junior High School.  In Junior High!  Huh? 

Do you think that his Karma will improve after the apology?  He probably is thanking his lucky stars that he read The Ticket.

Was this our best performance?  We really came together as a band.  We played through rough spots.  We covered for each other.  We were not technically perfect, but we delivered fun to anybody who watched or listened.  Fun is how we measure our success.

Moreover, Paul’s talents really were on display.  He played guitar while dancing.  He played from under his leg.  He stood up from splits which would have sent me to the hospital.  He had encouraged us to take risks.  His prowess allowed us to take chances and entertain.

His talents and energy simply were amazing.  And I wondered, “Can Paul ever teach me how to put more personality into my playing?”  Of course, that assumes graduation from Guitar Face 101.

As we hauled the gear back to the Doghouse, Becky started to count up how many folks came to the Capitol Bowl to see us.  She quit counting at 87.  “You probably had 100 today.”  Okay, that justified my “nervous as a prostitute in church” feelings. 

A sense of pride then came over me.  The Capitol Bowl was the first gig that we had done from the ground up.  We found the venue.  We promoted the show.  We added songs to expand to two sets.  We hosted.  We performed.  We did not ride anybody’s coattails.  We had nobody else upon whom to rely.  Conversely, if the gig flopped, we had nobody to blame.  In the end, the success of the show depended on us and only us.

And, with a lot of work and a bit of serendipity, we pulled it off!

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