Richie Hayward, one of the founding members of the zydeco-infused rock band Little Feat, died last week. I was a fan. Not a fanatic, but a fan. The band has been through many lineups over the years, so I'm sure the magic will continue.
I don't know if I ever told you that I once won a contest from the band. Back in the mid-80s, I entered a drawing by dropping my name into a box at a Strawberries record store in Boston. Just about when I had forgotten all about it, a local DJ called me on the air to tell me I had won the grand prize, which included a shopping spree at a record store and tickets to a concert later that day.
My friends also heard the news and it seemed like a big deal. The spree was set for an early Sunday morning, which coincided with the daylight savings switch, so in the end only a few of my friends showed. The radio station promotions guy was a stoner and even less happy about the early start time. He was obviously a wannabe rocker, and the promo gig at a rock station was probably as close as he'd ever get.
So there was a small crowd, but everyone was excited to see my dash. I had the duration of the band's Let It Roll song to grab as much Strawberries merchandise as I could carry to the register. The limitation was that I couldn't set anything down.
The smart thing would have been to use this golden opportunity to launch a killer CD collection. But I was a college kid up early and not thinking straight. So I grabbed dozens of cassettes, which were still my format of choice. I crammed them into every available crevice as I waddled through the store, trying to find the good stuff. I also took a few requests from the friends that did show that morning. I was willing to share. A little.
My shirt, pants, and arms were full long before the song came to a close. It was a great haul and a lot of fun. I can't remember all of the selections, but the big names from 80s rock were well represented... Talking Heads, The Police, The Cars, Elvis Costello. There were also a few guilty pleasures and one hit wonders thrown in there, too. I can't remember them as well, but let's just say Scritti Politti was in the mix and move on. When they counted them up, I had over 50 items but many of them were sets or collections. I was thrilled and splurged on cab to get it all back to my apartment.
The stoner station rep stood me up at the concert, though. I had to beg the theater manager to let me (and the girl I was failing to impress) in from the rain. After a phone call or two, he came through with some good seats. Somehow he let the band know, because they gave me a mispronounced shoutout before their encore set, which closed with Let It Roll.
Readers: I'm traveling right now, so I can't post any art, movies, or links. But if you're partial to southern rock, check out Little Feat on Google or YouTube.
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