Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacationing With Tracy

In the late 70s my bass player, Tracy, and I lived in an apartment on Sidney. It was a 4-family flat my buddy George’s sister owned. Valerie and I drove by a few weeks ago to get photos for Tracy to use for the big Wax Theatricks Reunion show. We all lived there. George was in one unit, Tracy eventually moved downstairs and Dominic moved in. Danny and I moved in together in one of the units with our girlfriends.

Danny planted a large rose bush out front for his girlfriend, Josie. It was there for years. The place got really run down over the years and no matter how derelict the building became, those roses came out every year. Now there is some kind of large fern thing growing there.

I became a vegetarian back then.

I had a lot of fun living with Tracy. I remember he tried to teach his cat, Funkapuss, how to use the toilet. He set up a tray with litter over the bowl and she was supposed to think it was her cat box. I seem to remember she pooped on the rim and that made the whole thing pointless.

One day we decided we would only communicate to each other by singing. We made it about an hour that morning before the whole thing got totally obnoxious.

Somehow we all worked, rehearsed, performed and still had time for other things. I was making films with my girlfriend Lora.

One really cold January, Tracy and I decided we needed a vacation. We figured Chicago would be really cheap in the winter.

I think it might have been my first trip in a commercial jet. It was a small DC 9. I remember going up, having coffee, and coming right back down into Chicago. It was the only time I’ve ever been at Midway Airport. What a dump! It looked just like the Greyhound station in St. Louis.

We caught the El into downtown. It was the middle of winter and we had no idea where we were going to stay.

We found a place called the Cedar Hotel. It was $15.00 a night which was cheap even then.

You had to step over people in the hall to get into your room. I’m not sure, but I think I got my case of crabs there.

Tracy and I put six packs out on the window ledge to keep them cold.

We went up in the John Hancock building and spotted our room with binoculars from the observation deck by the beer on the ledge.

Bob Koester was a big deal blues record producer in Chicago. He had a record business in St. Louis called Delmar Records. He took it to Chicago and called it Delmark Records. He was also one of my dad’s best friends.

We looked him up and he really took care of us. We got into some really great dives on the south side. I remember they were like swamps, but the music was incredible. All doors were open to Bob. A few years later, Tracy got a copy of I Need More, an autobiography by Iggy Pop. He mentioned living with Koester. Leroy Pierson knows him, too.

Bob showed us movies in his personal theater and played audio tapes of crazy drunken comedy sessions with my dad when they were teenagers. We used to make the same kind of tapes.

That reminds me, one of those tapes was used for lyrics in a song called Monster Music we played at out Wax Theatricks Reunion show. It was one on my brother’s ad libs-----

“Mommy, what are we having for supper tonight?” – “We’re not having any supper tonight.” – “Why?” – “Because I killed your father!”

Tracy back in the day.

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