So today one of my favorite bands, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers tweeted out that 20 years ago today the Refreshments started touring with the Gin Blossoms and Dead Hot Workshop. I tweeted a response about how, once upon a time, a couple of college girls traded cigarettes for autographs along with a picture of a 20 year old box of cigarettes with signatures (see below). A short while later I get a notification on my phone… Roger Clyne (@azpeacemakers) retweeted your Tweet! Now being the mature, 40+ year old mother that I am, I started fangirling out. I mean, I literally just joined twitter two weeks ago – and my very first retweet was from Roger?!! Would I jump up and down in my kitchen about a tweet? Maybe…. So I thought I would share how it all went down 2o years ago.
I was in my third year of college at CSU in February of 1996. My roommate K and I were huge Gin Blossoms fans. I still love the GB’s – I think Robin Wilson has such a beautiful voice. So when we found out they were coming to Boulder, we were super excited. We went to the show on Weds Feb 21st. I honestly don’t remember much about that show, except that we decided one show wasn’t enough. They were playing the following Sunday in Greeley, so, hey we’re college students, why not?! Sometime between the two concerts, it came up that a friend of ours had a friend who was friends with one of the Gin Blossoms. Did you follow that? So we thought, somehow we could use that to meet the band. Because again, we were all about the Gin Blossoms and knew very little about the Refreshments and Dead Hot Workshop outside of the first concert.
So we go to the concert Sunday determined to find our way backstage. Actually, all the credit belongs to K, as I would never have had the guts to do this on my own. I’m not sure exactly how it happened – we either talked to one of the roadies or somehow caught Jesse’s eye (something about K wearing a hat that had a tennis or golf term on it or something.. really it was 20 years ago). But we ended up in the backroom after the concert. Now this concert was at a ballroom at UNC, so the backroom was just some random conference room type thing. But we found ourselves back there with almost everyone except Robin. We were so excited to be there that I’m not sure we cared. I don’t remember any of the conversation, probably good because I’m sure I was totally fangirling out (which I don’t think was even a term back then). I do remember they were all out of cigarettes. Why someone didn’t run to the store I have no idea. I mean, maybe they didn’t have a car, but we did?! Anyways, we did have some. **Public Service Announcement – kids don’t smoke** So we totally traded cigarettes for autographs. Of course, we didn’t have anything to write on either, so I had them signing my cigarette pack and K had them sign her overalls. I thought I had a picture of that somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. So on my cigarette pack I collected the following signatures: from the GB’s – Scott Johnson, Jesse Valenzuela and Philip Rhodes; from DHW – Brett Babb, and G. Brian Scott; and last, but by far not least, from the Refreshments – Roger Clyne, PH Naffah and Brian Blush. I also got a signature from Jamie Lee, Mark and Chris Widen <maybe, I can’t read the last name very well> despite one of their protestations about not being in the bands. I didn’t care – you want a smoke, you gotta sign! I do remember all the guys were very cool to hang out with and we had an awesome time.
As K and I were driving back up to Ft. Collins, we couldn’t get over what an awesome time we had hanging out with the bands. The guys from the Refreshments and DHW were just so awesome. We got home, packed our bags, called a friend to watch our cats and jumped in the car. Next stop, Albuquerque. We drove all night, I vaguely recall getting there and getting a hotel to get some sleep before the concert. Oh and before the nap, I had some important business to attend to. I had a job. I had a job that I was supposed to be at that evening. So I called my supervisor, who was also a good friend, and said – can’t make it, I’m in Albuquerque. Why I didn’t just lie and say I was sick I’m not sure. Luckily he found someone to cover for me (after getting over the shock that I had just up and followed a band – totally unlike me). Unfortunately, that person called in sick. My supervisor was not happy with me as he had to “work the registers” that night. Oops! Sorry Dave!
So there we were in Albuquerque. We didn’t tell the guys we were coming and the show was sold out. We ended up getting some tickets from a scalper – because we had driven for 8 hours to get there, so we were going to that show no matter what. So we went and managed to hook back up with the bands and hang out with them afterwards. Only this time it was only the guys from DHW as the Refreshments were taking off back to Arizona – because the album Fizzy, Fuzzy, Big and Buzzy was being released the next day, February 27, 1996.
By the way- if you don’t have that album get it now.. right now… I’ll wait… … ….
So they took off and we ended up going downtown with the DHW guys to some bar. Not totally sure how we both got in (I was 21, but K was about a month shy of it). I don’t really recall how the rest of the night went, except that we decided again to follow the bands (minus the Refreshments) down to Las Cruces for their next show. Only this time, they got us into the show (and thus I have no ticket to show I was there).
When we got to Las Cruces, we finally got to meet the elusive Robin Wilson. He didn’t seem very interested in meeting a couple of groupies from Colorado, but I did get some guitar picks from him (which I no longer have). I also got an official GB’s photo that Scott and Phillip signed (Phillip’s says “Thanks for driving so damn much”). Somehow K and I got split up with different band members while we were hanging out before the concert. I actually ended up being brought onto the GB’s tour bus – say wha??!! I was super nervous, and barely eeked out two words. At one point they were passing around a picture of someone’s dog – maybe Robin’s – and it was handed to me, so I looked at it. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences or something because it got kinda yanked away from me really fast. I thought to myself “dude, I’m not going to steal a picture of your dog…” In all fairness, I’m sure plenty of groupies would have. All in all it was a pretty awesome experience. Now the 11 hour drive home the next day was definitely not!!!
Since that first show, all those years ago, I have been a huge fan of the Refreshments and it’s future iteration Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. My friends and I used to go to their shows every time they came to Denver. While I haven’t been to as many shows since the zaglings came along, I did make it out to Roger Clyne’s acoustic show where he played Fizzy Fuzzy Big and Buzzy in it’s entirety. It was a fabulous show, and totally worth the extra hour it took me to drive home in the blizzard (because despite Roger’s thoughts that he should play extra long because there was a blizzard coming and we had nowhere to go, I DID have to drive back home). Not that I’m complaining because it was AMAZING.
Mucho gusto to you, Roger Clyne – you really put your heart and soul into every show and we appreciate it. May you play on for many more years to come. Here’s to life!
(If you didn’t get that last line, it’s because you HAVEN’T GOTTEN THE ALBUM YET! Go get it already!!)