Our apologies, dear reader, it’s been a while since we’ve taken the time to chronicle our journey here on the pages of our humble web log. When last we wrote, we were headed north on the 99 towards our show at the wise and benevolent Palms, the cultural Center of Yolo County. If memory serves, and sometimes it does, the show was grand. Two acoustic sets with brother Hawk Richie Lawrence as special guest, singing some wonderful songs from his soon to be released solo CD. A generous crowd filled our hearts with pride and resolve. We played “Yolo County Airport” and the crowd, now familiar with the song, cheered heartily between verses. We have penned a regional anthem, and are setting our sights on a new national anthem, although the opening of “Freebird” is a already a strong contender for the post-empire era. We said our farewells to Palms resident poet Dave Fleming and drove into the night. What a wonderful place this is.
We stayed at our central California home away from home, the Tyson mini-estate in the fields and marshes near Winters, chief subject of aforementioned “Yolo County.” Kathryn and Carlos are very generous people, and even more interesting. Kathryn has lived a cat’s nine lives and then some, including teen queen hoodlum in reservation country in North Dakota, and flight attendant on a sketchy and perhaps CIA owned airline servicing Vietnam at the height of the war. Now she and Carlos do land preservation work, and their marshy surroundings are indeed a hotbed of wildlife activity. We saw a Swenson’s hawk divebomb a huge wild turkey that was encroaching on nesting territory. Better than Animal Kingdom, and commercial free.We got a late start for the Bayarea, after a many tales told Tyson breakfast, but we were late for nothing. A sweet day off in the hills of Marin.
San Francisco is wrong. Who first said this? Was it Marc Doten? Was it Anthony Lacques? Dear reader, you are perhaps concerned: where is this going? Surely the Hawks aren’t going to bash an entire city. Surely their anonymous but acerbic scribes are not going to unleash their full verbal vitriolosity in broad stroke broadside against what some, the more shallow among us, consider one of the shining gems of urbs Americanus?
Well, yes. We are. San Francisco is wrong.
A little background is in order. We have given San Francisco its due, and every opportunity to charm and inspire us. Paul L hitchhiked to SF in 1972, almost desperate to drink the dregs of a hippie culture already pronounced dead. He wandered Market Street and Golden Gate Park on a bitter cold and icy clear November day, looking for peace, love, and the Furry Freak Brothers. There was nothing. Just the ordinary citizens that R. Crumb drew as foils to the counterculture. This destroyed a teenage dream and blew a psychic hole in our young guitar player’s San Francisco dream. To this day Paul L can’t navigate San Francisco, despite hundreds of visits and stays. A paralysis of the mind and a chill in the diaphragm kicks in as the gleaming spires loom closer on Bay or Golden Gate bridge. It’s become psychic DNA.Rob gave the City By The Bay an even more generous chance, living here, meeting his beloved wife, forming bands and day trading at his day job in the Red Bull 90’s. He and his musical brothers gave the city a great band, The Magic Of Television. Which the City largely ignored, bestowed not with imprimatur, no seal of hipness, no pick of the week in the comatose free weeklies and amorphous local radio. And so, lo, TMOT migrated south, only to die, decay and be reborn as the Hawks. Home at last. Nice try, San Francisco.
(Paul M is asked about San Francisco. He chuckles. Like he plays poker, close to the vest. He has nothing to say. Decline to state. But he does urge you to see the theater production of Emperor Norton, which he recorded the music for. Ah, Emperor Norton. Surely the physical beauty of San Francisco confirms a once grand vision. Shake it off, land of Pelosi. Your day will come again, if you too die to be reborn.)Perhaps we’re like a visiting team at a rival’s stadium. We’re the Dodgers playing at PacBell Park. It’s only natural that we would feel some hostility. But we’re not a baseball team, we’re a country-rock outfit. Still, we feel a cold shoulder from San Francisco. Maybe it’s the cold, foggy summers. Maybe it’s the stinky beer soaked punk bars, maybe it’s the hard edged hipness that could only survive in this urban terrarium. But we love the Mexican food. SF burritos are superior to LA burritos. See? It’s not us. We’re not bitter. We don’t hate San Francisco. This isn’t an LA–SF rivalry thing. That died years ago, except in the hearts of a few stolid northerners who think that driving a Lexus in green hills pollutes less than one trapped on the 405. Thanks for stealing our water. Hey. We just want some love, some intellectual and spiritual exchange. Love us, SF, won’t you?
Enough reminiscing. On to the present, and the fresh picking of the scab of rejection. There was love at the Hemlock Tavern on Polk Street, but it was from our 15 friends and family who penetrated the almost comically dated 80’s disco pounding the walls of the tavern (“Fistfucker! Fistfucker! Fistfucker!” were the only lyrics, and indeed were more needed?). The DJ–did he glare at us with our hats and our guitar cases? The bartender and sound guy were cool, and the room sounded good. Our good friends The Believers, who have become genuine gypsies, with no permanent address, did a nice set. Our true blue friends were there, but not a single unaffiliated San Franciscan crossed the threshold from pounding disco into the little performance back room. We felt like a vanity project. We don’t exist in this city of ephemeral existence. Our spirits pass through each other, city and country rock band, with only a cold chill felt by all. Please, San Francisco. Give us a chance. Love us.