Waterbury, Vermont. Taking advantage of one of the perks allocated a touring country rock band, we dine between sets at Waterbury Wings, a local watering hole where we’re set up on the floor in a corner by the bar. It’s incredibly hot and muggy inside the building, more so because they’ve brought in some semi-professional stage lighting, so that, even without an official stage, we’ve been standing under white and yellow lights that would keep your French fries plenty toasty. We’re sweat drenched. The truly curious have come inside to hear us play, but the more prudent are enjoying our music from the safe distance of an outdoor patio, where it’s a little less hot and stuffy. Eventually, it will rain, increasing the humidity.
We enjoy burgers, fish sandwiches (PL), and the “Waterbury Wings”: some really spicy chicken wings. More beer, please. After the show, a guy named Steve introduces himself, and gets to talking about Strawberry Alarm Clock history, his past musical career, I See Hawks on the road, and the general difficulties of touring. He says he’d like to help us out by treating us to a dinner at his restaurant. He says it’s the best restaurant for miles around. We are not about to pass this one up. So we agree to show up for dinner the next night.
Steve’s restaurant turns out to be well known among the locals, and everyone agrees that it is one damn fine restaurant. They compliment us on our good luck, and we end up bringing Mark, Eric, Carter, Chani, and the baby (Elvin) along with us.
It’s called the Mist Grill. It used to be Waterbury’s old Grist Mill. Cute. And beautiful. It’s got old timbers from the old mill. One wall is all native rock, laid without mortar, and the banquettes are carved from wood from the original building’s interior.
Steve is an incredible host. And the restaurant is 5 stars, no doubt. He brings us appetizers of small, delicious vegetarian pizzas made with chanterelle mushrooms picked in the woods behind the restaurant, and the best gazpacho I’ve ever tasted. Our entrees are unbelievably delicious. I had a rib eye with an incredible raspberry glaze. PL’s soy salmon was as good as salmon gets. I sat next to Eric, giving me a chance to steal a bite of his pork chop. Great! And the accompanying potato and vegetable sides were mouth wateringly good. We enjoyed a French Cotes du Rhone white wine, and a California Pinot Noir, and topped it off with some decadent desserts. Turns out that Steve’s Grist Mill has been featured on the Food Network, and that grillmeister, Bobby Flay, has done a feature with Steve. If you’re ever near Waterbury, Vermont, The Mist Grill is a Hawks recommendation. Thanks, Steve. Life is good!
When I was touring the country in the late ’60’s and early ’70’s, I was more interested in other things the road had to offer. But now, food seems to occupy my thoughts. In Nashville, we hit a food and family home run, courtesy of Billy and Jill Block.
Driving in from Atlanta, we had a few hours before our gig at Douglas Corners. B & J invited us over for a BBQ. Jill filled up a bowl with fresh fruit. Out of California and dependent on late night restaurants, fresh fruit is a precious rarity. We began to scarf. Chips and homemade guacamole were next.
Billy and Jill have two great sons, Rocky, age 7 and Grady, age 4. While we waited for Billy to get home from work, we played baseball in the backyard with Rocky and Grady. The team of Rocky, Grady, and Shawn ended up outscoring the team of Rob, Paul and Paul, but it was close. Shawn’s home run over the back fence was the difference in the game. Billy might have thought that we were degenerates from reading our other journal entries, but we managed to rehabilitate our image by running around in the backyard with his kids. I See Hawks In L.A.: A wholesome band and not at all dangerous. Wives and children are safe with us!
As the game raged on, Billy BBQ’d up burgers, sausages, chicken, and veggie kabob’s and Jill made a giant salad. Play was suspended while we ate and drank and talked and enjoyed the best weather Nashville had to offer. A beautiful evening. Shawn was really in his element, sitting on the lawn eating with Rocky and Grady, and then getting roped into hide and seek. Finally, Grady taught Shawn a thing or two about drumming, and we drove off in the sunset to our final Nashville gig.
Douglas Corners was good, giving us the feeling that we had vanquished The Dark Force. Mervin, Kacey Jones, Matt Rieser and Richard Ferreira gave us love and hope. But we left nothing to chance, and decided to drive straight to Memphis rather than risk sleeping in Nashville. We could sense the swirling Nashvillian vortex revving up, as the trusty Yukon roared through the darkness toward Memphis, Beale St., Graceland, Stax, Sun Studios, and ultimately, some world famous catfish in Taylor, Mississippi.
Oh, and just to set the record straight, I never touched the piss bottle.PM