Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys and I have a relationship and they are completely oblivious to it.
Way back in the early 90’s I was working at my first job after college. I was not a happy camper. After a year on this job, I realized that I had made a bad career choice. I realized pretty quickly that I was not going to make a lot of money doing TV production and master control. I needed to make a course correction. I quit my job and started applying for graduate school. One of the places I applied to was UCLA School of Film. Because I was not working and still looking for my purpose in life, I decided to go out to Los Angeles and visit my brother who was already going to graduate school at UCLA. I thought it would be a good idea to check out the school in case I got accepted. A former coworker of mine told me I should look up this guy Tim. He was a former coworker of ours at the job I didn’t like. He had moved out to LA a couple months prior.
I called him up and he was happy to go out and do the town. He was new to LA and was eager to check out the city himself. A coworker of his recommended some places. The first place was a bar called The Cat & The Fiddle on Sunset Boulevard in the Hollywood area. The 2nd place was on the Sunset Strip but it was kind of a lame poser nightclub. So we cruised to the 3rd place which was this tiny dive bar over in The Valley in North Hollywood.
That was when I first saw Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys. They were rocking the house. I fell in love right away. I was totally digging that scene. After a couple of sets of music, Tim and I decided to call it a night. But something amazing happened on the way back to my brothers.
“Holy crap! I almost forgot to tell you,” Tim said. “You’ve been accepted to San Diego State graduate school.”
“Hah-min-ah, hah-min-ah (that’s my Jerry Lewis reaction spelled phonetically), what was that?” I asked.
San Diego State was one of the graduate schools I had applied to. They had been trying to reach me but apparently the home phone number I provided did not work. So they decided to call my old job. A mutual coworker of ours had heard I was going to LA and called Tim. They told him that if he saw me to tell me that I had been accepted.
Just like that, my future had been determined. I was moving to San Diego.
After returning home, I put in my notice to vacate my apartment and moved in with my parents. I took a temp job to keep the money flowing. Eventually, however, I returned to Southern Cal to look for a place to live in San Diego. While I was down there, I cruised back up to LA to see my brother, AND hopefully see Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys again.
Sure enough, Big Sandy et. al. were playing out in Pasadena. My brother and I cruised out there and as before, Big Sandy was delivering the goods. However, there was an additional memorable thing about that night. I met this beautiful young woman. We were really hitting it off and having fun. Her friends had drove that night so she had to leave. I told her I was going to be moving to San Diego soon and that I wanted to look her up after I got down there. She said that she could find me at that bar every time Big Sandy was playing there.
I put that nugget of information into my memory banks. A couple months later when I arrived in San Diego and settled in, I high-tailed it back up to LA to presumably see my brother again. But really it was about seeing that girl. My brother had a lot of school work to do that night, so I made the trek out to Pasadena on my own to see Big Sandy–and the beautiful young woman.
Well, as one might have guessed, she wasn’t there. I hung out there at the bar all alone fecklessly waiting and waiting like a schmuck hoping that this young woman would make an appearance. She never did.
What’s a guy to do except pout, get a good night’s sleep and move on.
Now, just when you thought the tale of Big Sandy was over, there is one last event worth mentioning. Big Sandy made a trip down Interstate 5 to San Diego to play at some place I liked in downtown. While listening to the band, something struck me. Had they ever been up to the Midwest?
During a break, I went up to the bass player and asked him. He said they never had. I told him that they should consider it because I thought the folks up in Minneapolis would really like them. The bass player seem genuinely interested in what I was saying and thanked me.
I didn’t think anything of it after that. That was until a few months later when my buddy Jeff told me about this new band he and the gang back home had discovered called Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys. I just about crapped my pants. They not only had played gigs at local bars, they had played some sets in local record stores I used to frequent.
I can’t help but feel that I may have had something to do with that.
So, if Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys ever read this story, I hope they send me an email.
I believe Big Sandy is still playing the circuit out in Southern Cal so if you’re ever out there, you should look them up. Here’s a gem of a song by them that reminds me of that young woman in Pasadena.
If you like swingin’ music like Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys, you might like The Fun Time Music Festival–a web exclusive program on KFAI.org.
Music today has gotten way too serious. There are too many sanctimonious yahoos out there who think they are going to change the world with their boring music.
The Fun Time Music Festival has no statements to make, no axe to grind and no agenda to promote, except one--it is time to start having fun again!
Regardless of your skin color or ethnicity, regardless of your sexual orientation, regardless of your political affiliations, regardless of whether you are a young college student or an old hippie, we at the Fun Time Music Festival invite you to tune in and energize yourself with some FUN-TIME music! View full bio »