Monday, April 8, 2013

Hoodoo Gurus "Come Anytime"

After a summer in a hot, unpleasant warehouse, I knew that I needed an upgrade.  So in the Summer of 1989, I got a job working at a Holiday Inn, in Portsmouth, NH.

This would be the last job ever I would ever hold that would require me to wear a tie on a daily basis.

I worked at the front desk, checking folks in and out.  Typing interminable amounts of information into a computer, while people just wanted to a) go to their room and lie down, or b) leave.

I learned 3 things that summer.

1. It’s lonely on the road.

If I’d ever held any fantasies about the freedom of the road, they were obliterated by the realities of interacting with folks to did it for a living.  We had regulars who’d come through town on business and stay over every Tuesday, or for the last week of the month.  Their itinerant lifestyle didn’t make them free.  It clearly weighed them down.  Meals on the go, strange dark rooms, pockets full of boarding passes and road receipts.  They looked grey and unhappy.  They were not having a good time.

2. Drink it black

I didn’t grow up in a coffee-drinking household, so I had never really had a cup of coffee.  But working long, late (or sometime early) hours at the front desk, landed me in a coffee-drinking culture.  And while my instincts were to load my drink up with milk and sugar, it was the overnight accountant who scoffed at my beverage and sneered, “Candy.”  Sweetening up your coffee was the equivalent of putting fruit and an umbrella in your cocktail.  Not manly.  Not serious.  Learning to drink it black, I avoided years of Coffeemate substitute and stirrer pokes in the eye.     

3. If you’re going to ask for an autograph, know what the person looks like

We were not too far from a venue called The Hampton Beach Casino, and because the hotel was located right off the highway, it was pretty common for the acts to stay with us.  That summer both Meatloaf and Kool & The Gang checked in to our place.

I was pretty excited to see one morning, that The Hoodoo Gurus were to be checking in later that day.  The Casino generally booked heritage acts, but occasionally, they’d have some alternative up-and-comer play.

I wasn’t necessarily a huge fan, but I knew this girl who was.  Wouldn’t I be the coolest, if I scored her an autograph?

Making sure that I would be the one to check them in (the older woman I worked with was happy to let me do it---she asked if the gurus were from India), I readied myself with a good pen and a piece of paper and some fan-boy-like praise.

Things started off fine enough, as the band’s manager came to the desk first, identifying himself as such.  I asked him if I could get a band autograph.  He, I think, was happy to his boys were being recognized.

Here’s what I didn’t expect.  When a band travels, it’s not just the 4 guys and the manager.  It’s all the guitar techs and lighting guys and sound board operators.

And none of them are wearing name-tags.

So as the guys come up one by one to get their room keys, I’ve got my pen and my paper on the counter, awkwardly trying to assess who’s in the band and who isn’t, attempting to indicate with my body language that the paper an pen are for autographs.

Long story short - - - 3 guys signed the piece of paper.  I have no idea if any of them were actually in the band.

Hear the song on Youtube.

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