It was a very quiet weekend after a heavy meeting night on Thursday. I was just so burnt out, drained, and hungover I just lay low all weekend, with my only excursion being a visit to a friend’s in the Mile-End. We’ve got unseasonably mild weather at the moment, which makes most Montrealers happy in mid-winter. At the moment, a balmy 4 C and overcast. Very nice…
Our meeting for the “Alex Soria Memorial Concert”, to be held March 11 at the Main Hall, went well. Dan’s a real pro and I believe the organisation of the event itself is in good hands. There will be a fair amount of press coverage over the next few weeks, and if our best lineup all turns up, it should be a very entertaining night. More details in the next week or two as to the final lineup.
As for the night of the meeting itself…..
Rick and Kearns came over about an hour before, the 3 of us sitting around the kitchen table with “Electric Version” on the CD player in an effort to convert Kearns – Rick has heard it a few times by now and likes it. Mostly we chit-chat’ed and had a little pre-meeting discussion about Alex and the upcoming show. Then we made our way south on the Main to an unusually quiet Copa where it took me seconds to realize that Wilco’s “Ghost…” was playing. Rick and I looked at each other and smiled, knowingly. The three of us – Rick, Alex, and I – were huge Wilco fans together. By together, I mean that whenever we’d meet over the last few years, we always played Wilco. So Rick and I were immediately comfortable, as if Alex was there with us. Dan, Jim, and Carlos followed soon after. No one else noticed the significance of Wilco playing as we sat with beers discussing what will be Alex’s memorial, but it was enough that Rick and I did. And so it was that with Wilco in the background, and then Brian Wilson’s “Smile” after that, the meeting was held. That “Smile” was playing was almost like an inside joke between Rick and I since he knows and Alex knew how much I loved the original “Smile” and I’ve always been teased about being a shameless Brian Wilson fan.
After the meeting, all of us but Dan stuck around for a bit and then headed out to my place to listen to some of the CDs of unreleased Nils studio and live recordings Carlos had on him. This was a real treat, listening to a lot of songs I haven’t heard in years, including “Rock and Roll Banker”, written at a time time when Alex and I worked in the mailroom at a department of a well known Canadian bank. We listened to the Nils live at Foufounes (forget what year), but the best was the recording of the Nils reunion show at Cafe Campus on January 27 ’94. There are a lot of songs out there that no one has heard and our dream is to have all the best stuff released at some point. There’s no shortage of material, and it’s great knowing that a lot of songs have survived and will be heard.
While it was great sitting around listening to the Nils with all my long-time friends, it was also emotionally draining. It was like being thrown back into the world before Alex died, so close to him you could almost hear his laugh, and yet world’s apart from December 12. After my place, Rick walked Carlos for a few blocks and then met up with me at the ‘Fly where Tempus Fujit were playing classic jazz brilliantly. The night ended there, Rick and I sitting at the middle of the bar and trying to recover from the evening. We both felt it – drained and missing Alex – and just talked well past 2 AM. Rick left while I stayed until closing time, the last guy out the door.
I didn’t recover until Sunday morning.
Continuing on a theme of writing about some of Alex’s favourite covers…..
Devo – Mongoloid
If I could link to a Nils live recording of this song in mp3 format I would, because the Nils made this song better than the original. One of the first covers they ever did, it became a big favourite at Nils shows after the first time they played it. It was a song Alex always liked, but he wasn’t a big Devo fan and I think he saw something in it that even Devo didn’t. Devo’s version, in the day, was “New Wave”. The Nils’ version was “punk rock”. I’ll have to find out if there is a live recording of it somewhere.