Surviving The Revenge of Two-Gun Pete
Hello, I’m going to use my first blog entry to talk about the short tour I just finished with my band Collisionville. We’ve just released a new album this summer called The Revenge of Two-Gun Pete, which was largely inspired by a great biography of Hank Williams titled Your Cheatin’ Heart, written by the recently deceased Chet Flippo (may he rest in peace). Flippo writes in a couple of places in the book about a relative of mine, Herman Pride. Hank and his mother lived next door to the Prides for a brief period during his childhood, and he deeply resented the way my relatives treated him. So much so, in fact, that he remained bitter about it for the rest of his life. He used the name “Herman P. Willis” as a pseudonym sometimes, but also as an epithet when one of the Drifting Cowboys made a mistake. They asked him what the P. stood for, and he said “Pride, by gum!”
I’ve listened deeply and frequently to Hank’s music over the years, and this knowledge has always troubled me. Mulling over some of my hard luck and misfortune over the years, I began to consider the idea that perhaps Hank’s ghost had cursed my family from the grave. This idea defined what our latest album is about.
Our recent tour took us through Los Angeles, Tempe, Albuquerque, and Denver. After the show at Denver’s Lost Lake Lounge, we were feeling pretty elated as a band. It was the first tour we’d done with this current lineup, and we improved with every stop on the tour. Denver is my old hometown, so some old friends turned out in support, and we made decent door money and sold more merch than the other three stops combined. We had a long two days of driving ahead to get back to the Bay Area, so it felt good to end on that note. Or so we thought.
By about 1:30AM we’d finished loading the gear into the van. I popped the stereo face back into the dashboard and hopped out onto East Colfax to round up the other guys in the band. This was only going to take a second, so I left the door open maybe 30 degrees. And all of a sudden, a car came screaming along in the right lane. I had to jump out of the way, and then Conor (our bass player) and I heard a loud BANG! The driver kept speeding along, we never even saw what kind of car it was. But the door of my van was badly mangled.
It was only thanks to Conor’s considerable might that we were able to get the door closed for the drive home. This was a sour ending to the tour and made me absolutely sick to my stomach. You know that great feeling you get after a good show, where you’re glowing and feel like everything in your life is just right? That all got killed in a split second. We drove for 12 hours the next day until we reached a hotel in Elko, NV, and then for another 8 or 9 hours the next day until we were back in the Bay Area, and the whole time I kept hearing the wind rushing through the bottom of the door frame. I couldn’t stop kicking myself for leaving the door open for those few seconds on Colfax, and I was worried sick about how much trouble it’d be to fix.
The day after we got back, Conor sent me a three-word message: “It was Hank.”
Yes, that seemed to explain it. It was probably that haunted Cadillac that hit my van, Hank riding in the back, cackling at me.
But little did he know, I have car insurance. I took the van in early last week and they called me yesterday to tell me it was ready. It hurt to shell out the deductible, but at least I didn’t get run over.
In the meantime, we’re planning a couple more short tours in the future, like another jaunt to SoCal, and maybe a Pacific Northwest trip. Maybe I should hang a mojo hand from the mirror next time, see if Hank will leave us alone.