So, then Scott McCaughey says …
Yep, Scott McCaughey and I were hanging out together last night. I realize that 95% of my readers don’t know who the heck Scott McCaughey is and can’t understand why this was a momentous occasion in my 47th year — but Dan was excited.
Scott McCaughey is the Ron Wood of R.E.M.; he's been playing with my guys on albums and tours since the mid-1990s. He was a founding member of The Young Fresh Fellows, a wonderful, quirky Seattle band that never quite made it. In the R.E.M. off-season, he's once again helming The Minus 5, a band he started with Peter Buck in the mid-1990s.
The (current) Minus 5: Peter Buck; Ministry’s Bill Reiflin, drums; guitarist John Ramberg, who’s played with Neko Case and was in Model Rockets; Scott McCaughey.
The Minus 5 have put out several great albums over the last 10 years. One of my favorites is Down with Wilco — which they recorded with Wilco! This year’s album The Minus 5 (also called The Gun Album) is great, too; my favorite song is “Cigs, Coffee, Booze,” which I play and sing a couple of times a day at work. Scott’s a pretty darn good songwriter, and I like his voice; you can hear his joy in being a musician.
The Minus 5 played last night at Smith’s Olde Bar — and Karen and I were there for the show. Scott and Peter were hanging out in the club, listening to the two opening acts. Tres thrilling for moi! And Karen enjoyed my teenybopper moments.
Scott was next to me at the bar, so I told him how I was looking forward to the show after reading so many great show reviews online. He got excited hearing abour the reviews … introduced himself and asked my name … and then he took off his sunglasses as we kept chatting. Scott McCaughey is rarely seen sans sunglasses — he performs in them, he wears them in nearly every photo — so I was inwardly giggling and squealing like a little schoolgirl. (And, in that schoolgirl moment, I asked him to sign a CD cover for me.) We also chatted about his wife, Christy McWilson, and her great music. He was cool, a lot of fun. Later in the evening, he walked by, squeezed both my arms and said, “Hi again, Beth!” For a groupie-if-my-mama-didn’t-raise-me-right like me, this was a beautiful moment in my life. I think we'll be exchanging Christmas cards this year.
Karen and I stood next to Peter Buck and his woman during The Silos’ set. He gave me that “hey, I know you; how’s it going” look a few times, and I brushed my pinky across his leather jacket as he walked by. Damn, he’s still cute as hell and thrills me to my toes; I grinned like the Joker all night long. His female kept a close eye on Karen and me, so I didn’t approach him (dammit all for my wussiness!). He enjoyed the fact that I kept sneaking peeks at him, and even winked once. I’m sure we would have enjoyed breakfast together this morning if his arm-clutcher wasn’t there (c'mon ... a girl can never give up hope).
The usual R.E.M. suspects were there: longtime Atlanta music journalist Jeff Clark (currently editor of Stomp and Stammer), wearing a Yo La Tengo T-shirt (Mike, was he ever with WRAS?), the blond clerk from Fantasyland Records, lots of recognizable faces from 25 years of R.E.M. shows.
Oh, and the show was great! I haven’t been that close to Peter while he’s performing in probably 15 years, so it was great to be 10 feet from my fantasy BFF. You could tell they were having a great time — and so was the audience. Mike Mills joined them onstage for a couple of songs, playing keyboards. There were whispers that Michael Stipe may show up, but I think he’s in Florida for a film festival showing one of his films. We left early; Smith’s Olde Bar allows smoking, and we fortysomethings can’t take dirtying up our lungs for more than a couple of hours. I’m considering hitting 78 and catching the Athens show tonight.
What a great way to end my birthday celebration week … thanks, Karen, Scott and Peter!
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Click here to read Scrivenings' review of last night's show ...