01 April 2006

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!

* * * * * *
Click here to read Scrivenings' review of last night's show ...

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11 Comments:

At 4/01/2006 05:18:00 PM, Anonymous paul said...

For you this must have been like touching the hem of God's garment. Glad you had a good time!

 
At 4/01/2006 05:24:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

And today I'm nursing one nasty headache from all the cigarette smoke ... I'm getting too old for the nightlife, my friend.

 
At 4/01/2006 05:34:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

... but it was a great night. I need to start recruiting some concert-able pals.

 
At 4/02/2006 10:53:00 AM, Blogger Scrivener said...

I completely agree about the smoke--I had one of those headaches the next morning too. But it was well worth it.

I've only been listening to Minus 5 for a couple of years, and I think I found them through the connection with Wilco not through Peter Buck, though I've been an R.E.M. fan since Murmur. I had halfway convinced myself that they would not sound all the great live, though I can't really explain why I was thinking that, but they were so fantastic. I would love to hear them putting that harder edge into their studio recordings.

It must be amazing to have seen R.E.M. live over a span of 25 years! I've been a fan about that long, and I've seen them a handful of times, but it's always been in big stadium shows (starting with a show in the Miami Arena for the Green tour, and then again at the end of that tour at the Fox here in Atlanta as I was starting college).

 
At 4/02/2006 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

I've seen Minus 5 a couple of times. What I enjoy most is they're like watching some of your friends get together to jam; they're having as much fun as we are.

Did you catch Wilco's show in Athens a couple of weeks ago? I really wanted to go - but, dammit all, adulthood prevailed since I was on deadline. I've only seen Wilco once, at the Roxy several years ago.

 
At 4/02/2006 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Oh - and hope you don't mind my posting a link to your review!

 
At 4/02/2006 05:59:00 PM, Anonymous Georgia said...

Great, funny blog! Happy Birthday...and, you may be getting a Christmas card from Mr. McCaughey--he is now a single man!!

 
At 4/02/2006 07:00:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

Thanks, Georgia! Now this summer's trip to Seattle has purpose ...

 
At 4/02/2006 07:58:00 PM, Blogger Scrivener said...

Beth, I did catch Wilco in Athens, and they were great. The venue was weird and there were some acoustics issues, but we hung out near the sound guy and it was just fine there. I've seen them live three times now and each show has been excellent.

No, I don't mind the link at all. As a general rule, I'm always happy to be linked. :)

 
At 4/05/2006 01:20:00 PM, Blogger Michael Cowgill said...

Looks like you had a great time. Love the photos. Wish they'd been around when I wrote about the Minus 5 on my blog (thanks for the comment, by the by).

 
At 5/08/2006 08:35:00 PM, Anonymous Glassmeow said...

Hee! Cute post! I too share your Peter Buck appreciation. (Probably more approaching 'obsession' in my sorry case!) Funny. I listened to R.E.M. from years ago (not so much lately until very recently) and never really looked at any of 'em! Took The Minus 5 playing back up for Robyn Hitchcock to get me to look closer. Didn't hurt that after attending like five of Robyn's shows in a row over the last two tours, plus all of Peter's side acts, we're pretty friendly now...

http://glassmeow.livejournal.com/80421.html#cutid1

 

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