I Regularly Open My Home to Strange Touring Bands... Why?

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Photo by B. Breaux
Lousiana's Thistle! encounters a little van trouble.
The sheriff department's officer was standing on my doorstep, still trembling with excitement. The red and blue lights from the patrol car flashed over his face, which was incredulous at the site of the person who opened the door at three in the morning - me, a middle-aged, gray-haired man in Nick & Nora PJs with horsies on them.

"We had to take your friend to jail because he was banging on someone's door with a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a full-handled axe in the other," he said.

He was trying hard not to let the trace of a smile materialize over his proud face. In this neighborhood, nothing interesting ever happens, so flatfoots in patrol units aren't likely to become gun-pulling guardians of sleeping innocents.

"I almost shot him!," he said with a kind of glee not totally appropriate for such an admission.

The "friend" in question was a member of a visiting traveling band. He'd gotten drunk while messing around with some of the big boy tools in my garage and wandered out into unwitting suburbia. He's a sweet kid who'd never hurt anyone, but, in the dark of night he probably looked like any other crazed axe murderer. The cops found out he was just a goof later when they had to repeatedly ask him to stop breakdancing in the drunk tank.

And so it's gone around this house for three or four years now. We've opened our home up to kids in traveling bands, offering them a good square and a place to catch some shuteye as they tread across the country trying to make their musical dreams come true.

My own kids are in a band. Three or four bands, actually. Journalistically, it would be bad form to tell you who they are. What's important to know is they are active, touring musicians who spend many days a year in different cities. They've met a lot of people and surfed a lot of couches.

As good citizens of the do-it-yourself music community, my wife and I have always felt it's important to reciprocate every nice gesture the kids have received. I'm happy to report, they have received many.

At least, that's how this started, with us trying to satisfy the karma police. Little did we know that it would involve the actual police on occasion.

One Sunday morning, the familiar, heavy-handed knock of law enforcement came on the front door.

"Are you expecting company?" the officer asked, investigating a bad case of bedhead and guessing I probably was not.

I told him we were waiting on some kids from Arizona, who were supposed to arrive hours earlier.

"Well, I found them," the officer said, barely hiding his disgust. "They're sleeping in a van in front of someone's house down the street. They scared your neighbors, so they called us."

Again, all very innocent. The band had arrived in the early, early morning. Like considerate guests, they figured their hosts were asleep, so they chose to nap in their van until daylight and a more appropriate time to announce their arrival. Sadly, they'd jotted down the address incorrectly, causing the confusion.



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8 comments
Craigley
Craigley

Any STDs from these STBs?

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

That, Mr. Sendejas, is first class writing and a lot of fun to read. When I was a child Mutha' McClellan told me stories of old Ireland where no poet went hungry or sleep out of doors and of Grampy McClellan feeding cowboys and allowing them to bunk on the front porch. You're a blessed person to extend such comfort to these kids. 

wordlover
wordlover

Kudos to you and your wife for opening your home to these kids.  I imagine your home, at any given time, to be filled with music, song, and good times.  I think your neighbors need to relax and embrace the music or look the other way.   I'm enjoying reading your column, good stuff.

Melia Hughes
Melia Hughes

My brother is one of the owners of a label out of San Francisco. My folks have hosted some of the bands when they have come through town, usually on their way to or from SXSW. They've even gone out to see some of them play. They love it. It gives them some great stories.

eudemonist
eudemonist

Awesome, dude.  Killer column, and great work you're doin'.  Keep it up.

Kimberly Tennile
Kimberly Tennile

I've done that with visiting poets. It's cool so long as they know when to leave.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

When it's time do you screen "Dead Poet's Society," as a hint?

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