Somewhere in Alaska: back to basics

Back to basics: we were playing the simplest kind of 1-4-5 blues shuffle mess, and it sounded awful.

But it was spontaneous combustion, and the goofy release was the perfect antidote for our self-pity. Suddenly, stripped of the pretention we desperately loved—being one of the nation's hottest Western Swing bands (well, depending on who you asked)—we were beginners transported back to the innocence of hardly knowing how to play, NOT knowing how to play.

We were having a ball, laughing and carrying on in complete musical incompetence.

OK, so we were a little drunk. Julie also had a few (and I mean a few—perhaps one or two), and was acting as goofy as us. She was the kind of straightlaced person who referred to herself as "tipsy."

We gleefully bashed away at the piano. Julie was animated, telling me this was so much fun, more fun than she's had in ages, but you know what, what she really always wanted to do was play DRUMS. I laughed and of course agreed, drums were superior to all else.

Julie and I were having a pretty damn good, silly time. Then, a shadow came over her face. She looked up from the piano, crying.

It was the last thing I would have expected. While the band droned on, she opened her mouth to speak...

Next: What Julie had to say...

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