There was this one gig where some lady jumps on stage with a pair of spoons and a clarinet...and changed The Bodarks forever.
Now, if you go down to #DeepEllum to have yourself some fun, you never know what kinda crowd you'll get before the police come. #Adairs Saloon in particular could be packed with slick-boot honky-tonkers, SMU hipsters, tattoo expressionists, a coven of black-lipped Wiccans, post-game Mavericks fanatics. And of course Deep Ellum Bob is likely to guest-star with his Casio keyboard.
On this particular occasion, we went on at 11, and by midnight the place was a party with all the above in attendance, a Lone Star in every hand. Then this spoon lady hops up with us on that bouncy, ply-wood stage, clicking cutlery to the rhythm of "The Bodark Song" across her cleavage, and on my shoulders and head. Next, she assembles a clarinet like a pool hustler's cue stick, and is wailing along to "Little Green Men" and "Demon Whiskey," as if she'd played our songs countless times before.
Turns out that this lovely lady, Patti Steel, arrived in our lives at a time when we were stagnating, and thinking of calling it quits. You see, some of the Bodarks were struggling to make it to gigs due to other demands. A recurring theme in bands, ya know. And it's hard finding players who...uh...do what we do. But Patti had just moved to Big D from the Land of Hootenanny. That's up in the Ozarks. She could sing, play mandolin, washboard - she can make music out of anything really. Ragtime, jug band, gypsy jazz, punk-folk - all part of her common slang. And the stage was her natural home.
Patti started filling in for players and kept us going. She would eventually change the way we performed and the way we think about the band - not as a rigid roster of the same members, but as an organic experiment, where every show might offer something, or someone, different. And she would make an appearance in a few of our songs, too.
Unfortunately for us, Patti moved back up to the Land of Hootenanny. You can catch her there casting sunshine on the stages of #TrashcanBandits, #ChuckyWaggs, #HoneyShuffle, #JohaiKafa, #HandmadeMoments, #BenMillerBand, and mucho others. Just follow the sound of clicking spoons.
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