Monday, July 12, 2010


The summer I was 17, the "thing" to do on Tuesday nights was boogie downtown to Antone's in your best tube top and make eyes at whatever bouncer was lording over the velvet rope at the front of the "Under 21" line, crossing your fingers and your toes and your eyes and whatever else you could cross in hopes he'd let you pass in time to get a good spot by the stage.

For you see, Tuesday night was The Scabs' night.  And The Scabs?  Were quintessentially cool.  There's the obvious "We Named Our Band After Something Kinda Gross" Factor.  Then there was the slim black suits and the guayaberas and the pork pie hats.  And the horn section.... oh the horn section!  I think the horns + the pork pie hats made us all feel a little as if we were shimmying at Josh's Friend's Frat Party with Cher and Dionne and Tai while Reel Big Fish jammed in the background.  If Josh's Friend's Frat Party had been really, really smoky and dark with no-door bathroom stalls, that is.  

Also cool?  The lead singer's lady friend just so happened to be Sandra Bullock, Post-Hope Floats, but Pre-Miss Congeniality.  We'd catch glimpses of Sandy up in the VIP balconey, and sometimes, other Hollywood types would make appearances.  Once, a very sweaty, shaggy-haired man knocked me straight onto my rump as he was making his way to the stage.  He was nice enough to give me a (rather damp - ew) hand, but proved to be a horrendous singer when he took the mike.  Oh Russel Crowe.  Who knew you've actually sold records!  Being body-slammed by an Academy Award Winner is not fun.... but it is cool!  

Oh!  And the creative cussing! No one appreciates ingenious use of foul language more than me at any age those not yet old enough to legally vote or purchase cigarettes.  And you could always tell who the first-timers were at a Scabs' concert.  They'd be bobbing their head to the music and they might be thinking, "Huh.  These guys are pretty good.  Although, if it weren't so cloudy with nicotine in here, my dad might actually kind of like this because it almost sounds like that jazzy stuff he likes and holy shit is he singing about oral sex?!'"  {Yes.} {But maybe don't click on that link at work.} {Although I promise you it's nothing worse than 30-something men singing in slim black suits wearing funny wigs.}  And of course we'd all look at them knowingly like "yeah, that's totally what he said - we know.... 'cause we're REGULARS... 'cause we're HARDCORE... this is our SCENE, baby."  

Except, um, we have to be home by curfew. 

Aaaaaaah yes.  Maybe the very coolest thing about the Scabs was that they didn't begin playing until 12:00.  That would be 12:00 A.M.  MIDNIGHT!  How cool is that, right?  So cool, because if you - begging and pleading - could somehow convince your parents to let you go out... downtown... to a club... for a concert that didn't even begin until the hour you were normally supposed to be due home, then you, by association, must be cool, too. 

I was thinking about those late nights the other day whilst watching Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist for about the eighth time.  I was thinking about how much I loved growing up in Austin - a far cry from New York City but forever a city with soul - ... with parents who understood the value in bestowing upon a decently responsible teenager the privilege to explore outside the confines of the familiar bubble of our community.

Were our cultural pursuits always lofty?  Ha!

But there's always a little magic in seeing a city alive and awake in the middle of the night... makes you feel small, but purposeful - as if you're a tiny piece of something living and breathing.

Ironically (actually, not ironically, but I'm blanking on an appropriate adverb), Bob Schneider, lead vocalist for the Scabs back in my day and previously mentioned ex-beau of S. Bullock, has become quite successful as a solo artist.  My parents - dad especially - are big fans and have me, once again, in wannabe groupie mode.  While Changing Your Mind (thanks Padre!) has been getting almost as much play on my iPod as Mr. Bingham's Weary Kind, the 40 Dogs video below gets a hit from me every time I'm Austin-sick.  I find the gorgeous Kat Denning's appearance especially appropriate... Nick & Nora and the Scabs and Late-Night Adolescent Adventures coming full circle.  Serendipitous, yes?  

Bob Schneider - 40 Dogs
from Bob Schneider on Vimeo.

{you too can see the Scabs on July 23 at Antone's!}

{except now the show starts at 9 PM - not nearly as cool}


  1. 1. Every time T and I watch Nick & Nora (like you, this means many times), we promise to allow our children the space and freedom to have similar magical nights.

    2. I heart Kat Denning, which is amplified every time she tweets over at Follow!

  2. I'm a new Austinite (almost a year!) and love Bob Schneider. Thanks for the tip! I will definitely be checking out the Scabs at Antone's!

  3. I seem to have slowly gotten on the Bob Schneider train, but like you it won't reach the Bingham level on the most played list. oh austin how I love thee

  4. One of my law school friends knew one of the guys in the Scabs, not sure who, so this is my law school memory.

  5. I love Bob Schneider! I will never forget meeting Sandra Bullock at the Foundation Room in New Orleans. awesome show too!

  6. I have a Bob Schneider in my car CD player RIGHT.NOW. (I'm from Austin, too, but only saw him one time at Antones...wish I'd talked my parents into curfew extensions more often!)

  7. I love Bob! I saw him play in this teeny tiny venue in Houston and we sat right at the foot of the stage. He was eating food off of our table in between songs - hilarious.

  8. I love Bob Schneider too. You had the damn coolest high school hangout ever! One of the first dates with my now hubs was to one of his shows in Minneapolis. We even danced to one of his songs at our wedding. Hmmmm, I think an anniversary trip to Austin is in order!


happy little comments!