“Milk and cookies!... You would think there would be more debauchery going on back stage at a rock show, right?!”
Chris Scruggs smiled with ease but a hint of folk legend swagger. We were caught off balance, just leaving one heaven of M. Ward’s show. Chris entered the silver-door bused threshold and quickly returned with a milk carton on hand. “We even have brownies.”
The words he spoke seemed as if they belong to an apple-cheeked schoolboy, and while his cheeks were appled, he had just played bass for one of the most amazing, seated events I could have ever witnessed.
There wasn’t an opening act, and one wasn’t needed. The heartbeat bass opened, begging to be broken by M.’s rumpled voice and salt and pepper hair:
Don’t they love you in mysterious ways?
Chris’s haircut could have passed for a Beatle but seemed off pitch next to today’s, high fi, FM sound. His smile was almost off-putting as his gleamed so sweetly; my more cynical side almost wished it cavities. But I wouldn’t bother, assuming there were as many multi-colored toothbrushes, toothpastes and floss cases on that tour bus as there were band members. I imagined them, lined up at the mirror checking their gums lines and
Yea, you say that was then and this is now. Put a dollar in the machine and you’ll remember how…”
His mention of milk and cookies wasn’t but felt inviting. His image seemed to echo a cleansed self – one who put all of his faith in the lifted, but suffered all of his faith when they failed. His heart still beating - stronger than a heavy metal bullet… He started to evolve into a cartoon character.
“I know when everything feels wrong. I got some hard, hard proof in this song. Although when everything feels right… Some lucky night.
We had happened to exit through the right door. A happy accident. How often does this actually happen? I don’t remember whose idea it was, but I know it wasn’t mine. I want to contribute it to both Steph and Will. As we walked out through this odd exit – positioned close to the stage and away from the crowd – we were greeted by a grand, mammoth tour bus. The only time this could be a good sign is in a “hold me closer tiny dancer,” Almost Famous kind of situation.
You say the money just aint what it used to be… and, man how we use to tear apart this town. Put a dollar into the machine, and we’ll remember how.
Chris led us to a small group and the venue’s back door. As there were a few people gathered around, there was enough time for us to observe how M. reacted to different approaches. Rules or guideline began to take shape in my mind: No pictures. He is friendly but painfully introverted, not in an obnoxious ‘I feel like I am famous’ obnoxious kind of way. Approach him with a smile but let him initiate the interaction.
By that point, he had put on his thick-framed glasses. They may have passed as a ‘hipster accessory’ except he didn’t wear them on stage or with such bravado. He seemed less like the a-dork-able black-rimmed caricature and more like Buddy Holly.
I know when everything feels wrong… I got some hard, hard proof in this song. I’ll know when everything feels right… some lonesome night.