Concert Performances:  Raoul's Roadside Attraction, Portland, Maine

Page 2

[Leo starts playing "Everybody Lies"]

LEO [while playing:]

All of which has nothing to do with this next tune.  I was just trying to explain for my own sake why I got into it, talking about who I danced with when I was a child.  I'll stop that kind of thinking right now.

["Everybody Lies":] [Applause]


[While tuning:]

My guitar is migrating.

[Leo plays "I Yell At Traffic"]


[Leo plays "Ojo"]


[Leo plays "Airproofing II"]


[Webmaster's Note:  the first part of this next story, about Leo's father-in-law, was missing from the tape from which this is transcribed. -- BH]

LEO: North Dakota in 1932.  He was a violin player then in Woontucket [?], North Dakota, and there was one job in town which was held down by Lawrence Welk of all people.  He was broadcasting weekly out of the second storey of a -- and the last storey -- of the seed company in Woontucket that soon, with the dulcet tones of Lawrence Welk and some broadcasting [they thought] that they could unseat the Burpee empire of seed.  And it was, and continues to be for I guess all the time that Bob was there, the only job available.  It was all brass being what it was, and my father-in-law, being a violin player, was sort of out of luck -- or lucky depending on how you look at it.  

But he also at the time -- was this '32?  When did Prohibition end?  Anybody remember?  '33?  Well, it could have been '32 then.  But he was selling alcohol to the guys in the band.  You'd pour it -- it was raw, so you'd pour it into the top of a bottle of pop or something and shake it up.  And he'd sold some of this to the drummer and a saxophone player who were driving around before one of these broadcasts.  And the drummer, who was at the wheel, forgot to shake up his concoction and so he drank this raw alcohol and began to choke.  And, according to the saxophonist who survived, he ran into a bridge and decapitated himself as a result.  And what I'm driving at is [that] there's an indication here of how Lawrence Welk conducted his musical affairs, because he hired my father-in-law to replace the drummer in this band, despite the fact he was a violin player.

[Tuning]  Excuse me...I hate this.  See, I never change strings, that's my problem here.  Cause after a certain amount of crud has accumulated they won't behave.  

This was written by Paul Siebels.

[Leo starts to play "Louise" but guitar is out of tune]

Oh great.  [Starts retuning].  See, it's obvious to everybody what strings are out, but I know that too.  I just wanted to let you know that.  It's just that some of them have to be a little out so that all the others don't sound permanently out all the time.  That's what Bach did to us...if it weren't for him we wouldn't  have to mess with all these other keys.

[Leo plays "Louise"] [Applause]

[Leo plays "Regards from Chuck Pink"]


I'm gonna sneak up to the end of the set with a tune that I wrote after playing with David Hidalgo [of Los Lobos] for a while.  We were in the studio.  I'd been sitting there playing an instrument of his called a baja sexto, which is a thing that -- it's a 12-string but it's not like a 12-string, it's tuned -- what did I do with my -- [looks for something] -- oh, excuse me.  It's tuned an octave below where the guitar is tuned.  This [guitar] is two steps down [plays a chord] instead of where it'd [normally] be --  there [plays the same chord two frets up].  So you can imagine this thing was so low it didn't have any sound, it just kind of spits when you hit it.  And it's a real popular sort of polka instrument.  And it just sound like [snaps the low strings on his guitar].  Well, not even like [snaps strings again]...well, never mind.  But if you play it very very lightly it'll sound, and it's so far down there it's irresistible.

And I started playing this [plays riff from "Jack Gets Up"] which is responsible for "Hang on Sloopy," about 80 percent of the tunes we've got in our head and which we could get out of our head.  It is the Gross National Product.  And I'm a sucker for that stuff, and I looked up after what must have been about 20 minutes realizing that I had just betrayed how unhip I was to David Hidalgo.  And I realized he was just as stupid as I am, 'cause he'd been playing along the whole time.  But as much as we'd enjoyed it and as stupid as we are we had to admit that it probably wasn't enough, you know, on a record.  

Up PreviousNext
Interviews & Reviews | Recordings | Concerts | Tour Schedule | Songs & Lyrics | Guitar Tab
Audio & Video | Photo Gallery | Kottke Network | Links | Search | Credits

Home (Frames) | Home (No Frames)

Comments or questions about Leo's web site? Send mail to