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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blast from the past

Yesterday I went down to the Houston Continental Club to see my brother's band The Small Sounds play a show. Roller skated there and back, with an obligatory skate/beer stop on the way back to my folks' house at Rudyard's.
At the Continental Club I ran into Lee Gettys, my former boss at Mercado Caribe, where I tended bar, worked door, cleaned, and did general help stuff from early '91 until spring of '92 when I quit- the only job I ever stormed out of (and probably should have handled it better). There were no hard feelings, and I learned a TON from working for Lee. Lee is out of this world; somewhat crazy, but a gifted madman. I can't go into specifics about much, but he was the one who taught me, in no uncertain words and by drilling it into my brain over and over again that "sometimes you just have to say "F-- IT!" " Also, if you're painting a floor, you can never have too much paint on that floor. So much more. I remember physically working harder there than maybe at any other job I ever had at times. Once I worked 40 hours out of 48 during a Pecan St festival weekend. By the end, I finally had to go home because I could barely walk and I had blisters on my feet. It took me days to recover. So much more...

A few daily highlights of working at Mercado Caribe:

Me being the only person besides Lee who wasn't constantly smoking pot.
Always working with really great looking girls, most of whom had some sort of "affiliation" with Lee.
Paid in cash-always and sometimes arbitrary- sometimes short, sometimes big bonus.
Street vendors on a daily basis setting up their incense and jewelry kiosks in the club.
Rasta musicians drinking Heineken every night with attitude.
Papa Mali, Michael E. Johnson, Yellowman, Timbuk 3, House in Orbit, I-Tex, Irie Jane and a million other great bands (spies Like Us, Under Pressure, E.R. Shorts, Chris Thomas King in the house all the time.
Setting up and taking down a huge reggae-ready outdoor PA system Fridays and Saturdays.
SXSW with the Samples, Sublime, Killer Bees, Timbuk 3 and more- all on the same day under the evening sun.
Broken pedicabs.
Occasional dangerously insane situations involving firearms.
Jogging to and from work since my car's transmission was out.
Re-painting the place in Rasta colors every year.
Driving Lee's '67 Chevy pickup with minimal brakes to run errands for the bar.
Seeing Alan Haynes for the first time.
Becoming friends with Paul Sessums and the rest of the door people on 6th Street- club courtesy.
Learning about playing defense in a club setting and also about "teaching" your customers how you would expect them to act in your venue.

So much more... Thanks, Lee! - David

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