Red Hay, Twin Cities, 1997-1999


Keith Pille of Minneapolis sent in this beauty:

We were a really, really by-the-numbers country-rock band with some pretty serious Uncle Tupelo Envy. We were a 4-piece, with 3 of us living in the Twin Cities and being really, really into the band and convinced that we were always just a month or so away from getting signed and making it big because we were so awesome blah blah blah. The 4th member, our drummer, lived way out in rural Minnesota and worked as a high school band director. He only made it into town for shows (which were rare), and we never, ever practiced, theory being, we were pretty sure the Replacements never practiced, and if they didn't, why should we?

So after about two years of straggling along like that, we finally landed a show at the 7th Street Entry, which is sort of the smaller room at First Avenue, the top-of-the-heap venue in Minneapolis. We were psyched, and were convinced that this was the show would kick us up into the big time.

And then, the day before the show, the drummer calls with news that few bands have to deal with on the eve of their big performance. There's an emergency school board meeting the night of the show, and he has to go to testify in a debate about cuts to school band funding. He hates to do it, but he can't make the show.

We called the junior booking guy at First Ave. To our relief, he was pretty cool about it. And the call ends up with him assuring us we can reschedule, and that he'll get back to us.

The next day, then, about an hour before the actual show would've started, the phone rings. It's the senior booking guy at First Ave, and he's so mad the phone practically bursts into flames in my hand. He keeps yelling, "WHERE THE HELL IS RED HAY?" When we tell him our story about the school board and that we called yesterday and canceled, he says he never got the message and he's got no use for no-shows and we'll never play there again and he'll do what he can to make sure we never play anywhere else, either.

Pretty much as soon as we put the phone down, we realized our days as a band were done. Our drummer did convince the school board not to cut band funding though, and I am left with the memories and a concert poster in which I am farting around with a college friend's Chinese assault rifle. With the bayonet and the box of cigars, I figured it would make for some good "revolutionary"-type pictures. (Yeah. I know.)

How did Uncle Tupelo make it and Red Hay were left to languish? You be the judge. Listen to the hand-crafted sound of their fine work with this track. Get Drunk.

6 comments:

headphaze said...

junior booking guys at first ave are useless anyway, you don't need them, i didn't need them, no one needs them. their jobs should be so easy and they should THANK YOU for playing, but they won't. instead, they wish they were able to make music, and not make water. babies... all of em...

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