One of the survival traits of any band is momentum. You have to keep getting your name out there, keep expanding that awesome fan base bigger and bigger. When you’ve got something good, you look down every avenue to see where your band can plant a flag and claim that spot as the latest jewel in its rock-n-roll crown.
Our latest jewel? Madison Valley. And what a jewel it is! I was recently at a dear friend’s dinner party and one of the attendees was my friend’s fellow French expatriate, chef extraordinaire, Thierry Rautureau. While telling me to “Go for a third helping!” of his delicious grilled chicken with wine and mushroom sauce, he mentioned that he was helping to throw Madison Valley’s first ever Bastille Day Bash. Between blissful moments of devouring said chicken dish, I offered up The Castaways to help in the celebration. My good friend chimed in ” Oh yes! You have to have them! They are a ukulele rock band! They are great fun!” I gave Thierry a CD and business card and there, the gig was set.
When I emailed the band to announce the new gig, Pam accused me of holding out about my “high society connections.” The band would play for not only the people of Madison Valley, but for one of the best French chefs to set foot into a kitchen. We (especially our in-house epicurean Pete) were stoked.
The Castaways laid claim to 28th & Madison, right smack dab in front of Thierry’s French bistro, Luc (named after Theirry’s beloved father). We brought the whole rock show for the bash: amps, The PA with Bigger Speakers, and even a tent!
I told the band at rehearsal that Thierry was really excited to have us, but that sentiment was driven home when Thierry – directly to Pete’s left – began playing his Weber grill like a guiro and boisterously hollering “YEAH!” He had a grand time of it.
And a grand time it was! Full of the familiar but always appreciated sight of puzzled, bewildered faces that greet us at every performance — the look that says, “What the hell?” and “Did they just do that song on ukulele?”
Yes. Yes we did.
That look never gets old. It means we are doing something right. Between the two people staring in disbelief at Pete wailing on his cajon and collection of do-dads to the gaggle of folk in front with arms crossed, jaws dropped and staring as if 50 clowns just spilled out of Smart Car… what could be better? How about a couple of miniature horses walking past without a care in the world? Yep. Check that off your Rock-n-Roll bucket list, Pam.
The crowd was awesome! It was their positive energy and zest for fun that fought back the rain and cast the golden rays of the sun onto a splendid celebration. Castaways fans are simply the best. It didn’t hurt to have Thierry at stage left dishing out unbelievably tasty bits of foodie awesomeness!
Speaking of food, after we wrapped up our performance and stowed all the gear, (Miss ya, G!) we settled in for the big payoff: Dinner at Luc. Thierry had reserved a table for the band and promised a flatbed truck to deliver us all home after our meal. We were up to the challenge. Well, all but one of us. Mark was unable to join us due to conflicting dinner plans with friends. We were saddened ever so briefly until we realized his absence meant more food for us! Sorry Mark!
And there lies one of the bits of magic about this band: We have fun. We kid and joke around, Jim pushes his boundaries with Pam, we keep it light and leave the baggage at the door. (Except Pam, who has lots of baggage being a Diva and all.) (Editor’s note: Do not!) Mark may not have been there at dinner physically, but he was there in spirit. How could he not be? We choked his iPhone with text messages and Instagram shots of our ridiculously awesome plates of food. We ended each message with a Bruce Lee 1-inch punch to the ribs of “Wish you were here!”
Mean? Naw. We were trolling to be honest. We knew he was laughing. We wanted Mark to respond with a “Wish you were here!” as he was preparing a not-too-shabby meal for his wife and guests. We were ready to crash that party, too.
Great friends, great music, great fans. That’s how we roll: We have fun!
A special thanks to Thierry and the awesome crew at Luc. You guys rock!