As a teenager I used to hang out at Backstage Music, the guitar store in Starkville, when it resided in a tiny unit in the Sack & Save shopping center. I'd sit around playing the intro to "Crazy Train" on guitars that I could never afford, pocket the picks when I was done, and enjoy the atmosphere. (It was a cramped, funky place, not like the saccharine music stores such as Guitar Center and all those, so there actually was atmosphere.) Every once in a while, I'd get to see local music stars like Rogers Stevens, who played in a cheesy but tight cover band called Rock Damage (later Concrete Jungle (!)) and went on to half-nakedly grace the cover of Rolling Stone as a guitarist in Blind Melon. But the coolest guy who frequented Backstage was Pine, a would-be bluesman who would come in and test-drive the acoustic guitars. Pine fancied himself an old-school juke-jointer in the mold of the many famous Mississippi Delta players, but there was one problem: he couldn't play or sing for shit. He'd come in, grab a guitar, and start yowling, "MY WOMAN LEFT ME . . . FOR A LOAF OF BREAD." Horrible stuff, and I'm sure the employees hated to see him coming, but I always enjoyed seeing old Pine. I was amazed at how he could always go completely unnoticed as he slipped a high E string off a guitar and into his pocket. It was only a dollar for a single string, but I guess he figured, why pay a buck when you can get one for free? Cool dude, that Pine.
I'm pretty sure I'm going back to rehab next week. Last few days to have a beer with me--get it while it's hot.