Tag Archives: Waiting For Columbus

Waiting For Columbus – Little Feat

2 am, 8 years old, Milford Massachusetts visiting family friends my Mother and Father had known since high school. Long after the children went to sleep I walked up the stairs and was invited to a rare event, my parents enjoying themselves in the company of other parents. Old Folks Boogie played loud in the foreground while they discussed what it was like to age. I had no idea what they were speaking about but was happy to be a part of the fun time they were having. This was not the first time I was exposed to this Little Feat album, but it was my first distinct memory. As the oldest child I was allowed to stay up with them, have soda (while they had their drinks—Budweiser for the hosts and Dewars and water for the guests) and watch them dance and enjoy the music. This was my first introduction to my parents as the people they were before children, the persona parents usually expose post high school graduation. I noticed two things this evening, one, getting older does not necessarily mean getting bored, and two, my father was a lot more into the music then anyone else.

My aunt had a framed picture that my father drew of his favorite musician; this was a mainstay in every house she ever owned. From the time it hung above a piano I played on when I was five to my cousin’s 18th birthday party when it was a fixture in her dining room. This portrait was of Lowell George, the founder and front man of the band Little Feat. Lowell George’s death in 1979 affected my father much like Elliott Smith’s affected me. There are few musicians I can pay attention to for their full careers and Elliott was one of them. My life wasn’t affected by the deaths of Kurt Cobain, Brad Nowell, or any of the modern day rock and roll casualties (with the exception of Joe Strummer), and my father was the same way, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, they were all givens. With the exception of Keith Moon and John Bonham, my father was only really devastated by the death of Lowell George…hence the name of my brother, Kyle Lowell George. Little feat reformed in 1988 and continues to play today, but the songs of the original founder are still the most soulful and skillfully crafted.

5/15/2003—Three days after my high school graduation (thank you, internet): My father bought tickets for myself, my mother and his friend to see Little Feat at Lupo’s in Providence. I drove while the elders passed a bottle of booze around the car on the 40 minute drive to Rhode Island’s corrupt capitol city. I was able to see my father enjoy his favorite band at the same venue I had watched NOFX, Boy Sets Fire, Goldfinger, H20, Madball, Foo Fighters, Ignite and all the other bands that made my high school years what they were. He made sure I had seen Duke Robillard, Little Richard, Percy Sledge, Bob Dylan, and a ton of other musicians before it was too late, but it wasn’t until he had me see his favorite band did I truly realize what it was like to love music. I wanted to say about 700 different things about this album, but I’ve decided just to leave you with the lyrics to Willin.

I been warped by the rain, driven by the snow
I’m drunk and dirty don’t ya know, and I’m still…willin’
Out on the road late at night, Seen my pretty Alice in every head light
Alice…Dallas Alice

I’ve been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin’

I’ve been kicked by the wind, robbed by the sleet
Had my head stoved in, but I’m still on my feet and I’m still… willin’
Now I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
Baked by the sun, every time I go to Mexico, and I’m still

And I been from Tuscon to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah
Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made
Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed
And if you give me: weed, whites, and wine
And you show me a sign
I’ll be willin’, to be movin