A brief reminiscing of some of my John Wesley Harding experiences.
My former babysitter and family friend who two years earlier had introduced me to The Violent Femmes, The Specials, The Housemartins, etc lent me a CD of John Wesley Harding's first album Here Comes the Groom. The friend worked at Kemp Mill Records and always was around with good music tips. For the most part, I really liked the album a lot. I also enjoyed borrowing Harding's Christmas CD which included his great cover of Like a Prayer.
The song The People's Drug is played on WHFS quite regularly. Good song and Harding gets bonus points for naming the song after the local chain of drug stores.
If my memory serves correctly, I saw him open for the Violent Femmes in Baltimore with my first girlfriend.
I read a review of Harding's CD It Happened One Night in the long ago free VA weekly The Mojo Sloth. The album was recorded live in 1988 and is Harding at his early best. The review mentioned that Harding plays his guitar really really fast at just the right time every time. I couldn't agree more. I run up to Town and Campus Records to pick up a copy of the CD. The album still remains one of my all time favorites.
1992 - 1997
I see Harding at least three or four times at the Birchmere. I love him so, every single time. He never puts on a bad show. His songs are always great live and his stage presence is probably my favorite of any performer I've ever seen. One of the times, the Barenaked Ladies open for Harding. Odd.
1992 - 2000
I buy every CD that the man puts out. I don't love every song but overall, there is more than enough to like on each release.
After a five year layoff, I see him play at Southpaw. Once again, a great show and I'm reminded how much I love seeing him perform live.
SHR and I were about to get married and were looking for an apt. in Park Slope. We went to a broker on 7th Ave and we were led to a small 1 bedroom in the neighborhood. It was too small for the two of us but as we looked around, we were struck by the great books and Cd's in the apt.
I noticed many narrow boxes of CD's all packed up to be sold at a merch table. They were all John Wesley Harding Cd's. We noticed a nice guitar. The broker said, "Yeah, I think a musician lives here." I noticed an Arsenal flag and I recalled that they were Harding's favorite football team. Then we noticed a framed photo on the desk of Harding with Bruce Springsteen. How random! We were looking for an apt in Park Slope and were shown John Wesley Harding's apt!
After another long layoff, I saw him two nights ago at Union Hall as part of a filming for a live DVD supplement to an upcoming CD release. Mitch, Jamie, and I saw the first of two shows. During the show, I realized that he might be the only band/musician who I have now seen perform while I was in my teens, twenties, and now my thirties.
In between shows, I saw him upstairs so I stopped him. I asked him if he still lived in Park Slope and he said no, he lived in Ft. Greene. I blurted out that I was in his apt. four years ago. He seemed a bit taken aback by that proclamation from a stranger. He also was in a bit of a rush since he had another show to play. He denied that he was renting out his place and said, "Why would I rent my apt? Think about it." And then he ducked outside for I'm guessing a quick smoke.
At this point, I'm pretty damn perplexed. I was pretty sure that I was in his apt four years ago but maybe I wasn't. Maybe it was his manager's apt? Maybe it was some crazy stalker's apt? Maybe he didn't have time to really listen to what I was saying to him? Maybe he was just fucking with me?
Either way, I look forward to seeing him next spring when he tours in support of his next album. Maybe I will even read one of his books. I've heard good things.
He only played one new song on Monday night but it was a good one. Check out this recording from last year.
Mets 11 Padres 2
10 hours ago