Friday, July 20, 2012

Discovering Chris

Death Margaritas are not for lightweight, ivy league pussies. When the student is ready, the teacher will present. In my case, the teacher showed up, and i curled up into a fetal position on the floor of David's Kappa Alpha frat dorm room, gently weeping what was surely the eternal passing of my sobriety and GI stability.

It was October 1991 and i was back in Texas for some kind of goofy fall break excuse to go party, and god knows you can do worse than UT if this is your mission. We had been out drinking for some time, and ended up on the outdoor porch of some incredibly ratty excuse for a Tex Mex restaurant which was really a front for the the most f*cked up pitchers of margaritas you have ever had.

The kind of pitchers that end up with you on the phone at 2:00 AM with a cheearleader from a rival high school that you met at Old Spaghetti Warehouse in Dallas' West End that resulted in a star-crossed, high school football unrequited love that somehow you thought warranted resuscitation 5 years later because, well, you just had a pitcher of Death Margaritas.

There was some vomiting later, and then the kind of love that only your best friend shows you when he cleans up after you, laughs off your ridiculous alcohol (in)tolerance in front of his frat buddies, and tucks you in bed. And then goes back out drinking.

I think i woke up the next day sometime in the early afternoon. David had been up for a while. I told him i needed some more time to lie in bed and feel sorry for myself. So David goes over to his stereo (this was a particularly ass kicking stereo system for 1991, i think it made the trip all the way from Dallas to Austin, and maybe countless other places), flips some switches, and says "dude, you have GOT to listen to this stuff. i will be back in a few hours".

David was playing Living With The Law, released just a few months before. I remember going in and out of consciousness listening to the CD, but all the while thinking: jesus christ, who in the hell is this blues guy and why is the picture on the cover some white dude? I knew the very first, hungover time i listened to Chris, that i was listening to something incredibly powerful. 

I remember thinking it felt like meeting a friend that you just knew you would have around for the rest of your life.

LWTL got quickly purchased and transferred to cassette tape and went everywhere i did, on almost every run, every trip i took. 

It was in the auspicious wake of Death Margaritas and David that i came across Chris Whitley. 

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