BubbleMan 2: Electric Bubbleoo

Day Fifteen.

The clerk at Enterprise asks: "Is this Mercedes okay?”

I'm a bit surprised, considering my reservation was for a "Mitsubishi Mirage or similar," but apparently a Mercedez-Benz CLA250 is what passes for an economy vehicle in Wine Country. The price is the same, so I opt not to make a fuss. I've got an appointment with a saxophone wizard in Sebastopol, and if I have to spend a sunny afternoon cruising through the backroads of Sonoma County in a luxury automobile to get there, well, sometimes artists have to make sacrifices.

There is a subset of adjectives more or less reserved for the elderly- words like "crotchety," "wizened," "gnarled," and "cantankerous." Gino is not necessarily any of these, but he is stooped, venerable, and kindly. He speaks gently and moves slowly, but seems in good health other than an elastic bandage around his right hand, which I only notice after he winces at my handshake. He keeps two pens, a notecard, and a pack of Marlboros in his shirt pocket. He quietly invites me into his garage workshop and assesses the state of my saxophone.

What strikes me about Gino Micheletti is his attention to detail, his sense of nuance. Every little task is executed with exacting sensitivity. Hold this joint with duck-billed pliers so the post bends up here rather than down there.  Use a pipe cleaner to apply adhesive. Don't close the glue bottle too tight; it'll make it hard to open later. Hundreds of little methodical tricks and tweaks accumulated over a lifetime of trial and error. In about two hours, Gino cures my saxophone of all of the cumulative ailments of life on the road. Normally, getting work done on my horn is just a matter of course. Today, it felt more like the makings of an "I Ate At El Bulli” piece.

But enough about my day.  Let's talk about last night.


You guys. Seriously you guys (and gals and whatever else). Petaluma was lit. The Mystic Theatre is aptly named, for there is certainly some magic in those walls. Things went from zero to rowdy in a hurry. I'd be doing both of us a disservice if I neglected to mention that last night (and also in Santa Cruz) our friends Zeke and Benjamin from Con Brio (who have been supporting us for the majority of the tour) came out at the end of the night to help us play "When Doves Cry” and now I don't even want to cover it without them anymore.

Today has been a nice day off. Tomorrow morning, we'll be back in the cozy confines of the bus for the home stretch of this tour. It feels like I've been away for a thousand years, and it feels like we just left home yesterday. I'm excited for the next few shows, and I'm excited to get home and do nothing, and then I'm excited to almost immediately stop doing nothing and do Mardi Gras instead, followed by more nothing, then Okeechobee festival, then a bunch of other stuff and then eventually death. Happy Valentine's Day!