And then I followed the unknowing woman into the car wash parking lot.
It's important to note that my fandom for the band has existed always in a lonely corner of my world. The Refreshments, after all, were barely a blip on the recognition radar of the national music scene and their reincarnation, the Peacemakers, is a self-produced, self-promoted, label-less, fan word-of-mouth type of outfit from Arizona.
Living in Southwestern Michigan, that translates into "nobody knows who the hell I'm talking about" when I grow excited about the new album or the band coming to town.
I remember being prompted by a teacher in high school to write a report on the band. I was struggling for a subject and the teacher nodded to my oft-worn Refreshments t-shirt. "You seem to love those guys," she said. "Write a report on them."
You have to remember, this was during the Wild West days of the Web. There was no social-networking and it was still pretty rare for a band to even have a website (and if they did, well, remember Geocities?). As hard as it is to imagine now, at that time, if it wasn't in a paper encyclopedia (or the CD-ROM equivalent) or someone hadn't written a magazine article or book on it, information on a topic was difficult to come by.
There was no information from which to draw an entire report. There were no sources to cite. I'm pretty sure I got that t-shirt by sending a check. In the mail.
Nobody around me knew of the band unless it was from my own referencing. I must not have been very convincing, because I took in my first Peacemakers show (and many after) by myself, making the long trek from home to Chicago, as I'd done for many other bands in my beat-up little car, parking somewhere I hoped was legal, and making the post show drive home, singing in the dark to recordings of the songs I'd just heard.
Years into my fandom, well after high school, I would have never expected to drive down Red Arrow Highway and come across a car with an "RCPM" bumper sticker. But that very thing happened.
I was startled, suddenly trying to keep pace with the car without moving too close, trying to figure out what I would do. I couldn't just follow the car wherever it went. What if they went home? Or they were driving to Florida? I couldn't follow them to Florida...I had to work that night! Who was in that car?
While these questions flew through my head, the car turned into a car wash not far from my home. So I did the only thing I could do...I followed.
The car pulled around the car wash building, up to the vacuum station, and a woman got out, while I stopped and watched from the other side of the wash station in as uncreepy a fashion as possible. Fearing that I was quickly losing that "uncreepy" ground, I pulled up by the building, parked and slowly approached.
"Hey, this is going to sound weird but..."
It worked out. I got the word "Peacemakers" out of my mouth before getting too close and all was well in the world.
I made a friend. We had some great times. She even got me a job later on, a job that allowed me to afford buying a house. All because of my favorite band.
Music can do magic, eh?
In honor of that magic, I present to you round two of free Peacemakers music. The Magnificent 7 Part Dos! brings another round of tunes chosen by the band and the fans in hope of bringing those unaware into the Peacemaker's fold. It's free. It's yours. Listen and be merry.
Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers
Or the individual tracks:
Here's to life!