It’s been far too long since you last came to Ballard to play a show at the Tractor Tavern. I am pretty sure the last time you played was when you were touring in support of Cruel Words some time in 2006 or 2007.
Zippy and I were drinking in a booth near the exit at Hattie’s Hat when you walked by, and we waved at you as you approached the door. You were kind enough to stop and chat with us, and even kinder to autograph the meat cleaver I pulled out of my back pocket with the words “My Father’s Cleaver” and your loopy signature. That cleaver is stored in my butcher’s block, but I do pull it out on occasion to cleave some meat, chop garlic, cut pizza, or just check to see if the autograph is still there. It is.
You were on your way to a sound check just before you stopped at our table, and when we left Hattie’s to hang out on the sidewalk for a while before going inside, we saw you on the street corner but, at the time, it seemed like you were avoiding us. We thought maybe you thought we were crazy drunken fuckers with meat cleavers in our pockets, but we weren’t. Well, we were drunk, and maybe a little crazy, but we had stashed the precious meat cleaver in the car.
We drank more whiskey at the Tractor during your show, and were relentless in our request for “Wedding Dress” which, much to our delight, you sang – albeit somewhat reluctantly from what I can recall from your introduction to the song. Thank you.
After the show I stopped by the merch booth to let you know that I was not packing a meat cleaver in my pocket and buy your book of poems that you autographed for me – this time with the words, “Yo Brad you are WACK (heart with an arrow through it) Johnny Dowd.”
So here I am tonight drinking some really great French wine – which, based on your Eurocentric calendar of tour dates, you must be familiar with – and listening to Pictures from Life’s other Side, thinking about what a goddamn masterpiece it is and how long ago it was that we last saw you at the Tractor Tavern.
So please consider this letter an invitation from your “wack” fan in Ballard to return to the Tractor and play a long overdue show for me and all your other crazy, drunken, non-cleaver-packing fans in Seattle.
P.S. Bring a big supply of your records, because they are hard to find in stores around these parts.