Pictures or it didn’t happen.
Well there aren’t and it did. Hanging out with Jason Ringenberg after the show was too precious to sully with an awkward request for a selfie. Brave enough to open for The Ramones in Texas, it’s his decency that’s most striking. That and the determination to tell the tales that nobody else is telling, like the story of the Tuskegee airmen.
There’s a fleeting moment in tonight’s show, as Jason is describing the Tuskegee fighter pilots’ 100% record of protecting Allied bomber flights over Germany, when the expected applause doesn’t come. Maybe this crowd is particularly anti-war. Maybe the looming large of exit from political union with our European neighbours engenders some reticence. The power of the story remains.
To be in a band, you think, is to exercise mastery over your instrument and the art of performance. The reality is transport logistics, rigging stages and PA systems, rudimentary sound engineering, manual handling. Tonight I’m running Jason’s merch stall. There’s an unintended consequence in so much as before the first set I’ve met and exchanged pleasantries with half the audience making the shared experience of the show all the sweeter.
We reminisce about a time when I did take a fan photo: My now adult son posing with Farmer Jason in this club close to twenty years ago. We quietly ponder the swift passage of time. Don’t meet your heroes, they say. Sometimes their humanity can only render them more heroic.