Iâ€™m going to tell you a story every day for the week.
How I came to talking to the agitated man on the other end of the phone at 2am starts three years earlier in a fourth floor rock club in Pittsburgh that–no joke–had a chain-link fence around the bar.
That bar was Club Laga where Andy’s dad had dropped us to go see Bonnie Prince Billy. I hadn’t heard of the band or the frontman Will Oldham, besides Andy’s warbly voiced impersonation of his song “I am a Cinematographer”, which he mostly used to poke fun at my own uncertain singing. But I watched the band, backlit with moody blue light, and enjoyed the show.
“That one song was really good”. Andy knew what I meant. “It’s ‘I See a Darkness’ and Johnny Cash recorded a cover of it.”
Three years later and I, like many other indie rockers–oh fine, I’ll say it, hipsters–had ‘discovered’ Johnny Cash, so when American IV came out, I was playing it on my new radio show.
I played “Personal Jesus”; the phone rang. The caller seemed agitated, almost irate. “Why are you playing Johnny Cash?!”
I wanted to defend my selection but suddenly I wasn’t sure. “Um, I dunno, because I like it,” I mumbled. “Because he’s good I guess?”
“Damn right he’s good! He’s fucking great!”