the Legend of Kemosabe

I ran cross country high school.  One of my best friends, “Kemosabe” was the team captain of the cross country team. I called him Kemosabe because he never got lost, no matter what part of 700 acre Point Defiance Park we were running in. I loved running in that park.

Now, unfortunately for him, he was always saddled with a poor coach. For cross country, we had a coach who had the theory “Fun’s only fun if fun’s fun for everyone.”  He would make us run together as a group, yes, the fast boys had to stick with the slow girls. Often, the coach would call out to Kemosabe, “Circle BACK!!!”.  For track, we had one of the state’s best sprint-relay coaches, and he didn’t care about anything over 400m. For college, he went to a small liberal arts college, and didn’t have a good coach there either. (I went to visit Kemosabe one Thanksgiving, and the coach, seeing me run laps on a the track, tried to recruit me! Srsly, if you were trying to recruit me after watching me run, your team sucks.)

I don’t know how good he would have been, had he actually had a running coach that could have helped him improve. But I’m sure it would have been a lot faster.

Now Kemosabe, is one of two people from high school who knew what they wanted to be, an urban planner for Kemosabe, and actually did it.

He came back to Seattle for graduate school, and one New Year’s Eve, said, “There’s a band playing, The Presidents-of-the-USA” you should go.” Whatever, I thought, I’d been in Seattle for longer than he, I knew what bands were gonna be good. So, I declined. Instead, I stayed at home, we invited some friends over, I almost lost my thumb trying to open a coconut with a rusty hatchet, and six months later, The Presidents were #1 in the nation.

A few weeks ago, MyBetterHalf took all of us to see Casper Baby Pants (Chris Ballew of Pres-USA fame).

He rocked.

He is an excellent craftsman, each song sounded different, each song was easy enough, and good enough to have kids singing, and interesting enough for boring adults like me. I’ve said before, the most difficult songs to write are for kids, or for Church,…and most people do a poor job of it, thinking that kids don’t know any better, and God will forgive sloppy/trite/lazy music.

It was a great show…and here’s my take. He made his money with the Presidents…this he does for fun – all his gigs are free, and CDs are $10, which I suspect are just to break even for production.

It was just Chris Ballew and his guitar, reminded me of Dwight Yoakam “” album.  A good guitarist can make each song sound different, without any special effects.

And he reminded all the audience, “anyone can write songs, here is one written by a four year old girl”.

So, here’s the part where I bring up how stupid Seattle is. Mr Ballew has set up a King County library tour, but has been working for a while on being able to set up a similar tour with Seattle Public Libraries. There was 1985’s Teen Dance Ordinance that made all age shows a rarity. Currently the Seattle City Council is trying to retroactive collect a dance tax.



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