Sunday, April 10, 2016

Who has more fun than Steve Poltz?

Steve Poltz at SPACE
Steve Poltz at SPACE in Evanston, June 19, 2012

I don’t remember my Grandpa Fred. He died when I was young. Though I understand he had a saying, one my dad would repeat after I’d come home from a long night of misadventure and have to rise and shine the next morning:
“Who has more fun than you?”

It’s become a mantra question for me. One I routinely ask my wife, my son, other family members and friends as we continue on this messy adventure called life. Usually, I don’t get a verbal response. Depending on the circumstances, I may come away with a smile, grimace or groan.

Now, after almost 56 years of searching, I have my found the answer:

“Who has more fun than you?”

“Why Grandpa, that would have to be Steve Poltz.”

I first saw Steve perform a hyperkinetic set at the 2008 Guitartown/Conqueroo Kickoff Day Party. Immediately hooked, I learned that it was Steve’s tradition to play a zillion times during SXSW week. My SXSW experience ended that year during Mojo’s Mayhem where I witnessed Steve nearly get a haircut from the Continental Club’s venerable ceiling fan while surfing the crowd after a graceful stage dive.

I’ve been hooked on Steve Poltz, his music, humor and indomitable spirit since. I followed him around SXSW two more years and witnessed three original and captivating shows at SPACE in Evanston, Illinois

Steve Poltz!
Me and Steve and Jonathan, SPACE in Evanston, Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Even better, through Steve’s Instagram feed, Facebook page, blog and other digital smoke signals, he lets me and all his fans in on his ongoing adventures, including weird signs, what’s for breakfast, freaky-cool socks, insta-songs, unique people met along the way and wholly original insights on culture and life.

So it was with great anticipation in 2015 that I started planning my SXSW adventure by trying to figure out all the bars, hotel lobbies and laundromats where Steve would perform that week.

That’s when I learned that Steve wouldn’t be coming to Austin in 2015. Instead, he’d be in Australia -- for more than a month! I figured SXSW must be cancelled. I mean you can’t hold the festival if the unofficial mayor is out of town.

Because of my selfishness (“Why can’t I see Steve perform in Austin?”), it was temporarily painful to follow Steve on social media that spring. But finally, I figured it out:

Why take over a town for a week when you can charm an entire continent for a month or more? See, Australia loves Steve too. They have for years. And in Australia, Steve has found a land vast enough for the enormous fun he radiates.

Have I missed him in Austin these past two years? Sure, but  here’s the best part: I may never make it to Australia, but through Steve’s messages in various Internet bottles, I’ve traveled along like I’m tucked in a secret side pocket in Smokey Joe’s guitar case, experiencing the people, food and places.

Steve wraps his latest Aussie takeover today with a performance at the Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne. Up next he’ll sing the National Anthem on Thursday, April 21, at PETCO Park in San Diego before his beloved Padres take the field. 

Welcome back to the USA, Steve. Thanks for taking us along to Australia again this year. Hope to see you at SPACE in a few weeks.

And seriously, “Who has more fun than you?”

P.S: Steve, if you’re reading this, please let me know where I can buy my “El Poltzo for President” trucker hat. There’s at least one contested convention coming up and I need to represent.

P.P.S: If ya’ll haven’t bought Steve’s new CD, Folksinger, yet, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting on. It’s loaded with heart-warming, -breaking, -persevering songs and a belly full of laughs, too.

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