In a parallel universe, where Mark Oliver “E” Everett is POTUS, and his friend Sean Coleman of The Sunshine Club is a house-hold name, or has his own reality show, Matt Nathanson is exactly where he is here and now, touring the country with Maroon 5 and Train, charting with “Faster”, et cetera. He is also, in this perfect world, appearing sometime soon, very soon, at Zoe Café in Menlo Park, stumping, as it were, for TLPW 456, the campaign to bring culture to downtown Palo Alto, to The Varsity Theatre. Matt would or is or could or should appear at a secret show to rally the troops for the assault on Navarone-esque idiocy that represents the status quo of the landlord-dominated politics of Palo Alto. Apropos of nothing, but of special interest to the overlapping fan bases of Matt Nathanson, the Wilson Pickett cameo in “The Commitments”, Madeleine L’Engle and Robert Venn, Matt will be in Concord, California on Sept. 15, which is only 57 miles and 71 minutes from Cafe Zoe, wink wink nudge nudge.
I will put in (but not like Putin) a call on this, in the here and now, to Matt’s management, Jordan Kurland and Justin Little of Zeitgeist Management of San Francisco, my old friends. In September of 1995, for example, Jordan wrote me on David Lefkowitz Management letterhead to ask if his old college roommate Matt could open for Dar Williams at Cubberley. That didn’t happen but I did, for example, have Matt open for The John Doe Thing at Cubberley in 2000. I did a bunch of shows with Matt in those days, at Cubberley and CoHo.
Matt is a friend, no lie, but not to the extent of “Jules et Jim” troling for phillies. He did once inscribe a cd to me “I am Mark Weiss’ bitch” which I think was his way of acknowledging my modest role in keeping the wheels on his bandwagon until the Muse of “Come On Get Higher” put the sparks on his tongue, so to speak.
I last saw Matt Nathanson when he played at Metro in The Park in San Jo. I stood in line with some radio contest winners, thanks to my yogi Marla Davies, who also gave me an guacamole green t-shirt, and asked Matt to be part of my Wallace Stegner tribute. Matt hasn’t yet written a song about Stegner, but he did write the words “WALLACE STEGNER” with a Sharpie on the back of his hand, tribute enough.
Kathleen Daly of Zoe Café was hearing me out about my inscrutable and quixotic “TLPW 456” broadsides and campaign when Matt came on her player and she started gushing.
“If you can get him to play here, I’’ll give you free coffee for six months,” she declared. I go there about once a week and spend about $4 per frothy creamy cup so that would be an incentive of more than a hundred billion dollars! More to the point, this type of artist relations and spontaneous passion for the arts is exactly what we need to bring back The Varsity (or to enact The Last Picture Waltz). So if posting a blog is like waving a dream-catcher, in this or any of the trillion parallel universes, keep your antennae up for details to come.
The second previous time, before Marla and Metro and the KEZR The Mix 106 radio show, that I tried to engage Matt I told Justin Little that Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was quoted in Sports Illustrated as saying that he chills to Matt in the locker room and that therefore Matt should route through there. Well guess what: Matt plays Boise State on October 22, the night of the Broncos’ Air Force game.
So support The Sleep Train Pavillion at Concord on September 15 but keep a close watch on little Zoe Cafe for 12 hours before or after Matt’s hit. And call your favorite Palo Alto council member about TLPW 456 and The Varsity Theatre.
And good luck to my Gunn High classmate and former Kellen Moore in the locker room spy, Chris Strausser, who is now the Assistant Football Coach at Colorado University.
Here is Matt’s new video, from EMI/Vanguard:
edit to add, Thursday, November 24: my friend Tim Harris surprised me by having learned to play guitar since the last time I visited him. A highlight of his post-turkey concert was his mastery of two Matt songs, and being impressed that Matt and I have such a history.