Heather and I are very big fans of Patrice Pike and the Black Box Rebellion. We go see them every time they come to Dallas. We’ve often driven to Austin to check them out, too. They are that good. It helps that our sister, Yvonne, is the world’s biggest fan, (she turned us on to them) and she lives in Austin, so we can stay with her when we make the trip down there. She’s also friends with Patrice, so it’s not rare that Patrice will come to her house to hang out for parties and we sit back in the backyard round a campfire trading guitars and songs.
At one of their shows here in Dallas at the Gypsy Tea Room, we showed up a little early to catch the openers. It was Jason and Zelina and Heather and me. Shelley King was playing that night, if I recall, and I was standing in the middle of the floor, by myself. Jason was against the wall on a barstool, and Z and Heather had gone out looking for a bite to eat.
Well, a few people began to gather about the floor, standing around watching the show, and one of them was Patrice. She came to stand right beside me. Now let me back up a little bit, because this is important. At the previous show we’d seen down in Austin, the band had just come off of a break and was about to close up their set. Patrice came bouncing onto the stage to a giant applause and a grand melodious backbone, awaiting her magnificent vocals. She picked up her guitar and proceeded to spin around the stage, clearly searching for something. I knew immediately what it was, and – standing right up against the stage – tried to get her attention. She couldn’t hear me though, and kept twirling around, looking for something. With me being a guitarist, I almost always have a pick in my pocket, so I fished it out and flung it onto the stage, where it landed just in front of the drum set. A bright orange pick.
When she turned around again, she saw it and picked it up, and played the last three songs with it. I thought that was pretty cool. After the show I caught her and told her it was I who had saved her from certain musical defeat. She thanked me and asked me if I wanted it back. I said no, but that if she were to sign it, I would treasure it. She said, “Well, let me go get it for you, my tour manager has it. I don’t have any pockets.” She went and got the pick from him and gave it to me, then signed it with a Sharpie. We’re on a first-name basis with the band, so they’re more like friends than just stars. But it’s still really wild to have something like that happen, and I’ll be the first to admit – I got a little star-struck. The power with which these guys rock is truly something to be witnessed.
So back to the present. She was standing beside me at the Tea Room, and I leaned in and asked her, “Do you have pockets this time?” She nodded, smiling broadly. “Good,” I said, and handed her another orange pick. “Just in case you lose it again.” She laughed and thanked me. After several minutes, I went and got a drink, and when I got back she was gone. She returned promptly and pinched my elbow. I turned to see her holding up a black pick, which she handed to me. That kind of defeated the purpose of my previous comment, but simultaneously reaffirmed the texture of my joke. And we made a pretty cool trade. I noticed her playing a few songs with my bright orange pick, too. So maybe she was a little star-struck.