I picked up David J at around 6:00 PM on the border of San Francisco's Hayes Valley neighborhood. I pulled up to the house where he was staying, gave him a quick call on his cell, and he told me he'd be right down. We met on the street, shook hands, and he invited me inside to have a look at the old Victorian house he was visiting—a stunning retreat, fully-restored with original wallpaper and carpeting—before we threw his guitar in the trunk and began the trek down to Redwood City. David was in town to DJ a gig at the Cat Club, but also to play a private show at a wine retailer called K&L. That's right: I was taking David J to the K&L store in Redwood City, where he would be performing for an intimate group of friends and colleagues. I don't know if it was the full moon rising above the city, or the surreal effect of driving one of my idols around in my Volkswagen GTI, but I was in another place mentally. I couldn't wrap my head around what was actually happening in that moment. What had started as a quick interview about whisky had blossomed into a full scale event. The potential for crossover in this business still continues to amaze me!
The traffic on 101 was dreadful, so I decided to turn off, take a few backroads, and switch over to 280. I could see David getting a bit nervous—getting stuck with a total stranger in an hour's worth of commuter traffic wasn't what he had in mind for the evening. That being said, he was a complete professional and perfect gentleman about the situation he had found himself in. By the time we made it to Woodside, David started saying, "Whisky! Whisky! Whisky!" Both of our nerves were shot at that point and we needed a drink. As we passed the Hanky Panky (the notorious Redwood City strip club), I pointed out the significance of the area's dive-iest of dives. I said to David: "If we end up there later tonight I can't be responsible for anything that happens after that point." We pulled into the parking lot, I let him in the back door, then immediately sprinted upstairs and grabbed the open bottle of 1963 Glenfarclas I had sitting on my desk. "This is delicious," David said after taking a sip. I left him at that point with our Champagne buyer Gary Westby and his friend Henry, both of whom would be doing the sound that evening. They had brought in their PA system and had been setting up while I did the chauffeuring.
At 8 PM I began letting the invitees in through the back door and we adjourned to the tasting bar for a few glasses of Champagne. David's opening act, Darwin Meiners (also David's manager) opened the show at 8:30 with a few solo songs of his own, before bringing Mr. Haskins out. The group huddled around the front counter area, which functioned as our stage for the evening, and got ready to be amazed. We were all a little star struck and in awe of what was unfolding before us.
I gave a quick speech ("I know you're all wondering how in the hell this all came about.") and a few minutes later we were watching a rock and roll legend perform in the middle of K&L's Redwood City location. My customer service manager Joel looked at me with a smile, shaking his head in disbelief. David played for about an hour, told a few stories, and even handed out a small xylophone to encourage crowd participation. The audience was completely captivated for the entire event.
I spent most of the first twenty minutes snapping photos and checking in on my guests, but finally I decided I should probably take one quality video just to have some record of the event. As it turned out, I happened to start the camera right at the moment that David J dedicated a song to our eventful journey south from San Francisco. What are the odds? He finished the set with a flurry of Love & Rockets classics ("Rain Bird" and "No New Tale to Tell") before ending the show to sign autographs and chat with those in attendance.
As we locked up the store and set the alarm, I said to David: "You're going to be amazed at how close we actually are to the city. It's really not as far as it seemed on the way down." I could see he was hopeful about the validity of that statement. Seeing that he really enjoyed the 1963 Family Cask he had been sipping, I gave him a bottle of our 1990 Glenfarclas expression as a momento before we got back in the car and headed north.
As we drove by the Hanky Panky again, I said to him jokingly, "You sure you don't want to stop?"
"Keep driving," he said with a smirk.