A handful of the people who post on the Reader website planned a get-together. I think it stemmed from one of them being in town from Washington state. They agreed to meet downtown at The Field. Refriedgringo, a poster from Mexico, would be making the trip up.
I brought my stepbrother, whose best friend met his wife on the web. He wanted to see the fireworks, as I’ve had a few debates with some of these Reader website comment-posters and bloggers.
As I walked in, a woman waved me over. At first I thought it helped that my picture was on the website, but then I realized it was taken the one week I had a beard.
We ordered a round of drinks, which was awkward when a homeless person asked if we had any change. I told him “no” seconds after handing money to a waitress.
At times, a few conversations were going on at once. I glanced at Refried, who was talking about different tequilas. SDaniels was across from him, talking about literature. Neither topic is my favorite.
When Daniels mentioned something about Waiting for Godot, I told her I thought it was overrated. She then started going on about Beckett. When she finished and was waiting for a response, I had nothing. I said, “I know a little about Samuel Clemens, but nothing about Samuel Beckett.”
Refried handed me a book by his favorite author. He had mentioned he was going to do this, and I came prepared. I brought him a copy of the Stephen Colbert book.
I knew Magicsfive was more of a heavy metal fan than a fan of literature. I got her a gift bag and put in some AC/DC magnets and a music magazine with a Metallica cover.
I figured I couldn’t get Daniels a book she hadn’t already read, so I gave her a musical card with a cassette on it, as she had joked in a blog about something related to a musical card.
The waitress kept bringing more rounds, and every time I reached for my wallet, it seemed Refried was picking up the tab. We ordered a few desserts. The custard looked gross, but the chocolate cake was delicious.
A young black guy with headphones and a crooked cap grabbed Refried and asked him if he liked hip-hop. He held out some of his own CDs. I thought about grabbing the kid and saying, “Does it look like he likes hip-hop? He has long hair, a face like Eric Clapton and Greg Allman had a baby…he puts the ‘fried’ in ‘Refried’!” Instead, I smiled as the kid moved along to his next potential customer. And as I listened to Refried talk, I thought of him as more of a college professor than a burned-out rock star.
Daniels finished her third drink and mentioned having a hollow leg. A few minutes later, Refried said, “I need to go empty my hollow leg,” and he left to find a bathroom.
Magic told me a few interesting stories about being a nurse. She then commented on Daniels’s gold shoes. I interjected with, “They go nicely with the bandage on your ankle.”
The shoes would’ve made Imelda Marcos salivate. Daniels admitted to buying them at Payless. I told her that in high school, working at McDonald’s, that’s where I’d go for black work shoes.
A guitarist with an amp had set up on the sidewalk and played requests for money. He spent about 15 minutes trying to figure out some current song that two tourists requested. He wasn’t able to nail it.
I headed out as Magic tried to get the party to go back to her hotel.
The next party I went to was thrown by Greg, who had recently won a lawsuit. I tried finding out details, but he didn’t say a lot. All he told me was that he owned one of Jimi Hendrix’s guitars and that the Hendrix estate had sued him, claiming the guitar had been stolen.
He pointed to the guitar, which was sitting on a counter. A few partiers picked it up and took pictures with it. On the door was a huge copy of a document that Janie Hendrix had signed. People were writing messages on it. I wrote underneath it that Janie is still trying to sue Macy Gray for stealing Hendrix’s hairstyle. Then I read what others wrote and tried to get creative. I made a cartoon bubble over Jimi’s face with a caption that read, “You may have my guitar, Greg…but I took the vomit with me to my grave!”
Lots of Hendrix tunes blared at the party. There would be 30-minute periods during which I’d hear the Who, Zeppelin, and Tool. But it wouldn’t be long before
Hendrix was back on.
I asked people what their favorite Hendrix song is. “Little Wing” won easily. A few people said “All Along the Watchtower.”
Downstairs, a bar was set up, and Greg kept handing people shots of tequila. I downed a few. People asked him questions about the lawsuit, and he kept pointing toward his attorney. He was talkative until he found out I worked for a newspaper. I finally got this statement out of him:
“The Fender Stratocaster had been under a cloud after years of litigation. Experience Hendrix LLC has given up its claim to ownership of the guitar as part of a settlement of a defamation suit in San Diego County Superior Court. Greg is actually going to take it to Nashville, at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. And it’s been authenticated as played by Hendrix. That was done by David Brewis, who has discovered several guitars of his, including a Flying V, which sold for $500,000 in 2003.
“In 2001, the [Stratocaster] guitar was in an eBay auction, which was halted after Hendrix LLC claimed it had been stolen after his death in 1970. There were two court trials and as many trips to the Courts of Appeal. The case was settled for an undisclosed sum and an agreement that they will make no further claim and will not interfere with any future sale.”
I went back to Greg, and he said, “I feel vindicated. This was such a long process. But I think all of this only added to this guitar’s unique history.”
I said, “And the person buying the guitar will love the fact that there’s that document from the Hendrix estate. Nothing adds authenticity like that. I think you’ll probably get more money because of that.”
He downed a shot of tequila, smiled as he slammed the shot glass down, and replied, “I’m counting on it.”