The tale of Mustache Man and the Beach Boys
If there is one advantage that we have here in New England, it is that we truly appreciate warm weather. In Southern California, where the Beach Boys sang about endless summers and the skies are almost always clear, they don’t really understand how good they have it. I mean, how can they? When it’s always blissfully sun-dappled it’s hard to imagine that it’s cold anywhere else on the planet. Winter hats? What are those? A scarf ? Never heard of one. A sweater? Yeah, we wear those once in a while.
To someone in a northern clime, summer weather is like recess when you were in third grade. It didn’t matter that you were released onto the same old playground where you had been playing for four years (that merry-go-round is not as exciting as it used to be), you were free. For those brief few moments you were your own man, no more times tables, no more seat-work, no more sweating out word problems (Johnny and Sarah and Bobby and Timmy should solve their darn apple addition problems!). While summers and recesses are brief, that only makes them more magical.
When the weather is first sunny and warm outside here in New England even the frostiest soul on your block cracks a smile and the grumpy people of the world, just for a moment, cease to be grumpy. You can see it in the lightstepping of folks along the sidewalk and the hoards of boats out on the lakes. Warm weather is here! Pack up the SUV, attach that boat trailer and let’s hit the highway kids! The sun has come out! Hurry, it might change its mind!
When I think of warm weather I almost automatically think of the perfect soundtrack to go along with it. It was summer when I first got my license to drive, and the first day that my parents let me drive the car solo I took the music mix (on cassette tape, remember those?) that I had made just for the occasion and drove the back roads of my home town (in a certain state just a little northeast of here) blissfully soaking in the tunes of Simon and Garfunkle and U2. The first long solo trek I took was a to a concert, and I thank my parents for not grounding me for life when I got lost coming home, fell asleep at the wheel and drove into a corn field. (There’s nothing like waking up to the sound of corn stalks flapping by your windshield.)
Yes sir, for me (and many other folks) summer is the perfect time for music. The outdoor concert is the best kind of concert; be it jazz in the park, big band music by the sea shore or the sounds of the newly reunited Beach Boys (the kings of summertime music, even if none of them ever set foot on a surf board) wafting out of the outdoor venues near you.
My friend Mike (a.k.a. Mustache Man, on account of his massive, walrus like and all around fantastic droopy mustache. Trust me; you don’t want to see this guy drink a milkshake.) loves music almost as much as I do, and has tickets to see the Beach Boys in just a few weeks, playing a waterfront park in a certain state just northeast of here.
I mention Mustache Man because he has one of the great all time summer concert stories. When he was just a lad of twelve years old in the summer of ‘66 (a great time for music, though a tough year for the country) he helped man a pizza stand at Weir’s Beach while on summer break.
It was the custom of the pizza shop owner to get all the bands coming through town to sign a pizza box for the walls of the shop, and young Mustache Man (no doubt growing only a thin sliver of facial hair above his upper lip at this time) was often sent to get the band’s autograph on a pizza box.
When the Beach Boys hit town that summer they were riding high on the waves of “Good Vibrations” (perhaps their most perfect song) and security backstage was pretty tight for the band considered by many to be “America’s answer to The Beatles.” Young Mustache Man was stopped at the door by a burly security guard, and when he was asked “where do you think you’re going kid?” he smartly replied “I’ve got a pizza here for the Beach Boys.” He was quickly ushered backstage, because woe be it to be the employee standing between America’s band and their (supposed) desired pizza pie.
Young Mustache Man’s quick thinking got him the desired signatures and a fantastic story to boot.
When Mustache Man sees the “boys” again this summer (they are looking a little long in the tooth to be called that anymore, but marketing is marketing) I hope that he will have a fantastic warm weather evening and I also hope that he will attempt to again go backstage.
May you have good vibrations Mustache Man, and save a slice for me.