09.23.00 – Mixfest, Boston MA

Flew from Detroit to Boston to play the Suffolk Downs Race Track to a festival crowd that were there to see us play with Ben Harper, Roxette, The Go-Go’s, Macy Gray, The Vertical Horizons, fellow Tufts alum Tracy Chapman (Go Jumbos! Right, Tracy?! Chug, Chug, Chug! We sure had some good times…), Barenaked Ladies, etc… we played six songs (seven if you include “Race Track”) and Pasty verified that Belinda Carlisle watched our whole set from the side of the stage. Though for me the highlight of the day occured as I was leaving the track…

To get to the parking lot I had to pass through the horse betting area where lots of old men were watching races on TVs because, even though Suffolk Downs had postponed their races due to the concert, these men are addicted to gambling and the venue was servicing their needs, broadcasting horse races from other tracks for everyone to bet on. As the 12th race approached I heard one confident-looking man whisper to his friend, “smart money’s on Chubby.” And so I bet my wallet on horse #9 — “Chubby” to win, place, and show.

Photos by Joshua Sloat

You could say I had a relapse of sorts. While 1994-1996 were critical years for our band, surviving a transition from Gus to Guster, recording our first album and planting the seeds of a touring base, for me they were simply “The Jai Alai Years.” I have been meaning to discover OTB (“Off Track Betting,” not to be confused with OCB — “Old Country Buffet,” another addictive institution), and now I have no choice but to visit them soon and often to win back the smart money I lost on a donkey named Chubby yesterday.

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