It is time, once again, for Saturday in the Park!
While I am writing this, I can't believe we are four days away from my favorite annual Sioux City festival. In a previous article, I mentioned I've been working on this festival for the last 20 years...since I was 13 years old and Gail Bernstein pulled me backstage and made me a permanent fixture of the festival.
I thought I'd convey another experience with you that I have had in a past year.
In 2013 Melissa Etheridge headlined the festival, but that wasn't who I was most excited to see. I couldn't wait to see one of my favorite bands from my high school days; Sublime. Of course, this wasn't the original iteration of the band; this was Sublime with Rome.
Since the original singer of the band, Bradley Nowell, died in 1996, I didn't think I'd ever get to see the band perform live. I could recite every lyric to every Sublime song back then, so when I heard Sublime was starting back up with another singer, Rome, I was ecstatic. When I found out the band would be playing Saturday in the Park, I was elated.
When the band arrived, they got situated in one of the small dressing rooms in the bottom of the bandshell building. Before the bands slated set, I went into the dressing room and introduced myself. A certain odor in the room reminded me of my years spent in Los Angeles.
I started talking with Sublime's bass player, Eric Wilson. I told him that he was a major influence for me as a bass player (since I was obsessed with his music during my formative years). Wilson was laid back, appreciative and red-eyed behind his large sunglasses.
I had a question that I had been pondering for years. It had to do with the song "Don't Push." In that song, Nowell sings a line and says "We got Cricket with the quickness and the bass line."
Since the Red Hot Chili Peppers had a bassist named Flea, was I too far off thinking that Sublime decided to call their bassist Cricket? Well, after years of curiosity, I decided to find out first-person.
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While I was sitting on the couch with Wilson, chatting, I decided to bring up my question.
"So, what was with that line, 'We got Cricket with the quickness and the bass line?'" I asked. "I know there is a great bassist called Flea, did the band give you the nickname Cricket?"
"Oh man, that was a long time ago," said Wilson. "Back in the day when we were just on the road all the time and sleeping on people's floors, I used to rub my feet together really fast while I was sleeping. It made a noise, and people always used to think I was (pleasuring myself). I wasn't, though. It was just my feet rubbing together. They started calling me Cricket."
This revelation cured my curiosity about that specific line in that specific song I had wondered about for years. It is amazing when you can actually get a rock history question answered by the source.
Rome walked in to relax before the show. We all talked for a bit, then it was time for Sublime with Rome to rock out for the crowd of thousands of people eager to hear those ever-loved alternative hits from the '90s.
Sublime with Rome provided one of my favorite performances in Saturday in the Park history, and I now knew a little-known fact about the history of the band. I was purely content.
What surprises will the 2019 SITP have in store for us? With such a diverse lineup including Flo Rida, George Thorogood, Liz Phair, Matisyahu and Sno Tha Product, the sky is the limit.
I hope to see you all there. Just look onstage for a guy with a big fro and say, "Hey Ari!!"
Enjoy, be safe and stay hydrated, my friends!