I once saw Townes Van Zandt perform when I was seventeen. I had some older friends, the kind of friends that liked to expose art to us younger folks. They took me and my friend Tamala, who was the same age as me, to see a revue done by Peter Case and Victoria Williams at McCabe’s Guitar Shop. All that folky shit was foreign to me, so naturally, I wanted to go to the show. The show was an old fashion folk revue. Each artist did a few songs on their own before coming all together to perform. First up was Victoria Williams, with her southern charm and squeaky voice. Former Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn followed her. I remember thinking Steve Wynn was boring, but that was a few years before I heard The Days Of Wine And Roses, which is one of L.A.’s finest albums and a personal favorite of mine much later in life. Actor Harry Dean Stanton followed and played a few songs, including a haunting version of "Cancion Mixteca," a song from the movie, Paris, Texas. It tripped me out that the actor was singing in Spanish. Of course, a few years later when I actually saw the movie Paris, Texas, I thought that the song, the soundtrack, the movie and Harry Dean Stanton were all brilliant.
After a brief set by Peter Case, everyone started performing songs together. Then Peter Case announced that he had a big surprise. As the rest of the musicians left the stage, he introduced Townes Van Zandt . Townes came on stage with his guitar and a suitcase. He had a show the next night at the same place and the promoters had just picked him up from the airport. I, of course, did not know who he was, but my older friends were about the crap in their pants.