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Leaving Atlanta

  • The first time I saw Gentleman Jesse and his Men in Denver was a couple years back, playing at the Larimer Lounge with the fabulous Barreracudas.  I had seen him play before, in Atlanta, at the Atlanta Mess Around, and I was in love with him.  Well I knew nothing about him really except that I was crazy for his songs and he was tall and handsome and had that big nose I go crazy for.  But mostly I loved his songs.

    So needless to say, when it was announced that he was coming through on his way to SXSW I was thrilled.  Ecstatic.  Over the top.  And I needed it, I was going through some pretty hard times.  Broke, broken up, exhausted, abused and alone.  

    I had been dealing with my sad and pathetic situation the way I usually do: with lots and lots of alcohol.  Let's face it, even in good times I have a real taste for the stuff, and when the road gets bumpy it is easy for me to climb straight down the neck of a wine bottle, to float in a fifth of whiskey.  Those are my two favorites.

    So when I began to feel a nagging dull pain on my left side three days before the show I did the only sensible thing and consulted the Internet for possible causes.  Diagnosis: pancreatitis caused by binge drinking.  The pain was there for days, hovering over that organ that I had so abused and that several of my hard drinking friends had ruined before me.  I had really done it this time, no recovering from that.  I was devastated.

    I only told one person, my best friend Dano.  I was so ashamed.  The morning of the show I called her and broke the news.  She was so sympathetic and so worried.  The long, sad conversation ended with a kind of teary, sarcastic "well I guess i aint going to the Gentleman Jesse show."  Depression was really setting in.

    Then a miraculous thing happened: right over the pain on the left side of my body a few itchy welts arose.  I consulted trusty web md and behold!  Shingles!  The exact symptoms of Shingles.  Dull nagging pain on one side of the trunk of the body for three days, finally erupting in an itchy and incredibly painful rash that, while horrible, was not life threatening.  Score!!  I tell you, Shingles has never been welcomed with more open arms.

    I called Dano and gave her the good news and we made plans to meet up at the show.  That night, Gentleman Jesse played this song, featured on his new record "Leaving Atlanta" coming out in March on Douchemaster which you can preview here:
    When he kicked into it, Dano and I looked at each other and without uttering a word broke into a happy, teary laughter.  It's called "You Give Me Shivers," but it will always be "You Give Me Shingles" to me.