Monday, February 19, 2001

Altamonte St. Michelle

We had first seen the monkey man several days earlier. Perhaps it was the night we were arrested for playing out in front of the cafes around the corner from Le Place St. Michelle. He was blond, scruffy and mean. I recall him wearing cutoffs. He had some sort of little monkey. It was not a chimp, but I’m uncertain what exactly. One of those small monkeys with big tails and a lot of teeth. Monkey man was very possessive about the animal, and he aggressively dissuaded the curious.

Several days later we were playing in front of the fountain at Le Place St. Michelle. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and pleasant. There was a good crowd already gathered. The two hundredth anniversary of Bastille Day, the ostensible reason for us going, was approaching and everyone was in pre-party mode, which meant hanging out socializing even more that the usual French propensity for it. We took advantage of the gathering and set up to play. It was Scott Connolly on vocals and lead, Dave Clair on sax and vocals, Paul Schwartz on guitar, and myself on guitar and vocals. Steve Rothman was on hand too. Scott and I were playing and singing through amps.

The set list included songs like “Great Balls of Fire”, “One I Love”, and “Exodus”. It also included an occasional version of “Sympathy for the Devil”. We went into this one, Scott singing, me holding down Keith’s cool rhythm. Somewhere into the song the monkey man appeared just in front of us. And someone was fucking with the monkey. Seconds later fists were flying. And flying. Real fists, that went smack. And did it again and again, in a Ferris wheel tumble. Like in the movie I stopped the song and intuitively began singing “Blowing in the Wind”. The fight dissipated and there was a little applause from several girls in the audience who realized cause and effect were present.