Rock Star Sighting! – Elvis Costello
In 1994, Elvis Costello and the Attractions came roaring into Houston (actually the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands about 40 miles outside of the city) on the Brutal Youth Tour. Costello had been one of my heroes for years, but I had never seen him live. Somehow I got fourth row tickets and the show was incredible. The hightlights included (but not limited to) “13 Steps Lead Down” into “Radio Radio,” and “Alison” with “Tracks of My Tears” and “Tears of A Clown” tacked on at the end. Costello was clicking on all cylinders and, in typical Houston fashion, few people saw it.
A couple of days before the show, a guy who worked down the hall from me at KLOL Radio said “I have a couple of backstage passes, do you want to go?” Let me think about it for a half a second. Oh, okay.
Being in a band at the time, I figured I would make Elvis a “tape” of my latest project. My brother and I had just put out a CD titled No More Milk under the name The Surrealtors, which featured a song called “Tell Me Why.” It was my attempt to write a “Costello song.
We get backstage meet drummer Pete Thomas and then Costello comes down. We make some small talk, he signed my copy of Brutal Youth, asked me how I liked the show, and then I told him “I’m in a band and I wanted to give you a copy of my tape.” He couldn’t have been nicer. He said “we’ll listen to it on the way to New Orleans.” Whether he did or not, I’ll never know, but at least he said he would, which was good enough for me.
I’ve included The Surrealtors version of “Tell Me Why” and the current version from my band, Orange Is In.