We used to go to the Golden Chair because Anderla had a thing for Eau Claire rockers and I had a thing for cold, cold beer and darts. The Chair, as we called it, was owned by one of the EC Rockers, or an EC Rocker wannabe. I can’t remember anymore. Rumor was that Daddy bought it for him and he wanted to be some sort of live-band venue.
I remember seeing more than a few bands there — the highlights being dancing with LaFrenz as Martin Zellar sang “Forever in Blue Jeans” and standing a foot away from Babes in Toyland with Sister #2 and the Stink.
But the Chair was more than a live-band venue, it was where you went when you wanted to escape the drunken meat market of Water Street. Granted, the Chair was on Water Street, but at the end in a building that was cursed. I think the space the Chair inhabited had been three different restaurants in my five years of college.
It was a beautiful respite from the crowded, sweaty bars and it had big windows that looked out onto the rest of Water Street. You could sip cold beer and keep an eye on where everyone else was going. I loved that place.
Anderla and I spent more than few drunken nights at the Chair, and we used to drag our preppie non-rocker friends there to play darts.
Whenever I think of James Brown, I think of Anderla and darts. She went through this James Brown phase and whenever we went to the Chair she’d beg them to put on one of his CDs. Once she got her way, and she always got her way because she was absolutely adorable and totally charming, we’d play darts.
Anderla would dance her way to the board clad in her favorite Schlitz worker shirt and grab her darts, singing the whole time. She knew all the songs, all the words. It was a blast. The more we drank the worse our scores would get, and the more animated her performance. By the end of the night we always had a crowd of admirers, friends, and various hangers on.
It was a blast. Ever since I learned of James Brown’s death I can’t get that image of her in her brown shirt out of my head. It makes me smile every time. We were so full of potential and pent-up sexuality we didn’t even know how to use. It wouldn’t be the same if the soundtrack were different. It has to be James Brown or the feeling is all wrong.
And that’s what I have to thank James Brown for, for giving me the soundtrack to those moments of my life where I was full of potential. It was glorious.