THE ST LOUIS BLUES, TEXAS STYLE
|Mike Zito plays at Sam's Burger Joint Nov. 25, 2011. He opened for Bugs Henderson in an evening |
presented by the San Antonio Blues Society.
Wherever I travel, as soon as I meet someone from my hometown I ask them:
“Where’d you go to high school?”
I never even thought about the question; it just came naturally, like my love of the St. Louis Cardinals.
A former boss once asked me: “What is it with this strange obsession you have with high schools?”
It’s not just me. It’s a question St. Louisans are famous for. So when I found out that blues musician Mike Zito was a native of my hometown, naturally my curiosity was piqued.
I asked the friend who told me: “Do you know where he went to high school?” He replied: “Oh, some Catholic school.”
What were the odds?? Was Mike Zito a fellow graduate of Bishop DuBourg High School?
|Such a cool tat!|
The odds were in my favor. OK, so we graduated 14 years apart, but we still went to the same high school! (Me -- ’75. Mike -- ’89) Once I knew we were both DB alum, I looked forward to the next time he would play in my adopted home of San Antonio. That chance came Nov. 25 at Sam’s Burger Joint.
And, as luck would have it, when I went to St. Louis earlier in the year, I picked up a T-shirt emblazoned with Bishop DuBourg Cavaliers. My outfit for the evening was set.
The night of the show, I asked my friends with the San Antonio Blues Society not to say anything to Mike about our connection. I wanted to see his initial reaction. I decided to wait until after his set to introduce myself, so I settled into my seat and set up my camera gear, ready to shoot the show.
I was anxious to see what this St. Louis boy could do with the Texas blues, and he did me proud. He can play, he can sing, he can wail the blues with so much emotion that you feel it in your very core. He played quite a few selections from his new CD, “Greyhound,” which I picked up at the end of the evening...more on that later.
As soon as his set was over, I went over to the side of the stage and waited for him. As he came down the steps, I introduced myself and he looked at my T-shirt in disbelief.
|Mike's proud of his St. Louis roots.|
After convincing him that yes, indeed, I was a fellow grad, we talked like old friends from the neighborhood. Never mind the difference in our ages or the different life paths we took. That evening, we were back on the south side of St. Louis.
Mike filled me in on some very cool news about our old stomping grounds. The National Blues Museum is being built in downtown St. Louis at 601 Washington Ave. Should be opening in 2013, so I’ll definitely be planning a trip to see that.
|Mike Zito and Bugs Henderson|
And his “Greyhound” CD? Wow...pretty damn amazing. I enjoyed hearing the songs live and that vibe is also in the recordings. The first time I heard the CD, I liked it, and each subsequent play (I think I’m up to six or seven now), I’ve liked it more. If a CD can last more than three days of steady playing in my car, it means I really love it.
I love Texas. I love the blues. I love St. Louis. So when I can get all three rolled up into one evening, it makes for a very special experience. Thank you, Mike!
And for any St. Louisans out there reading this, where did YOU go to high school?
|Boots made for the Texas blues|
|Mike Zito, with Buddy Henderson on drums|