Fifteen years later, I passed by the Harmony Motel and kept on driving and driving until I made it to The Palms, a roadhouse clearly marked by a sign with a bison on it. Because, you know, palm trees and bison. Ben Vaughn, who I knew from Los Angeles, had put together a small music festival (as he’d been doing for several years) for the indoor stage, and I had several friends from Los Angeles performing on that bill. Two of them included Ben himself, in a trio called the “Modern Skiffle Quartet,” because, you know, three musicians are called a “quartet”. It was a night that would set me on a new course, the moment a band called “The Sibleys” took the stage, and I heard that voice that belonged to Laura Sibley. My plans to never fall in love again were shattered. Thanks, Ben Vaughn. Thanks a lot.
And what about this PLACE? This, I don’t know, what IS it? A bar? A restaurant? A venue? A community meeting place? The paintings hanging on the walls are weird…and amazing. Cats – yes, cats from other planets have obviously landed here and decided to stay, perched in this corner or on that wall, big grins on their faces. This place was not decorated like any other watering hole that I’d set foot in. No dartboards, no lit-up “Miller” signs…and yet, it was oddly comfortable. REALLY comfortable, as if we’d all been here before. Then of course there was that big blue stage in the backyard (a skate ramp in a previous life), with an old, abandoned bus as a backdrop, and a guillotine off to the side. Don’t worry, the blade is chained up. That’s how they roll in the middle of the desert.