Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm With Frank Webster

As I'm sure you know, J. Frank Webster is a badass. So much so, that we (the Ditchdirt gang) have taken to teasing him just to make ourselves feel a little bit cool. As if.

Frank is sort of famous for getting in places (backstage, a sold-out concert, etc.). He's not a sweet-talker; he's genuinely a good guy. And people respond to that these days. (Have I told you about the time he called to tell me he'd be late, because he was taking a group of protest marchers to the Capitol? When he offered them a ride and then realized that none of them spoke English, he yelled, "Vamos a Capitol!" and then drove them, honking his horn as they waved their Mexican flag in the back of his truck. And the best part...he said, "I'll be a few minutes late. I'm going to go back and see if I can find more Mexicans who need a ride.") I can tell you dozens of stories like that. Frank is awesome. And everyone with a brain should want to be near him. (I'm super smart, and I married him.)

Last summer, Frank was regaling us all with a story about he had gotten into a concert the night before. I didn't go with him, because it started really late and we couldn't find a sitter. When he showed up at Antone's, the line was wrapped around the block. So Frank went back to the car, grabbed his guitar, and strolled into the alley and knocked on the musician's entrance. When someone opened the door, he just turned his shoulder, sidled in, and said, "Thanks, man." Then he caught a musician's eye across the room and yelled, "Hey! How's it going?" He had spoken to him before, because Frank talks to everyone, so the guy (Charlie Sexton) smiled and waved. Frank strolled over to talk to him, and the door guy thought Frank was in the band. (Had I been with him, we never would have made it in the door. I have "rule follower" stamped on my forehead.) So Frank chats it up with Charlie Sexton and Billy Gibbons and then someone approaches him and says, "Hey, do you have a VIP badge?" Again, this is when I would have hemmed and hawed and apologized, and we would have been escorted out. Frank's answer: Not yet. What are we gonna do about that? So the guy scurries off and gets him a VIP badge.

So that's the story. Frank not only got IN to the sold out concert, he got backstage and hung out with the band. It's like the time we went to ACL and he jumped up on stage to play with Robert Randolph. I'm telling you. He's a BADASS.

So our friend, Maggie, came up with this idea that we should just all brand ourselves as being "with Frank Webster," and we'd start getting in to shows, too. We would be welcome at song circles. We would be offered free food and beer at Kerrville! She even made a coozie that said "I'm with Frank Webster." A few months later, there was a little impromptu pickin' party at the Stephens house. Adam Stephens opened the door to a complete stranger, who said, "Yeah, um, I'm here to play music with Frank Webster." Adam said, "Of course you are."

And now that leads us up to our recent project: "I'm With Frank Webster" t-shirts. We made a bundle of them before Kerrville (without Frank's knowledge) and all wore them to the music fest. He first spotted them when some friends of Maggie were walking down the road towards him, wearing shirts with his name on them. A Kerrville staff person said, "Who the hell is Frank Webster?!" And he looked up and laughed and said, "That'd be me."

We think they should go viral. Go make yourself one right now. All the cool kids are wearing one. And all the cool kids are with Frank Webster.