Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Tuesday Tuneage
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes - "Who But The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)"

I was saddened to hear of the passing of writer Tom Hallett last month. I hadn't communicated with him in a number of years, but loved his writing (among other things, that his 'Round The Dial column always started with a quote - just like Duck, You Sucker! and The Wire - and ended with his affirmation to "make yer own damn news") and the conversations we had when we across each other in clubs early last decade. That City Pages article I linked to above has lots of great memories from folks who knew him better than I did. But here's a few memories of my own:

- Meeting Tom for the first time in 2001. We had exchanged a few emails and were in the process of forming a mutual fan club. I head to the Turf Club, where I had been quite a few times, but never in the daytime. It's a Sunday around 3 p.m, it's sunny and bright outside, but dark inside and not too populated (it's Grand Young Day, but things haven't really kicked in yet.) I grab a beer and ask the bartender "Is Tom Hallett here?" He glances around the bar, points to a table, and says "Yeah, that's him in the hat." I approach a table of four guys engaged in conversation. Denim, leather, smokes, beers. If it's a crime novel, these are Elmore Leonard's colorful characters. Me, I am a citizen probably wearing Chucks, Levis, and a UND hockey shirt. I walk up to Tom and ask: "Hey, are you Tom Hallett?" Table goes quiet. Guy asks me: "Who wants to know?" "Uh, I'm Bill Tuomala from Exiled on Main Street." A grin, an eager handshake. "Bill! Yeah! Great to meet you!" Then he starts riffing to the table about my writing. Laughs, much music talk, and a few beers ensued.

- Tom moved to Alaska for a time and once mailed me a mix CD. But this wasn't just some CD-R with a bunch of songs on it and a black Sharpie blurb written on the disc. He designed a cover and lovingly wrote out the track listing (click on the image on the left to see it.) He even personalized the name of it for me: Bill's Boilermakers (He also noted it was volume 17, that City Pages post did say that he loved to assemble mix tapes and discs. I'd love to see what the sixteen prior volumes were like … and all the others that followed, natch.) There is where I first heard this week's tune, track number five on this mix.

- Last time I remember talking/emailing with Tom was a few years ago. He was having a record sale at his house, he signed off with something like "C'mon out man. You don't even have to buy anything. I just wanna drink beer with you." Rest in peace, Tom. I smile every time I think of you.