On August 19 I joined Dave Lewis, his friend Drew the Omaha dj, Tough Jim (alias Sir Trafford) Gaston, Alex Mills, and my daughter Kristine for Louiefest 2006. The intent of this gathering is to have 1,000 guitars play the song "Louie, Louie" simultaneously. Year one came closest, with around 750 players. Year two drew half that, and despite the promoter's claim I think this year topped out at around 200. In addition to the mass "Louie, Louie" playing, there were a number of local bands entertaining on one of the five stages located around Spanaway's Spinker Center athletic fields, a custom car display, and vendors selling anything from jewelry to real estate.
Kristine called this her Day of Misery. She didn't want to attend and had a bad time except for the "Louie, Louie" part. In truth, I wasn't that overwhelmed by the local groups and it seemed like I spent a lot of time walking around in the hot sun.
For those who don't know, "Louie, Louie" is a song that was recorded by The Fabulous Wailers in 1961 with modest success. Two years later The Kingsmen did another verson of "Louie, Louie" and had a big hit. The song also caused a sensation because the lyrics were so garbled that a rumor spread claiming they were obscene. It got so bad that FBI agents would attend Kingsmen concerts, notepads in hand, trying to write down what the band was singing.
Because both The Kingsmen and The Fabulous Wailers are Northwest groups, the song has had special signifigance in this part of the world. Some years ago a movement grew to have "Louie, Louie" declared the state song of Washington. It failed.
I must admit I've never been a big fan of the song, although I don't dislike it.
To see and hear the spectacle, log on to:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXFXDqg5aG0 I think that's a zero at the end.
I'm the chap in the red tee-shirt, Drew's in the black one. Tough Jim has the yellow guitar, and Alex is the young guy. Kristine is the cutie with the ponytail. The woman with the camera is Laurie, Alex's mother. Dave took the video with a camera hanging around his neck, thus the MTV effects.
By the way, a drawing was held before the song started to pick 10 Guitar Heroes to perform on stage with the bigger names. Dave and I were both picked but refused the honor. What kills me is that right after they drew my name for that they drew one for a free Epiphone electric guitar. Missed it by this much.
The promoters--Wailers Performing Arts Foundation--hoped to get The Guiness Book of World Records to accept this as a category, but it was not to be. I don't know if there will be another Louiefest (last year was skipped), but I hope so. If nothing else, I end up with a neat tee-shirt and a couple of guitar picks every year.