Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Great Falls (and I don't mean Montana!)

Lordy! It has been nearly two weeks since the New Riders played the Great American Music Hall and I am still in pain from that damn fall I took during the break. Now, I could understand if I had fallen down those very steep stairs that lead from the hall to the band room but no, my fall was much less glamorous.

There is a coed bathroom downstairs by the band room which has one small room with a sink in it and you go up one step (maybe 4 inches) to the area where the stalls are. Coming from the stalls to the sink, I misjudged the distanced and down I went. Trying valiantly not to further injure my very bad left knee, I managed to do a major number on my good knee as well as banging my right shin, twisting my right ankle, wrenching my back and neck and for good measure, banging and bruising my right arm from the palm of my hand to my elbow. Yes, it was a good one. NRPS drummer Johnny Markowski happened to be walking in to the room as I was midflight and valiantly tried to get to me before I landed but he just wasn't fast enough. Johnny was astounded that I narrowly missed a major head injury because I cleared a very serious corner by about 1".

To add insult to injury, when I walked into the band room at the Mystic Theatre two days later, Johnny asked how I was doing and mentioned that David Nelson (ya gotta love David, I don't know why, but you gotta love him!) had pointed out the site of a previous fall at Graziano's restaurant just up the street. To be fair, that was not really a fall, I had a hypoglycemic seizure and passed out. But I managed to hit my head, get a concussion, and was ambulanced to the nearest hospital, Nelson Band in tow. Not only that, I managed to toss my dinner while I was on the stretcher being carried to the ambulance. But again, that was no fall. And besides, it was 10 years ago. But David Nelson never forgets ANYTHING. He is a very forgiving person, but he definitely does not forget.

Neither of those falls could compare at all to my most infamous fall of the late 1970s. Bob Matthews, one of the Dead sound engineers, was starting some sort of video business and threw a party as part of the launch. I went to the party with my friends, Judy Dawson and Sally Dryden. Now first you have to understand that at that point in time, it was Mustang Sally who was known far and wide for her clashes with mother earth. Just a few days prior to the party, Sally was helping us spy on Judy's future husband, Frank, and Matthew Kelly, and was looking in the window of their Mill Valley home, which was on the side of a hill. It was getting dark and Sally was wearing a pair of her famous "suicide sandals." Anyway, Sally was just getting a good view when she stepped back and someone forgot to tell her that Mount Tam was no longer there. She tumbled a good way down the hill. Luckily, she was not seriously hurt but that fall gave us lots of ammo for teasing.

Back to the party and MY fall. Bob Matthews also lived in Mill Valley on the side of a hill. Party goers walked in to the house through the kitchen where they were handed glasses of champagne and were then expected to negotiate a very steep set of stairs into a "rumpus" room where the party was in full swing. Judy went down first and I told Sally, "You go next. That way, if you fall, you won't knock me down, too..." Sally good naturedly complied and was just about to the bottom when I started down the stairs. I missed the second stair, landed on my rear end and bounced my way into the party. The champagne glass went flying through the air and sprinkled a great many people before crashing into a million pieces. Rex Jackson, never one to let anything get by him, said, "Oh Michelle, you bounce beautifully." THAT is what embarrassed me, not the fall itself. And of course, Sally couldn't contain her glee that I fell right after razzing HER. I spent several hours sitting in a room watching videos, red faced and afraid to come out until Garcia said come on, you can't sit here all night. So I went out into the room and by now it was about 3 in the morning. Everyone was sitting around on the floor, Garcia was playing guitar and we all sang "Pennies from Heaven." That was a great party so I guess it was worth the fall and the ensuing humiliation.

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