Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Messin With The Kid -- Mojo Buford

The first time I ever saw this group The Butanes was at The 400 Bar in Minneapolis (may it rest in peace).  My buddy Pat and I staked out a nice spot at the end of the bar.  It had prompt access to the bartender and it was close to the bathrooms.   I had never heard of The Butanes at that point but I was pretty impressed.  They were really cutting loose and the lead singer and guitar player, Curt Obeda, was really a good front man.  He kept things very lively and light-hearted.  During the show, however, Pat and I couldn’t see Curt Obeda’s face.  The bar hung too far over and it obscured our view of him.  We could see him playing guitar, but couldn’t see him sing.  I never saw his face the whole show.  

There was another memorable thing about that show.  The Butanes had this one handed piano player.  I don’t know how he did it, but he pounded out good rhythm with his left stump and improvised the rest with his right hand.  That made an impression on me and I’ve never forgot The Butanes because of that night.

Back in those days during the mid-80’s, I was a Mass Communications Major at the University of Minnesota.  As part of that major, I took several radio and television production classes.  In one radio class, we were assigned to do an interview with someone and then make at least a dozen edits in it.  Back in those days, of course, we actually had to manually cut the tape with a razor and tape it back together.  I must say I was pretty damn good at it too.  I made an edit so flawless that my teacher didn’t believe it and had to double check the tape to make sure.

Anyway, I decided to ask Curt Obeda.  He graciously accepted.

I had no idea what to expect, but I have to say, he turned out to be a great interview.  He had a lot of interesting tales to tell.  He told the familiar saga of a lot of Blues guys in the Midwest.  He basically graduated from high school in Minnesota and took off for Chicago with his guitar.  He lived down there and went to The West Side and hopped on stage with the legends during some Blue Monday jam sessions.  After learning from the masters and perfecting his craft, he moved back and started The Butanes.  

He told about how his life was pretty sweet because he did what he loved and he didn’t need to worry about money.  The money he received playing music was enough to pay for his rent and cigarettes.  He spent almost nothing on booze and food because he was usually comped at the bars he played at even when he was just there as a patron.

I wish I kept that interview.  It would be a really interesting piece of early 80's history.

As another interesting piece of early 80's history. It is a very obscure video of another Minneapolis Blues legend, Mojo Buford (sorry couldn't find any Butanes in case you were looking for that.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't Curt play left handed and backwards like Jimi? I also fondly remember him doing the chicken walk down the length of the bar, doing shots the entire way.

    Lolly still is doing her show on KFAI, by the way.