Life in Paducah

    For the last several weeks, we've been spending almost all of our time in Paducah, KY, a strangely artistic little town on the border of Metropolis, IL (self-proclaimed home of Superman).

    Last week I was in desperate need of strings on a Sunday afternoon, so I began rifling through the yellow pages, trying to find a music store that was open. This being small-town America, many of the business entries in the yellow pages put me directly through to someone's cellphone. So I would talk to these people for a while, then discover that their business was not open on Sundays, and they were just lounging around at home.

    Now, forgive me for having lived in bigger cities, but I expect that if I call a store and it is not open, then I will get either no answer, or more likely, an answering machine that tells me the hours they ARE open.

    ANYWAY, I was still calling music stores, and I finally called the last one in the book. This time, a guy answered, and told me he was in and out of his studio. He then proceeded to spend about 15-20 minutes rummaging through his stuff trying to find me some strings. Pretty soon, I decided to head out to his store.

    As I followed the directions, I headed out past the mall, farther and farther out of town, and finally down a gravel driveway. Jumping out, I looked around for evidence of a studio. Instead, I saw a brick patio and a rickety set of wooden stairs leaned against a concrete slab, leading down into what appeared to be a cellar.

    We headed down to meet one of the most interesting guys I've ever bumped into.

    His cellar was converted into a full recording studio, the walls crammed full of memorabilia and other instruments. He had one of the earliest instruments known to man. He had an amp used by Slash. He had a guitar he had designed, which Melissa Etheridge later made famous. He had a Flying-V ACOUSTIC guitar.

    And he had a toilet from 1920. With the wall-mounted flush box and everything.

    There is much more that could be said about this visit, but that one item about sums it up.