I knew him when he was just a Gay Potato
Whenever I see Fountains of Wayne in the news, I'm always surprised to remember my friend Chris Collingwood is famous. I knew him and his lovely wife for years when I was a bartender at the Baystate Hotel. They used to come in when the bar was dead.
They were always nice, really intelligent and made interesting conversation. We developed a relationship of sorts. We would run into each other in town and stop and chat. They used to bring their Scrabble board to the bar and we would play. Chris is really good at the game but I beat the pants off him once.
I didn't want to do it. He really likes to win and I don't care as long as it's close and it's a fun game but I had the perfect letters to nail him and I just couldn't resist. I spelled eland and I had a great placement on the board that gave me a ton of points. I even knew what it meant.
I wouldn't say we were close but Chris came to an after hours at my house one night and I probably saved his marriage. He was really drunk and the cute little groupie that followed us all home was angling hard for a - ahem - ride home. I made sure he left with his reasonably sober buddy and without her. I figured she was just after him because he's really cute and a fabulous musician. He had a little local band going at the time. That's probably true enough but I bet she also knew he was big time.
Me, I knew he was in FOW but I didn't have a clue who they were and a lot of musicians I knew played in out of town bands. I didn't find out they were famous until they were nominated for the Grammy. Anyway, it's nice to see the band doing well. They're about to cut a new album. If I remember, I'll try to look for it in the fall but the truth is, I'll probably forget. I don't follow contemporary music much.
Meanwhile, if you happen to be reading this Chris and wonder why your Scrabble games have been off for the last three years, it's because I have one of your tiles. I believe it's the letter "E". Not to mention I have photos of you and your friends sitting at the bar in the last days of the Baystate Hotel that I've been meaning to send you. Email me your address.