Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Waiting for the Wilco Call

Tuesday, January 10, 2006
It was one of those days at work today, when you feel like you are running waist deep in wet cement. I worked really hard, but did not seem to accomplish much. Such is the publishing business, lots of e-mails, phone calls, paper pushing, meetings, teleconferences, more e-mail and phone calls, and voice mail. Lunch, and repeat.

So I found myself watching for the light on my phone to come on with the phone call from Jeff Tweedy of my favorite band, Wilco.

Helen answers the phone in her always enthusiastic way, "Hello, Bird Watcher's Digest!"
"Hi, I'm calling for Bill Thompson, III"
"May I ask who is calling?"
"It's Jeff Tweedy from Wilco."
"BEEP!" (from the paging system) "Bill there's a Jeff Wilco from Tweedy calling on line one!"

Me: "Hello?"
JT: "Hi, is this Bill?"
BT3: "Yes"
JT: "It's Jeff Tweedy from Wilco"
BT3: "Dude, your new album ROCKS!"
JT: "Hey, thanks, man...."
BT3: "Best version EVER of Woody Guthrie's "One By One" and... "
JT: "Bill, we need your help."
BT3: "What? Me? Why?"
JT: "We need a new bass player. Someone that can rock out on stage with us by night and the next morning can lead bird walks for the band while we're on world tour. I got your letter, dude, so I know you're a fan of our music. Can you make it happen?"
BT3: "Let me think for a sec... YES! Dude I am SO there!"
JT: "But what about your family business, publishing Bird Watcher's Digest?"
BT3: "First of all, they are not my REAL family. My mom always said my real father was J. Paul Getty, so it's not that big a deal. Besides, a monkey could do my job. He'd have to be a smart monkey, with good grooming skills, and a working knowledge of Quark Xpress."
JT: "So we're cool?"
BT3: "Totally, dude!"
JT: "That rocks! Meet us in Cleveland tomorrow night. I'm e-mailing you the set list right now, and ......"

"BEEP!" (paging system again)
Helen: "Bill, there's a woman on line two who wants to know where her bluebirds are. They have not been in her yard for two months. Can you speak with her, please?"

BT3 (waking from an involuntary desktop nap): "Helen, what happened to Jeff Tweedy?
Helen: "What? Tweety Bird? Just talk to the bluebird lady!"

* * * *
I did write a fan letter to Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, or rather, I had my people write his people. I saw the Wilco show in Columbus, Ohio last winter. The music was unbelievably good and the digital images they showed above and behind the band were mesmerizing, featuring lots and lots of bird images. Several songs also included bird references, to the point where I wondered if, perhaps, the band might be into birds and birding. So I asked my agent to write a letter to Jeff Tweedy's agent saying I was a big fan of the band and, if any of them were into birding, I'd be pleased to send along copies of some of my books. I also invited them to Julie's and my bird ID talk at The Field Museum in Chicago (Wilco's home turf) last June.

Crickets chirping.....

Still no reply. But I'm keeping one eye on the phone light and one on the mail box, because there are simply not THAT many birding bass players in this world.
I think it's just a matter of time....


On January 11, 2006 at 11:53 AM Rondeau Ric said...

Endless meetings, phone calls and emails?

Just remember to beware the day you have nothing to complain about.

On January 11, 2006 at 9:01 PM Bill of the Birds said...

I know, I am such a whiny little bird watcher, huh?