EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember George Porter Jr.? New Orleans’ Master of Funk has been on tour the last few months with David Byrne’s band. He has a few days off in August, and will play a pair of local shows. We had asked him to send us a dispatch from the road-his daughter Katrina passed along the following note. It was hand-written on hotel stationery in Istanbul, Turkey. Katrina said her dad sounded like he badly needed the upcoming break and visit home, which is apparently the case-he dated this letter “July 14, 1991.”
“Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans?”
To date I have been gone for three months and six days. Today I am in Istanbul, Turkey. Until I got here I did not know where Istanbul was (smile)-now I know. Yesterday we played our 49th show, and I must say it was very good, to say that the PA started to blow up at the end of the show (smile). We got through all right!!
Two weeks ago in Vienna had a great show. I was setting in my dressing room and someone said there was someone to see me. Could not believe it-Jeff Boudreaux, a New Orleans drummer living and teaching in Vienna. I needed to see’ someone from home. He also brought me a bag of jambalaya mix his mother sends to him. It was great-I really ate good the next day.
It did not end there. The next day in Budapest, Hungary, we were playing in an open air theatre. I look from the stage–I heard someone call out “Bass solo'” Both David and I turned at each other and smiled. We heard it again.
When the lights got low on the frontline so we can see the people, there were Tipitina’s T-shirts out there-about 15 Tulane University kids who were studying over there called out “George Porter bass solo!” I almost lost it, my heart was full, I was so happy. After the show I went out and talked and took photos with them. Could not spend lots of time because over here when the show is over they throw everyone out quickly. But the little time I had with them did my heart good.
Before those two meetings I was very lonely and had [thought about gelling] away from my [12-step] program a little and may have gotten in trouble, but Jeff and those kids made me remember how great it is to be lean and clean.
Well, maybe not so lean!! (smile)
Tomorrow we will go to Israel-Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Carmel-where we will play our golden show #50, with a few days off to go to the Holy City and Jerusalem. July 20 we go to Scotland and England through the end of the month.
August 2nd I will come home for a few days rest and to play with Snooks [Eaglin] at Tip’s (August 6) and with Running Pardners at Muddy Waters (August 7). I need those days off but I could not be so close to the funk and not play.
Hope to see you there. So that’s it from the road.