It was part of the usual crew, the “Zam Crew” as it’s been dubbed. We rolled at the Daddy Hemingway gig at Puro Skye Lounge, at the Europe Center in Berlin, Germany on Friday, 26 July 2013. The band: Daddy Hemingway (vocals, kazoo), Tex Morton (lead guitar, vocals), Lena Lovely (bass guitar, vocals), and Zam Johnson (drums, percussion.)
Hendricks: Film director. Quietly yet fiercely intelligent, with a kind of free-spirit laissez faire evidenced by his excellent attire (an Afro Jones, “Enter the Dragon” tribute shirt), and hair that made me remember my own good and bad times before my current haircut. The Renaissance aspect of his character and depth is astounding. Rather like his immaculate ability to dance to any music, eyes sometimes closed, doing his own thing but totally cognizant of everyone around him because he never once bumped or touched anyone else…and I believe me I watched just to see if he might.
Luca: Bassist/Vocalist. Often mistaken for security. Dressed in all black, larger than average, with a quick smile, yet with eyes that show intent that can never be mistaken. He held the door open for someone who looked to him for approval as to whether they were behaving acceptably or not. Hilarious. Endless source of amusement, that. A man of many talents and abilities, who has shared our misadventures many a time yet who provides a solidity and wise balance, and great back-up. All we have to say is: “We need you–“, “Can you help–“, “Would be good to see you–” and he simply replies, “Of Course.”
And so, our motley crew confounded the downstairs security presence, but we made it through with our V.I.P. wristbands and Zam’s absolute confidence. Later we met the legend Daddy Hemingway; again for Luca, but it was the first time for me.
Of unobtrusive appearance, mellow and wise in movement, Hemingway had, after a long, long day of unlucky hapstance arrived, and headed upstairs to the dressing room trailed by Tex, Zam and I, and the documentarian who was recording everything for an upcoming film about the man.
He sat and talked and listened and laughed, and after a long pull of nicely chilled, classically bottled Coca-Cola, stated with pleasure and relief, “A wonderful thing” which phrase might be used to describe the man himself. If I had to use just one word, it would be, “Real.”
Rich voice with the assuredness of decades of experience, Hemingway gathered himself up, stepped up to the mike, and clearly did what was in his blood to do: sing, entertain, perform, and in doing so, educate also. With Queen Yahna joining in as a guest singer, an exceptional person, singer, songwriter and actor whom I’d been privileged to hear sing at Quasimodo’s a few months ago, Puro’s crowd was treated to a range of songs by seasoned veterans who have the ability to make you feel the music, not just hear it. More photos and videos below, all copyright to me of course.
After the set, when we’d walked through a few doors of the interconnected dance rooms/clubs of Puro, we’d been followed by a couple of young men who were interested but confused: combining Zam’s name and Hemingway’s appearance.
One asked, “Is that Samuel L. Johnson? We heard he was here!”
“It’s Samuel L. Jackson,” corrected his friend.
I smiled and said, “ZAM. Zam Johnson. Yeah, and we were at the Lone Ranger premiere last week, too.” This seemed to impress them further, as they gushed on, clinging to each other in excitement. My correction didn’t get through, and likely having had a few drinks anyway which muddled coherency and cognizance, they still got out of the conversation that they’d seen Samuel L. Jackson in Berlin. They might have continued following, as they were a little insistent until they looked up and saw Luca at the top of the steps. Dittering into thanks and well-wishes, they took that hint and moved along, as they were in a back-hall they weren’t supposed to be in anyway. Good kids.
Daddy Hemingway & Bad Bitches Club will be playing a set on 1 August 2013 at Kater-Holzig, just down from Jannowitzbrucke in Berlin. It starts at 19h, or 7pm.