ART, MELLY, ADAM contributing--
Saturday, the 26th of July
Time never quite stops grinding on, and the big night came at last,
even though our little band was still trying to figure out exactly
what their act was. Adam was the calmest of the four, surprisingly
enough. He seemed especially focused.
The kids loaded the van with their instruments and equipment, went
into Seattle early to set up at Paramount Northwest. Pokey drove,
since Adam couldn't fit into the driver's seat of anything but his
Squatchmobil. Elaine and I would come a couple of hours later for
the show itself.
They did not actually have so much equipment to set up, since they
were an acoustic band and had been allowed to use the piano and PA
system already in place for Chrome Pie's concert. But they had to
do sound checks, tune their microphones to the house acoustics,
which Dan Potter was doing for them, while Chrome Pie had their own
Dagrolyt was interested but could not attend, of course. It would
have been impossible to pass him off as Adam, since Adam was on stage.
He told us that he could watch the concert by his own "special TV",
hinting that he would do so by astral projection. I wished him good
reception, rather doubtfully, but he seemed confident.
Squatch & Friend's performance was scheduled for 8:00 in the evening,
so Elaine and I decided that dinner in Seattle could be part of the
fun for us. We went to a seafood restaurant on the waterfront. It
was a splendid summer evening, one of those long drawn out red and
golden sunsets, warm again after a few days of summer rain had washed
the sky clean. Seattle seemed especially alive and bustling, probably
because we had not spent an evening in the big city for months.
We knew better than to try parking anywhere near the concert hall and
took one of the free city center busses, stepping off into the middle
of an enormous crowd waiting outside the Paramount Northwest building.
There were mostly young people, but also quite a few hippie-generation
types like us. We had expected it be a popular event, but this seemed
far bigger than anticipated.
We learned that the concert had been sold out and noticed that scalpers
were selling tickets as if it were the Rolling Stones or some other big
name. Of course, we knew that Chrome Pie was quite popular and assumed
that this crowd had not come for the local warm-up band.
But as we listened to people around us it became clear that many of
them were interested in hearing what Adam's band had to offer. Few of
them had actually ever heard him play music before, but Adam was a
familiar Pacific Northwest figure, known from television documentaries
and interviews, respected for his talent as a public speaker, so many
were actually interested in seeing if he was any good at music too.
I took note of some conversations going on around us:
"What's this Squatch & Friends thing? Publicity stunt? Some guy who
growls like a bear?/ No dummy, it's Adam Leroy Forest, that real live
Bigfoot who grew up in Monroe./ Oh yeah, I used to see him on National
Geographic Channel once in a while--he has a band now?/ I thought he
was dead or something./ So is he any good?/ Hey, haven't you seen the
Heart Must Go On video on YouTube?/ Yeah man, that was Major,
tears in my eyes or what?/ Well, I'm here for Chrome Pie./ Yeah,
me too, but I got a feeling about tonight..."
So they knew who Adam was, if not his band.
On our way through the crowd to our seats in front we recognized
several people we knew among the audience, some of Adam's old school
classmates from Monroe as well as fellow students and personnel from
the Anthropology department at the UW. They waved to us, we waved to
The Paramount is one of those old elaborately ornate four-story concert
halls from a bygone era. Gilt and satin, sculptured woodwork, nooks
and crannies, multiple balconies. We had VIP seats down in the first
rows, Elaine finally got to say, "My son, the Star."
The man who had arranged this concert came over to greet us and I was
amazed to recognize him: it was Simon Bintzen--good old Si from my
college days at Bellingham twenty years before, a little heavier and
balder now, but still looking classy.
Back then, Si had been the guy who always masterminded college dances,
concerts, film cavalcades, comic conventions, and so on. We hadn't
been close friends but had shared some classes, talked sometimes,
nodded to each other. He was aware that I was Adam's father from
media coverage of the famous Bigfoot and was expecting me to show up.
It had been his idea to book Adam's band as warm-up to Chrome Pie. We
laughed about the little coincidences in life--not yet realizing that
this was part and parcel of one of those really big coincidences.
The show was slightly late getting started, due to the size of the
crowd. Chrome Pie had gone from an up-and coming California band to
international superstar status in the last year. This was due to their
very successful third album, Conniption Fit, several videos on MTV
and a road tour covering most of the USA. They'd always sold out in
Seattle anyway, but this was bigger than ever.
There had been over 2,000 tickets sold, but besides the attending
audience were television cameras and crew around the stage for video
coverage of this concert. They were recording a series of Chrome
Pie's live concerts; Chicago, LA, and now Seattle. So their concert
would be digitally immortalized, later to be shown on TV and released
as double CD/DVDs.
But that was for Chrome Pie, of course, not for Squatch & Friends, who
were only a warm-up band. There were no plans to record them.
Finally everything was ready. Si Bintzen went up on stage to introduce
the bands. He seemed even more cultured and classy and hip than when
I'd know him at Western, certainly more professional, but still just
as honestly enthusiastic about the show he had put together.
He announced that he was thrilled to be able to present Chrome Pie
tonight, a great band with tremendous popularity. But he was just as
eager to introduce this unknown warm-up band called Squatch & Friends
to an unsuspecting public, confident that this would be the beginning
of a very special musical career.
Well, he was right, of course. I probably need not go into detail
about the concert itself, which is after all, best documented by the
live video recording that came out of that evening. You have probably
heard many of the songs on radio by now, or seen the videos on MTV,
you may even own copies of the "S&F Live" CD and/or DVD, since it has
now become so popular.
In fact, I assume that some of you reading this are S&F fans because
of that very concert. Others may be reading this to find out just
what happened--how one single concert by an unknown band could have
had such an impact on our culture, and how a weird little acoustic
band went so miraculously big-time on that one Saturday evening in
So I shall indulge in some details, for I too see that night as a
fabulous and unforgettable experience, one which will stand out in HD
color and stereo among the memories of my life. I don't even need
to see the DVD. My son, the Star, indeed.
Dark stage, a spotlight follows Adam out to the center of it, where
he stands alone with his guitar. He doesn't seem especially large up
there with nobody else to compare him to. He looks almost Messianic,
dressed in white, slim and elegant in casual-cut suit, sporty jacket,
loose trousers, open-collared shirt. Hairy, but well-groomed. Is this
guy really a Bigfoot? He looks so human--although LARGE. The audience
waits silently, not knowing what to expect from him.
He bows, almost formally, slides his guitar into position and sings a
solo without microphone. Simple guitar chords without amplification,
the power in his Orator's voice electric enough to fill the hall.
I was born a wild and wooly Sasquatch,
But just like all of you, I grew up tame.
You've seen me on TV because I'm famous as hell,
Well, I guess everybody knows my name.
But would ya wonder what it's like to be
A freak like me in your society?
Wouldn't ya think that I'd rather be
Normal like you, instead of me?
But maybe you were born a tiny hairless human,
Or maybe you've got looks, but have no heart,
While I've been seen on TV, I must be handsome as hell--
Well, I wouldn't want to mess up what I've got.
And besides, deep inside, I always knew
That it's cool to be a weird one of the few.
And somewhere, out where other wild things rule
Normal is like me, instead of You.
Elaine and I had heard Adam singing that song for years, from
back when playing with Smokey Chesterton's band, but it had
never sounded like that before. This version was pure Country
& Western: the loner telling his story--and it could only be HIS
story, obviously. It was sung with absolute authority. Even WE
were impressed by this fascinating new musical personality.
Later we learned that Melly, Pokey and Lissandra were also surprised
by the song, which was supposed to come later in the set and which they
considered their weakest song as a group. They all agreed it was much
better as a solo. Apparently Adam had simply plucked his spontaneous
new version out of the ether while the others were being nervous about
Adam had laughed and said to them, "I can't even remember which song
we're starting with," shrugged, "but I have a feeling it'll all work
"You're not nervous at all?" Melly looked up at Adam: he seemed even
bigger than ever and to be surrounded by an aura, a halo of light.
Like an angel (she said).
"Not a bit. This is going to be a Power Moment, can't you feel it?"
"Shit, Freakfoot, are you stoned?" Lissandra asked.
"Absolutely, but I haven't taken anything. It's the energy here--the
haka--I'm really picking up on it. I mean, not just mine, but yours
and all those people out there. Everybody's got haka, whether they
know it or not and we're going to channel it ALL right now."
Melly wondered if Adam was losing touch with reality, but then the
signal was given that it was time to go on stage.
Adam seemed to come back to reality, focused and ready. He said, "All
right, I DO know how to start the show now--you guys wait here for one
song. I'll do a solo, then tell a little story as you guys join me out
there one at a time, then we'll jump into Take Me Seeking."
They were all surprised at this departure from any plan ever discussed,
but shrugged and nodded, so Adam went out onto the darkened stage
alone and sang Wild and Wooly.
The "little story" Adam mentioned was an even bigger surprise to those
of us who knew Adam: he suddenly began to talk about having been with
the Sasquatches, which had been so secret up to now. Of course, he
presented it as an amusing fantasy (probably not fact--but maybe!),
thereby introducing the concepts of "Squatchland", haka, Atli and
His point was that music is magic, which he then proved to be true. He
spoke informally, conversationally, effectively creating the aura of
magic and mystery that permeated the entire concert. It was a
fascinating example of what an Orator can do. But I hardly need to
quote him here, you can find many recordings posted on You Tube and
his story is to be included on the DVD.
The "& Friends" part of the band had been concerned about Adam's
behavior, but they too were charmed by his story and felt the respect
from the audience. It encouraged them so much that when by the time
they were to join Adam onstage they felt absolutely fearless. "Man,
this really IS a power moment!" Pokey confirmed.
As they joined Adam on stage he paused his story to introduce each of
them one by one. When the band was finally ready to play absolutely
everyone one in that concert hall was tingling with expectation.
The song set they performed that evening ended up deviating from any
plan and every rehearsal, but Adam generated such a strong lead that
he was easy to follow. Then the others also took turns leading, Adam
following them. They must have been charged with that magic Adam had
been after all along, because they played with energy a quantum higher
than their most energetic rehearsals.
Rather soon it becomes obvious to the audience that they are witnessing
a historical musical event. Melly's hair is flying around her head as
she pounds and tinkles her piano in time to Pokey's decidedly primal
rhythms, spanking those drums alive. Lissandra breaks into an overtly
sexy dance around her bass-box, THUMPing and BUMPing and taking every
other butt in the house along for the ride.
But it is Adam's show. He is the maestro playing the audience along
with his guitar. I know, because I am part of that audience. He
becomes a Rasputin, hypnotizing us all, everyone gets hooked. As the
show progresses, he becomes more magical, more excited--and so do we,
the music faster, more intense, heading for overload...
Erotic overload, for some. The audience was stimulated, to say the
least, people were becoming visibly uninhibited. Ties were loosened,
shirts and blouses went flying, there was some nudity. Several cell-
phone videos of the band performing and audience reactions from that
concert are rather popular on You Tube but some are censored and must
be found on porno sites. Erotic indeed.
Well, that must be enough trivia, I think you get the picture: the
concert went well. So rather than break the flow of narrative by
dwelling on an event already so well documented on CD and DVD and You
Tube, we can move on.
The audience was so enthusiastic that they would not allow Squatch &
Friends to end their part of the show, even though they were only the
warm-up band. It did no good to announce: "We really do have to get off
the stage now, Chrome Pie would like to have a chance to play too."
Finally after two extra-extra encores, Adam sang a solo so that the rest of
the band could sneak offstage. The last number was Adam's solo scat-
instrumental vocalization of Malagueña Salerosa. Everything went
according to plan except that the latino guitarist for Chrome Pie, Miguel
deSanto, became so excited about Adam's version of that classic Spanish
song that he just HAD to run out onstage to accompany him, spontaneously
delivering one of the most brilliant electric guitar solos I've ever heard. Then
he and Adam almost fell down laughing. Everyone else was on their feet,
cheering or weeping, didn't seem to matter which.
Then Scott Richter, lead singer for Chrome Pie, walked onstage to Adam,
and after his semi-comic up-close realization that Adam was too tall for
discrete ear-whispering, Adam squatted to his level so that they could
speak together. They come to an agreement, both nod.
Adam announces, "Okay, now it IS Chrome Pie's turn--but after their set
we're all going to do a jam together." The audience cheered some more,
everyone was happy.
The curtain closed for Intermission, band change. Backstage, Adam
was hugging the rest of his band, lifting them all up at once in his
embrace. They were jubilant, aware that they had just had a great
success. Even the members of Chrome Pie were lavish with praise.
When Chrome Pie finally did come on scene, Scott Richter spoke into
his microphone, "Now we get to come onstage after THAT? Hey
Squatch & Friends, thanks a hellova lot for warming up our audience!"
He pretended to be totally dismayed, then shrugged and laughed. "But,
okay folks, we'll do our best. Glad to be back in Seattle, by the way,"
and off they went with their big electric sound.
That audience could have been somewhat reluctant to shift over to
another kind of music so suddenly, but it was immediately aware that
this band too was charged with the haka Adam had been telling them all
about. They started with one of their earlier big hits, Please Don't
Kill Me, Baby and were fantastic.
All right, I am a Chrome Pie fan; I think they're great. They call
their kind of music "Sweet Rock", but it's really just up-to-date
rock'n'roll. I have their three albums. I liked many of their songs
and Miguel deSanto was certainly one of my own favorite guitar players.
But even so--I'd heard their records many times and had definitely
enjoyed them--on this evening they were better than I had ever heard
them before. More magic, no doubt about it.
They did 16 numbers of their own and when they stopped, quite abruptly,
Scott made a serious-sounding announcement: "Well, time's up! The
concert you paid for is officially over--our job is done." He bowed
politely. "So you can all go now, if you want." There was a unanimous
groan of dismay from the audience.
"But," Scott appeased them, "in a few minutes Squatch & Friends is going
to join us and we're all going to play music together just for fun. You
guys are invited to hang out with us while we do, but first we're going
to take a little break, so hang in there."
I hadn't been to many concerts in the last 10 years, certainly none
as big as this one, but it was clear that no one in the audience
considered this concert standard issue. Everyone agreed that this was
a special experience. Strangers were talking in groups, excited,
laughing, friendly, "Woodstock" was mentioned quite often.
When the stage lighted up again, the five from Chrome Pie and the four
from Squatch & Friends played music together. What they decided to
play was primarily 50's and 60's rock and they went crazy doing it. So
did the audience, who ended up dancing in the aisles, up on stage, in
toilets, everywhere. It got silly; those people were animals, although
nice friendly animals.
The concert went on for an hour after it was supposed to end and
finally the authorities had to close it down, it was making a lot of
noise at 1:00 AM in downtown Seattle. Then it was over and the audience
had to go home.
here you can find my own perception of the
and here is the set-list of the band's own
or you can look them both up later in the APPENDIX
But not us, there was a party atmosphere backstage. Everyone felt
that this concert had been uniquely successful. Musicians, camera and
sound crews, roadies, family such as Elaine and myself, we were all
euphoric about how it had gone.
We went backstage to congratulate our local band, which was not easy,
so many others were trying to do the same thing. Security had been
informed as to who we were, so we got in, but they were keeping out a
horde of people wanting to start a new party or trying to make quick
I helped pack equipment, feeling like a cool roadie, socializing and
hanging out with rock'n'roll stars. I'd had a glass or two of champagne
backstage but wasn't about to actually start drinking, since we had an
hour's drive home to Monroe. But those rock and roll musicians and
roadies with Chrome Pie, they got into it. Drinks, joints, cocaine,
no holding back for them.
I knew that Adam and Melly were moderate in their use of stimulants
and depressives, although Lissandra was a dedicated Party Girl. I was
truly gratified to see that Pokey was still not drinking himself into
oblivion. He'd had two beers and no more, was now drinking soda water.
Even when the pretty girls started showing up and the party atmosphere
was getting quite ribald, Pokey was holding fast.
It seems that the infamous Groupies of the rock'n'roll scene actually
do exist, by the way. They were allowed backstage by the security
crew because the musicians and road crew insisted: sex, drugs and
rock'n'roll still are the major perks of being a rock star.
Elaine and I were observing all this with great wonder, two old-fart
anthropologists studying the ways of young natives and thoroughly
enjoying the show. The flirtations were so blatant, those musicians
would screw anyone, those girls wanted to take on a star--any star
Even Pokey, he was surprised to discover. He too was being flirted
with, offered groupie sex. But Pokey was in a dilemma: he'd been hot
for Lissandra and she had even admitted some heat back at him, but she
was in that confusing three-way relationship with Adam and Melly, all
of them locked into a morass of celibacy. Now it seemed he could take
his pick of several girls, but Lissandra would see him do so and he
might blow whatever chance he had with her. But then, she was flirting
with Scott Richter anyway.
Scott was swarmed by girls, as usual, but seemed most interested in
both Lissandra and Melly, unable to decide which. In fact, both our
girls were obviously lusted after by the entire road crew as well.
Melly was playfully deflecting all comers, clearly being faithful to
some lucky unknown boyfriend. Although her glance often drifted over
to where Adam was surrounded by female fans and well-wishers, perhaps
to her amusement--or not.
Yes, Adam too was being flirted with, although with great respect and
much less overt sexuality. He was cordial and friendly to everyone,
but could obviously not take the flirtations of those girls seriously.
He knew most of those young girls would run away if he tried to take
them up on it. Besides, he was just as focused on Melly as she was
him, looking over at her again and again. I could almost see sparks
of haka flying between them.
But then another kind of woman approached Adam, a BIG powerfully-built
negro woman and everyone could see what she wanted. She was really
quite striking, about 6'2" tall, 25-35 years old, long kinky hair, face
like a pretty black Amazon. She was genuinely beautiful in her own
way, but bigger (and maybe stronger) than most men and probably too
intimidating for your average guy.
She walked up to Adam and looked UP at him in wonder. She didn't have
to say it, you could imagine that for the first time in her adult life
she felt small, petite, delicate and feminine. Desire radiated from her,
she clearly wanted to be Adam's private groupie and did not care that
he was a Bigfoot. This was the perfect man. She introduced herself
with dignity, "Hello Adam, my name is Kathleen..."
But Melly rushed in like a tiger defending her cub, grabbing Adam's
hand and snapping at the big black woman, "He's with me!" I'd never
seen Melly be nasty before; at least she did not say "bitch" although
we could hear her thinking it.
Kathleen stepped back but looked up into Adam's eyes for confirmation
or denial of Melly's claim, not ready to give up hope yet.
Adam nodded, shrugged apologetically and put his big arms around all of
Melly. The black woman nodded back, a disappointed expression on her
face, then gracefully retreated without a word. A mini-drama.
Rarely had Melly or Adam ever displayed their feelings for one another
in public, knowing their inter-species love would be shocking for many
people and was just asking for trouble. But they let it show that
evening, although still discreetly.
Charley Madison, Chrome Pie's bass player was saying to Adam's band,
"Hey you guys gotta TOUR with us!"
"Oh, wow," Pokey said, "that'd be SO cool!"
"Yeah," Adam agreed, but wistfully, "wish I could! But I can't just
now, got another commitment first." He was still holding Melly and she
was not going anywhere.
Si Bintzen came in to us, waving his hands with great enthusiasm.
"Adam, you guys, that was...well, better than you know! And here's
the best part: we've got it all recorded in digital audio and High-
Density video. Your show, audience reaction, everything."
"How can that be?" Pokey asked, "That camera crew was here to tape
Chrome Pie, not us."
"They were testing the equipment, so they shot Adam's opening number--
and just couldn't stop! They ended up recording the whole show. KING
TV already wants to make a deal with them--and you. And--AND--Mort
Spencer Himself from Songmonger Music was also in the audience and
wants to produce a CD/DVD of this concert!"
We were all stunned. This was overnight sensation stuff: "Unknown
band gets offer from Big Studio at first concert!" We each said
something like, "Uhn...wow, really?"
Adam was the only one who was not surprised, as if he had known it
would turn out that way all along, certain that his magic could not
Although it did.