Happy Birthday to Woo

WooOne of my favorite musicians of all time, Steve Wood, had his fiftieth birthday yesterday. So did Mrs. Kelp, herself a person of very graceful demeanor and regal (yet girlish) bearing, albeit crazy as a loon; and Steve is the same, except a lot less girlish. They’re both kind of iconoclastic, I think, and it is for that reason that I’d like to sing them both a hearty chorus of “Happy Birthday” right here in the column – won’t you join me?

If you don’t mind, I’d like to talk about the song a little bit before we do it -I just really want it to come out right. Let’s sing “Woo-woo” instead of Steve, partly because that’s a nickname I invented for him years ago that really irritates him, and partly because it’ll just sound better than “Steve”.

Mrs. Kelp’s first name, if I remember correctly, is Vivian, though she prefers DeWanda; so let’s go with Vivian. (I don’t know, for some reason I just can’t get used to DeWanda.) Then again, it’s her birthday… OK, DeWanda. Ready?


(slower)HAPPY (harmony)BIRTHDAY (building)TO (pause…) YOU!!!


It’s not easy for a die-hard rocker like Steve to turn fifty, after being schooled for years in the theory that the really good ones aren’t supposed to last that long. Frequently, it involves a considerable adjustment of one’s expectations -which, again, can be embarrassing for those who were once so proud of not having any. But, hey, turns out that’s why they called it rhetoric! and invented things like pirates and jelly beans to begin with.

At this point, Steve is as mature as the next person -even more so if the person is extremely immature -and people who knew him long ago are no doubt surprised to see him after all these years so completely unchanged. In fact, the last few months he has been flaunting his indomitability at the Prodigal Son in Hyannis with a series of “Drunk on Sunday” late afternoon/early evening bashes that have started to draw a pretty good crowd.

Of course, one of the many good things about the Prodigal Son is that it only takes forty or fifty people to pack it; it’s homey, is what it is. They started out years ago doing mostly lower volume, acoustic acts, but they’ve slowly evolved into a place that rocks every now and then.

It’s very comfy and living room like, but they do have beer and wine and a personable staff, and “Woo-woo” hadn’t really found any good new bars to play in for awhile, and they obviously love him and vice-versa, so he’s been playing more -downright regularly in fact -and consequently sounding better and better, usually with his son, Sam, on drums; and Sam’s getting better all the time, too, to the point where he’s playing with real confidence and authority; and they got Cliff Letsche, of the High Kings (also Steve’s old confederate from Lester), to play bass, plus other musicians are dropping by and sitting in, and Woo just sounds great, just like always, with this gorgeous fatso guitar sound ripping out earthy, basic, primal rock and roll and moving like he doesn’t have a bone in his body, just smokin’, and they’re blowing the roof off the place with great regularity and everything is peachy.

Except that they might have to dis-continue it or move it to another night in a week or two, due to a change in Steve’s day job hours, so this Sunday might be the last Drunk on Sunday show for a while. Of course, they said that last week, too. My guess is, we might not be far from “Wrecked on Monday.”

Anyway, I can’t tell you exactly when Steve “Woo-woo” will be at the Prodigal next, but if it’s not Sunday, it’ll be soon, and if I were you, I’d call the damn bar and see when. Then you can call me up and tell me, for a change.

Why do I always have to be the guy who has to find out all the stupid details about when and where something is supposed to happen? I’m sick of it! Go ahead, you do it! Find out when he’s playing and call me! Here, I’ll even give you the number: the Prodigal Son – 508 771 1337. Ask for David or Shelley. Then call me, tell me what they said -I’m at 508 247 8384. The hell with it; you’re on your own. April fool!

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