Ryan Borthick: “The International Blues Challenge is basically a huge Battle of the Bands with 300 bands performing on Beale Street in downtown Memphis. We were playing at the Rum Boogie. It was a big deal for us, because we take a lot of inspiration from the Memphis soul made at Stax in the ’60s, especially our singer, Andy, whose big hero is Otis Redding.
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“We did our set to a packed room, squeezing out to the street afterward to air out. While we’re on the corner, this older guy slides up out of nowhere to Andy, saying, ‘Man, you really did a great job up there. Reminds me of this other young man who used to play on this street, died in a plane crash,’ referencing the crash that took Redding and most of his bandmembers’ lives. ‘Don’t you work your boys too hard,’ he continued, grabbing Andy’s hands. ‘I’m going to rub your hands so you remember.’ Then he disappeared into the crowded street like a phantom. Definitely got into Andy’s head for the rest of the night!”
Editor's Note: The Denver Bootleg is a series chronicling the history of local music venues by longtime Denver cartoonist Karl Christian Krumpholz. Visit Krumpholz's website to see more of his work.