It was 2001. I lived with my good friend Eric in some shady apartments in Tempe Arizona. Good times for sure. Being a music education major at ASU, I walked by hundreds of talented and driven musicians, singer and actors. In the fall semester of 2000, I’d somehow stumbled into a practice room with a group of dudes that loved blues and jazz as much as I did and we decided to play out a little bit. We did a few gigs and one of them happened at the Lucky Dragon on Sunday, Feb 25th.
Before the set began I thought of the people that I’d like to have to come see me sing. I knew most of my friends had places to be that night, but I hadn’t checked in one of my friends. Her name; Alissa Schmidt. After knowing her for a couple of years, I knew she was quality and as pretty as anyone I’d ever met or seen. Now, mostly, she’d seen my dorky, “at the Student Rec. Center” self. THAT persona wasn’t that impressive, but she didn’t seem to care. We still went hiking or out to lunch from time to time and she’d tell me about her roommate, or her boyfriend or whatever two friends talk about. But recently I’d gotten a feeling like maybe there was something to be explored with her.
I tried to be casual as I traced her down with my cell phone. She didn’t have one and a few of you might remember what it was like to contact someone before we all had texting machines in our pockets. I remember finally getting Alissa on the phone and asking her to come out to the Lucky Dragon and at her smallest hesitation I politely insisted that she be there.
The Lucky Dragon was a dimly lit little place with its Chinese food somehow always demanding a line. I don’t believe there was a smoking section but still, I remember needing several glasses of water. There was art work on all of the walls and a tiny stage where the four of us could just barely fit our equipment. We usually played two pretty long sets and it didn’t take that many songs because Shon would solo forever, but he knew what was up, so it was all good.
A little bit into the first set I see Alissa and her friend Shane walk through the door. Energized, I sing through the first set and during our break I go sit down across the table from her. She was in the booth next to wall, with her legs propped up on the chair on my side of the table. We talked for a while and I was so glad she was there. At some point I reached over and touched her on the leg. It was only for a second and I wasn’t trying to send a message or anything, but from what she tells me, it came across as such and was apparently well received, because almost 14 years later I still sit across the table from her and I’m really glad she’s there. Thank you Lucky Dragon, I guess in this story, I’m the lucky one.