When we exited the club, we found a line to the door of his tour bus. He was accepting visitors, so of course we had to take our place in line. Although extremely nervous, I had already decided what I wanted to say.
We stepped into the bus to find Bland on the right hand seat, and Paul on his left. Spread out on the seat, Paul had an ice pack under his right thigh. After asking permission to take photos, Paul pointed down and told me to have a seat.
”I’m not going to sit between your legs”, I said with a laugh.
“You’re gonna have to, as I can’t move”.
So I did, and Traci took a quick shot.
I went into my script. “You know, Paul, Sioux Falls is only four hours away from home. You should come down some time”.
“Sioux Falls? I think I played there once”.
“Yes, you did…and I co-promoted it.”
Westerberg smiled, but didn’t really respond. I turned my attention to Bland. “I gotta ask you, Mr. Bland. Do you know a guy by the name of Greg McDonald, who goes by the name of Zapp?”
“No, can’t say I have.”
Zapp is now on my shitlist, as he has long claimed to be the buddy of all the great black Minneapolis musicians, including Mr. Bland.
We asked Bland if we could also take photos with him, and he reluctantly agreed. Traci noted that his arms move so fast while he plays he looks like a hummingbird flapping his wings.
Paul’s face lights up, and says he needs to write that down.
“Don’t you use that in a song,” screams Traci. “That’s my line”. I cringe; I’d die to have one of my one-liners end up in a Westerberg tune.
After a bit more small-talk and an autograph, we finally depart the bus. Both of us were beaming, and I’ll bet I haven’t lost that smile ever since.

Why does her photo look so much better than mine? Maybe it's the photographer.
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Traci and Michael Bland.
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