While I was touring with Shahzad in June, there were innumerable times that he would walk into, say, a Subway in South Dakota barefoot, playing a Steinberger guitar–one of those little black 80’s guitars without a body or a headstock–as he ordered his sandwich.
He has a certain guilelessness in this behavior. Often after soundchecks, he’d wander around whatever town we were in, playing a banjo. And after a gig in Milwaukee, he went to a Monday night open mic, horned his way onto the performers’ list, and did Tom Waits’ “In The Colosseum” in a burly, mock Tom Waits voice.
I was talking on the phone with Jonathan Maron; he plays bass in the Groove Collective. He cowrote “Down On The River By The Sugar Plant” with me, and is an old school friend. We both met Shahzad at Simon’s Rock–we were on our way out of there as he was an incoming student.
He said that a while back he saw Shahzad for the first time in years; he was onstage at Wetlands, and he looked out at the crowd and saw a South Asian guy, taller than anybody standing around him, playing guitar soundlessly in the middle of the club.
He bumped into him recently, and Shahzad reminded him of this. “I almost didn’t remember it,” said Jonathan. “It was such a strange image–it was as if I filed it with my dreams.”