Day 167: Excerpt from The Man Who Signed the City — Dan Dubelman

Another preview from The Man Who Signed the City: Time Spent with Remarkable People. This time, indie rocker Dan Dubelman and his then-wife Vickie.

Early on a Saturday evening, the Dubelmans are trying to get out of their house in East Nashville to play a gig. Guitars cases are propped against an amplifier as their owners shower and dress. Dan emerges first. He is short, about five-six, and lean from intense two-hour tennis workouts seven mornings a week. He wears his hair shorn to stubble and a soul patch under his lower lip. Tonight he sets off his white shirt and white jeans with a battered black cowboy hat that has had most of the cowboy mangled out of it. Vickie has braided her dyed-red hair into pigtails. She favors skirts or pants slung as low on her hips as she can get away with, and tonight’s dark brown slacks reveal a tattoo south of her lower spine. Over her right collarbone she has more ink, an image of Venus. She climbs up into towering platform shoes and they begin to cart equipment to their truck.

“Did you bring the set list?” she asks.

Uh, no. Into the house to retrieve the piece of paper. Back out to the truck.

“Do we have a capo for your guitar?” Dan says. Back into the house.

“We do this every time,” Vickie says, grinning. She and her husband have matching gaps between their front teeth and a relaxed, affectionately bickerish rapport with each other. Some of their songs are teasing dialogs edgy enough to be interesting and sexy.

At a riverside joint named Windows on the Cumberland in Nashville’s 2nd Street arts district, Dan sets up his guitars while Vickie pulls out Betty Dylan posters, scrawls notice of tonight’s performance on them with a felt marker and tacks them up outside the club. She does not expect this gig to do much for their cash flow, but what the hell, they like to play and the club’s owner, Boots, has called them his favorite band. “We’re always suckers for people who think we’re good,” Dan says.

Provisional publication date for the book is July 15. Stay tuned.