April 12th is TINY TIM‘s birthday. He would have turned seventy.
I saw Tim in the context of a “golden oldies” roadshow at Navy Pier in Chicago, at the Festa Polonia (or whatever it’s called), in, um, 1988, the day before I got my tattoos. Oh my, there’s a story in that too.
There were retread versions of Iron Butterfly (yes, they played every note of “Inna Gadda Da Vida”), some Motown acts, etc. But the only performer who delivered an authentic show, full of passionate strangeness and honest sweat; the only one who really was giving everything he had, was Tim.
And against my expectations, he absolutely ruled. He was very strange, but he absolutley ruled the stage and had the crowd under his most peculiar spell.
As he left the stage, Dave, Scott and I all rushed the performers’ path at the side of the stage in a sort of drunken glee, calling out “TI-NY TI-NY TI-NY”. To our surprise, he approached the crowd at the barricade and slowly worked it, shaking hands, chatting, signing autographs. I believe Eric Sinclair must have been there as well.
Even more unpredictably, when he made it to our section, instead of shaking my hand, he very briefly lifted it to his lips and KISSED IT. I then drank very much too much bad beer (as I recall, Bud Lite was the only thing available).
All in all, it was kooky, as was he.
Say, I just realized this is some sort of segue from the Tulip Festival entries, earlier this week. After all, I’m quite sure you can sing part of the chorus of Tim’s monster hit, “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.