Photo © 2000 Caesar Glebbeek
Loudon Wainwright, III
How Loudon Saved My Marriage
At first I wasn't sure I wanted to share something so personal, but what the heck... it really happened, and I want to give Loudon the credit he deserves, so here it is:

The True Story of How Loudon Wainwright, III Saved My Marriage.

First a little background.  My initial exposure to the music of Loudon Wainwright, III was hearing him on the radio in 1972 singing about a dead skunk in the middle of the road... and it still bothers me that even though I grew up as a teenage child of the sixties I somehow missed out on most of Loudon's prolific post Dead Skunk career.  I guess I wasn't alone, and like so many others of my generation "Dead Skunk" left an indelible impression, but that was the last I heard of Loudon until many years later.

My next encounter with Loudon's music is still a vivid memory... it was in 1995, and I was driving home from work.  For some unknown reason I tuned in to National Public Radio (my wife is the big NPR fan, not me) and I heard an interview with Loudon and the title song from his new "Grown Man" CD.  I was 45 then, and the song really hit home.  I swerved into the parking lot of a Blockbuster Music store I was passing and bought the CD, thinking that my wife just HAD to hear this.

My marriage was not in very good shape at the time, but when I got home my wife had been listening to NPR too and was just as excited about this "Loudon Wainwright the Third" guy as I was.  And guess what?  I walked in the house carrying the CD!  Finally did something right!  We played that CD quite a few times, and really enjoyed it.

How did we miss out on all those years of great songs?  Well, I guess we were just not tuned in.  We were married at 20 and had 3 children (when we were 23, 26, and 29) and were too preoccupied to connect with whatever meager public exposure Loudon may have received during those years.  But what a joy to rediscover him nearly 25 years later!

At any rate, later in 1995 our marriage was continuing to slide into middle age hell and in March of 1996 my wife got a new job here in Chicago with a company based in Minneapolis (her home town) and she went there for a few weeks of training.  Our marriage was at an all-time low point and I really was not sure if she was coming back, or if we would even make it as a couple to our 25th Anniversary in June.

Enter Loudon Wainwright, III.  He was performing in Minneapolis (at Cedar-Riverside Arts Center) and my wife was going.  She had not called or spoken to me for several days following a big fight we had on the phone, and I felt terrible.  I didn't think she would talk to me, but I knew she would be at Loudon's concert, so I wrote him a letter and sent it overnight via Federal Express to the venue hoping to get his attention.  I told him my story, and that like one of the songs on the "Grown Man" CD I had been home with the kids, washing dishes...  and I requested that he sing "Housework" at the concert and dedicate it to Rebecca from "Mr. Boodie."

Not only did he dedicate the song, he read the letter and made a big deal out of it, changing the lyrics in "Housework" to insert "Mr. Boodie" every few lines, and getting the whole audience to sing along.  Were you there that night?  I'd love to hear from you!

Anyway, that was the turning point.  Rebecca saw it as a huge romantic gesture and knew that if I cared enough to somehow pull that off there must be something there worth saving.  Thank God that Loudon was kind enough to participate!  She met him after the show and he offered to carry a note to Chicago (which was the next stop on his tour) and deliver it to me after his show here (at Schuba's) which she knew I would be attending.

Well, she came back to Chicago and we made it through our 25th Anniversary, then our 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th.  On June 19, 2001 we celebrated 30 years together, and although it wasn't always easy, I do have to say that things are better now than ever.

A few Chicago shows ago Rebecca baked Loudon a big guitar-sized cake shaped like his "Red Guitar" (complete with a chocolate pick dropped down inside) and he carried it on-stage at the Woodstock Illinois Opera House.  We got to meet him (for the second time) backstage after the show, and used the opportunity to thank him for the role he played in getting us back together.  We were able to thank him again last November when he appeared at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois (a few days before my 50th Birthday and several months before our 30th Anniversary) and he was kind enough to autograph a "Grown Man" poster for us with a personal "Happy Anniversary" message.  In addition to being an incredible artist, he's proven to me in a very personal way that he really cares about his fans!

I've set up this web site in honor of Loudon and I'd very much appreciate any comments or suggestions, which you can leave in the Guest Book on the Welcome page.  Hope Loudo sees sometime, but from what I've heard it's not likely that "The Last Man on Earth" knows how to surf the web.  Guess I'll have to print out the pages for him.  It's the least I can do.   :-)

Best regards to all you Loudo fans, and thanks again to Loudon Wainwright, III.

-Mr. Boodie