I've had a soft spot for Scott McCaughey ever since the night he got me out of a traffic ticket. It was 1997, the opening night of South By Southwest, and I'd just rolled into town. Jacked-up from a late flight and interminable lines for my rental car and badge, I was cruising downtown Austin in an inattentive stupor, looking for a parking place. I turned the wrong way down a one-way street, and one of Austin's finest instantly appeared in my rear-view mirror, lights blazing.
The constable walked up to the car and I was talking a blue streak -- very sorry... from out of town, just got here... won't happen again... -- before realizing that he wasn't listening to me. Instead, he was listening to what I had in the tape deck, the then-new album from McCaughey's band Minus 5. So I shut up and listened, too. About 30 seconds later, the cop nodded toward the music and said, "Not bad," then let me off with a stern warning.