A Colorado Postcard, from Colorado Public Radio
Author: Jon Pinnow
The Grandest Mesa
Music for a coronation
In this country, no one can be king. But to be kingsize? Why yes, you can.
If all my dreams come true, I’ll play “Kingsize” with a real string orchestra in an empty concert hall someday. Perhaps the coronation of a king. Here’s an anthem, with both the pomp and the circumstance.
On the other side of this EP, “Thirty-Six” is a song by John Porcellino of King-Cat Comics fame and his band Felt Pilotes, from their mid-90s record Wonderful Summer. They were a quartet of suburban Chicago expatriates living cheaply in Denver, playing on small stages in bars on Capitol Hill and the train yard north of downtown before they called it RiNo.
When we met in 1992, Porcellino’s DIY ethos jibed with and inspired me (this wouldn’t exist without him). He made comix and music and hustled his and others’ zines and records (and still does). He was a punk-of-all-trades, cranking out content from an upper floor of the Don Edward with a DAK 2000, a butter-colored Stratocaster and the keenest memory of almost anyone I knew.
It was an era. Looking back, I recognize it as one of those spans in a timeline when previously unimaginable things are possible, in part because you see the window is closing.
Plus, I was a young man falling in love.
We were married by the time Wonderful Summer came out. Soon after, Porcellino got very sick, somebody moved back to Chicago, I think, and you knew there would never* be another Felt Pilotes record.
Thirty-ish years later, this song is still embedded in my heart, a bullet from a revolution in softness. Its simple lines expressed everything I could say to the person I fell in love with then, and they still do today:
You don't know which way to go There's just one thing I think you should know I always want you by my side I'm never gonna change my mind
Lately I’ve been thinking about the balance of the promises we make versus the ones we keep. Bringing that scale closer to even is a lifetime’s work. I’ll never be king of anything, but here is my proclamation.
Thanks, John. ❤️
* Never say never, because they’re back!