A collection of random memories found in and around my desk at the Oregonian as I prepare for my Aug. 28 departure. Today:
A coloring book. For a band named Pancake Breakfast.
A coloring book for a band named Pancake Breakfast and that band made songs about trucks, and pie, and nature, and happy things. The first EP Pancake Breakfast released begins with boots crunching on gravel. You can hear birds singing as Mike Midlo plays a gentle melody on an acoustic guitar. Traffic passes by. There are live chickens on the album, which was recorded on a farm.
Do you know how hard it is to do all of those things, and release a coloring book, and not be twee?
It wasn’t twee. It wasn’t twee because Midlo once explained the name by saying he sat down and thought of the happiest thing he could. Pancake Breakfast was never ironic, or too cool for itself, or worried in at all about what it should be. It was full of sincerity and laughter.
Eventually it evolved to include a huge cast of characters, stomping, singing, clapping, having fun. It was a little — a little — like if Hee Haw had been made here. And I don’t know what you think when think of Hee Haw, but don’t ever forget Buck Owens and Roy Clark were bad asses.
Midlo was also among the many, many people who have been a joy to sit down and talk music with.
So here’s a Pancake Breakfast video, and I’m going to color.