Over at Eater National, their regular “Sound Cheque” interview (musicians talking food) is with Eric Johnson of the Fruit Bats, which just released its fifth album, Tripper, on Sub Pop Records.
The Portland-based musician says The Salt Lick is “something I basically think about daily.” But one of his all-time favorite culinary touring memories happened in Fort Stockton:
I always try and think about the best meal I ever had, and I had this insane barbecue in Fort Stockton, Texas. We were driving on tour between Austin and probably Tucson, along Interstate 10. We were super hungry and about ready to have Taco Bell, when we saw this little joint. We went in there and there was this old dude putting chickens into this pit, with mesquite and stuff. It was a real “out there in Texas” kind of vibe; it didn’t even have a name on it. There were beans with big jalapeños in them—all of it had a Mexican vibe. We were the only non-Mexicans in there. No one said anything for a while, but in the middle of the meal we all sort of did this little nod:”Oh yeah.”
I was on tour a few years later with another band and we were about to do that drive and I suggested it. I talked about it the whole way, I told everyone not to eat too much before, and then we managed to find the place and it was shuttered. Totally boarded up, ghost town style. And part of me thinks, “Was this really the best meal I’ve ever had? Or was I just really hungry? What was it?” We will never know.
Or will we?….