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Davis doesn't know if it goes all that deep. "What I'm doing is basically very silly," he insists. "It's a comedy sketch." Still, he's begun to feel a pressing need to leave his fans with something more than a few laughs.
At the after-show dinner in the Sunset Station cafe, Davis asks the band members if they noticed he dedicated the closing song of the first set, Radiohead's "Creep," to Edna, a bubbly Latina girl in her mid-20s who had been the band's biggest fan. Davis says he was shocked to get an e-mail saying Edna was just killed in a car crash.
"She was at the shows, every time, always hugging me, always nice. It was really crazy to find out she was just dead, that's it. No more Edna. No more Edna coming to the shows.
"Which I didn't, quite frankly, look forward to, or count on," he adds honestly. "But, holy crap! I'll never see her show up again. And now I remember every time she came to a show."
Dedicating "Creep" to the fallen fan may seem, at first, a lame tribute. But hearing her story after the show and then recalling the performance adds a bittersweet poignancy to Richard Cheese's set-closing number.
Leading the band through a jumping, jiving version of the Thom Yorke droner, the real Mark Davis finally speaks through Cheese, though virtually undetected by the fans:
"I'm a creep, I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here . . ."
He slows the song down to a stop, stands alone in the spotlight, and for a moment, Richard Cheese is in a place that only Mark Davis understands. Quietly, and before the audience erupts in one last gale of laughter before heading back to the bar, he repeats the final line.
"I don't belong here."