In the early '90s—and by many accounts, in years prior—David Enloe and the rest of the Woods owned The Brewery, and they owned Saturday night. Over the last week, much has been written about David, who passed away early Tuesday from complications related to liver disease and who would have turned 51 on Christmas Day, by those who played alongside him and loved him like a brother. Not having the privilege of knowing David, my perspective comes from out in the crowd like so many other music fans in the Triangle.
The Woods were this transplant's first favorite North Carolina band. Their sound was a Southern-accented mix of Stones, Faces and more Stones, with a hint of Minneapolis (it's not for nothing that their It's Like This was released on Twin/Tone). Sealing the deal, they covered "Can't Hardly Wait."
My initial exposure to the Woods came courtesy of a whole bunch of those Brewery shows, and I'd eventually follow them to Chapel Hill's La Terrazza, a coffee shop on Main Street in Carrboro, that big-ass Mexican restaurant in Cary with the patio stage, and other places that also no longer exist. The Woods guys truly shared the stage; everybody wrote and sang. Still, the spotlight seemed to favor David. He was the most charismatic, the most rock-star. Finding myself behind him and some friends waiting in line for a show at Raleigh's Rialto one evening, I marveled as he held court by, among other things, doing a Homey the Clown routine—it being the heyday of In Living Color. I remember thinking to myself, "He's even a natural frontguy on the sidewalk."
It's not completely true that I didn't know David. I got to meet him a couple years back when the Woods visited my WXDU radio program before a reunion show at Cat's Cradle. At that station, he commented on an article he'd just read about The Avett Brothers. Turns out that I wrote the article, and when I made a lame joke about it, David was gracious enough to offer a genuine chuckle. Then he and Terry Anderson, Jack Cornell and Jamie Hoover gathered around one microphone and sang a few Woods songs, and it was suddenly 1990 again. Wish a tape had been running.
A version of this tribute ran on Scan (www.indyweekblogs.com/scan) Wednesday, Nov. 28. To see more of the moving tributes to David Enloe mentioned above, visit David Menconi's On the Beat blog (blogs.newsobserver.com/beat/index.php) and Terry Anderson's WhassupTA blog (whassupta.blogspot.com). A video tribute to Enloe featuring footage from the upcoming Return to Comboland and his time with Anderson and Cornell in The Fabulous Knobs can be seen on YouTube.