Today, gasoline in Atlanta apparently hit $5 per gallon. We’re struggling so hard as it is, this is what’s going to end the Tour. If it costs of $55 to fill the tank of the Saturn, well, I don’t think that venues are suddenly going to start paying more.
I’ve been thinking about the End of Days, Armageddon, whatever. Lots of melodrama. A lot of really bad things have been happening recently, on all sorts of fronts. 2005 is going to always be a very, very black year for me.
But on a larger scale, how high can gas prices go before our gasoline-based economy simply collapses. I mean, eventually, people simply won’t be able to afford to go to work anymore, and then everything breaks down. I know that’s a real worst-case scenario, but – what happens then? There are these spectacularly stupid politicians that get up on the podium and state that raising the price of gas will enforce conservation – but we haven’t built our world to WORK around the concept of conservation. If the system breaks down, what then?
It doesn’t help at all that I’m reading a book about the brink of nuclear war. And of course, being a sci-fi geek, I pretty much think about the end of the world every day… but it makes me wonder about my practical post-apocalypse skill base. Will I still try and travel with my guitar even after I’ve welded armoured plating to my Saturn? And will I get a CHANCE to learn how to shoot before I’m cut down by highway gangs seeking my gasoline and water?
I guess I’m kind of taking this personally. The year’s been rough, this week has been stupid, and now I feel like Katrina and OPEC and George Bush have all banded together to assault my personal goals and dreams. I just don’t know what to do.
I’m at Rowan’s again. I’m not quite sure how I keep ending up here. I really need to go visit my mom, hang out there for a little while, but I keep ending up at Rowan’s place.
This last week it was kind of understandable. I had to do a little bit of driving Rowan around – back and forth to Frederick, and in our current environment, staying at his place so that I’m not using gallons and gallons and gallons of gas is really a neccessity. Wednesday night I drove back from our First Stadium Gig (!) (not as big of a deal as it should’ve been, but still fun to say) with Rowan, peeling down I-270 and making good my getaway and listening to Tom Bianchi all the way home. But Thursday afternoon found us turning around and driving right back up again… Tinsmith had a show in Frederick at the WestSide Cafe, and on a whim, they’d asked me to open for them. Anything to occupy my brain right now is pretty much a good thing, and besides, maybe I’d sell some CDs, and I was gonna be up there ANYWAYS…
Frederick has its moments and its beauties. It’s odd, because it really projects itself as a small town, but I think it’s actually supposed to be the second-largest city in Maryland. I like winding through its streets, almost lost but pretty much knowing where I’m going – direction-wise if not literally turn-wise, and we got up to Rod Deacey’s club just in time to meet up with Brooke and set up for a sound-check.
Tiny audience, but a couple of ilyAIMY fans were there. Our friend John remarked that it was the first time he had ever seen playing out alone. I think I worked extra hard knowing that I didn’t have Heather to back me up, and I played a pretty hard set. The audience seemed pretty into it, and the owner, Rod, seemed very pleased too. I’m using the word “seemed” cause there’s a follow-up story that might not be exactly Journal material.
In any case, just as I was finishing my last four chords of LooseN… you know the one’s… the E minorish one, and then the C and F# and the G? But you know… with the capo on third, of course… right right… those… this gorgeous woman came in.
It had already been a night for eye-candy. When Rowan and I came to the door, laden with guitars and stands and merch, a woman opened the door for us with green eyes that literally caught Rowan and I up short, standing on the porch, I think we both took a step back and a gasp. The woman who works the bar, slinging coffee, also spectacular eyes…
But the woman who walked in was a goddess of piled hair and curls. I cursed the timing of my set, walked off the stage, and as I passed her table, I heard it…
She was the pterodactyl to my raptor!
We got to talking and I eventually ended up out on the front porch playing to her and her friend. They stroked my ego pretty effectively, but I was going to be smitten with anyone who did a good pterasaur call. She was a teacher, a painter… and I didn’t get her number. Just handed her a postcard and asked her to come to a show, like a dumb-ass, treating her like any other listener.
Friday night, Heather and I played at the Pourhouse in Westminster, MD. That was our two year anniversary for the Trip. I can’t believe we’ve been Living like this for two years. On the one hand, I barely remember another Life, but on the other hand, having survived this long has been a huge accomplishment. I have a couple of friends out there who have done it for longer, the record I think is ten years or so, homeless and wandering…. but most of my friends who’ve even ATTEMPTED to do anything like what Heather and I have done have given up at the two or three year mark.
Though, I guess by THAT definition, I hope to be “giving up” by the third year or so too – I don’t really want to go TOO much longer without a place to call my own… but I don’t see the finances coming together to support that any time soon. Maybe a friend will strike it rich and let me have a tiny room in their new mansion that I can call my own… a place to hang my toys and my strings and to close the door and close the world off and I won’t be beholden to ANYONE…
That’s beside the point.
Friday night looked to be a failure. Heather and I had planned a camping outing for a bunch of friends, a gathering sleep over thingie. Lots of things came down in the way of making that happen, unfortunately, not least of which being that no-one who was invited was interested. Add to that that absolutely no-one that we knew other than Heather’s family came out to the Pourhouse Friday night, and we were fearful that our two year anniversary was going to be a pretty sad affair.
Five minutes into the gig, the big noisy table o’ teenagers walked out in the middle of our first song, leaving a table of Lloyds and a table in the back avoiding our eyes… no sign of my pteradactyl, all sorts of negatives.
Thankfully, the Pourhouse gets a lot of foot traffic, and they were also having a drum circle later in the evening, so eventually the place filled back up again, and with a lot of rhythm oriented people who wanted to make some noise. We ended the night with Counting with about 15 additional people playing percussion, all of which managed to stop at exactly the right time!
Saturday night had no such silver lining. We played to the girl who worked there and a couple of friends of hers that came in to visit her, and again, a table of Lloyds. That was a really hard night because we’d invited the whole band out to Westminster, MD to play to about 4 people, one of which was being paid to be there.
Ugh – eyes unfocusing. I’m going to have to type some more later. Rowan introduced me to Half-Life 2 tonight… 6 hours ago… and I’m JUST writing this, and my eyes are
drooping… of course, I’d probably STILL be playing that damned game if that helicopter hadn’t dropped a fucking BUILDING on me. I swear, whoever the bad guys are, they sure have a LOT of resources to focus on little old me. Rockets and depth charges and men parachuting from the sky… I don’t like this fan-boat stuff, scares the Hell out of me… I keep fearing that the same thing’s going to happen as did in Alice – that some giant fish is going to rocket out of the water and eat me… I’ll scream like a girl, pull the plug on the computer and not be able to sleep for days.
I’m pretty happy this morning. Happy? Content, perhaps.
I woke up at 7.30am at Jozarts Studios to a world of cold mist and grey light. Enough to make me dream of cold pre-winter mornings that stretch into velvet, sunless days. I fell back asleep and woke up to Dave Pahanish playing guitar and golden sun streaming in through the huge, vaulted windows. As people start coming through the coffeehouse, he switches on the stage PA and starts playing Joni Mitchell and some bluegrass. His kids have come in and are running around in circles, and the light just keeps streaming in.
It actually really reminds me of the end of a Grave Shift back at MICA… coming off a full night of consciousness and deep conversations and vague concerns. Morning is always a shock, because you almost can’t imagine the world in light again. Gentle fatigue pulling at you, but you also are well into your second wind, and could stay up forever if you had to… and there was a very specific morning light to the Gatehouse in the early morning – encased in gold from sunlight streaming through the Courtyard and reflected off the glass of the neighbouring elementary school. Always quiet acoustic music gets you into the morning on the old, painted tape deck…. I’m feeling pretty good this morning.
It’s one of those painfully beautiful moments – something that’s hard to contain. I think that the feeling specifically goes with the notion of being alone. Having no-one to turn to and share it with. It’s an overflow danger feeling of near explosion of glory of sunshine and sound and whatever else is going through my tired brain. Maybe just the glorious euphoria of too much tea.
Thursday night we played a show at the Underground Cafe at California University. The absolute feeling of euphoria is still sustaining me, and through a radio show and then a gig, I’ve got this feeling of being on the cusp of something. The gig itself went really well, but the high point persists in the people. I know. I point can’t persist, it’s a finite POINT. Hence the word. But after the show, what Heather and I kept meeting great people. Well… we’d ENCOUNTERED them on previous visits, but we’d never really MET them…
Hanging out with Holly and Derrick and Aaron and Lindsey and others after the show… we stayed out on the streets of California till 2.30 in the morning… chatting with one another and passing police officers. Trading bad jokes, stories and questionable humour. It felt like home. I can’t wait to go back to California. People were telling me about how houses are so cheap up there – I might even consider some relocation of some sort.
Heh. I wonder how much Dave Pahanish’s house is going for…
Heather and I stopped in at the all-night gas station, which is just about the only game in town after 2 in the morning, flattered to have most of the people in the place recognizing us and still buzzing about our performance. We bought our hot-pockets and left feeling pretty high, returning to our Jozart couches and drifting off quickly.
Dave Pahanish’s benefit show. He’s moving to Nashville, Tennessee… absolutely not something I would personally ever do, but he’s having some success there, and it’s looking like a good career move. He’s packing his wife and kids and two big dogs, and going to Nashville. THE Nashville.
Jozart Studios – Jay and Bish – threw a “Going to Nashville” benefit for Dave to help him defray some of his moving costs, and I was really, really flattered to be asked to come along as the opening act.
With over a hundred pre-sold tickets, the show was already going to be a success. We started sound-checking at 11am just to make sure that successful show would sound good too. We rewired and reran cables, hung off ladders to mount microphones in the ceiling, imported about 75 chairs, and generally created a lot of havoc all through the studios.
The show itself was beyond belief. We played to a LOT of new people that night, and we played well. I broke a string in the middle of Sever and still rocked the solo, Heather and I were both in top form – even our conversation had panache and beauty. It was hard to move afterwards from the pressure of adoration.
Dave Pahanish – it’s beyond comprehension how good he is. A voice that can’t come out of such a beautiful man. It’s like the traits that have been placed him have to be cosmically balanced out by some tiny, , mean, ugly little man somewhere who has a voice that aurally recreates the effect of Medusa’s hideous looks.
I was thinking about it, watching him – while I wasn’t distracted – Heather and I have encountered some of the best performers imaginable while we’ve been travelling. And a lot of them have been such kind people – I mean, part of me says that we’re really, really good – and that we just deserve to run in this kind of company, but just as my arrogance flairs upI look at some of these performers, and they’re just so far beyond anything I can comprehend… I hope they “make it”. I hope we all “make it”… but we specifically got t-shirts from tonight that said “Dave Pahanish” and ilyAIMY just to say “we not only KNEW him back when…”
I think I’ll have to make a list of the “best people in the world that I KNOW!!!” but not today, it’s too big a job and too amazed at the world.
Dave even did a version of American Pie that I Loved. He has an honesty to him that lets me believe in the song again. How crazy is that?
He filled that room with an acoustic entity that I don’t think I’ve met before. A personality and a beauty that I just didn’t know existed. We’ve owned the room before… he owned the souls of every one IN the room, and he shined like a prism.
I’m listening to his Live Acoustic CD now… the song “Stoned on You” is one tune that in particular caught me last night and physically took my skull and shoved it under this beautiful light. It’s an incredible song for those of us who are caught up in the beauty of the world. It’s a good song for mornings in the sun and falling in Love.
Today we were woken up by Jozart activity, and we stacked chairs and moved amps and generally assured our future physical discomfort for days to come. Then we got up and got out and drove into the rising sun towards Maryland. Having slept about 8 hours through all of our time in California, PA, I was unconscious before we got to route 40.
I can’t sing along to We’re About 9. I start to cry.
Of course, that’s been my reaction to a lot of my world recently. Just overwhelmed by emotions… it’s a recurring theme that maybe requires some explanation, especially since my USUAL mood is one of barely-diverted world-ending depression. If I had a good explanation, I’d give it… you’ll just have to put up with the mystery. Just as I will.
We played the Takoma Park Folk Festival, and despite a pretty severe sunburn that’s left me feeling feverish and nauseus and weak and headachey, I’ve reconfirmed the belief that most all of the best performers in the world are friends of ours.
We had a good show, despite multiple string breakages on my part – we even pretty much sold out of CDs. People really seemed to Love us. But the highlight of the day for me was definately We’re About 9. I finally got to see the whole trio again… it was like some sort of homecoming. Even my Mom came out to the show, Audrey and Rick – Aaron’s home too. Shame I didn’t think about that whole sun thing. With so many “ethnic” band members, there’s simply NO excuse for ME to be the one stuck outside the shade of the pavilion.
Even hours after getting in out of the sun, I’m still feeling pretty sick to my stomach. Though, I’m suspicious of the bread I had for breakfast, too… I noticed it looked kind of funny half-way through eating it and then threw it out… (Mara! check yer loaves!)
There’s an email in my inbox that I’m frightened to read. It could be really good, or it could crush me. Could be somewhere in between. Unfortunately, I told Outlook to “Organize” it into Pennsylvania, and for some reason, it’s causing the whole thing to lag horribly. It’s like someone is showing me the envelope and holding it JUST out of reach. Viscerally painful.
There’s simply something overwhelming about good music. I’m listening to my recording of the Dave Pahanish benefit from this weekend, and I’m struck once again by how good he is. I can’t even sing along to the recording with out tearing up – not in a bad way, but like with We’re About 9, I just find the emotions overwhelming – the word is “joy”, I suppose, where it’s not just happiness, but a mix of that and beauty and a bit of pain. It’s been a recurring theme for the past week.
I’m amazed by Dave as a performer. Nothing short of spectacular. I hope he’ll let me pass these recordings on. I actually prefer them to any of the studio stuff I’ve heard (which I’m sure I shouldn’t say).
Hell, how do any of us perform our Life stories? Dave is one of the few people I know who writes real songs about real things that have happened to him. Most of the singer/songwriters I know are – to be indelicate – liars. Most of them are making up stories and creating events out of books or inspirations or out of thin air. I used to have trouble performing because most of my songs are so direct from my own Life that I’d break down in the middle of them (Molotov Swell was particularly difficult) and even when I DID get through shows, it’d catch up with me afterwards. I remember crying my brains out in Heather’s old Ford Futura outside of Amy’s house, forcing myself to regain my composure before going in. I don’t break down like that a lot anymore, but I suppose it’s still in there somewhere. Threatening with people who write stuff that I can’t write.
I’m dreading getting to the part of this recording where I remember – there’s a song that Dave performed that made me think so strongly of my father that I was choking. I had a new friend sitting next to me, I remember her breath on my elbow, and I was just afraid she was going to look up and think “oh God, what a freak”.
Maybe it’s just my old mood swings coming back. My mom always told me that one day I’d simply HAVE to give in to taking drugs for my emotions. I’m still holding out.
Listening to Dave play Love songs hits hard, and I wonder how his wife feels – if they’re all about her? Are they about longings that were never realized? Old Loves – I don’t know, I almost feel like they must’ve been one of those lucky high-school romances that coalesced into a Life time. Watching We’re About 9 and watching Pat Klink’s girlfriend watch him – I wonder what that feels like.
The Beatles, “Let It Be,” just came on the satellite radio here at Perk, the first chord timed with my first keystroke and determining the subject of this entry. Rob brings up some really cool things about music and performance that I think are forgotten sometimes when you become a professional musician, about how music affects you, speaks to you as a listener. And I think when it becomes your means of meager survival, sometimes you even forget what you’re really giving of yourself when you get up there on stage.
My mother hates “Let It Be,” not because she is not a fan of the song, but because for her it is so intimately entwined with the documentary that showed the bitterness building into what would eventually be the crumble of The Beatles. I dated a boy who could not listen to Concrete Blonde’s Bloodletting album (one of his favorites) for years because it was the soundtrack to a time in his life when he was getting drunk in mourning over a relationship. He was in said state when the lyric from “Joey” (“and if you’re somewhere drunk and passed out on the floor…”) came on, and it hit a little too close to home. His overwhelming negative reaction to the album was one of the things that made me pick it up secretly in an attempt to know him better, to be let in a little more into the mystery of all that came before me in his life.
The song you could not escape during one of my relationships was John Mayer’s “Your Body is a Wonderland,” which I kind of liked only because of that one part at the end of the song where he so earnestly just says, “Damn, baby.” I would always sing it in the car when we were together. My ex would later joke that he was so glad it had been that song out and not one he really liked, because he felt not the slightest guilt or frustration turning it off after we broke up, and sometimes he even smiled while he did it.
What’s fascinating about music is that it is such a multi-level experience. It can connect with us temporally as well as lyrically. Sometimes it’s just that our personal movie soundtrack was set to a certain tune at a certain time in our lives, and whether the contents applied or not, that song is now a part of that experience – A trigger as persuasive as the smell of fresh-cut grass or salt water or an old girlfriend’s special soap. And then again, a song written two decades before we were born can lay us low with a lyric that seems ripped specifically from our lives, or from every life that has ever been. Or without a single lyric, the mellow notes of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue can make you remember dancing in a candlelit room.
And the same songs can mean vastly different things to different people because of where, when and how you hear them. Those people on the late-night love song requests all sending out the same songs to different lovers for different reasons… I think that’s why you gotta give pop music credit sometimes … here is a medium that can apply uniquely and deeply to THAT many people over time. It might be the ONLY artform that can claim that complete, accessible and intimate an effect.
And then there are people who write and perform, who go on to appreciate a song for a million other reasons. We run our hands over the perfect joints of verses like appreciating a magnificent table built by another carpenter. Just because we know how to build doesn’t mean we can’t be constantly made to stand in awe of people who stopped merely building at some point and became “craftsmen” … the likes of which we aspire to be one day. I think that’s where rob and I and our divergent musical tastes definitely come together in appreciation of bands and writers like We’re About 9 and Richard Shindell. And it’s not the ornate writers … no, the real respect goes out to the rare and gifted who find magic in the most mundane … who manage to say something integral to the human experience simply and elegantly, and cut to the heart of that which you see and feel every day and could never quite explain yourself. As Brian Gundersdorf sings in is ode to the Sunday morning IHOP, “I always have the grilled cheese, but I always have the crisis.”
And then sometimes I like to listen to Britney Spears and I really admire the complex harmony line of an N-Sync song (“Girlfriend”).- THAT’s what’s great about the love of music and letting it affect you in whatever way it wants to. Sometimes it makes you sad, and you love it because you want something to find that part of you. Sometimes you want the perfect song to match your cross-country drive. Sometimes you want to put on some hip hop and dance with a hairbrush in your bedroom.
I forget that people care about how I write, how rob writes. That we are, for some other people, what those other songwriters are for us. Music makes us all equal, and we are all fans of SOMEBODY, no matter what tier we reach. Dylan is in awe of someone, Brian Gundersdorf is in awe of Richard Shindell, I am still in awe of rob, so it would follow that someone out there might be in awe of me. I have very little egotism about my songwriting, and my status as an “artist.” But recently I made of “present” of a detailed song explanation to one of the e-bay sponsors who bought my song. As a second-time sponsor, I felt like I should give her something, and she’d expressed how much the limited information about the song she had fascinated her and prompted her bid.
So without egotism, in case any of you are interested, a little bit about the history of my development as a songwriter. I went through a major growth process in the last few years. As a former journalist, I originally found it impossible to “lie” in my songs. I could only write about things that I had experienced, which is honest, but limiting. I think sometimes it’s crushing when you realize all you’re getting out of a performer is their imagination and creativity, and not being let in at all to their life. I think the more I tour, though, the more I am of the belief that it’s okay for me to give people my creativity and not my life. 🙂
Essentially, what I think you get out of a songwriter is a unique vision. Ideally, you get something interpreted by them as only they could have seen it, whether it was played out in their mind’s eye or right in front of them. And then you apply it to your own life if you want, if it speaks to you. You find your own message. I was faced with the fact that most of the songs I thought were the most amazingly written were not autobiographical. Sometimes in music, when you try to write what you know … you actually find you’re too close to the subject after all.
I consider my work as existing in four phases. The pre-rob years, the post-journalism years where I was exposed to a lot of very influencial songwriting, the bridge years between fact and poetic license, and where I am now. Songs that most of you have never heard fall into the first category: “Memory,” “Falling,” “Time to Go,” “Orion.” These songs were all directly ripped from my life. Every single line had happened to me, even if I was writing in a much more traditionally poetic way. My biggest influence at the time was the Indigo Girls.
Then when I met rob and was introduced to another way acoustic music could be written and performed, I started experimenting with lyric rhythm, off-kilter rhymes, new chords. I still could not make things up, though. “Matador,” “Pine,” “Sever,” and the unreleased “Embers” all fall into this time period. I was learning how to use my voice to sing original material, and finding my own style. My major influences were certainly Rob and Ani DiFranco.
The third phase is where most of the transition really happened. I started listening more to (not to sound too much like a fan girl) Richard Shindell and We’re about 9 much more intently as a songwriter deconstructing great work. I also started listening to the more unique storytelling aspects of folk music, and I started going to slams and writing slam poetry. Things that were drawn from my life – but gently doctored – started to come out. Save Berlin is all true and all the imagery is real, but the events are all speculative (incidentally this song is the most personal of all of mine and the one I feel the most uncomfortable playing, at times. It was a song that just came out, like a lyrical gag reflex or something. It’s what I had to write more than something I wanted to write.).
This led to the bigger step toward complete fiction: In the Water. If I had to pick a single song that marked the defining moment in my life as a songwriter, it would be that one. I set out for the first time to write about something completely outside of myself, from a completely fictional perspective, with completely invented imagery based only loosely on a real story heard through the mouth of a psychic on a talk show. And it was about more than the lyrics. I wrote the verses in a childish, sing-song fashion to mirror the subject matter. I began taking a much more holistic approach to my songwriting. Other songs like “Letters From the Front,” “Parallels” (a permanently in progress song written from the perspective of a parallel line in love with its unattainable counterpart) and ” Illinois is Overflowing” followed.
Nowadays, I take wild license with my songs. I’ve been writing a ton, and mostly they have come from interesting lines or interesting stories that I want to tell. I’ve written a song, in the polish phases, about a car repair shop called “God is in the Gears,” which is completely fictional and based solely off the real-life imagery of how much those crosses on the back of tow trucks look like crucifixes. Did I mention I’m Jewish?
In progress, is a “project” song, which arose from my found object jewelry with the same concept: people waste great lines that they just throw out in regular conversation. I’ve overheard some doosies in coffee shops. So I’m trying to write an entire song where not a single line is mine, forming connections between these otherwise disparate snatches of conversation. It’s not actually as hard as you might think. I already have one verse, complete with three different quotes made by as many different people, and part of a chorus. Human beings want to make connections. Week seek them whether they are there or not, and you find what you look for.
Finished and in performance recently is a song called, “Simile Blue,” written from a series of influences: Will playing us old recordings of “When You Wish Upon A Star,” rob’s father’s death, “Ghost in the Shell 2,” Will taking apart a dead bird, and my admiring of Dave Pahanish and Angie Aparo’s tendencies toward very simple, single-word, single-held-note choruses.
I’m also working on a country song, done except for the chorus, that is heavily influenced by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, borrows one of the found lines from my other project, and has a heavy dose of my Nashville visit mixed in. It’s about trains, and a fucked-up marriage. I am not married, and I have been one on round-trip train ride in my life.
I think my goals these days are lyrical power AND simplicity (John Darnielle is my teacher at the moment, along with the Kings of Convenience), vocal inflection, enunciation and a true use of some of the abandoned notes of my soprano range, and expanding my chord vocabulary so I can write music that is better than just what I CAN do, and more fitting with what the song DEMANDS. Just like the way those simple piano chords in “Let It Be,” love it or hate it, are almost a gospel song, almost a prayer, almost a funeral dirge. Or maybe they are that way because of the association my mother has for that song, and passed on to me.
Tag, you’re it, rob. How do you think you’re writing style has changed over time? What are your goals there? What are you aspiring to?
Bloody Hell, is sleep simply a thing of the past? Maybe my sleep schedule is just overly skewed, screwed and abused as my brain whirls and spits its opinions on the world and on relationships and on music and on pain. It’s been days since I’ve been able to fall asleep before dawn, and that 3-4pm nap I’m in the habit of taking right now really doesn’t make up for it.
Sorry I’m not going right into writing style questions – I’ve got more pressing things on my mind…. like the fact that it’s 3.21am, and I’ve just spent about an hour staring at the ceiling, in the dark, listening to the air conditioner’s duet with a cricket.
The last week has been full of Firedean practices, and they are as always, pretty difficult. I just don’t play other people’s music very well, and though I’m still very flattered that he asked US to accompany him, I’m amazed that he hasn’t just gotten fed up with us and thrown us out on our collective ass.
The last two nights have been full of amazing gigs – one at Java Mamma’s in Resiterstown, tonight at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt. Both in Maryland.
But I’ve just been so distracted! My brain can’t settle, and I can’t focus. Surprisingly, between that brain flightiness and the fatigue (they may or may not be linked) the gigs have still been really, really good. I must admit, I’ve gone into both of them kind of dreading the night… not in the mood to play…. but come out of them just high on strings and steel.
I don’t have much else to type right now. My brain just doesn’t have it in me to enact the proper censorship. The last week has just been so full of highs and lows from friends foes and non-Lovers and dreams – it’s got me wishing for handguns and gasoline. I’ve got to go get my baritone. I feel like writing something deep. Heh.
Ugh. Well, I knew it… I can only go without sleep for so long before a cold will step in and knock me down. I have so many fluids forming up inside of me…. everybody better just take a step back and let me watch the Incredible Hulk marathon.
I feel like crap. Runny, sticky crap.
It’s been quite a weekend. Friday night was very, very cool – the golden walls of Java Mamma’s reflected our noise nicely in on ourselves, and though a couple of people complained that we were a little loud, well… we know about that. We’re rock stars, we’re used to the complaint.
Saturday night found us at the New Deal Cafe and dealing with typical New Deal issues. I Love that place to death, but there’s always some issue or another – the sound system is in pieces and there are parts missing. Richard McMullin and Jeff were both there to help us out – slowly a sound system was materialized for us, and Jeff actually got the best sound we’ve ever had at the New Deal.
It’s always a sort of homecoming to return to Greenbelt and play the New Deal Cafe. It’s weird to realize that I’ve been playing there off and on for about a decade. First as a bass player for Audrey, and then as a solo performer, and then with different bands, various partners. It means that part of me has this warm fuzzy feeling for the New Deal, but there’s part of me that also maybe – is it a brand of failure that I end up back there time and time again? I guess not since you could chart a graph of the money we’ve made there and it continues to climb. We’ve expanded to other places, but still, it’s not like we even pack the New Deal… there are people standing in the back, but you can’t be sure that that’s not just the line to get food. I wonder what Richard thinks as I continue to return there… there was a time perhaps, when he thought I would go places, but as I return to the cafe year after year, and continue to think of the tips and sales there as a high point…
Man – whoever thought it was a good idea to continue using a talking baby to advertise for Quizno’s is on crack. Talking babies are fucking CREEPY. At this point I apologize… I’m still sick and there’s a substantial amount of Nyquil coursing through my system. It’s disrupting any sort of remaining thought process…
But I’m going to get through this…
Still, despite any weird personal hang-ups, the New Deal is always like coming home. Here are people that have supported and Loved me for almost ten years. I remember when it was a place without chairs and I had to invite people to bring their own cushions.
The show went great. I Love performing when I’m that comfortable with people. We were charming and high energy. Transcendent Third really was the perfect opening act for the night – they had the right sort of energy for that night.
My mom, tactless as ever, came over as we were packing up and asked me if it made me sad going home alone. I suppose I could’ve turned that back on her, but that would’ve assured me time in Hell.
My mother’s just coming to terms with Heather and I being broken up and, well… I guess she’s her son’s mother, isn’t she? And doesn’t know when to keep certain comments to herself.
The drive back to Rowan’s was mercilessly short, but filled with the hint of mists and almost autumn and the best music I’ve packed into my disc changer yet. I’m falling back in Love with my Saturn, and rediscovering a passion for driving fast at night, throwing my poor beaten car into turns that would’ve rolled my old Volkswagon, and that I’d be afraid to try with Heather’s modern little toy. Power steering makes me feel soft. I Love my car.
Sunday was a different sort of day. I’ve been fighting a cold since California. It’s been creeping up on me, testing my defences. I think it belonged to Dave Pahanish, so at least it has a good lineage. I knew it was eventually going to catch up with me since I haven’t been sleeping. The last few days have blended into one long mass of hours rather than a convenient separation of night and day. When your Life is divided by gigs rather than by dreams, you know you’re going to eventually run into trouble.
As we set up at Nolan’s in DC, I could feel it creeping over me – at first I mistook it for the misgivings I had about the space, the sound and the gig in general, but eventually I recognized the distinct and different sensation of my throat growing itchy and uncomfortable.
In general, Nolan’s was pretty rough. We didn’t have good sound support (ended up playing through our own amps through a lack of sufficiant cables). The lights kept going out because we had to plug everything through one outlet… since we were playing through amps and not going through the PA at all, we didn’t have effective monitor support… it was really a disaster. We played well, but it was hard to coordinate with Firedean during his set – he was nervous and we couldn’t hear one another.
His fans Loved him, but I hated that semblance of non-professionalism that comes with insufficient set-up.
Tonight I’m sitting watching Friends, drinking tea, and floating above my body from the effects of the Nyquil. Heather and I went out and did a little book shopping so that I didn’t have to lie in sickness alone, and I think that my brain isn’t even going to support television and Journal writing for much longer. I’m going to have to retreat to children’s books and blankets.