[HOW ARE THERE NO PICTURES OF THIS?!?!?!?!? – rob 1/2/18]
Isabelle (hurricane) left us standing amidst chaos and broken limbs. Houses reduced to twisted lumber, and neighbourhoods left in the dark for days. Nothing new for this summer. I’m sure if you added it up, we’ve had our 40 days and 40 nights of rain and dark and winds and lightning. We’re close enough to bringing on Armageddon, I suppose. Bush is certainly doing his best to reawaken the 80s’esque fear of nuclear annihilation. Megadeth can have a new generation of fans.
I’m writing from the road. 67 miles per hour is set in the cruise control, and we are narrowly avoiding caffeine crazed truckers, verging on sleep, it seems, as they swerve between lanes, unconcerned about us lesser beings. “No trucks or buses in the right lane” on the New Jersey Turnpike. Seems a good reason to stay here, but of course 67 in a 65 is far too slow for the majority populace, and we’re constantly switching lanes to avoid the onslaught of midnight ratrace.
The CD release party was amazing. We weren’t sure what to expect. The Harbour was flooded, the roads were closed, even the basement of the Vault was closed. We still had 75 people there just to see us, and we made enough money to keep our exploits on the road for a little longer.
The intimacy of just Heather and rob ilyAIMY is definitely my preference, but the energy of the band? There’s nothing comparable…
Got to go out and see a show tonight. Finally. For the first time in forever, I got to go see music and not play myself.
Did that sentence make sense? I assure you it did.
Anywho, tonight Heather picked me up from Amy’s new house and took me out to the Vault to see the Dreamscapes Project. Now, of course, there was the business side – we’re playing there next week, and we passed out flyers and put up posters and whatnot – but it was awesome to go some place and … well, I’d never say that I don’t like being the centre of attention – but I didn’t have to be “on”, which was really pleasant.
The Dreamscapes Project was incredible, as usual. Again, the band is just carried by Keith’s stage presence… well, floor presence tonight. Keith has the energy, and the sheer charisma, as well as the business acumen to REALLY be a rockstar. I was watching him tonight – and there’s part of me that feels very aware of watching him pull strings. There are these visible actions, almost scripted for the sake of the audience – but then tonight especially – I was thinking how I wish I could think things through like he does. He knows what he wants, and methodically he figures out how to make that thing happen. I Love chatting with Keith online, and just imagining the wheels turning in his head.
We also met another act, Infuseon, who met my heavy metal needs. They did a spectacular cover of Tool’s “Sober” and Jimmie’s Chicken Shack’s “Dropping Anchor”. I wish I could’ve opened up and really thrashed aboot in a pleasantly active fashion, but … alas, I am just too reserved.
Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.
I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.
So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?
Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.
It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).
We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.
The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.
Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…
“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.
We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.
And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”
We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.
But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.
A Matrix Sentinal.
Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.
It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.
I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.
Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.
We checked out the Funk Box last night. Awesome. I know where I want to play. Somehow, we’re going to go play the Funk Box. Angie Aparo’s going to be there… we want to be there… we want to get into the Funk Box.
The Funk Box, once upon a time, was the 8×10 – a well-known venue with weird interior visibility issues, kind of okay sound, and really decent name recognition…
Their open mic was popular enough that people would line up outside for two hours before doors opened – musicians lined up in the cold, sort of making friends, and then finally rushing the guy who opens the door – cajoling frozen fingers to sign names on the list… I did it a couple of times, but I have no memory of why. I don’t remember it being THAT cool – but there was a sense of community – perhaps just because we were pulled together by our outdoor angst…
I wondered what the Funk Box would be like – and that was the purpose of last night – go check it out. We were scouts. (yes, I know that when I fill the space with text or whatever, that it can get a bit confusing… and so I introduce a new style tonight – CaptionText! whee!!!)
Anywho, the Funk Box is beautiful. Awesome sound, awesome space, awesome stage, awesome fries. I was very happy. We ran into a lot of people I knew from Ellicott City and my time in Baltimore, and met a lot of new people. It looks like it’ll be a very fun place to just hang out – even better to play.
Rocket won’t leave my legs alone. Rocket is my parents’ cat – and she makes absurd sounds.
I have a purring, chirping, hopeful, Loving little black cat butting up against my legs as I wander the house, searching for a wireless signal. It seems strange that WiFi has become so common that even my parents’ neighbourhood is riddled with unprotected networks – but here I am, I’ve found a signal that stays pretty strong as long as I leave my laptop balanced on the breadboard. Sigh – it probably means crumbs in the intakes… I already melted chocolate all over it last night.
We played the Royal tonight. Such a varied reaction to this venue. It reminded me of our initial days at Palomas. Nice sound system, some friendly people… A different sort of creature as owner. Australian? English? I wasn’t sure of the accent, but – I guess I’m getting used to playing and then getting a pretty enthusiastic response from the owner. The owner of the Royal was uninterested. It soured the evening, somehow. Ray came out, Brennan came out and brought Tori. The people were nice, the sound guy, Josh, was great – but somehow the evening left my tired and ready to go home.
The bartender was interesting. She was a true Baltimore woman. Tall and lithe and blonde and tattooed, and older the closer you looked. I caught her hand for a moment and she was calloused and strong.
The drive home led us afoul of many back streets. A little bit of alley hopping. The roads have changed since I worked at the Science Centre. You can never be LOST in Baltimore, but it took us a few miles to find 95. We bypassed crowd-filled streets and kittens, and have returned to the Lloydholme for movies and soup.
Ray Roberts at Mick O’Shea’s with his metal bodied guitar.
back in time a bit – back at the Vault in Baltimore. The Power Movement Project was fantastic – a high energy, ferocious reggae-esque… project.
with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.It doesn’t FEEL like July. It’s grey and the air conditioning lets us forget what kind of temperature might be lurking outdoors. Chelsea’s dad doesn’t sleep. I’m seeing morning for what feels like the first time in weeks. Months. And the grey weather is keeping my eyes from glistening with consciousness.
9.30am and Chuck and David are up and frolicking in their morningness – David’s making bacon, and Chuck is talking about amplifiers and guitars and African rhythms. I’m just not ready for it yet.
My thoughts are still whirling from that kiss. Damn you Jason. Damn you Slanga.
Says it all really. I don’t even remember why it happened. But Jason kissed me. He needs to quit smoking before he gets any more sugar from me.
Yesterday was a long day. The yardsale, making food, preparing for the night. I had my first art opening in four years. It was an incredible night.
The opening itself, at the 1448 Gallery, was a great success. Michael Vain and Kali were just – immensely wonderful to invite me to show with them, and then to have the opportunity to play as well… Audrey and I once had a show like that, at a Borders Books. Her watercolours covered half the space, and my scary scritch art covered the other half, and then we played a show at the end of the month, with her in front of her work, and me in front of mine. I remember it being a Lovely night. I did something similar in a gatehouse show back in the Commons at MICA, and then again at the Moon Cafe in Annapolis, but eventually the shows petered out because I was having too much work stolen.
So now I’m reinvigourated. The show went so well – not many familiar faces, but a decently filled room – and the faces that WERE familiar were old favourites. It was strange to think that Kali and Terri and Michael have known me from the Beginning. Back when I ONLY played shows at the Rabbit and the New Deal Cafe, they came to each of those shows, and encouraged me with accolades and cake. It’s strange to think that it’s been so long, back from the Audrey era.
It was good to see Michael, usually so serious and unapproachable, really getting into Will – rocking out in the back of the room. It’s one thing when one can move the audience, but when one can move the artists around you – and KEEP moving them years after their first exposure – that made me feel really powerful. Like I was accomplishing something GREAT.
Terri watched from the back, like she always does. She’s an unobtrusive willowy creature of eye-contact and hair. My parents are the opposite – smack-dab in the middle of the room, my mother mouthing the words. Yeah, a room full of People from the Beginning. It felt like some sort of anniversary, or a birthday, or … I don’t know. Very much a celebration of accomplishment.
It was almost like a big thank you show to the people who’d REALLY supported me over the years. Longer than almost anyone else, with the exception of Amy. The room felt incomplete until I noticed that my portrait of Amy had been set unobtrusively against the wall, facing the stage. The beautiful Raven Jen even appeared from my past and wandered in near the end of the night.
A very good night.
And then we had to race to PLOJ.
I don’t think I’ve ever been very late to PLOJ before. I usually aim to get there by 4, and I’ve frequently been later than THAT – but I don’t think I’ve ever arrived AFTER things had gotten started. Until last night.
It was bizarre walking into things Already In Progress. It was hard having to greet everyone all at the same time, rather than getting my greet on one by one as people straggle in. All in all, I’d say it was probably (as much as I hate to say it) my least favourite PLOJ. Very formless, meandering, drum heavy… and a pathetic spread. Almost no food at ALL! Thank God my tabouli rocked as hard as it always does. Thank God Dan’s chili was as scrumptious as it was… thank Richard and Kelly for THEIR chili. And of course, Mara’s chocolate chip cake. I guess, really when it comes down to it… that made everything okay.
With PLOJ XXIX ending at 2.30am or so, returning to the Lloydholme with the Kerwaths in tow (Chelsea and Beau and Chelsea’s WHOLE family!!) and being awakened by David making breakfast at 9am (no complaints mind you, some of the finest bacon I’ve ever had… but 9.30 am isn’t REALLY a time to me anymore) – today’s band practice was a threat on my personal horizon. I was eager for it, but going INTO practice exhausted isn’t a good start.
Because of random circumstances, Heather and I actually end up arriving at Sharif’s house for practice separately. I navigate my car into his little Bowie neighbourhood, pick my parking space with care, and avoid a tiny obstacle.
A tiny, grey, furry obstacle. Rumpled fur and a trail of viscera that stretches almost to the curb – there’s very little in the world that’s as sad as a roadkill kitten, and I was thankful that I’d gotten there ahead of Heather. I knew it would break her heart to see the tiny body, and I didn’t know WHAT to do. It was right in front of the house, and there was no way she was going to miss it when she arrived – Sharif didn’t have a shovel or anything, and I’m not of SUCH a strong constitution that I’m able to pick up a dead kitten and throw it in the trash, or even a bush.
I’m not sure if I did the right thing. When the neighbours weren’t looking I stole a big empty pot from the yard and overturned it over the kitten in the middle of the street. It’s not the right thing, really – but it meant that Heather wouldn’t see it, and no-one else was going to smear it further along the street.
The pot wasn’t QUITE large enough, and the emotions that roiled through me when I felt the giving squish as I set it down on the kitten’s tail are indescribable and unpleasant.
Band practice itself was fantastic. A great day spent with friends, jamming on music that you Love. That’s the way band practice is SUPPOSED to be, and I don’t think it’s BEEN that way for a long time. It’s made me all the more eager for Tuesday’s Funk Box show. I was fearful everytime that Heather stepped outside – I was afraid she’d move the pot, but I didn’t want to tell her, and I couldn’t just say “don’t mess with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.
Tonight we brought home a stray. Not a kitten bent on flight and skies, but a fellow rockstar.
Daniel Lee has been on the road for four years – and for the past several months I’ve been hearing about him from Brennan, from Mitzi, from Amy. He’s spectacular, and deserving of a better following than he’s got. But I base that on the fact that his following is made up merely of people that have heard him. I don’t think there’s a human alive that can listen to him and not be moved. He makes me want to set my guitar down and step back from it slowly, nonchalantly… as if to say… who me? I don’t play guitar… why?
He asked me if I wanted to join him on a song – I’m glad I didn’t. I Loved being able to wander the Funk Box open mic and watch people’s reactions. People didn’t even notice me as I moved through the multicoloured light, they were transfixed by Daniel’s ferocious onstage presence.
There was a moment at the end of a song when he brought his fist down to his strings like a death blow. Silencing the feedback like he’d knifed the guitar.
Far better than Jimi Hendrix and his pansy-ass guitar torching.
We played the Funk Box open mic tonight, and by chance ran across Daniel, as well as Prout of Hudson & Prout from Mick O’Shea’s. Prout showed off what he does solo – lots of reverb and spectacular looping tricks… he turned a Howie Day cover into a techno tune worthy of a rave.
But we’ve retired from the muggy Baltimore night and have retreated to the Lloydholme. Daniel’s making three foot tall Love letters with which he plans to woo someone at dawn. Heather and I are reciting Lord of the Rings lines and getting the CDs together and being branded geeks by the Love-lorn Daniel.
What an amazing night. The Funk Box was worth every moment of angst. What an amazing night. Best gig we’ve ever played, perhaps. Two djembes beat out drum kit any night. And well air-conditioned. Score. I want to play THERE forEVER.
Sitting later that morning, listening to Underfoot with Daniel, we Love to be able to Introduce incredible things to one another.
Rocking out at the Funk Box. I think it was just such a relief after everything that had gone wrong, we really let loose. It was like a soap opera leading up to this gig – both personally and professionally, and then tonnes of things with the Lloydholme (and on top of everything else, David’s truck’s air conditioning just died!)… it was such a relief just to get up there and play. I’m going to have to write it all in the Journal eventually, but I’ll have to exclude names, or SOMETHING… I don’t know. It’s just… so much as to be unbelievable.
I’m still recovering from the sheer power of last night’s gig. Getting to play the songs that MEAN so much to me, rather than just our typical “bar set” was spectacular. The fans and friends who’ve missed that really responded – much flipping, cavorting, and general joy. A good time was had by all. AND we made our quota for the night, so hopefully we’ll be returning in a couple of months.
I’ve got to admit, I don’t even feel tired. At the moment. It’s closing in on 4am, and my mind is whirling. I was exhausted moments ago, but the computer screen perks me up a bit. I AM tired of being up all night (and there’s the balance – I can feel the fatigue creeping in) – I’ve been tossing and turning for days (well, nights) it seems. Since my last Journal entry, perhaps, I’ve been unable to get comfortable, and my brain hasn’t SHUT up to allow me to sleep. I’m lucky, I get to sleep in, but there’s something a WHOLE lot less than satisfactory when you “go to bed” at 2am, but are still fully conscious for sunrise. By the time you wake up, you realize that you’ve spent the past 10 hours in bed or something, but only 3 or 4 actually sleeping. And those hours are fitful, and you wake up with the traffic, and with the birds.
The four-piece act seems to be the new favourite. The sound was crisp, clean, and thunderous when both Rowan AND Heather were on the djembes.
Insomnia is nothing new to me (I know, I know – I can’t really claim “insomnia” if I’m still getting a whole 4 hours). I ALWAYS have trouble falling asleep, always have. I hated having a bed time when I was younger because I knew I’d just lie there in the dark… waiting. My head’s always full of THINGS. I remember I used to lie awake in terror because I didn’t want to be conscious when midnight came. The first time I realized I was going to just HAVE to see the Witching Hour, I covered my head with my pillow so it would look like I was a victim of foul misdeeds. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I think I spent much of my early childhood believing that the Headless Horseman (as visualized and animated by Walt Disney) would ride out of my closet at 12 o’clock and strike off the heads of whoever he found.
By now, it almost feels like I’ve seen more midnights than noons, and almost ALL of the daybreaks I’ve seen, despite the romance, have been involuntary.
So, tonight my brain has it’s teeth into monetary fears, Living plans, and the Future. I have an insurance bill due at the beginning of next month, and it will scrape me dry.
Now, I’ve been scraped dry before, and I know that I’ll recover. I’m not really afraid of running out of money – because things always seem to work out. I have Gallery moneys coming to me, and uncashed checks, but there’s still that nagging feeling that things are undone, and that I should be doing more. That launches me into wondering if I’m doing the right thing, if there’s any future in what I’m doing. I start thinking about how much I wish I’d never sold my Volkswagon, how nice it would be to have a camper of some sort.
I’ve been looking online, finding prices – and wishing I had a spare couple of thousand dollars. I’d kill for a new Vanagon camper, and seriously maim people for just about anything with a bed in it – as long as it runs, looks like it’ll be running for some time to come, and preferably has air conditioning (cause I’m SPOILED!!!)
It would just be nice to never have to worry about where I was going to sleep ever again, you know? AND my stomach’s bothering me, AND my boxers are riding up, AND my shoulder hurts…. man, moments like this, I wish I could still be in school. I envy Justin his pending departure. I never appreciated it at the time, but MICA was SUCH a haven from the real world.