June 1 – Port-O-Call, Kill Devil Island, N.C
I dart uneasily between awake and asleep. My paperback is still in the sheets somewhere near where I lost it to dreaming last night. The window is opened, the fan is whirling around and the AC is blaring on high from the living room, or what ever you’d call the central room of a band condo, a common room I guess is the best description of it. The gray felt-tip like rug is stained with stains from spills and chucks and who knows what else and the fold out couches bulge and sink from over use. On the North wall there is a mural someone made of a beach scene, and pasted on the beach scene is a photo copied picture of some naked dude covering himself with a guitar. It’s not a bad condo, as far as band condo’s go. But let’s face it, bands make band condos; every band condo once started out as a perfectly innocent place to stay.
Despite all the coolant devices in service, it is still not cold enough to get underneath the blond polyurethane shag style cover they always leave for us in these joints, hoping that some desperate band might steal it.
Light’s pouring through frayed slightly charred white translucent curtains. I’m on the bottom bunk, drenched in dreams whose contents seem eerily like last night’s reality.
It’s 7:30 by my blue watch, only four hours from the morning where I closed my eyes. I wander out into the hall, into the commons area and accidentally trip over Brian who’d dragged his mattress off his bunk due to a relentless bird’s twittering outside the window, which was making his sleep restless. According to Delucchi, once Brian had moved his heavy bean filled mattress out into the hall, the bird had stopped it’s bantering. This infuriated Brian and Brian’s infuriation made us all laugh, with partial sympathy, over a breakfast table at “Bob’s Grill.”
I stumbled over some other stuff too, bags and guitar cords and such, before making it to the bathroom. One look in the mirror and I decided that more sleep was in order.
I managed to regain unconsciousness for another much needed three and 1/2 hours. I went for a jog down the beach remarking to myself how odd a place Kill Devil Island is.
The gig was kind of weird too. Just slightly slanted to the right. It was like we’d arrived on the island and inadvertently driven into “the world inside the mirror.” And when we played it felt like the whole audience was watching us perform inside an image of ourselves. Nonetheless, we met incredibly nice people and despite it being the night right after Memorial Day, we had a great crowd! And the Port-O-Call is a fascinatingly old, new bar/resturant/venue/antique store. It’s only 35 years old, but it’s dressed in dark wood and velvet curtains, and cushioned balconies and black cast iron and coiling spiral stair cases. It was quite beautiful and haunted with old young ghosts who hung loosely from the shadows in the curtains and watched the show quietly through the eyes in the paintings on the wall.
And now we are just getting into Washington D.C. It’s odd how lonely cities are for me. Maybe because I leave myself just on the outskirts. It’s not that feel alone. There’s a difference between being lonely and being alone. When you’re alone, you’re without other people; when you’re lonely, you’re without your self.
June 3 – The Iota, Washington, DC
The day, it was sunny like candy, like butterscotch candy, like an empty yellow wrapper, sweet sticky like candy.
The venue was directly across from a Whole Foods Market which I ran into to replenish my dwindling supply of Reid’s Ginger Beer (which I cannot live without!!!!) and I also bought a small chocolate wrapped in violet tin foil which had crushed pralines in it and was the most delicious thing about yesterday.
The people at the venue looked upsettingly confused. They thought that we were supposed to headline and that Lisa Cerbone (a local act) would be supporting us. We had it in our minds in the reverse. The venue had advertised us, w/ special guest Lisa Cerbone. We drew straws and ended up opening for her at 9:30 to an attentive, groovy audience who graciously lent us their ears and threw smiles up to us on stage.
The night ended up being more of a high school reunion than a show. My roommate from Tabor Academy, Nimi, lives in DC and took it upon herself, the beautiful little social butterfly that she is, to call all of our high school friends and tell them I was in town. I hadn’t seen those people since graduation but it felt so comforting to have them there, kind of like ice cream….You know what I mean? Some were getting married, some had become adults, others hadn’t changed at all, some had colored their hair and some had little hair left. Everyone was extremely supportive and it turned out to be a famous time.
June 4 – The Recher Theater, Baltimore
Three Bands….Us….Fat Head (funk/rap)….and then Jah Works (a heavy metal band…come on, you didn’t think I was serrious!…you guess).
The cool thing was that all the bands stayed for each others sets and everyone really and truly grooved on each other’s music despite it’s eclecticity. We traded for each other’s art and the guys in the bands following us, plugged us over and over again in their brilliantly constructed raps. I mean the energy was all There!!!!
We drove around, in and out of hoods, trying to find the venue which was on “York”…. Not “New York”… Ave. and we all had to pee but couldn’t stop because we had to be on time…. to wait… for sound check.
It was nice to play in a theater after so many smokey bar gigs. The place is gorgeous. Really clean and tall and trapeze-like and of course it has that staple disco ball hanging like a ripe balloon, like an awkward Christmas tree ornament, like a dizzying eye ball kaleidoscope, from the ceiling. There weren’t many people there for our early early set but it was nice anyhow to play to those who were there and with the other bands cheering us on, how could we be disappointed?
We had fun with my high school buddies, who’d driven up to see us for a second night in a row. Chris Soucy was getting Nimi to go stand right up against people and say “Excuse me but you’re invading my personal space.” He was getting a huge kick out of the whole thing. Meanwhile, he and the other guys (Kenny excluded) were trying to invade my friend Mikcol’s personal space, to no avail. We all danced and made up really outrageous dances: i.e.: “The bait n’ Talkie,” and “The blender.” These dances were all offshoots and inspired by our fine friend Eric back in Mobile, Alabama….who we miss terribly.
The days start earlier and end later. My dreams blend like rooms in a house, one into another as though they were the same place. I look out the window when we drive but for the most part I just assume what’s out there: broken cement, farms, “come ‘n eat here! at the best restaurant in the whole universe” signs, police, the back ends of cars yelling their red brake lights at us…stop start stop go go go stop. and I know where we really are is somewhere in Omaha waiting for Godot. Everyday, just hurrying up to wait…….
I’m in the air, Uncle Livingston is flying. He let/made me take off and drive for a couple of minutes up in the air, under his supervision. I hate flying. Well, actually, the truth is that I’m just scared.
My voice is scratchy and I’m kind of tired after having to drive out of Ocean City M.D. to Pittsburgh after our show on Saturday night/Sunday morning. The drive took us all night. We left at 2:00 directly after load out. I got out of my long black skirt and my pink top and into the front seat in sweat pants and tube socks. It reminded me of road trips we use to take from New York City to Martha’s Vineyard. Since mom was scared of flying we’d take “the checker,” and old New York City taxi cab painted white. My brother and I would sleep through the night while my pop drove and then mom would wake us for the ferry. Those mornings on the harbor, the first boat of the day, before the sky got hot, and the gulls got picky about what they wanted to eat, before the haze lifted, before our eyes became use to beauty and we could still see appreciatively through sleep coated dreams. I can still feel the excitement of summer beginning, barely opened like a gift. I can still feel the sent of fresh peaches right off the branch sitting unbreathed into, right in the center of my chest.
I propped a book behind me to support my lower back and pressed some ear plugs into my ears. Bri took the first shift, “stop for coffee on the way,” some where outside of D.C we stopped for gas and Brian made pig faces and noises at me while I vidioed through 4 am blurry eyes. We all changed seats and Delucchi took the wheel. I took the least comfy seat, the one directly behind the passenger side. It’s the least comfy seat because you have to have your knees in your chest. Somehow I maneuvered myself to where I was lying down with my feet on the door panel but when I woke up at 6 Chris S. was asleep with his butt on my pony tail, so I just went back to sleep. In Pittsburgh we crashed for a couple more hours and then gathered on the street for the hottest day I could imagine. It wasn’t because the sun was out. The haze was thick and it was muggy like you read about and my pants stuck to my legs as we slugged wearily through the streets, past the cotton candy stands, chicken on a stick, veggie delight and fried dough. I got a Chicken on a stick which turned out to be inedible and a snow cone, cherry, which melted almost immediately into cherry syrup.
At the out door arena we found my Uncle Livingston about to sound check. He looked great and his Taylor mannerisms made me miss my dad. I delighted in introducing him to my band who fell into a trancelike love with him on the spot. After which we delighted in the air conditioned dressing room which had been set up with a lovely fruit spread and sodas, to which Mcrae responded with: “Now that’s what I’m talkin about.”
The audience was lovely. Liv introduced us, boats floated by us and the sun beat down upon us, until night she dropped down upon the day.
After the show Liv took us all out to dinner and gave us stage critiques and musical advice. My uncle, I’ll tell ya, what a trip. He offered to take me the next day, to Martha’s Vineyard for my two days off. I took him up on it.
1/2 way through our 3 hour flight, and almost to the bottom of a thermos of coffee, Liv excuses himself: “Can you hand me that 2 gallon pee jug in the back?” and I giggle as he puts the plane on auto pilot and turns himself around in his seat. But 1/2 an hour later and I’ve got to use it too.
The clouds are curding up here in this air which reminds me of the lands I dream of. The peacefulness of the sky just above the sky is unmatched save for some of the snowshoed forevers I”ve been fortunate enough to meet.
June 9 – Stephen Talk House, Long Island, NY
We were supposed to play in Boston but… plans change.
I’m happy to say I had a very relaxing time in Martha’s Vineyard and, most importantly, got to see my mom who is doing fantastically and looks younger now than I do. My friend Heidi had been planning to come to NY to see us play, so she gave me a lift.
It was a dark, heavy day that refused to rain, luckily for us. We stopped at a diner in Falmouth that reminded me of the fifties I’ve never been to, but seen in black and white on “Father Knows Best,” and “Leave it to …” You know who!
Somewhere before exit 1 off 495 N the check engine light came on and just about a split second later smoke poured out from under the hood and coolant sprayed all over the wind shield. “Check Engine?” questioned Heidi, “What does th— Oh my God Shit shit oh my god.” We pulled over and I called AAA. Dave, our tow, showed up and linked us up to him, directing us into the front cabin. He was a real gentleman. He took us to a car rental place where we discovered that there were no cars for rent anywhere in MA. I had to call Dave and beg him to come back and pick us up. He ended up fixing the car and driving us to it. We thanked him with a CD and The Kind. We made the Long Island ferry just in time.
Stephen Talk House appears to be your run-o-the mill bar but inside the walls are chalked with every famous musician that’s ever existed. It’s crazy whose played there: Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon, Taj Mahal, Ronny Wood, Keb’ Moe, Luther Allison, Koko Taylor, Kris Kristoferson just to name a few, and the lineup for the rest of June included Jimmy Cliff, Jorma, the Radiators and Gate Mouth Brown! We were so honored to be among those musicians to play there, if only we’d had the gig long enough to publicize it. As it turned out, the place was pretty quiet, though those who were there to see us were delightfully delighted and the rest of the bar was consumed by sports fans, there to see the Nicks win the NBA play offs. Every now and again they’d burst out with fantastically happy hoots, not making me fantastically happy. It called to a time when I was in college at Brown playing a weekly gig at a joint called Z-Bar, underneath a TV which showed constant sports. Mostly the audience’s eyes were following a game above me. Every now and again someone would clap for me and the rest of the crowd would boo them, thinking that they were rooting for the other team. Regardless, we had a good night and hope to play there again….
…….After the Nicks Win the Eastern Championship.
June 10 – The Iron Horse, Northhampton, MA
What can I say? I’m guilty of excess this day but how could I leave that J-45 1945 behind? She hit me over the head with her starburst mahogany face and her dancelike varnish stretch marks. She “Smithy” had a tag woven between her strings on her neck that said “1945, J-45, Do Not Touch.” But Howard, the owner, said it’d be OK to take her on a test drive, and thoroughly checked me out for potentially scratch causing clothing before handing it over to me. I felt as I’d just been introduced to a musical sage. Taking the instrument into my lap, I wrapped my left hand around her worn neck and indeed I felt as though I was shaking an old man’s hand. As I tuned her up I realized she was growing back into the tree she’d been born from. I struck a D and she hummed the way hearts sometimes do when they get touched for the first time after a long time of not feeling anything. She was full of ghosts. Spirits of the trees and of the air that once touched those trees and spirits of the road. I could imagine all those old retired ghosts sitting together inside of her, for 55 years, inside that sturdy sunburst mahogany body, in the back of red and blues bars, telling each other stories and teaching each other their favorite songs. It made me smile ‘cus I could feel them change my mind about cords I had in my mind for a song: “Yeah yeah, that sounds OK,” they’d say at me from the belly of the shadows, between her strings, “but we’ve heard that already. Lets try something more like this…” and my fingers would change their course.
So, what I’m saying is, how could I leave this guitar behind?
June 11 – The Mercury Lounge, NYC
The room wore black…Typical of New York, so I wore red.
The trip into the city was congested. Brian drove. I almost expected an accident. Not because RBI isn’t a great driver, he is. But people kept on jolting right in front of us and trucks with ‘Caution: Toxic Material’ warning signs kept on cutting us off. Stop, step on the gas so no one cuts you off, then Break Break Break while the back seat drivers yell directions “don’t get off this exit.” “No get off get off, turn left now…Left.” “Do not go over the Bridge! Do not what ever you do go over the bridge!!!!! Oh shit shit shit.” “Are we still on Broadway… No No No we’re headed for Harlem.” The heat sinks into your eyes and you bite your nails, you get whiplash and you feel like you’ve gone and done the Abs of steel video tape … and then you’re there… At the Mercury Lounge and somehow, in the heat and the madness, you’ve managed to call all your old friends in NYC to invite them, last minute, to your show tonight.
We were late for sound check, but as I’ve mentioned before, there really no such thing. Especially in New York where everything starts at least 2 hours fashionably late.
The Green room is down in the dungeon. Down past the pipes painted black and the lights which hover and shine yellow green off the black walls. Huge mutant black flies soar threateningly like knives past you, with shark like patterns. They seem to have lost all hope of escape and to have formed their own gangs down there. There’s a bathroom and a bench on the cement floor, and we felt completely at home.
Now, almost home, I feel as though I never want to get off the road. I want to keep on going. I think that I’m scared that I’ll hate my house when I get back to Colorado. That I’ll hate the way my walls feel around my shoulders. That I’ll feel trapped and without myself there the way I did after coming off the West coast tour. I know I have to give that up.
The joint was full of friends. Most of them were mine and Soucy’s friends since both of us grew up in the area and therefore have more acquaintences. We remarked after the show how strange it is when people from all walks of your life, meet each other. It’s like meeting your self at all the stages of your life and them introducing them to each other. There were people there I knew from 3rd grade, 6th grade, Tabor Academy, Brown University, summer camp, family friends, friends I’d met on vacation, and even some people who said they were friends but I couldn’t remember meeting. My brother showed up with his girlfriend. He appeared around mid set. I could see him jigging below me, his face shining out of the black. He appeared to be bald but when I took him by surprise and called him up on stage to sing with me, I saw that he had, in fact, dyed his hair white blond. It was great but short to see him. The show went great. We all felt really at home, flooded by the love of our friend’s smiles in the audience.
Me and a bunch of people went out to dinner at Walker’s down in Tribeca and got left with a 300 dollar bar. Well, that’s New York. We went back to our friend Ian’s, 1 (steep) flight walk up, and played guitar until 3:00 am. It was a great place to jam. Just 4 guitars, candle light, comfy sofas, incense, huge bay windows, tall ceilings and the ghosts of the sounds of our voices. Then night, as she usually does, tucked us into our dreams. I fell asleep on the sofa, slowly listening to Tony, a great song writer and singer play the colors into my head.
June 12 – The Point, Bryn Mawr, PA
I mean I knew I’d like Soucy’s parents but I never dreamed they’d be cooler than all of us put together. They live up in Jersey in Millington and they run “The Raptor Trust.” I’ve never seen anything like it! They’ve got Bald Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, Vultures, and Owls, some of whom are injured and in need of rehabilitation before they return to the wild. They’ve got baby birds and ducks and geese all who need to be fed every hour by hand with a little silver spatula. I mean it’s Bird World! I’d never seen eye to eye with a bird before and Dr. Soucy (Len) let me hold them on my arm. I got to wear a red tailed hawk, with one wing, a beautiful, heart framed barn owl and I got to hang with the vultures who looked like old cloaked supper humans. It was such a high light to be able to chill with such majestic birds and to be introduced to them by such a kind and cool man as Mr. Soucy. It was Mrs. Soucy’s Birthday and we had the pleasure of eating lunch with her and her banana birthday cake. Our visit was cut short by the long drive ahead of us to PA.
The Point is soooo groovy. It’s what use to be “The Main Point,” Where Springstein, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown and even My Ol’ man played. It’s a coffee bar and the stage is set just perfectly at the focal point of the room with a huge oriental rug on it. I love a rug on stage!! It makes me feel so at home.
The Point got packed up with handsome faces, including many second hand friends (thank you Lorrie Capplan) and a sweet heart Jeffery, who showed up, first row, every night for the rest of PA. I felt so at home (literally) singing to all those coffee sipping faces lounging delicately in carpeted couches and clapping like rain falls on tin roofs. And while a man with silver hair rocked out in wild places to the songs that touched his own sense of rain, we drank in the quiet from outer space to give to them in cups full of golden heaven.
June 14 – The Walden School, Swarthmore, PA &
June 13 – The Concert Under the Stars, King Of Prussia, PA
Now I’ve played some good venues, but, I’m sorry, it just doesn’t get better than The Walden School auditorium. Funny, isn’t it? I mean, granted, it wasn’t the highest tech. venue but it had all and I mean all!!!!! of my favorite things: The audience was made up entirely of children, kindergarden-6th grade, wearing field day T-shirts. A sea of faced peered above blue, orange, pink and green tie-dye and some of their parents had come to join them. Marji, the day’s orchestrator, and her family, Larry, Katie, and Ryan, had created my IDEAL situation. They had surrounded me with FLOWERS, REID’S GINGER BEER, CHOCOLATES! oh so many chocolates, a WELCOMING BANNER made by the children and dear Katie and her friend made me a star and ribbon halo. It was the gig from heaven for me.
I got to the morning late, stuck in a dream somewhere, where I was making promises to a red cartoon cat and tripping through cobble stone streets in Nantucket. Chris S. was tugging at my toe and there it was: 10:30.
The show out side at the gazebo (Concert under the stars), had gone well the night before, and despite threatening storm clouds, which cropped up on the sunny God like horizon, like ticks and traveled at the speed of lightning and the determination of De Terminator to us, it didn’t rain. In fact when I sang “Sign Of Rain,” the sun came out and blinded us, over the left side of the lawn sitters. We played our opening set and then got called back for an encore. As an opener we usually don’t get to do encores, so this caught us off guard. Delucchi had already leveled the board and I could hear him come over the monitors, from the sound board: “DO A SOLO ACOUSTIC NUMBER.” He said, but I’d already announced “40 years,” a new tune, and so Chris had to scramble to reset all our instruments levels. Soucy’s parents had come down to see us play so we got to hang with them for a second and a really great photographer took some group shots. There wasn’t too high a “glom” factor so we stayed for a while to watch Chris Smither charm the blanket and towel sitting audience. “Glom,” refers to the one, or some times two people in a crowd who attach themselves to the band, or to me, the way super glue gets on your fingers and as you frantically try to disconnect your digits, the glom just gets more fingers involved. We’ve discovered that there’s usually one in every crowd. The telltale signs you’re dealing with “A Glom” is 1. They ask really inappropriate questions or tell you really inappropriate things, i.e.: “You know, I slept with your father back in 68.” Or “What color underpants are you wearing?”; 2. They follow you back stage, or into the bath room and get in your van without being invited; 3. They stand on top of you while you’re talking to someone else and answer their questions before you can; 4. They ask “Do you have any SHWAG CDs?”; 5. They eat the band’s ‘food and drink rider’ back stage; 6. They grab your guitar and start singing your parents songs…badly; 7. They ask if I can get them JT’s autograph or “you’re mom’s picture”; 8. They don’t know, while you’re running at high speed dashes in the other direction every time you see them, that you’re running from them; 9. They tell you they’re your parents friends when really they’ve only just seen them on the other side of the street (keeping their distance no doubt, due to their well seasoned “glom” radar); 10. They say they’ll meet you in the hotel, when you tell them you’ve gotta go.”
We got back to the hotel at around 10:30 am. Soucy and I were sharing a room and we found our images side by side, in the mirror over the double sinks, very cute. I asked Chris if he’d be willing to play with me at the school the next day. “I love kids,” I said, “I just don’t know that I’ll be able to relate to them, and since though you were a 5th grade teacher?-” Suddenly Chris became very serious. He took charge of the whole situation as though playing before 6-14 year olds would take the skill of twenty bomb disarmers. “We’ll need to practice.” He said and brought up the two acoustic guitars. “We should play Happy Now and we should teach the kids how to sing the different parts, and we should play Song For Kim but make sure you watch the ‘f’ word. We shouldn’t play Red room, it’s too sexual-”
“But Chris, it only says ‘I kissed a boy….'”
“Well, maybe it’ll be OK. Make sure you don’t do that bit about going to songwriters jail, you sometimes do, they’ll think you’re really going to jail…sarcasm and kids don’t mix. Also, we should try to stick to songs on the CD, Marji said they’ve been listening to the CD a lot. We should do sign of rain and you should teach them about writing about images and then maybe we should do a song like “the cat came back the very next day,” and he started singing it on the guitar. “NO!” I said “They hired us to do our show and that’s what we’re gona do.” I was beginning to wonder whether inviting Chris into this event was such a good idea but once I relinquished all control and let him take the reins, everything went smoother. It obviously meant a lot to him.
Marji wanted us to be at school by 12:00 pm so we left King of Prussia at 11:00. Marji had timed the trip and said that it was a 33 minute drive, but that there was some construction so we might want to leave 38 minutes for the drive and we delighted in her teacher like preciseness.
I sang and then answered some questions. The kids really made me think. I mean when I talk to adults about songwriting and songs I talk to them about things they already know but with the kids I had to not only start from scratch, I also had to use a vocabulary they would understand. I learned from having to teach them, that songs are pictures which come from emotions. I told them that you can just as easily draw a picture of a song as you can write a song from a picture. After the second song Chris covered over his mic and wide eyed asked me “wanna talk about songwriting now?” I asked them to close their eyes and see what images presented themselves to them during the next song. I sang Sign Of Rain and then called on their raised hand after “Christmas” said one girl “summer” said another “a van driving through the leaves,” “rain,” and I told them they were all right because there’s no way to misinterpret the meaning of a song, “that’s the beauty of art,” I said “it’s allowed to look/sound/feel/smell different to every one.” I had them do the same thing with “Waiting On an Angel” and what kids saw was so remarkably vivid and clear: “I see an angel holding her child,” “I see an angel riding a horse through the sky,” “I see angels at Christmas time.” They all said “and what do you see?” I pointed to a girl in the second row “You,” she said and pointed back at me nearly melting me into a puddle on the floor. I grabbed a girl and a boy to come up and dance to “Actress.” “Pretend that you’re a couple of stars, that you’re really cool and funky,” instructed Soucy, who I might add, is great with kids. The others chuckled because the girl was in 3rd grade and the boy was only in 1st but they didn’t care they were precious and did little jigs up there with me.
It was such a FABULOUS gig. Definitely the most fun yet. After we played we signed CD’s and I sat in a cyclone of tie dyed children who wanted stickers and for me to sign their tie dyed chests and year books. I’ll tell you!!! I love those kids at Walden.
June 16 – The Firehouse, St. Louis, Missouri
And cheap wine discreetly sipped from straws from White Castle plastic soda containers.
It was cold when we arrived in Missouri and windy. The mini golf range was our scenic view from the middle of the nowhere motel where we checked in prepared to “Club STB” ( party lightly ) and opened a bottle of wine. Before we’d settled into our massively floral patterned room, Chris Delucchi had spotted “The Fun House,” glowing with flaming lights; blue dyed water fountains, dinosaurs, popcorn and Astroturf we’re to be had, just seconds away from the second floor window. We put wine (slightly flavored with diet coke) in plastic super size mugs and headed over. McRae took his game very seriously. He’d hit his little green ball and then walk over to it, then lining up his next shot, he’d carefully monitor the wind for possible inaccuracies. Then folding his arms he would patiently wait for the rest of us while we laughed hysterically and hit our balls haphazardly into bushes and fountains. We were the last group there and I think they were glad to see us leave. I lost Again!!!!
We’re on our way home now, speeding the way horses do, on their way back to a stable. Kansas is long again.
We’ve listened to so much good music over these 9000 miles. If we were to make a compilation tape of this tour, the following would definitely be on it:
1. John Hyatt- “Come On Baby Drive South”
2. Black Crows- “Remedy”
3. Liv Taylor- “Olympic Guitar”
4. Lucinda Williams- “Car Wheels on A Gravel Road”
5. Me’shell Ndeg’eocello- “If that’s your Boyfriend, He wasn’t last night”
6. “BIRD MAN”
7. The Brooklyn Funk Essentials- “Creator Has a Greater Plan”
8. G-Love and The Special Sauce- “My Baby’s got Sauce” 9. Staple Singers- “Love comes in all colors”
10. Brint Anderson- “Mississippi Music”
11. The Brand New Heavies- “Make Sauce”
12. Bill Evens- “Jazz around Midnight”
13. All That- “I know You Want to Shut IT Off”
14. Ben Folds Five- “Magic”
15 Looking Glass- “Brandy”
Maybe I’ll make that tape someday.
The day was gray when we got up on the morning of the 16th. Brian called over to our room and woke me up. The bright yellow sunny flowers, which made it from the Walden school, tottered in the make shift water bottle vase, threateningly close to falling all over Delucchi, across from me, in the other bed. I’ve devised a pretty good system for transporting flowers in the van. First I take the leather man knife to an empty plastic water container and cut off the top. Then I fill it about 1/3 full of water, put the bouquet in then with duck tape (the tool of all tools) I fasten it to the cage in the back, right over the “sleepy man’s” seat. That way they don’t get so crushed.
Brian was just calling to see if I’d go rollerblading with him but as I was about to hang up he remembered: “Oh yeah, My friend Simon just called and asked if we wanted to open for Lynard Skynard this weekend? It would mean hanging out in Missouri for an extra few days but I think it pays well…He he,” he laughed nervously. Brian does that. He laughs nervously when he’s unsure of how someone will react to him. “So…he he… What’da’ya think?” He continued. “I don’t think we can do it Bri,” I said sympathetically. I was having dream residued images of us on stage playing to Lynard Skynard audience in Missouri and the whole thing made feel a little uncomfortable. On second thought, he agreed with me.
I accepted Bri’s invitation to go for a blade, and rolled out onto complementary breakfast. There it was: It sat there on the linoleum stainless steel counter top as beautiful and appreciated as the cure for the common cold: An automatic mochachino machine, my new favorite thing. You simply press in your desired cup size, the strength of the coffee, and go! During the course of our stay I must have made and drank at the very least 50 cups of complementary mochachino.
The blade was desolate. We kept mostly to the flatness of the “paved paradises” (parking lots) and the side streets. The area of Missouri we were stationed in felt soulless, as though even the breeze were afraid to breath there. We trekked into St. Louis for lunch and ended up going up to the top of the St. Louis gateway. Even though it was pretty cool up there, we all agreed that it wasn’t worth the hour we had to wait to get there.
The Firehouse was the coolest room! It’s an old fire station. It’s all tall and arched out and brave. It’s rugged brown brick walls are beautiful and strong (but unfortunately they make for an echo chamber of a concert hall if the room is not packed). (The room was not completely packed). Christian and his wife Kaylene are the owners and they are completely generous and cool and inspired to make their place into a national act venue. Missouri is a weird scene for music. But if any place can catch the attention of the St. Louis music lovin’ audience, It’s this place.
A pair of parents, belonging to my friend Dan, came to watch us. They were all grooved and blaired out for the show. They fostered the band and sold us on their son, who is an entertainment lawyer. Dan’s already cool. Besides them, some other folks came out to see us. But we were contending for audience with Dave Matthew’s Band and Chuck Berry, on a Wednesday night, no less, while their home team baseball team was playing just down the street.
The green room was hot and down stairs. I hung my dress on a hanger off one of the pipes on the low ceiling and sat in a deep yellowy chair, watching some flies buzz around the hanging bulb and sipping some bottled water and I thought to myself….
This is truly the best time of my life.
June 17 – Home
We finally made it through Kansas.
I’m convinced that Kansas should divide herself up into two halves, east and west, just so she doesn’t seem so damn long to drive across or alternatively she could grow some small hills so that an innocent driver doesn’t have to see all 600 naked miles of her at the same time.
Flowers jostled, Kenny snored, radio crackled, the sun rose up behind us, after I’d already been on the road for an hour. I took the first shift and burnt through Missouri at 85. I like the road in the morning. No squinting, no traffic….Gas station cocoa coffee…. My favorite, and a sense of nostalgia for times Jack Kerouak had once upon a time in his youth.
It wasn’t hard getting to Boulder early. In fact, what we had approximated as a 13 hour drive minimum, turned out to be more like 11 1/2 and the sun was just melting over the flat irons as we topped that hill we’re all so familiar with on our way home. That hill signifies “the end.” It welcomes you into Boulder and every time, it makes you say “I’m so lucky to live here.”
Once we started dropping people off, we became increasingly impatient. I was the 4th to be dropped off and boy was it good to be home. I think I’ll sleep like I was in Brigadoon and then get ready to go back out. I love Boulder, but the road is a good home too.
STB would like to thank the following for making our “Check your Sanity at the Door Tour” of the East Coast so damn great:
Big Hand Todd, Dan Beach, The underage dancing girls from Minnesota at The Port O Call, Gary Jones, Kipp, Charles at Harbor Docks for all that phat food, “Big Time” and “Re-run,” Of course: Eric the “Bird Man,” Melba and Mary from the Waffle House, “mom” from Madison, “Hot Po” Tader, I.Q, Peggy, David Starr from Arkansas, “Missy”: Chris’s Mystery girl from Shuba’s, Kim Kelly in Tuscaloosa, Alex Taylor for housing us in Northampton, “Smithy,” Livingston and Maggie Taylor for all of their unbelievable support and loving advice, “The Bubble Man” who ever you are, Ian Selig and Val for up all night in Tribeca, Nimi, Heidi, Cat, and Mikol, Dr. Len and Diane at the Raptor Trust, The kids at the Walden School and Marji and her family (thanks for the chocolates, flowers and “gingew beeww”), Jeffery, Sean Pocock and Mary Jane Rumley, “The Gloms” who probably don’t know who they are, Brint and Liz Anderson… Yummmm food, music and “one boot playin’ on the porch board,” DJ Image (The parking lot attendant in NOLA), The Porch Board people at Enroute Music, Howard @ Blue Note for the J-45, Jason for the beautiful flowers, Josh for the Safe House, Kate Faccia (thanks for leaving me in Boulder alone!!!!!), “Disco” for supplying Kenny with the cup….(next time bring two), The Paramount for supplying us with our mascot “The un-kind Bud”, Shuckers, All those people who “looked like a chicken to me!”, Those of you who stuck us with the fat ass tab at Walker’s in NYC, Reid’s Ginger Beer, “Key’s to the Trailer,” Laura back in Boulder for everything, Those of you who gave us hours of listening with your CD’s, Ariel, P.I.M, Those cool phone interviewers, Thai Joe, Beccini contestants #5 & #7 From the Windjammer, Gene O’Brian, “Pelican, Pelican, Pelican”, Amityville, all of our parents for their support, Mel, Heidi Wild and Brandon, Nisa, Dave our tow truck driver, Michael White and Mary, and thank you to I-70 headed us West as we speak.
June 30 – Java Joe’s, San Diego, CA
Man It is GOOOOOOD to be back out!!!!!
Java Joe’s is a coffee house (no surprise there) on the southern slant of San Diego in a mellow little community called Ocean Beach.
The coffee shop might have been a temple or served some religious purpose at some point. The ceiling arches like back bends and cartwheels, in yellow and orange and red and gold and the way you feel is tall and breathy. However, I couldn’t quite put my finger on Ocean Beach. It was described to me as “a cool sort of village. It’s like the last little hippie community out here.” But it felt haunted to me. Like the flies on the walls, once those poor unlucky bastards who, in another past, distant life, had wished to be “a fly on the wall” and had gotten their wishes. Corners of peoples’ smiles seemed to have ferries hiding in their shadows and demons dashed around the legs of unsuspecting dogs.
A man named Sammy approached me as we were settling into the vibe of the room. He had a pad and a pen and a funny little cowboy hat on. He stood slanted forward reaching the center of my chest. His hands were hollow and crinkled, like they’d been thrown into a sock drawer haphazardly and he wrote something down for me in chicken scratch.
“Lose your voice?” I asked.
And Sammy pointed at a hole in his throat. At first I was horrified. I could feel his sigh come from that nickel size puncture and I tried to grab myself back from shock. I didn’t want him to see in my eyes my terror less he’d realize his own tragedy. So I stood in a tight lipped smile as a soldier might stand in optimistic confrontation with a friend whose arm has just been blown off and doesn’t know.
“I lose my voice all the time,” I said; but I always get it back, I thought. Sammy made me realize how lucky I am to have my voice to act as the interpreter between my heart and my friends and I think now, how lucky I was to have met him.
Everyone there was pretty amazing. The whole place seemed so surreal to me that I felt I’d been thrown into the tail of a hurricane. The room, which had sounded so empty and echo-y during sound check, was transformed by the many people who came and paid their 8 dollars to soak up our sound and sit near what sun we could produce.
By the end of the night I was high off the vibe, the smell of the tauntingly good coffee. I felt addicted in a way, to some of the faces near the front of the stage whose expressions came to mimic my own and seemed to feel exactly what I was saying.