You have nothing to say. This is when Scott Miller would heckle himself (and you) from the stage, “Dance monkey, dance!”
That was Saturday night at Glen Park Station. Greg was kind enough to let us take his car since mine blew its mind (aka head gasket) a few weeks prior. Another speeding ticket later (Christ, what is the hurry, Ms. Nelson?) and we were on our way. The officer was so nice I wanted to invite him along with us. “Has someone been drinking?” he asked, smelling the alcohol on Greg’s breath from the night before. (Greg, already charming, somehow becomes cherubic around cops.)
We’d played at the Jam with Whiting Tennis the night before. While the billing had been muddled, the night was good. James did a great job with sound. Whiting sang his songs solo and joked shyly, “The headliner will be here any minute.” Somehow Vandaveer had been lost in the mix.
The week prior in Davis, I’d played Sophia’s with The Mad Cow String Band and while I had a great time, I couldn’t hear a damn thing. (No offense to Michael Leahy or the very dedicated sound guy. The Cows don’t use monitors, is all. They play around one condenser like pros. And attract a rowdy crowd.) Devil Makes Three showed up, having just moved to Davis. We went to their house for a dope dance party afterwards. Oh, Kanye. When was the last time I danced like that?
I was worried that the pilot light had gone out. But I woke up this morning and felt it burning again. Lack of inspiration is maybe the most scary feeling for the writer. Like being dead. You lift your hand, “Ahhhh!” You are a zombie. You go to walk your protagonist down the hall: rigor mortis.
If we are Winnie the Poo characters, I am leaning into my Eeyore lately.
Sometimes I think I beat myself into obedience. Ask myself to behave and then rebel. Who said that adolescence was a 20th century fabrication—that we should be working on farms until we have families of our own? This describes our bored self absorption, our overly reflective, awkward teen years? Hell, it’s 4:30 in the morning, but I am thinking of going out in the yard to find something to mulch. That or smoke cigarettes in the girls bathroom. I am finding a home between pressure and non-pressure. Between that place where having a good hair-pull alternately feels refreshing and hurts like hell.
Peter Mulvey was inspiring. I opened a couple of shows for him last week, one in Arcata and one in Berkeley. His quick wit. His guitar playing. We toasted to Obama at every occasion. The Arcata Playhouse was great. He sang the Black National Anthem for his encore. (Peter, not Barack.)
At the Playhouse, one person, who shall go unnamed, found her way backstage to pee on and around the dressing room. A primitive form of territorializing—I was happy to get away, leg un-humped.
Peter asked me to sing “Old Fashion Morphine” (Jolie Holland) with him and when I demurred for lack of knowing the lyrics he charted it out on butcher paper. At the Freight and Salvage we sang Greg Brown’s “Ships,” a song I have always loved. And Peter’s “Thorn.” Singing with Peter is like sitting in sunshine. And I had the pleasure of meeting Peter’s friend Spock, another good buddy of Chris Smither’s from back in the DC days, replete with stories and dark-humor tinged advice.
Last week I went to record in the Pirate Room and discovered a deadly flaw in my guitar playing. (Not to mention my guitar—my pickup was buzzing at the Freight as well…one too many hot days in the car?) I have no pets, but, Martin D16, you are my pet.
I’ll be in San Diego next week where the weather is supposedly in the 90’s. It’s November.