10/24: It's about 12:30 am and we're finally on the road out of Brooklyn. My writing at this point is jagged and scrawly because the BQE and every other road in NYC is riddled with potholes and divots, and at least until we're on the highway, I'm keeping the overhead light off so it's easier on the driver.
It's has been a big plate of suck to be away from the internet; I have no real idea of what's going on in the world (the horror of having one's news filtered by the New York Times, or worse, the corporatized bullshit press), although in some aspects it's probably for the better. I'm just glad to finally be out of New York City. For the past week, I've been needing to write these words: NEW YORK CITY IS UNBEARABLY LOUD.
You cannot escape it. The noise is everywhere. If it's not carhorns, it's shrieking brakes. Or people yelling.
10/25: And on top of the auditory overload, there's visual noise too, and ads on fucking everything. There's no middle ground in New York, just extremes, stark extremes.
We're on I-95 outside of Baltimore as I write. This guy Jason (aka Boogie) is roadying for us, and he's cracking us all up. He's 25 or so, covered with tattooes (including his shaved head), about 5'11", skinny, and the funniest motherfucker I think I've met in years. Just keeps going on with this nasally Bronx-as-fuck voice. I don't know if I believe him or not, but yesterday he claimed A) to have modeled for Calvin Klein, B) to have been hit twice by cars, and C) to have never been out of New York, not even toi Queens more than twice. He brought along a shitload of 80s hair-metal, everythijng from Dio to Warrant. We drove until 3:00 AM or so, rocking out to and laughing at "Shame on the Night," Ronnie James' epic tirade at the evening hours for giving him "the straaaaaangest dreams." Boogie was freaking out the minute he saw a dead deer on the side of the road. "No shit, I nevah saw dat kinda shit before!"
I have the Bubba George String Band on my cd player, really superb old time music. I never used to really dig old time before: the chord changes are so crazy and almost unnecessary, the melodies are so repetitive (I've heard that some old time musicians won't improvise at all). But now I guess I hear the music differently, if "hear" is the proper word. Izzy's said before, "How can you stand playing rhythm guitar for old time bands? It just seems so boring." But the truth is it's not boring at all. I understabnd what the old timers mean by the groove now.
There a rally going on in DC today, another A.N.S.W.E.R./ United for Peace action. I have no idea how many people are going, but I have no doubt it will be underattended and underreported. As much as I'd like to be there, I can't help but think the peace movement, at least as envisioned by A.N.S.W.E.R., is getting irrelevant. I do not know what's to be done in its place.
On the cd player: Elzic's Farewell, played by the Bubba George String Band.
10/26: Georgia Pines reminding me of the Osborne Brothers and their less-than-stellar song "Georgia Piney Woods," but thankfully I can't remember the melody which sucks in two ways: not only is it an insipid melody, it gets stuck in your head. Forever.
We slept at Amanda's place last night; she's a friend of Izzy and Katy. Leave it to Boogie to find the porno in her collection, which was just as nice a way to start out the day as any other, but not quite as good as coffee. We let Jamie wake up to a screen filled with all manner of cocksucking, buttfucking, what-have-you.
Speaking of coffee, Boogie and I set off to find just that as everyone got out of bed. We got directions from a cute little blode to the Dunkin Donuts. DD doesn't have the best coffeee, but it was closer than the vegan place and at least they use whole beans. It's funny how important that sort of thing becomes on the road: a cup of good coffee; a place to shit and piss in peace and quiet; your own room or bed....
So anyway, we got back to the house and after a while, Katy, Izzy and Jack began picking in the back yard, while I rolled up a joint and had a couple of hits. I got up and walked to the front yard to call melissa. I was a good 5 minutes into the conversation when I noticed the neghbor woman taking pictures. At first I thought she was taking shots of the fall foliage (the leaves turn in georgia too), but it became clear she was taking photos of... well, me, and then our van as surreptitiously as possible. I thought to say something, but was busy talking to Melissa and trying to pack at the same time. Trying to do both at the same time became impossible so I cut off the conversation and started loading. As I said goodbye, I turned and saw trhe woman hidig behind the SUV in full "Harriet the Spy" mode. George cam outside; like boogie he's covered with tatoos and has half his head shaved. I pointed out the lady to him, as she disappeared into the house. This was no old bag, nosy old lady. She wasn't any older than 35 or so. I was telling Jack about the incident as she and her boyfriend came out and scuttle into the SUV. he shot me a ithering glanc e, and rolled up the window about halfway. That's abut when Izzy reminded me that Amanda's house had been robbed recently. "Maybe she thinks we're ransacking the house," said Jack. "Yeah," I snorted. "We'll just roll up to your place, in broad daylight, with a giant trailer in tow, and just start carting out the goods...." The image was too funny, like something out of CHiPs. The woman had probably smelled my pot, seen a bunch of strangers, including 2 NYC punks, invading the apartment downstairs and assumed the worst. "Herman, hide the good Corningware, the hottentots have invaded!"
So much for southern hospitality, I muttered. More like southern paranoia.
The fact is that the south's reputation ofr hospitality is overblown. There are a lot of friendly people here, but for the most part the hospitality is really a thin sheen of courtesy and manners. But "please" and "thank you" isn't real hospitality. What would have been wrong with simply coming up and saying "Hi... are you friends of Amanda's?" or even "There was recent;y a robbery here, so just to mnake sure..."
But no. The woman was totally unwilling to engage another human being. Ooooh, strangers. I'd better hide and capture them on my polaroid. That's so much more approprite than actually talking to them and seeing what they're up to.,/i>
Suspicion breeds more suspicion: the woman's behavior was weird enough that I felt compelled to hide my weed even deeper in my travel bag lest we get pulledover as travelling bandits.
I feel bad about stereotyping southerners, and as I've said, many people down here are very nice. It's just that in many ways, the south embraces the artficies that hide the raw meat of the country. Underneath all our contraptions and clapboard buildings, this country is just raw and brutish. That's why i like old time music so much and reading about people like Jean Rictcie and Ralph Stanley. The meat is totally exposed, it's not colore with the pastels of the mall of America.
Last night was the first night in years in which I have't had a drop of booze.
10/26 continued: I guess I should be writing about the whole MSI show: let's just say that was a piece of work.
Right off the bat, things went wrong. My brand new patch cord was dead. Izzy's amp completely fried; he had to use Katy's amp for the first show. We sold only 5 cds; something must be off with the way the merch guy kept records, which is what I'm going to believe unbtil we get a chance t go over our inventory and see if we're getting scammed. The merch guy seems pretty decent, and I doubt that he'd do anything deliberate.
Most of the kids I met were pretty cool: we got one bottle chucked at us, and some kids gave us the finger, but in general I had a good time. MSI is pretty nutty to watch. Super loud, but super tight as well. The way they worked with tape loops reminded me a lot of Roger Miller's No Man wor, especially in terms of jarring time signatures and weird sounds.
10/27: I started wriuting all of the above last night around 1 AM, and since then it's been a straight shot through the night to Fort Lauderdale, a 12 hour trip. I'm writing now from a gas station off I-95 just south of jacksonville. it's 7:30 AM. My neck and eyeballs hurt. I think Boogie just crashed for good about 1/2 an hour ago. Like me and jack, he'sbeen up all night. I'm surprised I'm still awake and not fucking seeing shit. Boiled peanuts and Caca Culo for breakfast....
5:00 PM: We're heading back to Boca raton to [pick up Izzy's amp: Ray Martin was able to find us an amp tech right outside of Lauderdale. Right now, 'm riding the very fine line between exhasted and overtired. I dodn't go to sleep from about 3:00 am until... maybe 11:00 or 12:00 this afternoon. We pulled into a hotel (forget the name) about 2:30 or 3:00. Took a shower, followed by a HUGE SHIT, jumoped in the crappy pool, shaved and drank some real coffee (picked up a 1/4 pound oif organic coffee in Atlanta).
So despite the fog of exhaustion and tinted windows, Boca raton is kinda cool in a cheeesy way. i like the 50s and 60s architecture.
Almost to the joint... god almightty, I could use a drop of nose candy riht now. Just one teensy, weensy little line to keep myself going.
10/27 still continued: Last nights gig was incredible. Good gig, good crowd, and great kids.