Ranking Cheese Doodle: Doodles will now be on a catch as catch can basis. For this leg I am going to launch Green Rooms and Rest Rooms. If one of the reasons for this blog is to show a little of what it’s like to be on the road then showing pictures of the green rooms when they exist or particularly entertaining restroom walls seems appropriate. I always want to know what’s behind a closed door so I’m guessing that’s a common inclination. I think this image from Seattle sums up this concept nicely.
Idiocy from the Van: Then Opie got into Goth and called himself Mopie.
I have to assume that when someone in their twenties gets home from a tour they take a nap and then go out and begin fornicating and consuming grain alcohol again. In your thirties I’m picturing something like sleeping in and taking it easy for a few days. Maybe a home cooked meal with summer squash and basil picked from the garden. Throw together a nice wine spritzer, regale the neighbors with tales of hijinks while sitting on patio furniture, and all is well. In your late forties and fifties it’s like you’re never ever going to feel rested again. Every time you sit down you fall asleep like grandpa after vigorous denture-free relations with grandma. After our return home for a week and a half break, we, in various incarnations, showed Olie around Cincinnati and then John and Lisa drove him to New York for his flight home. I spent time with the kids, tried to get adult stuff done, and celebrated our country’s birthday while watching it going through some fairly horrific growing pains. Everyone did what they could to make a little money,* a new batch of t-shirts came in and needed to be rolled, and then it was time to go again.
As the departure drew nearer my tiredness morphed neatly into a burgeoning anxiety/depression. I’ve got a theory that anxiety is just fast depression. Here is my single source observation: I’ve only begun drinking coffee in the last few years. A couple of times when I was depressed I thought that coffee might help, being a stimulant and all, but all that happened was the sluggish, leaden feeling of my personal version of depression began to speed up in my gut until it became my old boon companion anxiety. Anyway, this blog is not meant to be personal therapy, so whether this depression was situational, or just part of that internal cycle that is part of existence, is not relevant. The reason I bring it up is because it’s an interesting thing to do this job when it takes effort to even carry on a conversation. Because of course the job of a live performer is to forge a connection with the audience. That said, unless you work from home, everyone’s job entails making connections and trying to get shit done with people who are not your family. Some days it feels damn near heroic to go to work, do your job, and keep it together. Onstage it might feel like you’re moving through syrup, but the upside is that everyone there is pulling for you. They want what you have to offer and in exchange give back applause, smiles, energy, and sometimes money. There’s a list that made the rounds a while back on the internet called Thor’s Guide to Touring or Whatever. It’s spot on and profanely hilarious. Here are two bits of his wisdom that sum it up nicely I think, with a third thrown in about fast food.
- Touring makes everyone bi-polar. Ride the waves as best you can and remember, moods pass. So don’t make any snap decisions or declarations when you are drunk or insane.
Fast food is Poison.
Don’t evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.
I think we’ve played Columbus more times than any city other than Cincinnati and with far less to show for it. Granted, a lot of the shows were back when we were consistently horrible, but we hit a ceiling for attendance five years ago and have not been able to break through it. We were playing yet another different venue, this time called the Double Happiness, and the crowd felt a little bigger so who knows. The evening started out worryingly when there were no bartenders and no one taking money at the door. But by the time I got back from my walk to The Book Loft of German Village, an excellent bookstore packed into 32 small rooms, (where I bought a book on the Lewis and Clark Expedition) the club was up and functioning and the Kyle Sowashes were playing their set. We’ve known Kyle forever and I think all of us have slept at his house after a show at least once. Affection doesn’t blind me to the fact that they’re a really good band. Even though it had only been a week and a half since our last show we spent the first half of the set fucking up Royal Gelatin as my sister used to say. I missed the entrance to “Dropping Houses,” Joe started a wrong song, John had to restart “Lightning,” Chuck forgot the words to “Hello, I’m a Ghost.” Lisa assured us she screwed up but I didn’t hear it. If we didn’t shit every day we’d forget how to wipe. Eventually we got our sea legs and hopefully put on a good show. Throughout the show there was an audience member who sat onstage with us leaning against one of the two monitors we had. An odd thing to do really. After the show they whipped up a quick ink and paper sketch and asked to exchange it for one our CDs. Without thinking Chuck handed them a CD that someone had given us out West and said it was one of our best. Afterwards in the van we debated on whether that was a dick move or not. Is a two-minute sketch we didn’t ask for equivalent to a CD? Maybe. They did get something out of the deal though. Oh the hell with it. We can’t be nice all the time.
Tomorrow is Cleveland.
*At our jobs. Good lord people.