Tour 2018 – London

Day 8

SoTD: Discos Cheese and Onion Crisps – These suck. I mean I wouldn’t kick ‘em out of bed for eating a woman, but I’m not going to pay money for them. Again. They’re of the reconstituted dried potatoes variety of chip. Like a Pringle, but thicker and faker tasting. Meh.

Britishism: Pulling Mussels from a Shell: Shaun says that the phrase from the classic Squeeze song is about the kissing with tongues. Who knew?

I’m so far behind I have to look at my pictures to reconstruct the events. Like “Memento” with more bowel issues. Lisa continues to struggle with the Dengue Fever.* Her characteristic rash eerily playing out the Stations of the Cross. When she had made it to where Jesus falls down for the second time it was decided she should experience the NHS and visit a doctor. The non-lead singers would do the laundry. As is our lot in life. Folding the lead singer’s underwear being the ritual act of submission for the rhythm section going back to Mesopotamian times**

Lisa got meds, and haphazardly folded clothes, (poorly folded clothes being the ritual act of passive aggression from the rhythm section going back to Mesopotamian times) and we lit out for London Town.***

Upon arrival Shaun decided to surprise us by driving by Abbey Roads. When we got to the iconic zebra stripes he said, “OK, you all jump out and I’ll pull up and snap a picture!” Chuck said, “No.” Shaun said, “C’mon!” Chuck said, “I’m not doing it.” Shaun said, genuine puzzlement rising from his voice, “You’re saying no?” “ I leaned in and said, “We don’t really do cute.” Still, it was cool to see the building and all that.

We got to The 100 Club, which I knew had been the site of a legendary early punk festival, but hadn’t looked into it much beyond that. We load in and start looking at the photos on the walls. The place has existed as a club since the 1940’s and in a different configuration had Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman hanging and/or playing. The current family owners bought it in the 1960’s and it hasn’t changed much since. Muddy Waters played there, every punk band you can name played on that stage. The Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney have played shows there. It’s pretty fucking cool. Also, and I think it’s because I’m dead inside, I wasn’t freaked out by it. I remember playing in Seattle where Nirvana had held a CD release and feeling overwhelmed by the ghosts, but I was mostly feeling like I was going to work. To a job I love granted, but even though there were pictures of Pete Townshend on that very stage I didn’t feel his spirit exhorting me to climb climb climb to those heady heights of “It’s hard. It’s very, very, very, very, hard. So very hard.”

Joe and I went and had a pint at The Blue Post, I went record shopping and scored a sweet Iron Maiden picture disc for my son, ate dinner and took a circuitous route back to the club. I was in the Carnaby Street area and alternated between being amused by the high fashion and ostentation I saw, and feeling cranky that all this wealth should be concentrated in one little area while entire regions are piss poor. I mean there’s nothing wrong with fashion; David Bowie and Paul Weller always looked fucking cool. And they aged in ways I barely dare dream of. But there was also a vibe that maybe the excesses mocked with the Capital City’s citizen’s in “The Hunger Games****” are dangerously close to reality. I’m not judging. The Trump administration has rendered satire moot. America was just ripped by the U.N. for having whole regions in abject poverty. Also, I can be moody.

Back to the club and the band before us, Hurtling, were fucking great. Keep an eye out for them. We had easily the biggest crowd we’ve had in the U.K. and were playing arguably the most historic venue we’ve ever played. So how did we do? Ok. Pretty good. I remember our first big New York shows feeling the same way. Everyone pushing so hard for the magic to happen that it never goes from five disparate elements into one cohesive whole. If we’re lucky enough to come back we’ll probably get closer to that say anything, play anything, ride the wave of whatever that particular night is bringing thing that is us when we’re at our best. I know some bands can achieve a Broadway***** levels of consistency, but the rock I love needs to feel like it could fall apart or catch fire at any moment. Please God don’t let rock get codified and safe.

So in the end, I can’t believe we got to play the 100 Club. I can’t believe that many people showed up to see us in a whole different country. And I’m just really grateful for it.

Tomorrow is Brighton

*Or a sinus infection.
** You think They Might Be Giants have lost it? Check that one out.
*** Some are calling “What Heaven Is Like” our “London Town”, but I’ve never heard it.
**** Fuck off – the first book was good.
***** I love Broadway. “Wicked” is the tits.

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