gracious what a week: dark's tour remarks part three
More Boston, Manhattan, etc. ...
We got a few hours of sleep in our apt. over in Somerville, everybody except Jeff, who elected to stay in the van. Bad idea, as Elm Street is a fairly popular road, and traffic kept him up all night. Those of us who remained indoors slept in frigid comfort and were awakened by the tender lickings of sweet young Oscar, or potentially by the ceaseless stinkpit of the uncleanable Rigby. Jeff caught up on some Z’s and computer time inside while the rest of us headed down to Harvard Square for lunch, comics, and record shopping. We ate at Charlie’s, reliably awesome as ever, where I forewent my standard double cheeseburger and truly branched out, ordering the triple cheeseburger, instead. Sweet mountains of meat! Robbie and Crews each ate some sort of lobster contraption, while the rest got whatever, I guess. Allyn joined us for lunch, and that was fantastic. Afterward SA and I quickly ran into NEC, where I grabbed my weekly books, and then we hooked up with everybody else over at Newbury Comics. The new Magnet was on the stands, and we quickly found the ad DJ designed for Antenna Farm within. DJ bought that and some crazy kinda doll, and then back to the aptartment. After farewell kisses to Allyn, Oscar, and the cats we mounted up the van and headed back towards New York.
So our sister (offspring?) band Still Flyin’ were kind enough to prepare a detailed day-by-day tour itinerary for us, and Wednesday’s installment was written by none other than Personal, of Personal and the Pizzas. It told us exactly what we had to do on the drive down to NYC. Part of that included watching Jeopardy, which we obviously couldn’t do, stuck in a van, so we started making up our own games. Oh, shit, this might’ve been on Tuesday, on the drive to Boston, and not Wednesday. Whatever. Either way, I made up a Jeopardy round for us to plow through at some point, sticking mostly to topics related to the France and the tour and the dudes in the van, with occasional forays into pop culture nonsense and what-have-you. It was a big hit, so we wound up doing a Jeopardy at least once a day from there on out. Everybody took turns making up questions, and by the end our system had become rather sophisticated and intricate. A much better way to kill time on tour than flippin’ through a Cheri.
While in Boston we got an e-mail from an A&R intern at Columbia Records, saying she was gonna check out our Wed. show at the Cake Shop in New York. What the hell? We didn’t give it much thought, we just kept living the itinerary, and thus blasted Andrew WK’s “I Love New York City” during the final approach to Manhattan. Repeated that thing for like an hour straight, or something. Not as awesome as the non-stop “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper (live)” from Lexington to Bloomington, but still kinda epic. On the way we called the A&R girl, who told us she couldn’t actually make it after all. We imagine sometime between the e-mail and the phone call she actually gave a listen to Afrikan Majik.
We found the club no problem, loaded in all quick-like, lucked out again with a parking spot, and then met Rip for a mediocre burrito at San Loco up at like 10th and A. There were two or three other San Loco’s closer to the club, but whatever. I think Giuliani should have spent less time eliminating sleaze and more time improving the quality of Mexican food in his city, but what the hell do I know.
Back to the club, where everybody was amazingly awesome, bartenders, sound-guy, Andy the booker, everybody. Already we could tell Cake Shop was a great place. More friends showed up, both folks who were at the Union Hall show and then people like Rob Lomblad and Dan Donohue and Joe Abraham who I hadn’t seen in a good while. This was kind of a birthday party for Jeff Gramm, so the place was packed all night, and probably full of people who knew next to nothing about us. We’d make them learn, dammit. The show started with Kevin Barker, from Currituck Co., playing some top notch electric folk stuff. Kevin makes me realize how completely useless I actually am with a guitar. After that came John Lindaman from True Love Always with his new band, I believe called Latin Hustle, also featuring Heather McIntosh and maybe Kelly Clarkson’s drummer. I was already kinda drunk and hazy here, and even though I paid at least as much attention to the band as I did to conversation I don’t quite remember what these folks sounded like. I remember liking it, almost as much as I liked the brews I quaffed with both fists. Somewhere around here Excalibrah and Lil Flip Scoldjah pleased the masses with their requested “shit in a graveyard” song. In Interview came next, with some fine ramshackle indie-pop songs. After them came us, and we were ready, and right, and everything went awesomely. Don’t know if it was the drink or the packed house or if we really were just great but this was easily the best show of the tour. Not only was it the most fun, it was also the best musically, from our vantage point. We learned “Drinkin’ Bone” in the van and jammed it for a bit, and finished up with an absolutely necessary “Never Gonna Touch the Ground’, with about eight guest-singers and dancers, including Richard Baluyut singing Jeff Griggs’ lines. Awesome.
I probably should’ve quit drinking at this point. I didn’t. I flew past the sweet spot and eventually got surly, at one point hollering to the skies outside about what I believed were bad sleep decisions made by representatives of the France. We went to a couple of the most boring and depressing bars ever, eventually made our way down to Rippy’s apartment on the upper 70’s, where I immediately passed out on the hardwood floor while other dudes searched in vain for fresh pizza. Some dudes slept on the roof outside Rip’s room after pounding some additional Miller Chills and watching the sunrise.
I awoke expecting a massive hangover, but instead only had to face the worse leg-cramp of my life. And then we noticed the ticket on the van, along with the giant unremovable day-glo sticker that let everybody know we violated New York’s parking laws. Whatta way to start the trip to DC!
More to come folks…