We're on a seven hour (plus) drive from Phoenix, Arizona to Santa Barbara, California in a rented 15-passenger van. I've been catching up on email on my blackberry, Brian's mostly supine with a stiff neck from headbanging too hard last night during “war pigs”, Emily's been in the front seat with her hands glued to the laptop and her cellphone affixed to her ear, and Joel's been driving. It's a day. We just drove through a vast windfarm....miles long over hill and dale, creating such trippy visuals that I wanted to jump out and hear dark side of the moon at top volume. The hazy sunlight helped. Back home in Boston there's 30 inches of snow. I wonder if my volvo will survive the winter?
The Sundance Film Festival was incredible...the film industriy's equivalent to the music industry's South by Southwest. One long street in Park City, Utah (about an hour outside of Salt Lake) taken over for a week by the hip and the restless, genuine indie filmmakers swashbuckling aside A to D-list celebrities. We spent the majority of our three-show run there camped in the dressing room of the club. Some of the acts who played with us were fucking incredible. Saul Williams, who I had never heard of before, blew my mind. He was a fan of the dolls, which flattered me beyond belief. I got to see Ben Kweller live and tell him how much I loved the toothbrush record. The Kings of Leon hung out and looked very cool and skinny, and were very cordial. Most exciting was getting to see Nellie Mckay play...I was really intrigued by her debut recod (all piano-based songs slickly produced...called “doris day meets eminem” in her press release). We had been hoping to meet each other and finally got to grok on sunday night, which we all had off. She sparked a real chord in me, seeing her sitting at the piano, all alone. I couldn't stop thinking: “This is it. This is what I would be doing if I hadn't met Brian.” We were at a party altogether; us, Nellie and The Ditty Bops - who we hadn't seen since the last tour - and a photographer was trying to capture everyone together and seperately. And, as we realized by sharing later, both Brian and I watched Nellie, standing there getting her photo taken and both felt it...she just seemed so....alone. And we poured a little shot out of our proverbial forties onto the altar of rock love, once again expressing our deep gratitude...and disbelief...did we really even find each other? Are we that fucking lucky? We ask each other this question every other day or so and still are in awe of the answer.
I also found myself having a quiet moment of appreciation for my record label and the fact that they personally know me and Brian and are not so gargantuan and beurocratic that this happens: Nellie is a staunch animal-rights activist and PETA-supporter (it even states that on the back of her record) and her label, Sony, actually sent her a fur stole for Christmas. Unfuckingbelievable.
Last night we played to a packed house in Tempe, Arizona and had a blast. We played ping-pong and I came 20,000 points short of getting the high score on their Ms. Pac-Man (which, I'll have you know, is damn fine work) and walked up and down the quarter-mile alley behind the club a total of 9 times while warming up my voice, hearing the repetitive choir of dogs get all worked up from behind their respective fences, picking up oranges from the ground and trying to teach myself how to juggle and trying to figure out how anyone could possibly think that “Fuck” and “Bitch” scrawled in three-foot letters makes interesting graffitti.
Oh, and a billboard just reminded me. Armageddon is coming.