Monday, July 04, 2005

the fourth of july.

july 1st
Things have reached that point.
We've just finished our second-to-last festival gotten into a van for a ten hour drive to Roskilde (one of the biggest, 70,000 people in denmark) and Brian was already at the end of his rope five days ago. Emily just handed back a clipboard and paper so we could put our signatures down for something and brian (instead of simply signing the thing) spent a good ten minutes kind of twitching and giggling and drawing a creature that looked like edvard munch's “the scream” with giant vulture wings and feet like shrivelled elves'. We didn't even find it funny, just....brace for drive and shut up.
Things have reached that point.
july 3rd - 11:30 pm
well fucking brilliant. arriving back home at 11 pm, 5 am body-time and listening to the boston cab driver blaring bad synthesized R&B while the skyline
greets me covered in haze. it's enough to make me want to turn around and go back, as much as i was sick of being on tour. we fully hit the wall about a week before the end. now i am home, water boiling, and refusing to go to bed until i can make some sense of anything. i always have to do this, i don't know exactly why.

tea is done. cathode is injected into the stereo. i'm already feeling better.
i just feel a little lost. this is when i want my guidebook to this life, to tell me where to start, how to come to terms. my voice teacher told me a few months ago that some of the huger performers he's known will often take tour breaks in their hometowns without going home. they just check into a hotel and keep their rote touring schedule so that they don't have to deal with the mindfuck. i feel like i don't live here anymore. i walk into pope's apartment upon getting out of the cab a few hours ago and nobody blinked an eye. they're just as used to me being a ghost of a human being as i am. my heart is breaking a little bit. the more i tour, the less i feel like myself. the constant people, the constant working out of interpersonal drama and other people's issues is something i can actively escape when i'm at home. i just close the door. on tour, there are no doors. everybody's shit is in each other's shit constantly. my nerves weren't built for that. if i had a few magical hours a day in wehich i could beam myself back home, to my safe place, alone, where i process and write and get free from the ragged wreck of humanity, i'd be far more equipped to survive the schedule. but it's all or nothing. when you tour, you just go. and you're just there, which is always sort of somewhere but never really anywhere.

"i'm in italy."
"some festival near....padova." i'm not sure which part of italy because i forgot to check the atlas.
"but WHERE?"
"outside...wandering around...trying to get to a place where i can be a weird concrete landing, behind the tour bus." this is where most of my conversations take place. sort of nowhere.
"i miss you."
"i miss me too."

"i'm in berlin."
"just kind of walking down a street, somewhere near the venue." i don't know which part of berlin; i forgot to check my map. i don't care, really. we're not staying and if i knew where i was, it wouldn't help me.
"what's there?"
"nothing just passed a pawn shop and bought a cigarette tin. it's one of those typical streets in berlin where you just feel like your'e lost in the middle of nowhere. no signs of life but yet there are people who apparently live here and call it home." the spectre of every building having been thrown up in 15 minutes in the 50's may be part of the problem.
"what's the plan today?"
"eh. i have about two hours til soundcheck, and we may not even get one. i'm going to wander up and down this street...warm up my voice, it's all fucked up, and then head back to the venue." where i will also feel like i'm nowhere.
"i feel like i'm nowhere."
"you've been on the road for a while, now. i miss you."
"i miss me too."
"i love you."
"i love you too. i think i'm going a little crazy."
"i'm not surprised."

"i'm in the bus."
"somewhere between two cities. we've been driving for 14 hours. i knocked myself out last night."

"i'm in england again."
"where's that?"
"in the south, somewhere...look at a map, fucking." why is it my job to fucking know these things?
"i trust you."
"don't trust me, i'm losing my mind." and i am. the sun is starting to shine. it's simultaneously t-shirt and heavy jacket weather.
"what's going on?"
"i'm in the parking area for the tour busses. just some strange big fenced in sandland. i'm truly alone for the first time in 72 hours. it rained like a motherfucker here and everyone is wearing industrial rainboots. it's crazy."
"when do you play?"
"tomorrow. i need to be careful tonight. no drinking. no smoking. the show tomorrow is important."
"i'll let you go and warm up."
no! never let me go, never stop talking and giving me this human vocal thread by which to connect myself to what i know my life was and is. i don't want to warm up, i don't want to go back to being nowhere in this parking lot with no stove and no bed and no door that closes and i don't want to take my luggage to the dressing room and make myself a cheese and bread sandwich and a weak cup of tea in a plastic cup which will melt.

but then again, it can be wonderful. it's work. after watching such a collection of huge folks close-up and backstage over the past week, i feel like my rose-tinted music glasses have been finally fully crushed and replaced with a stark reality of routines, gigs being called in from distant planets, nodding teen heroes being propped up by crutches backstage because their heroin habit has reduced them to 89 pounds, the mechanical nature of it all, the cocaine, the hangers-on, the wandering hipsters, more pointy shoes and blazers than you can shake a dying tambourine at, the lack of love, the whole fucked-up-ness of the inevitable disaster when you take a trade and artform fundamentally rooted in the expression of pain, suffering and insecurity and organize the shit out of it. does anyobdy feel like they're really in the middle of the party? not from where i was sitting. it seemed like everybody was always hovering around the edges, looking into a collective void.

the deadliest part: i'm home, and it feels closer to nowhere than ever before. this is bad, very bad. the british, i found out recently, have a name for this. they call it The Fear. it's a general sweeping mental malady that sets in after living in the UK with it's suicide-inducing weahter after a while. I have contracted a strain of The Fear. maybe not quite so bad. The Ennui. The germans call it Weltschmerz. Do we have a good english term for this? we will know. I hereby dub it The End.

don't get me wrong, it wasn't like this every day and every where. i'm exhausted. i want more. i want my drummer back, i feel like i'm losing him to the dark side again.
i want to skip over the part where i climb into my empty bed and wait to see how long it will take me to fall asleep on this fucked up schedule and get to the part where i wake up to the beautiful day and i'm magically compelled to immediately practice and open 67 pieces of mail and fly into a general manic creative frenzy and clean my whole kitchen from top to bottom and forget that i just spent five weeks doing absolutely nothing but listlessly watching life wander by between rock shows. i want my life to come back to me, because i don't fucking know where to go to find it. it's terrifying.

i want the fourth of july to just go away. i want the sound of people practicing fireworks outside my window to vanish. it sounds like war to me.

emily and bri stayed in europe and went to the G8 summit to reckon with The Man. i will live vicariously through them and their emails about how the resistance is going. reading todays' paper about live 8 and the general response of the experts and then watching the BBC coverage of Iraq on the plane and then watching a film about the last few days of Hitler's life in the bunker couldn't be doing much to improve my mood, come to think about it. simultaneously getting my period upon boarding the plane and having no sponge and no underwear didn't fucking help matters either. it all sucks, man. everybody's dying and complaining and trying and it's always this way. there is absolutely nothing to be upset about.

it's the fourth of july.
it's the fourth of july.
this is hilarious and sad to me, for some reason.
if i wasn's so tired, i'd find a sarcastic reason why.

i must have also been going through a hormonally challenged day when i had that unforgettable fourth of july image burned into my brain, i think it was 1998 or 1999. i was seeing will, and he lived near the mass ave bridge, where thousands of people always gather to watch the fireworks over the river. we walked onto the bridge but somehow lost each other. i looked and looked and coulndn't find him. the relationship wasn't working out anyway at that point. i'd never seen the fireworks before, i watched from the bridge, alone, surrounded by families and lovers and drunk people and the whole typical assortment. then they were over. and thousands of people started walking off the bridge, but i just stood there, in the middle, facing them all coming at me and thinking about america and patriotism and loneliness and people's lives in general and jsut started bawling my brains out (i'm not a crying-in-public kind of person generally. to myself, quietly, over the paper when i'm PMSing, yes, but not like this. no way.) and the people passing me, who were all in a kind of a fairground headspace, just looked at me with that "damn, what the fuck is her problem?" kind of look and they kept streaming by, thousands of them, bearing lawnchairs and coolers and it got uglier and uglier and i got sadder and sadder until somehow the whole thing ended and i made my way back to will's house, where his father offered me a beer and a piece of watermelon and i felt better. i wonder the hell was wrong with me in those days.


"I Heart Amanda" Across My Chest Guy said...

Hey Amanda. If it makes you feel any better, you two ROCKED ROSKILDE!! Your perfomance was way better than the sabbath! And the fact that you came out and met fans, as the only band on the entire festival, was great. i thank you for that. :)

By the way, Brian. Your father couldn't be more right, double bass pedals RULES.

Morten said...

Hi Amanda

I guess i know how you feel. I've just come back from Roskilde Festival, where i watched your show, and also got my shirt signed by you. Though i've only been through 8 days, and not 5 weeks, of crazy drinking, smoking and indifferent conversations that just makes one feel empty, i think im feeling some of the same as you. my girlfriend is in africa and my room in copenhagen just dont feel like home to me, so i've gone to my parent's house in the country. but here it doesnt really feel like home anymore either. and a frontpage picture of f... president bush is lying on the table next to me, because he's coming to "visite" denmark the day after tomorrow.. its quite depressing.

well all i wanna say is that right now i feel weltschmertz too. and i just wanted to cheer you up i guess. lets hope that it all gets better..

cheers from morten

R Nicholl said...

I came to your site via a link from the Ditty Bops. I've never heard your music, but oddly enough I just read your bios and your post. so... I guess you can call me a fan of your writing for the time being. Ahhhh the big empty. Every city is the same, every road is the same, the time waiting is the same. appreciative strangers but never enough time to make a connection. complements, complements, complements. there's always sombody backstage that shouldn't be. no space. privacy comes with a shower.

so I'm not going ot say "smile!" but, (by the way this is not a rant or a guilt trip) take into consideration the enormous gift that you have in being able to affect the masses with music, song and writing. People will be borrowing your words and your intentions through interpretation to sort and solidify their feelings for years to come. you may or may not be a genius, I have no idea (I'll look at a video on your site after my pseudo pep talk!) but you have eased the pain of others through catharsis. That is a wonderful thing and I'm glad you can be as in the "spotlight" and be as open and honest as you are. Don't stop.

Tijs said...

Hi Amanda,
I saw you at the Werchter festival and I noticed Brian like cheered you up just before the show started, but it almost slipped my mind because I was blown away by this great show. The only other time I had this feeling about a show was when I saw Radiohead for the first time.
Hang on and once again thanks for the wonderfull performance I will be at pukkelpop, hope to meet you there.
I haven't met you at werchter because I straightly ran towards the merchandise to buy a t-shirt!


simply jack said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
simply jack said...

define irony. Driving through town, I happen to be listening to the jeep song when my ex is about to pass me in her SUV. In an effort to seem breezy I lean down, turn up the radio and wreck into a telephone pole. After I collect myself I start to laugh. By this time Amanda has recognized me, gotten out of her car and come over. "why are you laughing?" she asks. "Did you see me at all?" (cuiosity is killing me)... "not until you wrecked."

I always knew that bitch would try to kill me.

miss_anorexia said...

My Beautiful Amanda,

I think i'm in love with YOU...

Berlin - aftershow +
"Hello darling" + "beautiful eyebrows" remember that ? I will never forget...

ps.hope You feel better soon :kiss

forever yours,

o_0__SHOOTxME said...

First I wanted to say you guys so totally rocked at Rockwerchter!! I'd never seen you before, I didn't expect you'd be so awesome live =) tnx for signing my pants amanda!!
I cannot say that I feel the same like you do, I just don't, you're obviously feeling so much worse.. But when I left Werchter, (finally, after sitting 4 hours in the rain) I came home, and I said to myself: "I want to go home" like I always do when I'm away, but I already was "home", but it wasn't a home... it's just a house right now, I don't know where my home is..I'm lonesome, I'm bored, I'm thinking about so many people who just aren't thinking about me, and that's just sad.. Please feel better soon, and if you do, GO TO HOLLAND FOR A CONCERT ;-) **I don't have money left for lowlands**
I know you won't read this crap, it's too fucking long.. =P **sigh**

o_0__SHOOTxME said...

btw that post is just not the thing that's helping you right now.. It won't make you feel less lonely and stuff...
It just could be a reminder of why you're going through the stuff you're going through.. I find myself guilty that you're feeling miserable, without us fans you wouldn't be touring and exhausted.. But maybe that wouldn't be much better though, no one knows
PS: Don't Mind My Crappy English

Stacy said...

Namaste Amanda Namaste

Here is to a good stiff cup of tea, a long and much needed head clearing session of Yoga.
Some fresh kiwi and yogurt, and a long hot bubble bath.

It's good to know you are stateside again.
The travel cobwebs will soon be shooed away.

Dres_Head said...

You mustent want to here about how much I enjoyed your show on May 29th, because if I felt the way you did I wouldn't want to hear about it.

You have been touring for quite sometime now and havent been home for months, which can definately change things back home, and I know nothing i say can change the way you feel right now, but maybe you just need what sounds like a much need break, when im stressed and feel like everythings fucked up, i go and listen to DD its the only thing that can calm me down, especially when im PMSing and mad at the world :p, but i doubt you wanna listen to your own music when your upset

I really hope you feel better

She who has faith has... an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well - even though the world may appear to come out most badly.

I Love you and you music dearly


Jen said...

i tried to comment on your latest post, and it got erased. so here is the abridged version because i dont have the energy to rewrite it:

despite its inhumanities, i deeply appreciate the touring you are doing. there may be unresponsive people in the crowds, but rest assured you are touching someone in there too. your music is a wonderful gift and i'm so glad you have the opportunity to share it with people.
sorry if thats too gushy.

i hope you rest well and recover soon

Lindsey said...

Your entries read so honest and forthright, similar to your music. The passion and talent with which you write never cease to astound me. I must agree that I am beyond thankful you and Brian put up with touring lifestyle in order to grace us fans with your presence. I've managed to attend two of your shows. I enjoyed you immensely in a small club in San Jose and thought you were great with NIN in SF. Your originality and humbleness are incredible. I do hope you can find some peace and restore your creative energies while taking a break. Welcome home and hopefully you'll start to feel at home again soon *hugs*

xxxxxxxxxxx99 said...

Sounds like you're feeling a bit displaced, Amanda. You guys have been on the road for quite some time. Unless you were born a gypsy, I can see how you would feel that way. happy 6th of july!

Strange Little Dead Girl said...

Amanda, i could read your writings for eternity...the way you write, you remind me of how i was...though, i didn't need a tour to suffer the misplacement...i still know a small degree of the heartbreak...

Kacy said...

If this doesn't cheer you up, then you have no soul.

Tara said...

I've receantly been in a major car accident...I'm 16 and normally a responsible person and a good driver, until I pulled out in front of some guy going 50 and got both of our cars totalled. Not hurt, nor was he, but the next day I watched Schindler's List. It made me feel much better. I can relate with your whole 'oh, this is putting me in a better mood' shpeel. It probably is.

judæs said...

well i doubt if you'd ever drop by small island Singapore where i live.
neilgaiman just left. *sobs*
and 4 years ago i couldnt find your cd here and now it's everywhere.

The Lost Vegetable said...

Life must suck for you whilst touring (duh) but what would suck more is the feeling of lonliness and lostness you were talking about, and for that i feel for you

cheer up soon and keep making your beautiful music, i hope that you guys come to Australia one day so i can experience the magic of it in person :)

Kristyne said...


Part of what you wrote about how you were feeling and watching the show on Hitler and your period starting, etc., etc., reminded me of Ian Curtis' supposed last day when he decided to hang himself :P Noting of course here that Ian, to my knowledge didn't have a menses. ;)

I realize you won't (or god, I hope not :P) be so drastic, but in a way it was a bit amusing, though I know your entry wasn't meant to be so.

I can't even begin to imagine a life on the road much less having to come to grips with being back "home" after being away and out of it for so many weeks. At any rate, I'm sure you'll create something genius (or pretty damn good at the least ;)) from those experiences once you "get back to normalcy (whatever that is for anyone!)".

Much love and postive vibes being sent your way!

Oh, and thank you for the absolutely beautiful, heart wrenching, sarcastic, hilarious, thought provoking music you provide me* (and everyone else too of course!) with.

*Being a 29 yr old female myself (I think we're the same age, anyway, nonetheless) I fully grasp a lot of your lyrics and subject matter (of course not saying someone that wasn't a female nor 29 couldn't either but you get my point, I think, do I have a point? I talk to myself a lot). Yes, well, it's nice for once for me to feel I have someone musically I can connect with that's not a male and not 16 yrs old. For that, hats off and bravo, job well done! ;)

Seriously, though, keep your chin pointed up and get some well deserved rest, somehow.

Much love!


PS I'm still utterly jealous you got to meet not just Peter Murphy (whom I absolutely adore!) but David Bowie.

Komaja said...

It's funny being on a different side of things, but still being, I don't know, on the same side of all humans, somehow. I wanted to be a musician. A singer. I didn't think I was cut out to do what it takes (touring, being away from people you care about, lack of privacy, insane creative demand and yet the loss of personal creativity in some ways) so I haven't pursued that. I've written myriad things and hope to someday be published. Right now, I have a new office job that's silmultaneously rewarding and soul-sucking. Welcome to humanity, right?

I have to say, I relate to you and your writing. I find myself looking up to you, the person you persent yourself in your musical career and in your words online. Yet, when I read them, when I listen to your band, I know that you both are people. Ordinary and extraordinary. Lost and finding your way. Like everyone.

I hope you find some solace soon. I barely know you as a person, only in snippets through whatever songs are about you and by what you write here, but from those limited sources, you seem like one of those people I would have loved to be friends had life made it that way. Since it didn't, though, I don't consider you a friend (I'm not that deluded or brash) but I kinda want to extend the same feeling of caring to you. That you find what you're looking for. And, I guess that we all do.

The Glitter Anachronism said...

I love you, Amanda- please dont have a mental breakdown again...
Your band is everything to me.

Herra BRE said...

I saw your show at Roskilde and you were excellent; my friend and I both agreed that yours was our favorite act of this year's festival and neither of us had ever heard your music before. So although touring is obviously shitloads of work, you're reaching new people and gaining new fans.

So thanks again for the show, thanks for shaking my hand and thanks signing my silly shirt. I just hope that ink doesn't wash out too easily...

Oh yeah. You asked me to spread the word in Denmark. I'm afraid I'm not Danish; I hope you'll settle for Finland and Iceland. ;-) Any chance you could be talked into coming to play at Iceland Airwaves this fall? Please?

A Unique Alias said...

Sounds like you're going to have to internalize, and start bringing home with you. Best of luck,

Alex said...

That DVD comment made me laugh. I have already discovered that, but I have an IBM ThinkPad, not a mac.

Love to Amanda. You are truly amazing.


the taryn said...

there was this letter i had in my back pocket, when i made my way to your lines after your shows. i meant to give it to you, but i lost my nerve at the NIN show, as well as a few of your solos.
i know that sounds stalker-ish, but i swear my intentions are pure. it mostly just said that you've inspired me to write for the first time in years. and thanking you, because it needed to be done. horribly.
i can't imagine was travling all the time like that does to a person. i see it being amazing and heartbreaking all at once.
its amazing that doing what comes naturally can touch so many people.
thanks alot. to you and brian both. <3. you seemed horribly tired and worn out last time i saw you. thanks for taking the time to sign my wallet. i hope youre getting enough sleep and you are happy with life.

fieryredfairy said...

Hey amanda,
being an avid power book mac user and going through menstral cycle right now. It does make a great, heating pad.

anyway I hope you are feeling, better and the rest is doing you some good. You are a really talented individual that you and brian have this very unique sound, that always make me smile.

bob said...

please stop touring! it sounds like you are losing the part of you that makes your music so incredible.

i'll be watching you in glasgow, my third show, but i'd hate to have a feeling of guilt at the back of my head, knowing that my enjoyment of the experience was not as strong as yours.

xenoploid said...

You should set up an RSS feed for your blog. More people will read it if they can subscribe to the feed. Blogger should have some help entry for it, or just google it.

sexy said...