Saturday, July 30, 2005

in japan - day 1

japan. in the DD east-side posse: yours truly, brian (excellent drummer), joel (our esteemed sound engineer), emily (our US tour manager and girl friday), robert (our romanian-born-german-and israel-raised-london-dwelling-jewish tour manager and die-hard kylie minogue fan who insist my life would improve if i shaved my legs), sean slade (our esteemed next-record producer and closet haiku master) and eric sussman (an old friend and american expat living near tokyo, who used to wear adam ant war paint to dresden dolls shows).

my knowledge was limited to general american chatter and stories from friends, lost in translation, gung ho!, the last emperor, memoirs of a geisha (great book), assorted films by akira kurosawa,
my japanese classes a few years ago, a book on etiquette that i read last week and a book on the hostess industry in Japan that i read in my early 20's while briefly fanasizing about moving here to work in the sex industry where apparently you don't always have to fuck your clients. you could just charm them, act wonderful and make a killing. mom: this idea lasted briefly and i didn't do it, did i. do not email.
the toilets (even some of the the public ones at gas stations) do warm your bum and play music and squirt water at your bunghole if you press a special button. everyone bows constantly. people are incredibly humble and gracious. there is, contrary to my assumption, a shitload of meat available and it's harder to find vegetarian food (i've been a pescitarian for ten years, i no red meat or poultry but i do eat fish). pork is everywhere. the tea is awesome. i am testing green teas by the bucketful. so far, i love this country. the language barrier is intimidating.

we flew into tokyo and were driven directly to the fujirock festival site (a door-to-door total of about 23 hours or travel - yay ambien) and checked in to our festival-provided hotel rooms at the ski lodge.
emily and i shared a room, as per usual, and she charged out heroically to see to see the foo fighters and coldplay, leaving me to slumber in solitary bliss. i don't think a disinterred beatles reunion could have kept me from collapsing. i received an unexpected middle-of-the-night visit at 3:30 from a british rock star. there was wine. not too much wine. i'm recording in six weeks. i'm recording in six weeks. i'm recording in six weeks. fuck. we're back on the road. it inspired a good song and i went back to bed at 6:30.

we ate a cafeteria-style breakfast in the morning (half pseudo-western, half japanese) and started to get our bearings. juliette lewis ate across from us, wearing sweatpants. yesterday turned into a meeting-lots-of-fancy people day for me, which i assume must often be more likely when you are among other whitey rock people in a foreign land. set time was a ludicrous 11:30 am, but the entire festival was up and happening and our tent was full - about 2000 people. we had no idea what to expect...none...our record came out here 4 days ago and we knew nothing in terms of what had been done to promote it. then we found out that it had already sold 2000 copies, the video was being rotated on MTV, and there was already press in 2 major rock magazines. this is why being on a major label is awesome...things like this happen without us knowing or lifting a finger...the machine is at work while we sleep.
so. we took the stage and played a kick-ass show. one-off shows like this can go either way, i've found....very rusty or a burst of pure brilliance. then a day full of non-stop japanese press in the festival press tent - 7 or 8 interviews and 2 photo shoots and 1 video shoot in under 4 hours. every festival has an area like this. it's a large cattle-like tent where the press camps out and artists show up (with their label representative, generally), vaguely scheduled, and make the rounds like a press-buffet. The "label rep" is an interesting phenomenon that is also a huge perk of being on a major. Everywhere you show up - any country any time - there is a label rep to ferry you around and take you to do your promotional bullshit. Roadrunner has reps who cover entire countries or chunks of states (there is a woman, for example, who covers 13 states of the midwest). if they have no reps in a particular country or continent, they borrow reps from universal, who is their parent company. when we toured in australia and new zealand all of the reps were universal folks. what they do is simple. they fly to meet you wherever your show is, they greet you at the airport, they herd you into a rental car (sometimes with a driver), and they take you to your hotel. they usually stay in the same hotel unless they have friends in town or happen to live in the city you're playing. then their main job is to insure that you do your press and get to your show (though this is basically the tour manager's job) and basically act like spies for the label to report on how you were received by the natives. if you are a label rep for roadrunner your life consists of wrangling the nine guys in Slipknot and making sure nobody sees them without their masks on, then going to the airport a week later to pick of 3 Inches of Blood and getting them some special decaf coffee, then making sure Deicide are safe and sound and checked into their hotel. it's a weird fucking job. but god love them, they make our life so much easier.

that was a gigantic tangent. back to japan.

after the press was a little bit of dinner and then a signing session. we met a bunch of japanese fans and perfected our japanese "thank you". i found myself instinctively bowing my head a great amount. then the work day was over and we got to see the festival, which was an aesthetic masterpiece. it's nestled by a ski-resort and so every backdrop was a misted-over mountain covered with lush trees. i couldn't stop looking up. the lighting was brilliant and there was en entire field and wooded area covered with sparkling light from disco balls that were hung 20-50 feet in the air and illuminated by lights suspended elsewhere. there were recycling stations every 100 yards with 5 or 6 different boxes for very specific items, like paper cups and compost. there were boardwalks though the thick woods and big glowing blow-up creatures growing out of the forest floor. it was heavenly. within the space of a few hours, we had seen my morning jacket, gang of four and beck. beck took the cake by far. his band was tight as hell and he had a dancing dude in an eighties short-shorts warm-up get-up, sweatband and blu-blockers dancing around like a maniac, occasionally busting out a good-sized ghetto-blaster for no reason. but the highlight of my entire night was when beck started playing his solo songs. as he picked up his acoustic guitar, his band (instead of clearing off stage) sat down at a long table behind, which was set for dinner, him and started to eat. they just ate. while he played. the table was mic'ed and you could hear the perfect and comforting sounds, ever so slightly, of glasses being filled, forks being lifted and food being shared. genius. when he broke into the first track from "sea change", the band very gradually started to play the table (one banged forks onto wood, one started shaking a fruit shaker, one struck glasses that were perfectly tuned to the bells in the song) and by the end of the tune they were all in full swing. it was sheer brilliance. i can't wait to have a budget for a stage show. we are going to do some WHACK-ASS shit. the japanese audience were wonderful....completely into everything and loud and wild and smiling.

i had split up from brian, who favored seeing dinosaur jr. over meeting mr beck (or "Bekku" as he's known over here) so emily and i headed back into artists land and gave him a disc. he complimented the artwork and we chatted and emily was very happy because she had had a junior-high school crush on bekku. then we headed over to the dinosaur show, where we caught the very end of the very loud set. lou barlow approached me with the line "hi. you stole my melody", and indeed he was right. the melody for jeep song was ripped off shamelessly (but unconsciously, i assured him) from "skull" by sebadoh. he was very funny about it and we talked a while about how everything is essentially stolen. he quoted me the old adage "talent borrows, genius steals", and i felt much better. at any rate, the fact that lou barlow likes "the jeep song" made my life. i got to meet kevin shields, an old hero of mine from the My Bloody Valentine era of my life, and was pleased to find out that he had seen us at the patti smith meltdown festival in london. this man, as far as i am concerned, is an Actual Genius of Sonic Bliss and i sort of felt like an insignificant piece of fluff in his presence. it was pouring rain and time to leave and i managed to score a ride back to the hotel with all of these folks, plus the dude-singer from primal scream, and as i sat there in the van surrounded by all this great rock royalty someone pointed out that is was a Historic Rock Van, since there were so many generations of musician and they sort of looked at me, the kid, and i i am validated. my band is real. and that was also a very nice part of the night.

then i collapsed again.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

On NIN (and, Being Home).

It's so very hard for me to imagine what I would be doing with my life right now if I weren't sitting here at my kitchen table, bags packed and laundry in the dryer, waiting to go to the airport at 6 am.

i've spent the majority of my time in these past three weeks (the longest stretch of time off we've had - absolutely no dresden dolls shows - in almost a year) fighting an interesting fight inside my head. Fighting the urge to feel Constant Catholic Guilt about what i was Not Getting Done.

The first few days back were the inevitable freak-out and readjustment period. Then i was faced with the feeling that my time was up, i was no longer at liberty to freak out as there was too much work to be done, and this revealed
a deeper urge to freak out. i am not organized. i am not a grown up. i leave my clothes in a pile in the middle of the floor when i walk into my apartment, i leave pieces of paper scattered all around my life, every surface area in sight is covered, every turn i take begs a paper to be filed or an email to be sent or a project to be finished. my to-do pile covers my stove, my sink and every square inch of floorspace. it is inescapable. if i am home, i am doing. i find it almost impossible to do anything leisurely outside of bed. if i want to read a book or write in my journal, i can't sit on the couch (and not just becaus eit in generally piled with Crap). i leave. i found myself leaving a lot. i had a short list of two important things that had to get accomplished. one was to start on the sheet music book for the songs form the first album (i sort of did, but didn't get very far) and the other was to start arranging piano parts and re-writing lyrics for the new record. i basically ignored that one, but brian and i did have a few productive, albeit short, rehearsals. as is often the case, we ended up chatting, arguing or eating during the majority of the time we had set aside to rehearse...this is one many perils of being in a duo with your friend.

But despite my inner voices often simmering up and yelling at me that i am a lazy, unorganized piece of shit, i put forth a very solid effort to ignore them and think that i may have actually succeeded for the first time in my life. I attribute this almost solely to the fact that i have biked my sorry ass down to the power yoga studio every single morning. yoga is The Shit because it makes meditation easy for people like me who have very little success with sitting on a cushion in the kitchen. it is a disciplined chunk of intense exercise with a teacher constantly reminding you every minute to let go of the outside world and just pay attention, truly pay direct attention, to what you are doing. after about the first week of getting myself on this hardcore regimen i found myself often successfully ignoring the Constant Catholic Guilt voices, eating only when I was hungry and shutting my mouth more often than I was used to when i was about to say something hurtful or stupid. a miracle. speaking of shutting up, i will do that right now before i start to sound like a yoga evangelist. but my mat travels with me. when we were touring with NIN, i would break out the mat every morning and find some random place to do an hour of yoga to a CD i brought with me. most times we were at the venue beofre hte band showed up and the crew were very kind about the fact that we didn't always get our own room due to the small venue sizes, so they let me use the NIN space. i'll never forget the very peculiar feeling of doing yoga in trent reznor's dressing rooms. it took me only a second to place why that peculiar feeling was so old, old, familiarity....the way his clothes were all set out for him and his dresser all set up with all of his toiletries and his big bouncy exercise ball and special trent reznor power bars and aromatherapeutic candles and whatnot. then it hit me: it was the exact same feeling i used to get as a wee child when going into my parent's bedroom when they weren't home, and looking at the sundry (and possibly forbidden) items on their dressers. creepy.

speaking of NIN, i never really got to explain what that was like day to day. We were sleeping in our tour bus, whereas the NIN folks all travelled by tour bus but stayed in hotels. trent didn't like sleeping in the bus (or so the lore went) and so the band always slept in a hotel in one city, drove through the day, and showed up at the next city for soundcheck. in cities where we had two back-to-back nights in the same venue, the dresden dolls and their crew would live in the venue parking lot like city lizards and hope to find a place to take a shit in the morning (no shit on the bus, only liquids....eeewwww). this caused occasional hilarious solutions. i will not get into it. anyway, for the most part our morning view was a chain-link fence and post-industrial wasteland and i think this added to the general tour malaise significantly. our bus driver for the american leg was a sweetheart ex-cop from philly named bill who always said "godDAMMIT" every time he made a wrong turn. the day for the NIN crew would start at around 9 am and the lights were the first to get set up. watching these guys work was fucking fascinating....sometimes the stress level on that stage during the day was so poisonous you didn't even want to be near the building. then the sound would start to get set up and the PA tested with this HORRIBLE HORRIBLE soft rock music that the NIN sound guy always pumped through the speakers to EQ them. really, really terrible stuff, like, nightmarish. I always found this very poetic, as ten hours later these same speakers would be pumping loud loud loud hate hate hate, but for now it was Ooo Baby elevator music. lunch for the crew (and us, the starving urban lizards) was catered in the club and usually very delicious and healthy, unless we were in mexico in which case it was terrifying mystery meat. by around 4 or 5 the NIN-band would arrive and say their hellos and get to their soundcheck. by this time i would be back from any random excursion i may have taken into The Outside World, and would start to warm up my own voice for our soundcheck, in case we got one, which we did about half the time (though we'd rarely get more than 15 minutes). the whole NIN crew were very very kind and wonderful to us, they always tried to help us if we needed guidance and jason, the keyboard tech, even happily fixed my falling-apart black shoe after i had seen his skillful expertise at gluing and applying 7 drying clamps to a destroyed Trent Reznor Army Boot. The band was also very kind and we developed our own private jokes with each. Alessandro, the italian keyboard player, had three (THREE) mac tattoos. one of the mac logo on his wrist, one of the "sad computer" error icon on his forearm and another one i never saw. Jerome Dillon the drummer was tall and his angular hair made him spottable at a considerable distance. Every girl in our crew developed a crush on his at one point or another and he often came out during our set to play Karma Police with us, which always brought us Great Joy. Aaron North the guitar player was the youngest of the bunch and I always got confused, because NIN put out an album in 1989 and yet the guitar player was 4 years younger than me. this is where it is important to point out that this band was not A Band, but more a collection of hired back-up musicians. there was never any sense of NIN-camraderie. these guys were here to kick the shit out of the music every night and that was their job. there was no high-fiving and laughing and trent-reznor butt-pinching. the atmosphere was about at serious as it gets. and i always wonder if Trent Reznor wants a Band or prefers things this way, so that NIN remains Trent Reznor. Jerome, i think, was the only one who had been with him on the last tour in 1999. Jeordie White (aka twiggy ramirez) was almost aloof as T-Dog himself and rarely made conversation. the members of the band had apparently all gotten into a private joke of singing "Jeordie White" to the tune of every possible NIN song, and soon we followed suit to see what good ones we could come up with. The classic and original was to "Terrible Lie" (it went: "Jeordie White"...."Jerodie White" to the tune of "Terrible Lie"). We came up with a good "With Teeth" ("Ah-Jerodie White-ah") and a good "Closer" version ("I wanna fuck you like a Jeordie White"). I also came up with an interesting song called "The Hands That Sneeze" that went along with a hand-dance and garnered some attention in our tour bus. Back to the personell, we get to The Man Himself, Mr. Trent. He kept himself at a considerable distance and almost never talked to his crew, that we saw. He was always very quiet, polite and almost never stuck around the minute the show was over. Jerome, Alessandro and Aaron were all likely to go to an afterparty, but Jerodie and Trent were like ghosts the minute they left stage. I think they left through the roof by helicopter, because we'd often see fans waiting outside the stage door for HOURS, asking "where's Trent? where's Trent?" and we had to admit that he was gone and must have used the Bat-exit. who knows. when we got to mexico the whole NIN-band donned fake moustaches, cheesy sunglasses and wrapped bandanas around their so that they could pose as "locals" and thus not get disturbed while sight-seeing. But albino mexicans, i hear, are very rare and their ruse didn't really work.

There was a NIN vocabulary that slowly formed over the course of the tour. The NIN were such advanced technological creatures (and as internet-centric as we were) that they brought their own wireless to every venue, so we were never offline. If the venue also had wireless, we referred to it as "wireless". if we had NIN-wireless, we referred to it as "Ninternet". The kids who would wait outside the venue starting at 6 in the morning, wrapped in sleeping bags and pierced 6 ways to sunday, to insure a front-row Trent-Reznor-sweat-soaked experience were referred to as "Nincompoops" or the more affectionate "Nincompoopers". Evening mealtime provided by the catering was "Ninner" and the overbearing nag champa that the NIN tour manager would burn in his office five sticks at a time was "Ninscense". The entire world of the club and it's grounds, rather, anything that did not include what we referred to as "The Outside World", was "NinLand". This was most often used when referring to the tour as a whole as in "We've been playing solo shows and have had a day off. I miss NinLand." Missing NinLand was usually due to the fact that returning to smaller clubs on our "offday shows" usually meant coming to terms again with horrible sound, no catering, no Jerome Dillons to flirt with and no nice keyboard techs to fix our shoes. Alas. But in closing, I must say that having a Trent Reznor Life seems like a hard life. He was said to be often dissatisfied with the state of the crew and the shows and this usually left everyone in NinLand feeling anxious. As one of his techs said to us: "You don't bring your B-game to Trent Reznor". anyway, a good object lesson for the dresden dolls. We watched the band play almost every night and i was constantly astounded at Trent Reznor's ability to scream so loud and play so hard night after night after night. We always got a great view of the side-stage antics, since we watched from the stage, and my favorite part was when Aaron would kick over Jerome's drums during a song. Then the drum techs would scurry around like roaches on speed to get them set back up. Then Aaron would kick them over again. Etc. It was like a game. I made sure that almost every time Trent played "Hurt", I could see from somewhere. Sometimes I went out into the audience and lose myself in the crowd. But I always caught that song. It's a brilliant song. I cried most times I heard it. Cormac and I (speaking of Cormac, he opened up for my solo show a few weeks ago and was met with much applause: go see just covered a version on "Right where it belongs" from the new NIN album, and it ranks up there with "Hurt". Lyrics not quite as good, but still gorgeous. (Sorry, Trent).

Long out of NinLand, i have become fully happy at home again and am sad to be leaving tomorrow for Japan. In my three weeks home I have been to the Cafe Pamplona three times (too many people complained and the spanish 88-year owner, Josephina, caved in and re-opened), read three excellent books, made a calendar of Where I Have Been For The Past Year Of My Life (because I couldn't remember anymore and was starting to get scared), spent lots of Quality Time with various cherished and long-lost friends, and vacuumed my apartment. I prepared for and played a solo show which was wonderful....dusted out a bunch of old tunes and breathed a little life into them. Brian sang a sing for the first time alone on stage and broke everybody's hearts (it was a cover of Neutral Milk Hotels' "Oh Comely"....the best and saddest song ever written). We threw a rollerskaing party in Dorchester (known in these parts as The Hood...there was a metal detector at the door due to some shootings there last year) and about 200 people came and rollerskated their asses off. And at the rollerskating party (at which we played fun), we instituted shaving door prizes and gave one mohawk, cut one girl's hair, and shaved one pair of man-legs and one set of pubic hair. We used new disposable razors on everybody and it was very good clean fun. Days on end have been spent watching footage for the DVD downstairs with Pope, Zea and Noah and making changes. I daresay it's coming out pretty well and it should be hitting shelves before Xmas. Just very recently I watched my clothes tumble in the washing machine for ten minutes. I went to the basement, to see if the load was done, and there were ten minutes left, so i watched through the front-loading glass door. i never have time to watch. I didn't really have time. I should have been packing. I should be packing right now. it was really beautiful, i had never noticed how artful the spin cycles are. When it got to the last few minutes it went into a fast spinning frenzy in one direction and then came to a dead stop. then a few moments - maybe 12 seconds - later, it gave the clothes a brief (maybe 3 second) toss to the right and then stopped again. then it gave them a brief toss to the left. then to the right again. this last set of little tosses seemed so loving. i am very emotional tonight. i am listening to the mother cat outside calling her kittens. she;s an alleycat but we've been feeding her out of a dish on the front stairs. she started with three kittens but a few days ago andrew found one of them dead in the garden. sad things happen all the time. i love my friend and drummer brian but he's been very sad lately, so i try to be a good friend to him and not be too irritating like i can be. he is a deep motherfucker and i don't envy the way he has been plumbing the existential depths lately. drives a person crazy.

our flight is in 8 hours. i know very little about japan, well, no more than the average american, so i expect my mind to be turned inside out and i will probably find some interesting things to relate. this is one particular trip that i assume will yield good photos. i currently have a backlog of about 1498 interesting digital photos waiting to be put into a tour journal on the net but i can never seem to find the time. i would rather read. but someday.

recommended reading:
"The Art of Travel" by Alain de Botton. One of the most hilarious and honest pop-philosopher-essayists of our time. he also wrote "how proust can change your life" which is also a great read.

"The Anarchist and the Devil Do Cabaret" by Norman Nowrocki. Not insanely well-written, but very passionate, accurate and funny account of a montreal political cabaret/crust-punk band touring europe in a band while the singer searches for his long-lost polish uncle.

"Steppenwolf" by Hermann Hesse. On of my top 5 favorite books of all time, I am re-reading it for the third time right now. It was originally published in 1927 but makes more sense now than ever. For madmen only.

Monday, July 04, 2005

i just made an amazing discovery.
if you place your mac powerbook directly on top of your lower belly while watching a DVD in bed, the extreme heat soothes menstrual discomfort.

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.