"We are on vacation for FOREVER and a DAY"
Friday, March 15, 2002 - THE Madison, WI
Madison is such a fun town. I would move here but a) it's too cold and b) there's too much to do. I wouldn't be as Zen as I am now if I lived there. Is there something wrong with not wanting to live in a place because it would be too nice?
I have said it many times before but I'll say it again. The Union of U of W sits on the edge of a beautiful lake. How could you learn ANYTHING here? We load in our equipment and I have to use the Dark Side of the Force to get the soundguys to let us soundcheck, even though we've driven our asses off to get here in time for The Official Soundcheck. "Don't worry, we've done lots of gigs here" the soundguys tell me. (No Soundcheck.) I say, "Well, the soundcheck is more for US than it is for you; we might have forgotten an amp or something or my bass might stop working or we might forget all our songs if we don't do a soundcheck. More for us than for you." The Soundguy nods and says "ok," very unhappily.
I think Rick nearly got into a fistfight with a soundguy once a couple of weeks ago because he just didn't want to do his job. It is definitely irritating when people act like that. This soundguy turned out to be fine though; I know because he kept our monitors on during the entire show so we could actually hear ourselves. If he was pissed off at us, he would have turned them off like he was doing during soundcheck. The night turned out fine.
The audience (and there was a LOT of it) looked really happy when we played. We were all quite ecstatic actually with this evening. Plus, the opening band, "IfIHadAHiFi" was great; terrific multimedia show and great music.
And we got to eat at Kabul Restaurant again, my favorite place in Madison. Rick and I both get this thing called "Fasuliya" which is a plate with 1/2 white rice and 1/2 greenbeans cooked in some sort of very spicy tomato sauce - maybe there's lentils, too... and a line running down the middle, of sour cream type stuff. It's SO WONDERFUL. I wonder if there are people in Madison who are boycotting this place because it's Afghani food. We certainly aren't.
In the van, we were talking about that line that divides day from night, you can see it from space, and we couldn't remember what it was called. Jim was thinking it was the Terminus. I thought it was something else. Now I can't get "ecliptic" out of my mind. (And I know what that is.)
Saturday, March 16, 2002 - Minneapolis, MN
We're all excited about this show. Yesterday's was so incredible! I know that today's is going to be smaller, grungier, but I know the crowd will be great. I hope everything inside the 7th Street Entry is the same as when we left it!
We checked into our Motel 6 room early and got to argue over whether or not Contact is a good movie. Rick hates it. He grimaces at us and snootily says "I have one word for you: Robert Zemeckis." I flip him off and yell back "I have one word for YOU - Back To The FUTURE!" and then he starts yelling "Run Forrest, Run!" or something like that and I'm just going to ignore him because I have peer support from Matt now, who is not afraid to admit that Contact is a great movie. At least it's ENTERTAINING, ok? It's good like Dances With Wolves is good. Plus, Art Bell plays clips from it. Give your ARTY self up once in a while. Geez. I remind Rick that he had a crush on Jodie Foster back when he was a kid, and Matt makes fun of him for liking a lesbian. Rick sighs, turns on a 30-minute sleep timer on the TV set and folds himself under the bedcovers, sticks earplugs in his ears and plops a towel and then a pillow over his head and goes to sleep. Jim is in the corner of the hotel room probably listening to a symphony on his walkman.
WOW. Ok, everything inside the 7th Street Entry is exactly the same, but outside, instead of that huge parking lot like a bomb hit the middle of the downtown, there's a bunch of huge, new empty brick and green-glass buildings! EEWWW!!! The kind that you know are going to have Old Navy, Linens and Things, etc. in them. Traffic is all screwed up in the area, and we can't park on the sidewalk to load in because there's still huge snowbanks on the sides of the streets.
Inside the 7th Street Entry it is as warm as a heart. People we recognize are still there and they are SO kind to us. Kinder than our parents would even be. I feel like I'm in the presence of beloved older siblings who are going to take care of us through this evening. I don't think any club is as nice as this one to us. And many clubs are very nice to us, so this is saying a lot.
And I'm wondering what we did to deserve this, but I don't spend too much time thinking about it. We get to work setting up our equipment and doing our soundcheck.
Old friends come to see us play this show. And old fans, people who have been with us since Daisy Chain Reaction. People in Minneapolis are so nice. Texas Kevin is here to help us with our t-shirts tonight, and we realize this is probably the closest we've ever played to where he is currrently living; this kid has travelled over the past 5 or 6 years to see us 12 hours away from his house. Maybe sometimes even further. That's really scary, isn't it?
The 7th Street Entry has a very familiar stage for me, and I know the way this place works so well that I get to warn Matt that even though it sounds like we're playing an ampitheatre when we soundcheck, by the time we get on stage for the show, he will hear nothing because the room will be filled with audience. This can be very disconcerting; you feel weak all of the sudden and then it is hard to pool your energy again to shoot it out to people.
We all feel like this show went really well. There were 3 songs where in the middle of them, someone made a big enough mistake that it actually screwed with the structure of the song. I actually really like this a lot; we're not playing our songs perfectly right now, but it's really fun because it's like we're teetering on an edge or something once in a while. It's very dangerous! The song could fall apart any minute! It's really cool, to me at least!
I think we got 3 encores tonight, and played 2 songs for each encore. I wonder if that's a new thing for Matt. I hope he's enjoying himself - the audiences sure are enjoying his playing. At the end of the last two encores, I get myself into a little 'energy problem' - that's what I'm going to call it when the energy builds up into a bottleneck and then your body does stuff without your mind's consent. When I see Mark Baldwin, Tai Chi Master (and lead singer from Lovecup - now The Mezzanines) kick over his guitar amp, I think to myself, "Oh, Mark is having an Energy Problem." When that happens to me onstage lately I have just screamed (not into the mic!); in the past I would start shaking really badly. It's never really painful. Everything just gets really vivid for a little while.
Sunday March 17, 2002
Like a Heartbeat
I notice that I have bruises on my left arm. I guess that's from playing bass yesterday, we had a coda at the end of our set. I found myself pounding my arm rhythmically on my bass, trying to emulate a heartbeat I guess. I think I was crying. I wanted to write about it but I just cannot find the correct words. I don't even know what to write about it, I don't really know what the story was. Maybe someone in the audience figured it out. It wasn't a sad thing at all. Rick was still on the stage too, I remember realizing that this had probably been going on for a while, and Rick was by the amps ready to turn them off so I looked at him and we counted to 3 and then shut all off.
I'm sorry I can't describe what I was feeling then. Maybe it's better that I can't. I don't know what it was. I guess I just felt like I was channeling pure energy. I don't really have a lot of feelings about it. I have bruises though.