Edge City Laundry
Today, before we left for Tucson, we did our laundry somewhere in the Edge City of Phoenix. (It was time; Howie had been recycling socks, and I hadn’t worn any underwear for about 3 days. Rick had even started re-wearing some of the 16 pairs of pants he carries around with him. Jim even washed his pillow-case.) Rick has read all of Edge City, that book by Joel Garreau, so he explained to us that Phoenix is laid out in true Edge City form; like the Atlanta airport, the city is engineered for expansion. When it’s time to make this city bigger, it will just expand outward, not pile up on itself like New York or Chicago. An Edge City is that outside part of a big city that is made up of 2-3 story brick office buildings with futuristic names on the sides; mostly weird computer firms, and lots of strip malls. It’s the “new” form of city; the city for when people move their workplaces out of the big cities and out to the suburbs. What this means to all of us is that each show we play in this area is in a strip mall, and there is a Circle-K Convenience store on EVERY corner. If you think I am exaggerating about the Circle-Ks, well, you’re wrong.
I had forgotten how much I love Tucson
Tucson is one of those totally arid, blown-out looking cities that I absolutely love. Just seeing tumbleweeds blowing around the streets gives me chills. We played at the Downtown Performance Center, a huge warehouse with lots of art inside, and a small punk-rock library with fun zines and books. A couple of years ago, the Tucson library was moving, and they’d dump old library books in the dumpster beside the DPC every Tuesday; punks would pillage the dumpster books. We got a great bunch of free books that tour.
That Satin-Jacket Crown and Courtney Love
The soundguy at the DPC knows that we just came from the NILE club in Phoenix and has some sort of problem with the soundguys there, so one of the first things he says to us as we walk into the DPC is “SO, How was the NILE club?” After a few minutes it becomes apparent that he wants do a little ragging on the “Satin Jacket Soundguy Crowd,” so we tell him our story about how the soundguy last night refused to turn down the loud rock music after we played: the club had cleared out and there was some stragglers who wanted to buy t-shirts and the soundguy CRANKED up the one CD that he had been playing all night in between bands to a sound level that was WAY louder than the bands.
We were trying to talk to people, so we asked him about 3 times to turn down the sound, but each time he’d go run to the board and re-EQ it so he could crank the sound even louder! It was pretty funny by the end of the night; he just had the music so loud that we were all wearing our earplugs until we were well out of the club. The soundguy at the DPC tells us his horror stories about the NILE club, and we all laugh; this soundguy is obviously an indie-rocker type, and the NILE guys are all from that Rock era, when attitude was even more important than hair height. We don’t really have too much of a problem with people with attitudes; we find them funny. The only problems we have are with people who accuse US of having attitude.
It’s weird to find yourself in the middle of some odd scene/feud thing that you’re not part of. We just try to be diplomatic about the whole thing. Like when some English reporter asked me what I think of Courtney Love, looking for a dis: I replied, “I don’t know her!” but he still wanted my opinion. I told him that all I knew about her was from press and other people, and I don’t repeat other people’s opinions, especially those I read in the press, and wouldn’t have any information about her until I had met her. I like her music and think she is great on stage, I told him, and that’s all he’d get from me.
Tucson seems to be a haven for artists, or at least, more of an “art” town than Champaign, IL. Actually, any prison camp would probably seem more artistic than Champaign – we do have a great band scene, but the city just seems a lot more conservative than Madison WI, or Albuquerque. We wonder why there are no big health-cafes serving $3.50 rice and bean dishes, no Thai or Indian restaurants or any kind of interesting cuisine. It’s probably due to the big engineering school in Champaign. Engineers have no creativity. (Before you go emailbombing me, remember, I’m an engineer too.)
Hey. A Show Report
So sometime during this show I sort of cracked, and remembered why I love to play music, and I found that energy that helps me scream louder on stage, and jump around more, and forget where I am, and forget that I’m being watched. I am talking about the same energy that is present in a touring band and is missing in a non-touring one; some kind of confidence or something. I had been having boring shows for the last week – and tonight, we just seemed like we “clicked” or something, right in the middle of “Revolution Year Zero” – a new song we are just starting to be able to play well. There is a part where both Rick and I scream “HEY, HEY, HEY..etc.” and I realized that I had not really been screaming it very loudly; I’d been timidly saying “Hey,” with no power behind it. I think that by accident, I looked out into the audience and saw someone who looked like he was very, very happy that we were playing the song or was at least “really into” the music. I saw that person bouncing, and all of the sudden, WHAM!! ENERGY!!!! OH YEAH! I FORGOT, I’M ON STAGE! DUH! If that person is reading this right now, well, sir, Thank You.
We’re playing the music faster now, which adds to the energy. I am not sure what happened all last week, but the shows just didn’t seem to be going as well as they could have. Perhaps we were just very, very tired.