Spending my birthday in New Orleans with my friends was amazing to say the least. I have a deep respect for The Big Easy and it’s culture and music. As we pulled into the French Quarter, we headed down Toulouse St. toward the venue. The clouds were huge puffy white in the blue sky, outlined by the sunlight and appearing to glow behind us. The venue was inviting and cool and they welcomed us with southern charm. The sound guy Jay is a friend I’ve made from playing there in the past. What a great person, always happy. He taught me a New Orleans birthday tradition by pinning a $5 on my shirt, he told me that if I walked around with the money on my lapel that people would add $$ to it throughout the night. He was right, during the show, after the show and at dinner, people kept approaching me and wishing me happy birthday and pinning money on me. I smiled a never-ending smile, thanks Jay! Thanks New Orleans!!
We got into Wilmington on Monday, with the night off. I stayed at the hotel while the rest of the band went out to eat and explore. I worked on some new songs and got some rest.
Next day, Joel, Derek and I got a cab and went down to Wrightsville beach for a swim. The water in the Atlantic was 76 degrees. What a heavenly walk out into the surf, were we floated together in the waves and let go of ourselves for a moment. It was healing and it felt like childhood discovered us and gently invited us back. If you ever need a moment to be present but without any clutter in your mind, head to the beach and get in the water.
The show was good. Played super late to very few people but we played with our hearts and we turned it on for them. Playing music is what it’s all about…no matter what.
Philly has always been a good hang. It’s a town full of history and culture, and it’s haunted. We sat down and enjoyed a relaxing meal downstairs in the venue’s restaurant, conversing and laughing. Between dinner and the show, I took a walk around the streets surrounding the club. The sunset was beautiful and the air smelled like clean laundry and grandma’s cooking and flowers and garbage with each turn, something different and I was feeling the humidity and like a human being.
As we rolled into Boston, we couldn't help but feel slightly paranoid that Celtics fans were going to find out we are from Los Angeles and string us up by our toes and beat us with a stick. Not that Bostonians are violent but, I'm just sayin'. Case in point, the first person who paid to get into our show was wearing a shirt stating, "I Hate L.A.". We kept our mouths shut and played the music and that worked out well for us. In fact, several of us felt it was the best Boston show to date. The room was full and I saw a couple of people singing along throughout the set.
Friday Night at Union Hall was such a great experience. It was the icing on the Brooklyn cake for us. Thanks to our New York family and friends and the staff for making us feel welcome and appreciated. For those who have never been to Union Hall, it’s a beautifully appointed establishment, decked out to look like a study in a turn of the century aristocrat’s home. Though the décor and lighting leans toward sophistication, the vibe is mellow and inviting. I’ve loved this place since the first time I visited a couple of years ago while J. and I were on tour with The Watson Twins.
When staying in Brooklyn, I often think of a line from the Tom Waits song "I'll Take You New York," where he asks, "Hey , do you have two tens for a five?" You can easily spend ALL of your money here in no time at all.
We are staying with our lovely friends Lauren and Aaron. They've got a great place in Brooklyn and we've basically moved in this month. Between the Conan show and this week we'll have stayed with them 7 nights. They are too kind. The photo at the top of this blog is of their cat Fergie. She is a sweet cat. We had a photo shoot with her this morning and I think it went really well. She seems happy.
Joel and I are on the lap tops now, he's checking emails and I'm here doing this. Gonna try and go for a walk in Prospect Park today, then meet our friend Marshall for lunch. Thanks to our friends Meagan and Jeff for having us over for a Bar-B-Q last night at their place in Williamsburg. Jeff cooked some wonderful food and we played horse shoes. A really good night.
Tonight we play Union Hall here in Brooklyn.....More soon....
Off to get a shoe shine.
The city is a seductive place, and every time we come here, we think of ourselves living here a little bit more and more. Its raining today, a little muggy and windy. We're playing The Mercury Lounge on E. Houston. we were a little early so we loped around the neighborhood for a spell, talking on the phone, window shopping, Joel bought J. a beautiful guitar strap, very kind. I saw a 5 year old boy order an ice cream cone, vanilla with sprinkles, when he was handed the cone, his smile lifted my spirits. I remembered being right there where he was.
6/2/08 Chicago - The Abbey
We tried very hard to make it to Chicago by 3pm, reason being, Hot Doug's. A hot dog/encased meat stand that claims to have the freshest local meat (they also have vegetarian options). Another highlight on the menu, fries cooked in duck fat. Wow. So... We hit some traffic and missed our window so we drove to the club. The Abbey is one of my favorite places to play, thanks largely to the sound engineer Gary, who also plays tuba and drives a toyota. The sound is amazing! At one point during soundcheck, my monitors sounded so fantastic that I asked Gary to marry me, "okay." was his response...Haha.
Our friend Zoran The Great and the Expert showed up. Zoran brought his wife Anita and about 30 friends! Bless you Zoran! You made the night really special for us.
The show went really well. We played together real well and the people in the room seemed happy to be there which is all you can ask for. After the show, we met some friends and had a beer. Great night!! Thanks Chicago. Thanks to all the staff at The Abbey, you were kind and hospitable and we appreciate you.
Drive day-Boulder, CO to Lawrence, KS
We spent the better part of the day in the van today. About midway into the fine state of Kansas, we began to see signs for Prarie Dog Land. Now I don't know about you, but that seemed undeniable to me and the guys, so we stopped. Upon entering the industrial building that hosts a number of souvenirs bolstering the Prairie Dog Land logo and other fun things like, "Can Of Fish Assholes!". Yeah. Really. So as the guys were shopping for rattlesnake skin guitars, Joel and I paid the charge of admittance to what would become a deep, dark seeded memory. First there were the snakes, probably 30 to 50 diamond head rattlesnakes in a large brown wooden cage about 4' x 10' with a metal grate on top. The smell was horrid and as we peered over the side the rattles began to shake one by one until they were all in unison and the sound was entrancing and beautiful and violent and horrific all at once. "Dont worry," said the old man who owns the place, "we've only had one escape in 30 years, but it WAS yesterday and it was through that hole right there by your foot."
Welcome to our new website. Our friends at ThisByThem designed it and made it breezy to update, so we'll be on here adding thoughts and photos quite often. We hope it makes you feel like you're driving through Big Sur on California Highway 1.
Our first long-playing collection of songs, Ghost Notes, is now in stores wherever music is sold. We're really to announce that the vinyl (double album, 180 g, gatefold sleeve) will be available on June 17, 2008. It was delayed because the pressing plants who manufacture records are completely overbooked right now. In the digital age of the interweb, that might be a good sign, right?