Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Coast To Coast #6: Don't Come Around Here No More

Let's start with the bad news.

The bad news is that the DC show was canceled.  The DC show was canceled due to what I can only describe as "sudden venue nonexistence."  I wish there was a short version of the story I felt comfortable sharing, or a long version of the story that was interesting, but you know everything I do.  As of like 2PM yesterday, that venue doesn't really function as a music venue anymore.  But, what of the shows they'd already committed to booking and hosting?  And, why?  And, how?  And, I repeat, WHAT?!? 


But I'm glad we're talking about it, because this is what aging politicians like to call a "teachable moment."  What, and whom, are we teaching?  I don't have a clue.  But come with me anyway.

This is a teachable moment because it's a nice little slice of life for a touring musician.  Many of you have thoughtfully, kindly, written asking "what's life like on the road?"  I try to answer that question many different ways in these blogs.  And I try to focus as much as possible on the positive things, because that makes up 99% of life on the road.  I love pretty much all of it.  But, yeah, that 1%.  The 1% happens when months of preparation get derailed by something weird or lame.  Like a car breaking down.  Or another artist taking all the money and running (hasn't happened to me since 2006, thankfully).  Or a venue suddenly deciding not to exist.

And sure, there's the initial confusion of, "wait, what's happening here?"  Then, there's the disappointment of, "crap, I really was looking forward to the DC show."  And then, if you're like me, you get back to work.  You chart out Plan B.  You adjust.  You make the most of it.  Which is what I'm going to do.  Tomorrow morning I'll wake up with a list of things to do, and I'll get to work.  The next blog from me will be all about being back on the road, fun shows, fun people, and things going according to plan.

But right now...I'm stuck.  I got the cancellation email yesterday, after driving towards DC.  The next show is Thursday in Knoxville.  Going anywhere else would be a monstrous waste of gas/time/energy/5 Hour Energies/CDRs for mix-making/etc.  So, I'm stuck.  I'm stuck for a few days in a problematic place with very little to do. 

And sure, obviously, there are a million worse problems to have.  But since I'm stuck, and I'm bored, and you're (maybe) bored, and we're both HERE anyway, I'm going to do something I rarely do: I'm going to type for a while.  This is me, rambling.  This is me, masturbatory, incontinent, and without an editor. 

Strap in.  Last time this happened, it ended up in the NYTimes.

First thing's first: I'm cool with the DC cancellation.  I was obviously looking forward to playing a show in DC, and am disappointed I won't see the DC folks this week.  But there will be other DC shows in the near and distant future.  All will be well.  No big deal.

Second thing's second: I'm cool with being stuck here for a few days.  It'll be nice.  A time of reflection.  A time of meditation.  I was driving 8-10 hours a day, anyway.  I needed a break.  This is good.  This is a forced, much needed timeout.  Besides, it's really not bad here.  I'm probably the problem.

Kansas City was fun.
Third: I just bought the new Foo Fighters album.  What do y'all think of it?  I've listened a few times now.  The new My Morning Jacket single got me so excited about new music that I inexplicably spent the remaining $12 of iTunes giftdom on the new Foo.  "I love everything Dave Grohl does," I thought.  "This record is reportedly their best since the Colour and the Shape," I thought.  "Wahoo, new music!" I thought.  Now I'm thinking, "I shouldn't have spent $12 on this."  But I could be wrong, you see!  I probably just need a few more listens.  Trust the Foo.  Trust the Grohl.  Besides, the $12 is gone.  Besides, what else was I going to spend it on?  Ultimately, I'm cool with this purchase.  I really am.

But fourth!  How about that MMJ single?!?  I love them so much.  I love them so much that I can wait another six weeks for that album to come out.  I don't need new music now.  I can wait.  I can delay gratification.  It's unreasonable to expect to fall in love with a new album every four months.  Artists are only human, after all.  Where's my new song?  Where's my masterpiece?  How many songs have I written this week?  How many albums have I put out?  It's cool.  I can dig, man.  The Jacket will rock me in May, and I will get back in the studio soon.  I can delay gratification.  All good things come in time.  Patience is a virtue.  I can wait.

And fifth: how about those Grizzlies!

Sixth thing: the last several days of driving, playing, writing, and catching up on miscellaneous work have afforded me the opportunity to "beard."  This means I haven't shaved in a while.  I haven't shaved in four or nine or twenty days, or somewhere between.  I look special, but that's a good thing.  It's good to try out new things!  Like grit-staches.  Expanding one's look is essential to self-growth.  It's important to experiment, to branch out.  I know what it's like to walk through life as Kevin Federline's embarrassing cousin.  I've felt the looks, and I'm cool with them.  I've heard the snickers, and I've laughed too.  My grit-stache gives me peace.  It gives me perspective.  Everything zen.  Life, man!

Seventh: I know what some of you might be thinking.  "Chris, you are a very plan-oriented person.  You like moving, you like crossing things off to-do lists, and you are happiest when working at a breakneck pace on something you love.  So I'm a little worried right now, because I don't know what happens when you're forced to stop.  It seems to bother you."  And to that I say, "do I SEEM BOTHERED TO YOU?"  I'm cool with this, I really am.  Sure, I usually don't take well to intermissions.  But that was the Old Chris.  That's Chris of Yesteryear.  New Chris can sit still while the world turns.  New Chris has a new middle name, and that middle name is "Forced Haitus."  New Chris's nickname is "Chill Zone."  He specializes in "Unspent Energy."  In college, he majored in "Looking Good While Doing Nothing."  Old Chris would've gone crazy in this situation.  But I am cool with it.  I really am.

VIIIth: Go Grizzlies!

And besides, look how the sun shines!  And a fragrant wind rustles through the new leaves.  The world is green and lush again.  Strangers grin while pretending not to see each other on the street.  Hear that noise?  That's music wafting through the air, sent from heaven itself, or a boot-repair store. Spring has sprung.  The squirrels sing.  The world rejoices.  The midday sun shines.  It shines on the children crossing the street, interminably stopping traffic with their laughter and their...vibrant gameplaying.  It warms the cockles of the hearts of the herds of feral cats that roam these sun-baked streets.  It casts a twinkle in the eye of the barista asking regulars to repeat their order, and again, and again. 

And in a day or two, it'll be time to move again.  There will be a next show, Things To Do, fun shows, fun people, productivity, motion.  And for now, there is nothing to do and a bunch of nowhere to do it, and I am COOL WITH THAT.  It's a beautiful day.  Look at that sun shining through the window, onto my shoulders, past my computer, and onto the painting of Boba Fett holding a rabbit oh Jesus Christ have you ever wanted to beat someone with a rockingchair?


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