A strange and fun gig in the Hamptons, at a very groovy, vibey old joint called the Stephen Talkhouse.
We drove way the fuck out to the near-tip of the south fork of Long Island to play a gig at this odd, homey joint called the Stephen Talkhouse. The cover charge was the most spendy of my entire solo career–$20!!–and they paid us a busload of dough for a gig there couldn’t have been more than 80 people at.
$20 was pretty cheap, too. Joan Osbourne and the New York Dolls were $100 tix, and $125 VIP tix. What the hell VIP means in a bar smaller than the Mercury Lounge I couldn’t tell you.
Fun show, though. A clique of that certain variety of sexy, well-dressed normal girls–the kind you see on Sixth Avenue, heading back from their lunch breaks to jobs as assistant-something-or-other–were drinking and got up to dance wildly. Just maybe six or eight of them, all shimmying in the front. There were a couple grey-haired rich dudes, very coiffed, in pennyloafers without socks and pastel shirts, escorting their younger wives. Or perhaps concubines.
We left the stage and went upstairs to the dressing room. We were sitting there all sweaty when two 29-ish, well-tanned, well-groomed blonde girls with gigantic rocks on their left ring fingers came stomping up the stairs, hooting and flattering. They offered to take us to the beach and smoke us up. We declined politely.
Something very bleak and horrible.
A guy walks up to me after the Hoboken show last night, and says, “Hey, I saw you thanked ______ on the liner notes for your first album. I’m her brother.”
Wow! _______?! We dated when we were in school together.
“Yeah, I know.”
That’s crazy. Where is she these days?
“Well….she’s not anywhere.”
A sinking feeling.
He told me that she committed suicide about ten years ago–around the time that album with her name in the liner notes was released. She shot herself in the heart. She was a sweet, slender girl with some eating disorder struggles; she was deeply involved in anti-1991-Gulf-War activism, and our relationship was brief, because as I was out doing open mics and trying to get gigs, she was doing mass mailings and rallies.
So I’m feeling this crazy stunned grief. It feels almost illegitimate, to grieve somebody ten years after their passing. Like I should’ve been dealing with her ghost a long time ago. We weren’t incredibly close. Still. Scary, stunning, and this huge empty feeling that I feel guilty for not feeling a long time ago.
We did good in Hoboken–aka “The Bokey”–last night.
Ah, Maxwells. A club I’ve been playing for years. Todd, the booker, used to do garage rock and punk rock shows on Wednesday night at the Knitting Factory when I was the doorman there. Karl, the bartender, used to work at Warner Bros., when I was signed there.
I wore flipflops to the gig. On purpose. I thought that in this blog entry, I might be all like, “Oh, jeez, I was just wearing flipflops around NY and minding my own bidness, and suddenly there I was onstage in flipflops.” But no. I did it on purpose. They had just replaced the carpet on the stage, so mid-gig I actually took my flipflops off and did the gig barefoot. Scandalous! An absolute first for me.
This pic of the awesome kids that played ring-around-the-rosie over me in the video courtesy of Marina and Sydney’s mom, Angela Gulizio.
Listener William Horne sent me these pics of mindblowing dancers that rocked as we played the outdoor show.
A few high-school-aged girls were milling about to the left of the stage as we played. A couple started dancing. Then they began to dance IN UNISON. They were jawdroppingly good. Then the boys they were with came up and starting doing their own routines–BACKFLIPS! They would trade off, boys vs. girls, then together, then solo dancers, and so forth.
We all watched from the stage with our mouths hanging open. Pete McNeal (the man of feel, the admiral of the fabulous) called a Face Calls from behind the drums–an extremely intense and rhythmic Face Calls. “This is for you guys!” he yelled to the dancers.
I don’t know who they were; buskers? Passersby? But they were amazing. There were dudes videotaping; I hope they put it up on the web so people can see it. It made a very hip gig into a crazy feverish rocking gig.
This very hyped-up homeless guy stood in the front row, just freaking out to the band playing. He kept trying to hug the dudes standing next to him. Between songs, he would yell “AC/DC!!” or yelp the riff to “Smoke on the Water”: Bamp bamp BAAAAH! Bamp Bamp BAH-NAAAH!”
This pic courtesy of my MySpace friend Dali!