It kinda blew my mind.
I’ve never meant shit in South Carolina–I’ve never meant shit in the Deep South in general. But. The place was packed–nearly as many people as Boston and D.C.?!–and everybody knew the words to the songs from Haughty Melodic, and everybody was dancing, and everybody got off. Unbelievable. Completely out of nowhere. I guess this record is having a life out there in the world, huh?
Like we had eaten mass quantities of noodles and cake prior to taking the stage.
Very relaxed and groovy (as Eddie Izzard once said about Jesus). It was a vest-and-slippers kind of a set. At last I’m getting the hang of the in-ears, so I heard everything, and felt the warmth of the band and the crowd, and was completely connected to the experience.
Our merch girl for the evening was named Darla Jean and naturally she had a thick Tennessee accent. She had recently spent some months in London hanging out with luminaries of the breakbeat scene, all of whom were totally enthralled with her and her exotic voice.
As you may already know, Scrap has a daughter named Larry.
Scrap is mistakenly considered by many to be a solemn dude, based on his onstage demeanor. This is one reason we’ve instituted the “Scrap Fact” segment of the show, to debunk this.
If there is a moment of silence, Scrap will say, in his charming Texan drawl, that he loves something. “I love trees,” or “I love fenceposts,” or “I love C-Span.”
I bought Scrap a pair of maracas from Ecuador with crudely-carved Spiderman heads on them. We have in the past done a version of “F Train” with Scrap playing the Spiderman maracas. Though we haven’t done it in a month or two, he has the Spiderman maracas on his person at almost all times.
Scrap is prone to expressing enthusiasm by saying, for instance, “This doughnut is right in the eyes of the Lord!”
Scrap does a dance called “dishing out the sausage.” It is in no way suggestive; it actually looks like a guy non-euphemistically dishing out non-euphemistic sausage.
I had a minor relapse the other day.
Some dude wrote a shitty review of a show that I thought was really happening; he just beat the piss out of us. Really hated it. Actually, he seemed to hate everything I had ever done in my entire career; he called Soul Coughing “lite rap” and the show “meaningless,” “middle of the road,” “declawed funk,” and invoked Dave Matthews as if that were damning in and of itself.
So I wrote a letter to the editor; like, can a dude with a voice as weird as mine, whose hit single contains the word “decathecting,” really be considered middle of the road? I need to check out this road he’s been hanging out on; it sounds pretty happening.
And I called him out for getting a song title wrong (he called “Your Misfortune” “Stand in the Light,” I guess because that’s the most repeated phrase in the tune), which annoys the hell out of me. Even if you think I’m a piece of shit, look at the back of the fucking CD, could you?
I don’t think the paper ran it. And thank God they didn’t. I feel like shit after I do that; for one thing, why bother? For another, if I object to a critic being gratuitously cruel, what good does it do me to be mean right back at him? How hypocritical, how petty.
At the NYPress, I wrote tons of mean shit about critics that wrote mean shit about me. And, actually, some mean shit about critics that wrote nice things about me. I was just angry at critics. Well, actually I was really just angry at everything. I really regret it. I want to systematically contact all the writers I was shitty to, and tell them I regret it. Really, honestly I do. I think it might make me feel better.
Hello from the parking lot of a Best Western in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Sitting on the bus with coffee typing to you.
One of my favorite bits of tour lingo is when the bus driver comes on and asks the tour manager, “Are we a bus?” He means: is everybody on board. The answer: “We’re a bus.”
Good show in D.C. last night. I’m still getting adjusted to these in-ear monitors I’ve been wearing–everything sounds crystal fucking clear, but I feel a little disconnected from the room. 930 club’s one of the great joys of the American road. Such a fantastic venue. Up in the dressing room they’ve got this tiered bunk-bed looking thing; I always think that this is a display of their DC punk roots, that they’ve devised this system so that they can accomodate three sleeping hardcore bands at once.
Big spark of yelling and excitement from the crowd at the little chimey three-repeating-note intro to “Looking at the World,” so I guess it’s officially The Hit.
Is this word–pronounced “Moo-See-Khan-Ya” in Amharic–the same word in Tigrinya? In Columbus the other day, this Ethiopian cab driver who hailed from Axum (ie, a native Tigrinya speaker) told me that it’s the same word. (He also told me that Bob Marley had a small tat of the exact same word on his leg, and that having any Ge’ez script on your body was a blessing) Is this so?
Man, we were good tonight.
We played the Pearl Street in Northampton, Mass.; it was hot and sweaty; people were dancing. We were KILLING IT.
I love Northampton and everything, but the Pearl Street is a wretched-sounding room. Handsome Dan told me he couldn’t hear me at all; Scrap told me he had to watch my lips to figure out where the cues were. The sad part to me is that the Iron Horse, just a couple blocks away, and run by the same dudes, is one of my favorite East Coast venues. But–so it goes.
Cee-Huck hooked up these in-ear monitor things for me; little earplug/headphones that are made from foam injected into your ears. You have a little battery pack/transmitter on your belt, and the wire runs down your back beneath your shirt. It takes a little getting used to; initially one feels really cut off from the world. But I’ve had a few shows, and figured out the correct mix and balance, and generally gotten used to them, so I’m quite happy. You can hear EVERYTHING, clear as a bell.
I walk up to Scrap after the show and say, “My friend, I can tell you for certain that I was THE ONLY DUDE in the entire venue, onstage and off, that could tell how awesome everybody sounded tonight.”
Yeah, Yeah, I know I’ve been remiss in blogging. Shit is hectic out here on the road. And it’s a bitch to seek out Wi-Fi. Oy.
Man, I’ve been having fun out here. I love my band. Love ‘em. We get better every gig; by the time we play the New York Webster Hall show in October, we will kill people.
The bus life is fun, as well; sleeping in a little cubby, waking up as we’re driving to the next city. Pete making coffee in the front lounge. XM has a channel that’s all throwback hiphop music–Heavy D! Showbiz and AZ! Jeru the Damaja! And there’s a DVD player; I just saw The Big Lebowski for the first time ever in my whole entire life last night, can you believe that?
(The Dought abides. Sorry, been dying to type that)
The great luxury of it is that if one has a radio appearance (and oh man do I have a lot of ‘em), rather than waking up at 7 and getting in a van and sort out some caffeine and then drive to make it by 9:30 am so Cee-Huck can set up the instruments and we can play at 10, the bus rolls up to the place and we wake up and walk right in there with coffee in hand. It’s unbelievable.
These pixx are from the Burlington UVM gig; it’s an art car that was parked out by the bus. Some horrible girl came up to me and started telling me how she didn’t like how Haughty Melodic was produced, and therefore I made a mistake and she has great ideas about how to make my music better and hence to promote World Peace. I told her she was rude and got the hell out of there. I don’t know if the car’s owner meant for strangers to come up and shift the tiles around, but these are poetic fragments that Scrap and I came up with.
We flew out from Burlington to do a one-off at Denison College in Ohio.
They offered me a SHITLOAD of dough to do it. So, Pete and Chuck and I flew out mid-tour to do it as a little duo date. Sounded fun, I hadn’t done a duo show with Pete before, and why not pay the rent? Touring in a bus is fucking expensive, man.
So. We get there. It’s some kind of welcome-back-to-school mixer. They’re holding it on top of a parking garage, which is covered with grass. Our little stage is on one end, and on the other side there were rides and inflatable something-or-others; a spin-the-bike-upside-down jammy, and an inflatable obstacle course, an inflatable stick-battle rock ‘em sock ‘em thing.
Our opening act was an escape artist. We watched from the window of our dressing room as he removed himself from chains, sacks, and straitjackets. They served a WRETCHED Chinese buffet. I mean, it was bizarrely horrible. Cee-Huck said it was kind of like a Midwestern Mom attempting Chinese cuisine, but I feel that’s a horrible insult to Midwestern Moms.
OK. So. There was NOBODY WATCHING. Well, OK; three people. Literally. Sitting on the grass looking at us. Everybody else was in the back on the inflatable jammies and the bike ride. Like, two or three hundred of ‘em. We finished the first song and there was no applause. It was surreal.
The crowd peaked at eight people, some of whom danced goofily for our amusement. Eventually the sun went down, and the ride-riders went home, and it was just us and our eight friends. Bright side: SO much fun to rock it with Pete. I adore Pete. And we sold two CDs. Yeah.