Endorsement of Tori.

Everything I’ve read about So NoTORIous references the phrase “Donna Martin graduates.” So I won’t do that.

My first attempt at blogging–before the word was invented–was a weekly thing I called Peach Pit Babylon, a response journal to 90210, that I wrote–it seems quaint now–on a Soul Coughing message board on AOL.
About my campy devotion to 90210, the record producer (and former head of A&R for Columbia and Reprise) shrugged and said, “Everybody needs church.”
I really hope Tori Spelling’s new show catches on. It’s good. It’s funny. She still looks weird.


I spent yesterday in Rhode Island with Chuck the Legend and Scrap aka the Scriggity.

The show at U.R.I. was sposed to be an outdoorfest, but it rained like fuck and we were driven indoors. The very kind U.R.I. peeps were apologetic, but it didn’t matter to us; Scrap and I had fun.
I feel like I’m on a roll; sometimes I get to this place onstage where I can really focus on either the singing, or a component of the guitar playing–the fretting hand or the strumming hand. Like it’s going on without my conscious participation, and I’m just in there being an observer. Like: BE the hand. BE the strum. BE the chord.
I know: I’m a fucking hippie. Right?
But there was great embarrassment as well. I’ve been wearing glasses onstage recently, and they alway slip down my nose, old-lady-style, when I sweat. My friend Dawn in Indianapolis is an optician, so I asked her what I could do; she had the novel idea of dabbing a little antiperspirant on my nose. It worked brilliantly!
Except: I also dabbed a little on my forehead. And halfway through the show it started dripping into my eyes, and it HURT. Oh man.
I made a joke onstage that I was stoned. When I got offstage and looked at myself in the mirror, I realized that I DID look stoned. REALLY stoned. Like, my eyes were red slits.
I was walking around the theater, and all the kids hanging out were giving me these conspiratorial grins like, Yeah! Allright! You are FUCKING STONED.
One guy asked me if I had any weed. Then he asked me if I was 43 years old. Sigh.

Credit: What It Truly Means To Be an American.

Cautioning myself.

I didn’t have credit until really late in life. Right when Soul Coughing became a major label band, I was 24, and some manager or other was always co-signing an AmEx or something. Then evenually I was just too stoned to bother.
Now I have credit; I am officially an entity in the eyes of Experian. (it’s kind of bizarre to do a credit check on yourself and be told you basically don’t exist) I’m calling up my credit card companies to get modest increases (MODEST, I tell you) for expenses incurred in moving to Brooklyn. I must keep reminding myself: THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET FREE MONEY. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET FREE MONEY. THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU GET FREE MONEY.
What luxury problems we have in America. When I was in Africa, I gave my camera away to this guy named Menges, who could support his entire family by taking wedding pictures with it. His rent, on a small room in a sort of multi-family compound in the suburbs of Asmara, is $5 a month. He and his three kids–and other on the way–live in that one room. Fucking hell, we all should thank God for our credit card debt.

Do Yourself A SuperSolid.

Download Regina Spektor’s new song “Fidelity.”

Man, I’d love to tour with her.
Although we did a show together at Maxwell’s in Hoboken; she did it solo piano, and the crowd wouldn’t pipe down.

Reunited, and It Feels So Good.

The prodigal pianist Handsome Dan Chen joins Scrap and I onstage in Jersey.

We played in Teaneck last night, and what a show. The Jersey crowd was awesome, yelling along with “Madeline,” “Tremendous Brunettes,” “Looking at the World,” and joyously singing the backup parts on “I Hear the Bells.” it made me so happy that I made Haughty Melodic.
We had the splendid singer songwriter Nicole Atkins–I highly recommend you listen: myspace.com/nicoleatkins–who, besides being blessed with a gorgeous, gritty voice (which Scrap found to have uncanny traces of Siouxsie), is also the lucky girl who stole Handsome Dan Chen away from Scrap and I.
So Scrap and I persuaded Dan to join us for a bunch of the old numbers, and it rocked like fuck. We love Dan.
During their set, Nicole repeatedly called him Handsome Dan, which made me proud that the nickname stuck, but apparently Nicole otherwise uses a new nickname, which is Cashmere. To be said always in a whisper: Casssssshmeeeerrrrrre. Nice.
Also: very fine tacos.

Weekly Post-Game.

More or less glad to see Ace go.

I was pretty certain in my heart that they weren’t gonna send Chris home, but it was fucking scary to see him up there next to Ace, who was clearly headed for the chopping block.
The redness of Simon’s face, the stunned look, was phenomenal. Because I think he realized that his advice to Chris to switch it up almost got Chris axed. My theory is that everybody thinks he’s gonna win. Ultimately Simon’s an A&R guy, and nearly losing a star must have scared the bejesus out of him.
I love Taylor, but I think Chris will take the big prize. Hopefully Kellie Pickler won’t get 2nd. Loathe her, loathe loathe loathe, and yes I do feel bad that her Dad’s in jail.
Taylor handled the pick-the-winners thing with aplomb. Looked scared and shocked when the task at hand was revealed, but he played gracefully (and unapologetically, which was smart) for the camera when he had to pick.
Although I wondered if he was smart, and turned around when it became clear that he picked wrong. I don’t put it past him. Smart dude.


Scrap, Chuck, and I go to Mobile.

I’ve been playing the eat-less game for a few weeks, and have skinny-ized considerably, but this was the first time I’d been with the fellaz out of town for a while, so we killed it. We went to a Ruth’s Chris (the most surreally difficult-to-enunciate restaurant name) and ate massive hunks of beef, as well as two different kinds of potato bathed in cheese. Also, broccoli bathed in cheese, and broccoli is green, right? Right?
Cute vegan girls, please disregard the above.
Mobile’s a vibey old town. I spent a year living in Pensacola, FL in the mid-90s–Soul Coughing’s beloved tour manager Gus lived there, and I needed an antidote to a rainy year in London filled with romantic upheaval–and my friends there spoke of Mobile like it was a hideous anomaly. My friends in Pensacola were all dissolute punk rockers and zinesters, I guess they feared rampaging fratboys. But as I walked around downtown early in the morning, I found it to be atmospheric; romantic old Southern storefronts, and rickety houses on sidestreets.
I heard a woman behind a screendoor yelling at her grandkids. “Your Mama needs to get a job!” Said hello to dudes incongruously hanging out on streetcorners at 7 am on Easter Sunday. The smarter classes of Mobilians have long since decamped to the suburbs–presumably–leaving behind one of my favorite American phenomenons; a slightly crumbly throwback urban center. That vibe that the Japanese call wabi-sabi (if indeed I’m understanding the term correctly).
Gig was OK. Scrap and I woodshedded a lot for it–I felt we were a little spazzy on our Indianapolis gig a couple weeks earlier–but I would have been happier if it was a second gig, not a first, and we were a little more settled in the pocket. A lovely day out there in the Alabama woods though–a fairground with people sprawled out on lawnchairs.
A stage tech guy was wearing a Taylor Hicks t-shirt. An original one, as the dude’s from Alabama. A woman who worked for the promoter had a big box of original SOUL PATROL buttons, that he used to give out at club dates! I took a big handful.
Scrap and I have flown to Minneapolis, to do some preproduction on a new record; Dan Wilson didn’t know what the SOUL PATROL button on my shirt meant, except he recognized that a guy in an SNL sketch (he didn’t know that they were parodying Taylor, or indeed who Taylor is at all) was shouting SOUL PATROL! superfluously.