Elliott Will Go Home.

I am supercrazysure.

He could bring it tonight, I guess. I doubt it.
Maybe people love the McPhee more than I think they do. (I believe Chris got the boot because people figured he was safe, and they were voting for whom they wanted to be the also-ran) I think she’ll make a good record (at least, a good record to me), which Chris would not have done, and will not do, as the frontperson in Fuel, or whatever bland air-conditioning-rock band he joins or forms.
Anyway. The McPhee may make an improved Carrie Underwood. Maybe I’m rationalizing.
Though the clip shows played and replayed Chris’ astonished reaction to his getting dropped last week, what was fascinating to me was the McPhee; the moment she realized it was her and Chris in the bottom, she had a look of despondant resignation; between her and Chris, it seemed doubtless that she was outta there. And then when Chris went home, it was like her face blew wide open.
Also: the Name Authorities need to figure out a standard number of L’s in T’s in Elliott. Eliot? Eliott? Elliot? Ellliottt?

Mexican Radio Binge.

I spent $40 on iTunes before 9:30 am; I wasn’t even halfway through my coffee.

When I’m in California, I listen to nothing but Mexican radio; those boozy horns! That oompah oompah beat! The singers practically in tears! It drives my bandmates crazy. Chuck “The Legend” actually stared at me, jaw hanging open, when he realized that I’d switched to a Norte

In the Kitchen.

Bestest place in the universe.

I’m typing this at a kitchen table. At a kitchen table. New Yorkers will understand; this is the prize of all prizes, to have a table in the kitchen. It makes me feel like writing. That novel that I’ve been stopping/starting for years may actually start-and-or-stop again at this very table.
Scrap and I got Wendy’s at a drive-through last night (“It’s a good Wendy’s,” said Scrap about the one in my new neighborhood) after hauling a big TV over from P.C. Richard’s in his car (a New Yorker with a car being the one thing rarer than a New Yorker with an eat-in kitchen). We ate it at this very table. I was astonished to be doing this in my own house.
(My new TV, though large, is the throwback, tube-style. What do I need of the flat-screen? In P.C. Richard’s, I pulled out a tape-measure to see if the TV would fit on my TV table, and the salesman whipped out his own tape-measure and held it up against a flat-panel, grinning. Sigh. My display-quality is not great, but TV just isn’t that huge a part of my life to spend more on it than a laptop. Although I do harbor fantasies of at last watching Lawrence of Arabia)
I now live in an unfashionable part of Brooklyn. There’s lots of greenery, and a relative proximity to DiFara’s pizza. Quick into Manhattan on an express train, although I don’t know if that’ll mean shit to me; half the reason I decided to get a big apartment was that I was staying home all day, writing songs and then websurfing and then writing songs again.

Like Gothic Hotcakes.

(Title is a nonsequitur; I just liked it)
Gigs last weekend in Madison, Iowa City, and River Falls (Wisconsin).
(all these live pix, from River Falls, ganked from listener J_____)

Allergies struck the night of the Madison gig, but I dosed up with some Dayquil (my usual cure). I ended up blowing my voice out. The next day I sounded like Brenda Vaccaro. It was not so much the gig, as all the talking afterwards; believe it or not, an hour or so talking with audience people takes a heavier toll than full-blown singing.
So I was freaked out the next day, even more so by the unexpected possibility that we were going to fly to Los Angeles on Monday to do a TV show (they ended up booking a different artist, which is a bummer, but probably lucky for me and my scratchy throat). I abstained (mostly) from talking all day, and did a shitload of goofy warmup excercises.
Iowa City was so great. The Scrig and I were supermeshed and tight. With the exercises (and a little more Dayquil, oh the magic of pseudoephedrine) I had gotten my voice to a place where the Brenda-Vaccaro-ness was actually kind of pleasing; whiskey notes.
There’s a high note on “Madeline,” and one on “Bells,” that are my bete noires on a bad-throat night. But perhaps the audience is reminded of Biz Markie and find the weird notes to be fun.
After the Iowa City gig, I hid in the wood-paneled dressing room; fans kept knocking on the door, pestering Chuck to coax me out to sign stuff. Still thinking I had to preserve my voice for the L.A. TV thing, I stayed sequestered. I felt bad about hiding from the audience. I kind of felt like Prince.
River Falls: a full-on rock star experience. An amphitheatre, and sexy drunk girls jumping onstage to dance. Bliss.


What’s going on with the new, in-the-works album. Creatively, at least.

Please: don’t ask me when it’s coming out. I don’t know. If you press me, I’ll cave and then blurt out an answer, and then instantly it’ll be coming out many months later than the date I name.
The process has begun; we’ve gone through the tunes, we’re setting dates to track. It’s an interesting dynamic this time around, what with Knapsack Pete (drummer) being much more integral to my scene than a bandmate’s been to me in years. Haughty was just me and Dan Wilson, and we’d invite sidemen in as we needed them.
I’m gonna keep most of the songs to my chest and not play them live. Barring one or two. It was hard for me, the last go-round, to dig the comments of audience members who’d been hearing “Sunkeneyed” and “Grey Ghost” at my shows for years. Because invariably they’d prefer the version that they were first exposed to. It’s a natural hoodoo that occurs in rock and roll, and can be really frustrating as an artist; for me, the songs are alive from night to night, and a couple years down the line, the recorded versions feel bizarre and foreign when I listen back, they’ve evolved so much.
Key to the intial idea is Dude Theory. That you should be able to listen and, about each instrument, see in your mind a dude standing there. On Haughty it was anything but Dude Theory; horns entering one chorus, pedal steel entering the next; a wall of sound, each guitar backed by a duplicate. I want this one to be rawer, sparer, one-take-ier, more swagger-y.
Of course, now that I’ve said that, it will be an utter 180; expect a lush heavily overdubbed and nonswagger-y album. Yeah.
I’m gonna title it after another anagram. I think. Maybe that’ll be my new trademark: anagram boy.

It’s Kind of Fucked Up How Upset I Am.

I can’t believe Chris is going home. I mean, it’s like 10 minutes later and my heart is beating fast. I feel an existential melancholy. I’m blaming myself. This is totally ridiculous. You’re really not supposed to feel this way about a television program.
I was so freaked out that I neglected to mention this pic was ganked from listener J_____!

Dust dust dust.

I’m covered in dust moving my shit to Brooklyn. It’s rough going, the dust and the boxes and the near-subluxations. But I’m overjoyed to be a Brooklynite again.

It’s Scrap’s Birthday.

Andrew Howard Livingston, known to some as Scrap, or The Scriggity, born Cinco de Mayo, 1976.
(Foto ganked from listener Keeley Madison, who lives in Madison.)

He’s a beautiful cat, and I’m glad he was born. He has enriched my life tremendously.
I hope you will send him warm wishes via his MySpace page.
Note the pink-sunglasses pin on his jacket in the photo below; he found it on the floor of the elevator at the Holiday Inn.

Paris Might Go On to Make a Great Record.

I mean, come on, she’s seventeen.

I doubt Elliott will, and I’ll bet you any sum you care to name he’s gone next week. Nor McPhee (week after that). And thought I love him to pieces, Chris will win and make ersatz Creed records that I will not buy.
They must’ve felt bad when they picked her to move into the top 24. Because clearly her immaturity would handicap her–she overblows when singing into a mic, unlike in her initial audition, when her dynamics just singing in a room were really sophisticated–they must’ve known that she would eventually get cut out.
Taylor, if you general taste is more along the lines of the Ray LaMontagne song you chose a few weeks ago, you’ll make a good one, too. (But did you have to do “Play that Funky Music, White Boy”–? Next season, I encourage a black contestant of any gender to sing it; in fact, McPhee, please consider a version of “Young, Gifted, and Black” for your post-elimination farewell song)