“Don’t Let the Darkness Eat You Up.”

Tours sneak up on me. Yesterday in the store, I was comparing cartons of milk, and bought one that expires on Nov 7 rather than one expiring on Nov 3. I’ll be gone to Texas on Nov 1, for the first show of The Question Jar Show tour, in South Padre (and I still can’t believe I actually have a gig on South Padre).
I opened the fridge this morning, and realized: Oh, right.
First order of business: to actually find the eponymous jar. I’m gonna try Economy Candy on Rivington Street–my old block, before I moved to Brooklyn last year–and maybe get a big plastic jar of Twizzlers or something, and hopefully dispose of the Twizzlers humanely, before I become a pre-tour Fat Mike.
The terrible fires. The head of my first record company was this comical, ur-Californian guy, and when he flew Soul Coughing out and put us up at the Mondrian to woo us, he brought us by the office and said, “Dude! Let’s go to the Bu! We can get margaritas.” Malibu, he meant.
The Bu.
The next week, in 1993, there were wildfires in the Bu, and River Phoenix died in front of the Viper Room in Hollywood. An ex-bandmate of mine suggested that the headline of the Post read Bu Burns, River Runs Dry.
My computer died last week. It died the way it always does–utterly without warning. I came home and the screen was black, and when I rebooted, a question mark icon came up. Hard drive? There’s no hard drive here, my friend.
I bought a new hard drive, but I bungled the installation, and fucked up the computer hopelessly. So I had to buy a new one. It arrives tomorrow on its long journey from China (seriously, when I look at the FedEx tracking online, it starts in Shanghai, then goes to Anchorage, and now it’s in Newark). I just know that a month after I get it, a spanking new Mac will come out, and I’ll have lost the chance for a more prestigious toy.
But I have work to do, and I gotta do it now–I actually got a DJ gig in Salt Lake City–opening for BT!!–on December 15th. In order to do it, I have to meticulously reconstruct all the tracks I lost when my hard drive died. (It’s all on drum machines already, it’s not like I’ve lost any intensive creative work, I just have to load it in there and dice it up) And I’m doing tracks for a movie (hopefully). And I got a video camera, and hope to be YouTubing road videos.
In general, I was in the middle of some glorious, obsessive music-making on my computer right when it fizzled, and I don’t want to wait to jump back in.
I’m typing this to you on a turn of the century coal-burning iMac.
Scrap and his old friend John and I all got new tattoos last week–Scrap’s is this amazing Picasso drawing of Stravinsky, John got the Fibonacci diagram (the golden something-or-other), I got a graphic of a flower–and I videoed it, hopefully I’m gonna edit a little segment about it.
I have bipolar disorder, and I don’t like the term. For one thing, there’s no bi to my polar. I go into these modes of extreme irrational anger, keep myself up all night with strange feverish worry and self-hatred. I think it was Jonathan Ames that suggested the antiquated Victorian term maniac is more appropriate. I agree.
Opiates and weed used to be very handy in treating it, but fucked up my ability to be creative (and I don’t go into fanastic he-man creation mode when I’m having a bout, sadly). Now I’m on a cocktail of meds, and I don’t suffer anymore. I’m going to the shrink today–on the Upper West Side, aka the Shrink District–so it’s on my mind. I will be, as Bodie on The Wire would say, re-upping.
Now that I have a cam, and one that has that amazing spooky green-lit infra-red mode at that, it’s about time I made a sex tape, right? After all, look what it did for Vince Neil.
Mine should be more conceptual. It will be a threesome with Anjelica Huston and Monica Bellucci, and Scrap will be in the forefront of the shot, playing cello.
I saw Ivo van Hove’s production of Moliere’s The Misanthrope, and it blew my mind. It’s at NY Theater Workshop, on E. 4th Street. On Sunday nights, there are cheap tix for $20. (Man, the theater in general is expensive, why is that? OK, I’m being disingenuous, I know exactly why it’s so expensive.)
The set is all flourescent light, and cameramen move silently behind tinted-glass walls, simulcasting the actors on plasma screens. When I suddenly saw the ghostly face of a cameraman in the glass, focussing on the magnificent Quincy Tyler Berstine, it was startling and sublime.
Jeanine Serralles was particularly enthralling, fierce, playful, vicious, captivating.
Awesome pix of the Misanthrope are here.
I was in a cab afterwards with die-hard fan Rachel Benbow Murdy–aka, the voice of Janine in “Janine”–apologies to Ms. Serralles for the mispelling, had I seen her perform in 1993 I would have spelled it differently–and she was all Hove this, Hove that, enthusing. For a milisecond, I thought she meant Hove as in Hova, as in Jay-Z, and she’d never heard of that; I explained that it was a derivation of J-Hova, ie Jehovah, and that made her most intellectual self giddy.
I also saw The Darjeeling Limited, and loved it. It’s pretty far out how little Jason Schwartzman has to do to make me laugh.
I’m the kind of person that’s always laughing loudly and conspicuously at things nobody else in the theater laughs at.
My theory is that Wes Anderson finds atmospheric places where it’s cheap to make movies–India in this case, and Italy in The Life Aquatic–assembles his usual cadre of actors, and then figures out what the story will be. I think it’s an awesome way to work–I’ve always done the same thing, in a way.
I endorse the incredible Swedish (yeah, Swedish) singer/songwriter Jose Gonzales:

Collided Igneous, So Lucid Old Genie, Eluded I Sing Cool, Includes Good Lie, Soul Do Diligence, Duelling So Docile, No Logic Is Eluded, So Indie Could Gel.

Anagrams courtesy of listener Joe Bawol!
I’ve been living inside Ableton Live for two weeks. It’s a piecing of looping/DJing/producing software. I’ve been feeding in seven years’ worth of stuff I did on drum machines, and looping riffs like I haven’t done since Soul Coughing (after the first record, my bandmates were increasingly unreceptive to loops I brought in from other people’s music. Maybe they were right, we woulda been poorer, giving our money away to other composers!)
I think I’ve actually lost weight because sometimes I stay locked inside the headphones rather than foraging. Aw, it’s noon? Just let me loop this one more thing, the I’ll get lunch–wait, no, this one more thing–be done in a moment–wait, it’s 2 pm already? Like that.
It’s evolving into what I think may be a DJ set. Maybe a record? Well, I could only use the majority of the loops live–gone are the days when Warner Bros would write a fat check to pay off the Raymond Scott estate and Toots Hibbert for their unsuspecting contributions! Even rappers are too smart to use samples these days.
I shouldn’t tell my manager or record company about this. “Um, so Golden Delicious isn’t even out yet, and you’ve already made another record? An all-instrumental electro record?!
Yeah. They get confused. Not that I don’t get confused myself.
I fired my German tutor the other day. After a year of lessons, I discovered I just wasn’t that interested in talking to her–she wasn’t an art lady. I had a hard enough time explaining why, as homework, I brought in poems written in my own crude German, about hangmen, mystical eggs, and devils.
It was weird–it was a textbook passive-aggressive-co-dependent breakup. Lots of weird out of left field snarks. This is sadly indicative of my world–I even got into a co-dependent relationship with my fucking German teacher.
I’ve already found another teacher, and a German conversation group for Saturday mornings–any other recording artists out there that get up at 9 am on a weekend to study German? No?
I dreamed last night I lived in the ruins of the Statue of Liberty with hordes of wild rabbits, and I joined the T.S.A. as a citizen safety monitor on the A/C/E subway line.
I get up on Sundays, as I’ve told you many times, and watch Old White Guy TV, aka CBS News Sunday Morning. The critic Bill Flanagan reviewed a bunch of albums, mostly by older artists, and, about the album format, said, “These artists prove there’s life in the old form yet.”
I can dig it. Golden Delicious is sequenced as an album, and I’d dig it very much if some people listened to it that way. But, we live in a one song world these days. Why is that considered to be trivial? A single song to me can be like a great painting, something to be contemplated, scrutinized, until all its nuances reveal themselves–and can keep revealing little parts of the mystery every time you listen. When I fall in love with a song, I put it on repeat and listen to it for half an hour straight, back-to-back, on subway rides.
I snarked mildly on Vanessa Carlton in a blog, and took shit from listeners who told me that she was not, in fact, a “rich California girl on a temporary urban escapade,” but had gone to Julliard and lived here for years. I was in fact beset upon by a couple of rich California girls, who were all like, And what the fuck is wrong with being a rich California girl, blog boy? Nothing the fuck is wrong with being a rich California girl. OK, I knew that that would come off as pejorative. But it shouldn’t, necessarily, right?
I remember being accused by a fellow student in school of being a white liberal. I reacted all kinds of flustered. But, you know, I am a white liberal.
Anyway. Vanessa, I’m glad you enjoy Nolita, though, cranky ex-East Village bohemian that I am, I consider the nabe a travesty. I would advise you, though, that when you sing Take away my record deal! you’re asking to be too broke to live there.
Don’t worry, there’s plenty of $1200 studios in Bed-Stuy! (actually, I did hear that M.I.A. lives there, and believe me, I’m not snarking, I live in fucking Flatbush, to which gentrification will arrive in approximately 2047)
I’m gonna get a cam and vlog a little. Apparently exclusive “value-added content” is something they like in online promotion for music. I don’t know what I’m gonna do–make a short film of myself making a smoothie? Show off my collection of Egon Schiele postcards?