April 18, 2006

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.