End of The Tour
It was amazing opening for Rasputina for all these shows. I’ve been a fan of Melora’s songs for years and had seen her live many times but there’s something really unique about getting to hear a band night after night in different spaces and in different order. She’s a great storyteller and her songs are infused with so much history and detail. It’s been like getting to watch a movie you love over and over, learning something new each time.
Our show in Detroit was at the Magic Stick. We were late and I had to pull a set together from a wad of papers in my backpack, but I’ve been able to turn those kind of shows around. There was a certain kind of satisfaction in getting half the audience to sit on the floor like kindergarteners.
I was nervous for the Chicago show because I felt compelled to present my hometown audience with fresh material, namely “Blue Car” and “White Oaks Mall” (from Black & Whites). This involved me playing along with the original tracks from a recording and of course, during soundcheck, I realized I’d placed the wrong tracks on the device. I got in Jason’s car, sped home, talked to my obstinate computer, kicked a few things around, got back in the car, sped to the Double Door, parked it in the street, and ran on stage.
My loyal friend and bandmate Chris Hefner joined me for a few songs on musical saw and a whole lot of you were there to greet me in the audience. All my concerns about playing older material fell away when I noticed people were singing along. It was weird to be passing through Chicago and sleeping at my house like it were a motel.
Our next show was in Cleveland at the Beachland Ballroom. Hours before the show I’d stopped at a gas station and lost my pants button into the urinal. I showed up late for soundcheck as concerned about this as I was that night’s set. My sister happened to be in Cleveland and this was actually the first time she’d heard me sing. I was also glad to meet April Fecca of Now This Sound Is Brave who has been very kind to me on her blog. Luckily my pants stayed on through the whole affair.
I must admit, I did not care for Morgantown, WV. The streets are full of bullies with thick necks and big shirts. The audience was warm and I even liked the club, but everywhere else in town I was stared at like a space alien. At the end of the night, after a minor dispute over our guarantee, we were paid with a stack of one dollar bills, but paid none the less. It may be a while before we return to Morgantown.
Baltimore fascinated me as we were driving in. It seemed to have all the run down beauty of St. Louis without any of it’s troubled emptiness. People seemed to like it there. The promoter stuck an unfortunate band at the top of the bill - two goth guys who stunk up the stage. By the time I got up there to clean up the pile of shit they’d left, people were annoyed. I already arrive at these shows at a disadvantage playing a keyboard. I suppose it’s fair for people to sort of scratch their heads and expect showtunes or worse. I opened with Armageddonsong and tried to explain that if they’d give me a chance we would go someplace interesting together. Baltimore gave me that chance and we arrived. All of us but one jackass who I had the pleasure of shaming in front of his friends.
The last show of the tour was in Brooklyn at The Knitting Factory, a superb room and a great audience and a great last note with Rasputina and their crew. The following evening, we had tickets to see one of my favorite pieces of music, Gavin Bryars’ “The Sinking Of The Titanic” performed at Le Poisson Rouge for the Titanic’s centenary. I was thrilled to see Clarice Jensen, who performed in our preview of Black & Whites last January, playing cello. The rendition was outstanding. A great way to celebrate the end of the tour.
We had two stops on the way back. First, Delaware Water Gap, PA to see good friend and label-head Lou Rogai and play the piano at the legendary Deerhead Inn. Then, an overnight stay in Hamilton, NY where I spent time speaking with music and theater students at Colgate Universtiy after giving a concert. We were then treated to a great meal and conversation with head of Colgate’s theater department Adrian Giurgea and his wife, Simona.
Now I’m back at home, practicing, writing new material, and getting ready for some big announcements. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, hosted us, kept us company, fed us, and took the time to listen to my songs. And thanks to Jason Toth for doing most of the driving and keeping the show on the road.