Sat Dec 1 8:37 AMDear Diary, I'm sitting in this Comfort Inn & Suites breakfast room wondering what the hell I'm doing with my life, while an elderly couple make a huge production out of toasting a piece of bread - you'd think they were building a house, the amount of consultation, discussion and anxious hovering that's going on. And they haven't even tried to open a butter packet yet.
We just couldn't win with that gig in Philadelphia last night. The first problem was: the gig wasn't in Philadelphia.
Now that's not usually a problem. Only we'd been announcing it as a Philly show for months. Even set the GPS for it on the way down there. It wasn't til I went to plug the actual address of the place in that we found it's like an hour from Philly. Somewhere historic, outside and off of the dreaded "Northeast Extension" road - somewhere with a Revolutionary War connection.
Anyway, I sort of knew we were in trouble when the "artist welcome sheet" they sent said each band member would get an $8 meal voucher - what kind of "meal" can you get for $8? That's right - a sandwich.
Still, we go to play, not have a fine dining experience so we'll deal with that. But we walk in and they're playing Boyz II Men. Not in an ironic way. Now anyone knows I have a soft spot for them, but there's a time and a place and this did not inspire confidence.
Then the soundman got cranky when Eric asked if he could change the three rugs on the stage to one rug turned in a horizontal direction - we have enough to trip over already without worrying about carpets flapping all over the place. But the soundman seemed deeply offended by this, so you immediately get the feeling that everything you ask for is going to be met with a wounded sigh.
I don't know, it was just the general aesthetics and vibe of this club were so off, it made it hard to play. We didn't sound like us, I can't think of any other way to put it. It's like if Eric and i went into Kohls and came out in these outfits, him with a Tony Soprano-type silky bowling shirt, khakis and those shoes with the really long flat fronts that French businessmen wear, highlights in his hair; and I chose something from the J. Lo line (actually I'm looking at that stuff right now and these wrap dresses look cute but it's probably not what I'd feel right in on stage).
The audience were nice though and tolerant of the fact that there was NO ALCOHOL which on a Friday night in a place like this is sorely needed. I think you could bring your own. I just wished I'd done more research. Maybe we would've chalked it up to experience, because we'd had some laughs and our friend Dan Reed came out to introduce us and people had enjoyed themselves okay. But in the hotel room, news came on the TV saying there'd been a chemical explosion that was now making the air highly toxic somewhere to the Southwest of Philadelphia. We thought about that, looking nervously at the map on the TV screen, part worrying but maybe even a little hopeful as we murdered a pint of Ben & Jerry's, and then switched over to a channel where Rod Stewart sang Christmas songs in a green plaid sport coat, miming being cold and repeatedly pointing at an imaginary pile of logs on the floor every time he sang "that fire is so delightful" and Eric and I tried to laugh but just couldn't.
Got to get to WFMU by noon, and then we're playing in Hoboken tonight. It is what it is, we're the early show, the PATH train's still not working after the storm, Titus Andronicus are playing a sold-out show after us, they'll probably be mean and fill the stage with a double-bass drum and racks of guitars they'll refuse to move. Oh well. I've been playing at that dump since I was their age and nothing's changed. And this coffee sucks, hope we can find a Starbucks out there in this Revolutionary War hellhole. I'm from Western Pennsylvania, I hate Eastern Pennsylvania. I wish we were in Delaware, even that would be better than this.
Sun Dec 2 10:35 AM Dear Diary, Have I told you how much I love playing? What a privilege it is to get to do this? What a wonderful path I've chosen for myself, that I can stand on the same stage (actually I think it's a little higher than it used to be and the black carpet seems to be new) I've stood since I was 25 and play and sing for people who stand and actively listen and laugh and clap and shout encouragement to us? It's like being in a time machine, only now is better than the past.
I get to play next to one of my heroes, who just happens to be my husband Eric - how great is that? And at Maxwell's last night we had Chris Butler, inspiration and support, playing with us for some songs.
How did people manage to get to the show, I don't know. But there were all kinds of people there from different phases of our lives, man it's like This Is Your Life in a way only thankfully no one from high school.
And Titus Andronicus - wow they were super sweet and you could tell it meant a lot to them to meet Wreckless Eric, they even moved the drums away for our set. I am lucky to be still doing this. Those kids have got a lot to look forward to.