Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It Never Rains in Eastern Massachusetts

Correction. It rains. Torrential, in fact. I walked from the hotel down to Newbury street this afternoon without my rain coat (I left it at home because it smelled of fish and feet) and got absolutely drenched. I ducked into Trident for some lunch (BLT with mozzarella and pesto, and ginger juice..amazing), and stopped into Newbury Comics, as you do. I dragged myself back to the hotel, totally soaked to the bone and generally lacking the will to live. I have since cancelled dinner with friends and am looking forward to sitting in the bath tub, reading zombie comics and drinking actimel until I feel better about myself.


It's been a long first week back on tour. I flew from SF to Toronto. It was rather unsettling following my (mostly) leisure-filled week home punctuated by a night of hot stone massages and mexican food. I left my swank apartment, returning twice to pick up things I had left behind, got on a plane then checked into a nice little airport hotel.

After spending nearly seven hours in the careless hands of Air Canada I was starved nearly beyond recognition. I ordered a sandwich from room service, or as the Canadians call it:

Saturday morning I was on the bus by 6:30 am. Just in time to watch the sun rise on downtown Toronto.

It is a really beautiful city

but I'm still pining for SF, regardless of the fog.

The festival site of the day was on an island and, conveniently enough the water levels were so low due to a drought that the ferry system that had been implemented the year before to shuttle people, busses, trucks, etc to and from the city was rendered useless. We opted for the water taxi. I actually recall a picture that Harley took of the strokes boys at the same festival last year. If I remember correctly everyone looked pretty miserable. Richard, I think, was clutching an industrial-sized bottle of pedialite and looking as though he were about to speak welsh over the side of the boat at any minute. This time around we were all in remarkably good spirits having just had about 2 weeks off. We weren't even the least bit bothered by the fact that we were about to go without food, sleep or showers for the following 48 hours.

The next several hours are a bit of a blur, really. Suffice to say that things did not go well. The lighting equipment (largely due to the hectic fashion week in NY) wasn't really looked after before it left the shop. Everything was a shambles and a festival was far from the ideal place to sort it out. The show was an utter disaster from where I was sitting. I did run into my friend Paul, who is running lights for Bjork. Her show, at least, was stunning.

Post show things went haywire. Harley put on some sort of tapestry and shouted 'can you dig it?' while running around inside the dressing room.

Bobby played a tiny guitar along to a Shaggs record.

And then we were crammed into a van with no seats and driven through an exiting crowd to the ferry. (it's hard not to recall the euphemism for tight men's pants as 'a bunch of guys crammed into a van.')

It was back to the mainland. Back to the bus, and on to Montreal.

Sure was.

Montreal was a bit more of the same work-wise for me. I.e. a complete and total meltdown. I had everyone from the owner of the company to the manufacturer of the lights on the phone apologizing to me. None of that made stuff work. At least Canadians, on the whole, were helpful, patient and understanding of many of my profane outbursts. I did get to see a bunch of friends though, which is always a nice thing. It's hard to be in a bad mood when Page is wandering around with a joint the size of a chicken leg laughing at everyone he sees. Colin, the strokes old security guy was there as well. He's a great guy, which is good because he is huge, occasionally quick to anger, and has his name tattooed on the inside of his lower lip. I also saw a few secret machines, some stills and more bands that I can't even remember. Bloc Party was really good.

The 'Pole, in spite of a challenge or two, was pretty stellar as well.

Again, back on the bus. Onwards and downwards to Albany with a brief stop at the border. Bob 'anger management' Lewis has, what would appear to be a permanent mark on his record following his outburst at customs a few months back. The border guard asked if he was on the bus and he said 'yep.' The border guard asked if he ever had a problem with a customs officer and he said 'yep.' Magic. I hid in my bunk while that little issue worked itself out.

Albany was a dismal little theatre. I managed to take my first shower in a few days, which is a nice thing. Thanks to a half dozen tech-minded people I also got everything working, so we no longer have a truck full of $13,000 per week paperweights. The backdrops arrived as well as the video projector. It's looking pretty sharp.

Liars started with us as well. I heard the promoter say, over the radio two separate times that he thought there was a problem with the pa. Someone had to explain to him that the sounds of screeching hellfire were actually quite intentional.

The 'Pole. Blurry, but exceptional.

Tomorrow is the first of many arena shows that we have coming up. It's basically a dry run for Madison Square Garden. I wish that my head wasn't so deep into this tour. I'm making plans to get away for Halloween this year, and kicking around some ideas for a book, but all I can think about is technical nonsense. Aw well. Goodnight.