So the other day my 2-year old nephew Clark commands his mother to get me on the phone. Very earnestly tells me "E-dupt!! Don’t wanna be a man about it!!!" I’m all … "whaaa?" and start laughing. "I DON’T WANNA BE A MAN ABOUT IT!!" Lucie takes the phone and explains they’d been listening to my new CD in the car, and I guess Clark got a little upset by that one lyric. He took it to heart. How adorable is that? Sure hate to traumatize him but it was too cute. :-)
Thanks for clicking the "more" link. I wanna tell you I really want to start blogging more regularly again. There’s always the feeling that I want to keep my private life private and not say stupid-ass things lest they end up getting used as pull-quotes in all my record reviews…!! But on the other hand I’ve been feeling weird about this blog for ten years straight and it ain’t never stopped me before, or not for long. I do plenty of stuff in public anyway, why not talk about that at least? And maybe, a little about what’s going on with me if I feel like sharing. Unfortunately at the moment I got nothin’. I had a very quiet Thanksgiving. There you go, whoo-hoo! Bloggage. :-P
Yep I guess I’m going a little stir crazy what with all this gloomy weather, another Chicago winter looming ahead. Don’t quite know what to do with myself these days, now that the hubbub of the record release is over. But I’m enjoying the feeling too ‘cuz pretty soon I’ll be touring for like sixty-eight weeks straight! And who am I kidding, I love being at home doing my thing. I’ll be missing that solitude when I’m on the road, for sure.
I haven’t been super isolated though, just a little bored maybe. I have been making the effort to get out and hang with friends a little, and talking on the phone a lot, with Lucie, Sarah, Alyce… Eric too of course, he’s been really sweet and supportive the past few weeks. We’re keeping in touch just about every day and have hung out four or five times both with other people and just the two of us. A few tears involved but no big drama (I wouldn’t talk about it if there were). It all seems very healthy and amiable, in the truest sense of the word… es un hombre bien amable, y lo estoy amando como un amigo. So that’s about as good an outcome as either of us could hope for. I mean it hurts of course, because we wanted it to work out, it’s a big disappointment. But all in all this has been a piece of cake as far as breakups go, unlike some others I can think of!! No third parties, no shared household or pets or merged record collection to split up. It was just a regular boring ol’ it-didn’t-work-out kinda thing. So that’s a big relief for me, in retrospect. And it greatly increases the chances that we’ll remain good friends as it was intended. He wasn’t the one for me but that’s okay… I’m resuming my assumption that my partner in crime is out there somewhere and will make himself apparent to me at some point. In the meantime I have so much work to do, and a lot of good friends to hang out with if I want to. Including Eric, whom I still love and respect a whole lot, and vice versa! He’s a fun guy, super smart and creative and goal-oriented, and a real bon vivant too, super fun to be around. Great friends too. I’ve really enjoyed being a part of that world for the past year and I’m psyched that there’ll be plenty more good times to come. We have a lot in the bank, it’s a solid friendship, and that’s a gift that I so appreciate. Plus he kinda raises the bar as far as the kind of guy I would ever want to date in the future. I don’t think that’s a bad thing…
Speaking of friendship, I had an awesome little sushi party on the day the CD was released… Eric helped me pull it together, not that there was much to organize. We just sent out e-mails and commandeered a restaurant for a few hours. I never do that, I don’t have parties!! But this was the most fun I’ve had in I don’t know how long. Over a dozen people showed up — some folks who worked on the record (Laura, Emmett, Josh and Jason), some Drag City folks (Dan K and Zach), some of my gal-pals (Sarah and Sheila) and of course Eric and a few good pals I met through him (Geoff and Nell and Emerson). There was wine and beer, there were multiple toasts called out, a bouquet of flowers from Laura and scratch-off lottery tickets for everyone. Very good times.
So yeah, that left me feeling really great, and so blessed to have all these amazing people swarmin’ around me. I’ve been in Chicago nine years now and I’ve had my finger in a lotta pies, mingling in many different social circles that overlap each other through music. That group was just scratchin’ the surface, a lot of good friends and bandmates couldn’t come that night… these are all such great people. Creative, funny, talented and fascinating folks. I’m really lucky to know them, and even more fortunate to be able to work with these people to make this album I’m so proud of. Just having the chance to celebrate a job well done, it’s the best feeling. And this is a big milestone for me after all; it’s been a long time coming, a lot of blood sweat ‘n’ tears. It’s a special record, it captures a mood that I think will easily resonate with a lot of people. So it worked out well. I think it does a pretty good job of painting a picture of where I’m at today, even though the songs were written over the course of many years, and I sure wasn’t in that mindset when I recorded it six months ago! Just coincidence it ended up that way I’m sure. :-|
The Hothouse show on the 19th went great too. It was the perfect amount of people; all the tables were filled up and and some people were standing but it wasn’t uncomfortably crowded. The opening bands were excellent, though I couldn’t pay much attention what with all the smoking and pacing in circles looking worried… heheh. I’m always like that before a show. But it went fine. The band was awesome, it was me on my blue 335, Emmett on electric guitar too, Ryan on bass, Jason on drums and Lindsay on keyboards and backups. She had her digital keyboard set up next to the baby grand so she could play either one. It turned into a longass show, like an hour and a half. We played the whole album front to back — might as well, it’s a release show and it sure cuts down on the decision-making! Then we played the two songs that ended up as outtakes, then the two cover songs that were on my Demos album. For the encore we did a couple older songs, "Telescopic" (with Jason doing his sweet melodica thing), and Cars & Parties. We had a little problem with the mikes early in the set but after that the sound was just so beautiful, what a great room. I think it’s about 300 capacity so it’s a pretty big room but the acoustics are nice and airy and crisp. My pal Mike Sturgess did sound — he’s a musician too, he fronts the band Clyde Federal. But he’s my favorite soundman in town and knows my shit the best. I mean, he’s done sound at the majority of the Chicago shows I’ve played over the past five years or so, therefore he knows what it’s supposed to sound like, what we’re liable to need in our monitors etc. I barely ever have to say anything to the guy, he just knows what we need, and if there’s a problem he’s right on top of it. He might as well be another bandmember, I’ve been working with him so long. So that was great. We played well too, far as I could tell. I was singing well (even though I’m SMOKING again goddammit!!) and played almost all my chords correctly, though I did screw up the words a little here and there. Blanked out on a couple of lines and had to make something up in a few unexpected places, but it worked out okay. I don’t worry about it as long as it rhymes.
What else have I done? Last week I tagged along with Brandon to see "The Squid and the Whale"… it started out as a bowling party but everybody bailed so he decided to make it a movie party instead. It was good too, and the ending was a nice surprise. I won’t spoil it but I had heard from Eric that this was a a very sad film, and then I heard the same thing from Donna, one of his roommates. And Brandon had heard the same thing from two other people! And it was sad, but I think we were both sitting there waiting for something REALLY awful to happen. So the ending was kind of a surprise and a relief, we were both expecting all hell to break loose.
Oh and guess what I did at the beginning of that crazy-ass release week? I went to Electrical to do backups on a couple of songs for Daniel Smith. Both the songs were really cool and I really enjoyed the task, doing that kind of fast-paced, clipped style of singing. Some crazy harmonies in there, it was a lot of fun, and it was great working with Dan and Steve too. We’re all friends and pros, we all know the routine so it’s a nice jovial atmosphere for gettin’ things done. I really dig getting the chance to work in a lot of different styles, i.e. contrasting this with the very languid singing I did earlier in the month with Barry and Pramod for a new Morning Recordings album. Or the country harmony I did on the Canasta record, and the really balls-to-the-wall one I came up with for "Impostors" at their release show at Subterranean. I guess I just really get off on playing music in general, and the physical act of singing in particular. It’s an activity that requires (and enhances) physical and mental and spiritual energy all at once. I dig it. I have a good job.
And that’s enough catching up for now I reckon! Heheh. Went off at the mouth a little didn’t I. :-)