Monday, June 30, 2008

Restless.

About once a year, I take a Meyers-Briggs test. It's different every time. It always feels like I know exactly the right answer to choose to get the desired score. Sort of like a Cosmo Quiz, or answering the essay question with what the professor wants to hear. My best subject in life was always school, so getting the appropriate score on the Meyers-Briggs personality test is fun game to me.

I'm a "Thinker," by nature, but i'm a Thinker who wants desperately to be a "Feeler." So I live like a "Feeler," and on tonight's personality test, i was an ENFJ. Last time i was an INTP. It's more fun to live like a Feeler. Then you get to order the Bourbon Ball Pancakes on a Wednesday afternoon, just because you feel like it. When I'm living that way, it's like being in the circus. The good kind of circus.

I've been over-thinking everything, to the point that I feel kind of crazy. Of course, I'm surrounded by musicians all the time, most of whom are probably certifiable. You kind of have to be to do this by choice. I can understand why most of the world self-medicates, whether it's smoking a joint or popping a Prozac. Tonight, my drug of choice is a glass of White Shiraz, borrowed from my neighbor, since it's Sunday and I couldn't buy a bottle of wine in Kentucky.

I think that part of why my head is spinning is that I've been in Louisville for almost two weeks now. I am going insane from being in one place. Yesterday's jaunt to Bloomington was well-needed, but didn't really count as a road trip.

Usually, when my head starts spinning, I escape with a 19th-century British novel. The problems of that era are so simple and charming. It's easy to get lost within them, and forget about all the wackiness of our own world which we have so brilliantly messed up.

I'm reading The Thirteenth Tale right now, (a new novel, not 19th century) which is doing an OK job of getting me out of my head. But whenever I close the pages, I'm right back to head-spinning.

I'm ready to hit the road again. I don't care if I'm playing accordion in the band, selling merch, doing publicity, or tour managing. I'll do any of those things, although honestly, I hate selling merch. I'd rather play music. Or at least just bring me along. I promise to be charming and entertaining and supply plenty of interesting facts about roadside attractions.

Apologies for the extremely introverted blog. Most of my friends can't handle the thought of living out of a suitcase and a van, but that's really the only thing that sedates me these days. It's better than a glass of White Shiraz anyday.

Wherever and whomever you are, I hope to come visit you soon.

You might notice the United Kingdom tour-dates on my myspace page. My passport is valid, and I can't wait to hop the plane to Europe. If you live over there, or you have friends who do .. please drop me a line. I'd love to meet up with whomever. I'm really a very chipper person ...

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Drunk Girl. Part Four. Michigan. Other thoughts.

Question posed by a blog commenter:
Do female musicians get male groupies?

I'm not sure about that. I've definitely had some creepy old men look at my chest for an uncomfortably long time. But there's a different vibe when it's male superfans versus female groupies.

I actually saw women -- seemingly normal women -- pretty much throw themselves at the band.

I should also point out that there were two females in Days of the New during this past trip, and not once was I propositioned, nor was Rachael. And I am not complaining. Thanks for not following me back to my hotel, guys.

The band is really not a hard-rocker-trash-the-hotel-room type of band. In fact, I'm wondering if any bands out there are actually like that anymore. It seems to me that groupies have this idea in their heads that they need to act totally crazy and promiscuous because, well, that's what rock stars are used to. So, really, it's just the drunk girls who end up trashing the hotel rooms and therefore making it impossible to actually get to bed at a reasonable time.

Drunk girls, Bartenders, Superfans, and Normal people, let me offer you some suggestions:

1) That ring on the 4th finger of his left hand means something, or he would have taken it off before the show started. Why must you persist?

2) Just because the girl is selling merch does not mean she is sleeping with anyone in the band.

3) Sometimes there are actual, real-life, female musicians ... not just "band girlfriends." In fact, why would a traveling rock-n-roll band ever bring a girlfriend along? The guys would spend the entire time arguing with their girlfriends, explaining that the breast-flashing was entirely unprovoked and that orange girl followed us back to the hotel of her own accord.

4) We requested a non-smoking hotel room because we don't want you to light up in our room.

5) I'm sure your boobs were very expensive, but that does not mean i want to see them.

6) Drunk isn't pretty.

Maybe I'm just a very boring rock-n-roll musician. I mean, hell, I spent my day in Atlanta at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library. Maybe these band members act different because they allowed two girls in their band.

****

Hmmmmm... what else?

I brought along a delicious bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon, for after-show hotel-room sipping. I did not share with the drunk girls.

"Touchdown Jesus" in Monroe, Ohio, remains one of my favorite roadside attractions. Have you seen it? Also known as "Drowning Jesus", or "MC 62 Ft Jesus." It never ceases to amuse me.

***

Michigan

Do any of you live in Michigan? And why?

I should say that Peter and I stayed in beautiful Saline, Michigan a few weeks ago, and had a charming lunch in Ann Arbor. But really, it was May and sunny and warm. Michigan is sooo soo soo o very cold in the winter, that the only times they can do construction work is in the summer. So after a long sucky winter of freezing your toosh, you're ready to get outside, and it takes 2 hours to drive 30 miles because of all the road construction? What kind of an existences it that?
Do you choose Michigan? Or does Michigan choose you?

Warning to you travelers: It might take 3 hours to drive the 60 miles from Detroit to Toledo. I-75 South is closed for the foreseeable future. Bring along a GPS and train it to "avoid highways."

****

There is lots of youtube footage of the Days of the New gigs from the past week or two. Have a look if you like.


***

I've finally got some confirmed dates in ... the United Kingdom! See you in October. Who lives over there? Want a houseguest? Or a house concert? Cheerio!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Notes from a Tour Van

Notes from a Tour Van
Current mood: chipper
Joining the Circus

I read Water for Elephants a few weeks ago. It's about a young veterinarian during the Great Depression who hops a train car and finds himself working in a circus. Antics ensue, as expected, but they are emotionally heavier than you might expect.

Touring with Days of the New was a bit emotionally heavier than anticipated, both good and bad. Maybe instead of the circus analogy, I should go with a thrill ride analogy.

Anyway, I have about ten different blogs in me, so I might space these out over a few days.

This is also difficult to write because I am constantly amazed at how many people read this blog ... and those people who copy and paste it onto other sites, like freakin' WikiPedia for example! I'm sure the Days of the New message boarders are a'watchin'. And that's fine; i have no secrets. I just know that people often misinterpet the written word, so I have to think think think before I write write write. I don't like writing that way.

I feel like I've been on the road for months. It's a good feeling, but I'm tired. Usually a four-day tour wouldn't phase me, even with lack of sleep. But I had a wonderful time traveling with six of the coolest people I've ever met.

We rented Peter Searcy's WonderVan for this leg of the tour -- complete with DVD player and captain's chairs and a built-in cooler I had not previously noticed.

Life in a van is probably different from life on a tour bus, but you still spend a lot of time with the same people. And these particular people were a brilliant match. The only person I would have added to the mix would be Mr. Searcy himself, only because we have the silliest and funniest conversations. I wish he had been there too because he would have loved to hang out with the Days of the New crew.

Travis traveled in another van, but the rest of the band was together.

Some highlights from the van:

First, I should explain that I am a laugher. Seriously, when something amuses me, I can laugh and laugh and laugh to the point where other people are uncomfortable because, well, maybe there was more to the joke that they didn't get, seeing as I am still laughing. I don't laugh at everything, but when something tickles me, I am seriously tickled. So that overly-sensitive funny bone, combined with slap-happiness from lack of sleep, yields wildly funny times in the van.

The overnight drive from Chicago to Detroit (so we could make a 9am soundcheck, which totally didn't happen because apparently Michigan closes all its roads during the summer) was especially funny. By sunrise, the kiddos in the back (yes, Paul, you are "kiddo" too) were watchin' a movie and Gareth, who graciously drove all but 100 miles of the journey, announces that he is watching a movie too. "It's called Trucks." Wow, did that have me in hysterics. For a solid ten minutes. To the point of tears. I still laugh thinking about it. I mean, think ... it's like he was watching a movie, but he wasn't, and it was a really boring movie, just starring a bunch of truck butts. Trucks! Ha! (There's an extra special thrill laugh to a joke when it is immediately followed by a thorough explanation of exactly why it is funny ... oh, the level of silliness in my brain is sometimes unbelievable. Hee hee.)

Paul also managed to snore a bit, which is cool. But when we hit some bumpy bumpy roads in Chicago and Paul's snores undulated with the van's movements, I couldn't hold in my laughter. He was like a snoring beat-box, with a DJ scratching his snores back and forth. Then he woke up and asked me to change lanes, which I did, but only because i was laughing so uncontrollably that i swerved a bit.

Then there was that ear massage from Malcolm after the Detroit show.

I think maybe my odd sense of humor comes from being an only child. I spent a lot of time entertaining myself, telling myself jokes, reading joke books, listening to funny songs, writing. Now that I mostly live alone, I also spend a lot of time amusing myself.

Imagine me writing "Future Mr. Used-to-Be" ... when I came up with that, I laughed heartily, probably even guffawed, then spent another hour, totally amusing myself with verses. I've done that with a lot of songs, so maybe that's why I like writing funny, clever, lyrics. It amuses me so.

Back to the van ... there was that ear massage again.

It turns out that half of the van was mildly Jewish, so Malcolm amused us with an assorted variety of JewJokes(tm). They were particularly good because of his New York accent. Lots of grandmother stuff that made us giggle, which was totally okay because, like that Seinfeld episode of the guy who converted to Judaism just for the jokes ... we were all allowed to laugh.

Really though, anything Malcolm said was hysterically funny.

There was that other time in Ohio somewhere where we saw a Continental -- you know the kind that JFK was shot in -- at a gas station. And Malcolm and I decided to be from Boston and New Zealand, respectively, and go talk to the guys with the sweet old car. So Malcolm says, "Wow, bro', that car is wicked awesome." And I'm trying to hold a straight face with a New Zealand accent, when the car's owner says "You from Boston, bro?"

And then ... we watched Talladega Nights. Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have the same effect on me that the rest of the van does ... total uncontrollable laughter.

They must all be sick of hearing my giggles by now. But that Rachael's got some wit on her. And Gareth destroyed me several times over. (Still laughing over the simplicity of "Trucks." I guess you had to be there.)

Paul had me laughing mostly because he insisted on keeping his GPS system on the whole time, even though Gareth's GPS system on his Blackberry was far superior. So the GPS girls were arguing, then Paul would switch his to French, which was hot and all, but was like an obnoxious french backseat driver. After a while, i just had to laugh at that too.

And then ... that ear massage.

More about the tour, shows, hotel antics, girls, etc, later.

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Monday, June 9, 2008

The Past Week’s Adventures

The sensational drummer Paul Culligan -- a good friend too, except that he can never spell my name properly -- picked me up last week to head out on the road with Days of the New. He brought every drum he's ever owned, so there was very little room in the car. But my accordion made it safely.

I don't have any wild stories, though things certainly seemed wild.

Two vans broke down. There were several rental cars involved. Lots of hotels. A late-night escapade to the gated-in hotel hot tub. We were busted, but not until much later in the evening when the hotel clerk said, "I saw you in the hot tub." He apparently didn't care. Either that, or he appreciated our ninja-like moves.

I DID see another boob, this time in Clarksville, Tennessee. A nice woman asked me to sign hers, then she asked some other band members, and it just popped out at some point. And yes, I caught it on video, but I won't be posting it. Sorry.

I have been taking oodles of video lately, but haven't had the time to edit it into anything exciting. Maybe I'll make a huge behind-the-scenes for a DVD-extra release.

Played a fun show at Lakeside yesterday with my band. It was 95 degrees, and we were at a swimming pool, so I played the whole show in my swimsuit. And swam during my break. I was able to pull off an inward from the high dive, purely from muscle memory. I figured I'd try it. If i busted my head, it would be a hell of a way to go. "She died during intermission," would've been the family joke. My mom was born during intermission (True story -- her dad was a trumpet player, went to the hospital for the birth between sets, then went back to the gig for the 2nd set.)

I thought the Days of the New shows went well. There's already some YouTube footage from fans of Days of the New. Check out how I played the English horn parts on the accordion. magic!

Tonight I'm playing with the Big Band again .. singing some Doris Day, some Judy Garland, some Gershwin ... good times!
Back on the road with Days this weekend. Chicago, Detroit, Toledo. Forward ho!

And now for a pirate joke:
What did the pirate say to the prostitute in the echo chamber?
YO HO Ho (ho ho ho...)

hee hee

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The Past Week’s Adventures

The sensational drummer Paul Culligan -- a good friend too, except that he can never spell my name properly -- picked me up last week to head out on the road with Days of the New. He brought every drum he's ever owned, so there was very little room in the car. But my accordion made it safely.

I don't have any wild stories, though things certainly seemed wild.

Two vans broke down. There were several rental cars involved. Lots of hotels. A late-night escapade to the gated-in hotel hot tub. We were busted, but not until much later in the evening when the hotel clerk said, "I saw you in the hot tub." He apparently didn't care. Either that, or he appreciated our ninja-like moves.

I DID see another boob, this time in Clarksville, Tennessee. A nice woman asked me to sign hers, then she asked some other band members, and it just popped out at some point. And yes, I caught it on video, but I won't be posting it. Sorry.

I have been taking oodles of video lately, but haven't had the time to edit it into anything exciting. Maybe I'll make a huge behind-the-scenes for a DVD-extra release.

Played a fun show at Lakeside yesterday with my band. It was 95 degrees, and we were at a swimming pool, so I played the whole show in my swimsuit. And swam during my break. I was able to pull off an inward from the high dive, purely from muscle memory. I figured I'd try it. If i busted my head, it would be a hell of a way to go. "She died during intermission," would've been the family joke. My mom was born during intermission (True story -- her dad was a trumpet player, went to the hospital for the birth between sets, then went back to the gig for the 2nd set.)

I thought the Days of the New shows went well. There's already some YouTube footage from fans of Days of the New. Check out how I played the English horn parts on the accordion. magic!

Tonight I'm playing with the Big Band again .. singing some Doris Day, some Judy Garland, some Gershwin ... good times!
Back on the road with Days this weekend. Chicago, Detroit, Toledo. Forward ho!

And now for a pirate joke:
What did the pirate say to the prostitute in the echo chamber?
YO HO Ho (ho ho ho...)

hee hee

Read more: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=19356498&blogId=404182195#ixzz0tZbjRVEg

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My love life.

My love life.
Current mood: adventurous
Got your attention, did I?

I have been single for about two years now. This is not an advertisement. I absolutely love it.

One of my favorite parts about being single is that I feel no guilt when I tour. I never have to call home, or tell anyone where I am. My Mom is MySpace savvy and she can check my tour schedule, or my status if she's really feeling saucy. My adorable, sweet, and huge dog, Guinness, is tucked away safely at Chez Kaelin (thanks, parents), where he gets to sleep in a king-size bed, eat people-food, and play frisbee with my dad and George. He's even got his own wading pool over there. It's to the point where he goes on a hunger strike if I bring him back to my house.

Anyway, I've been on the road a lot lately and have had many adventures.

Let me share!

I was in Nashville briefly on Tuesday and Wednesday, where I hung out with some business friends, who also happen to be personal friends. I ate at the Noshville with Gina, sans Megan. I had a dream meeting at one of my favorite record labels. No worries, I'm not signing with anyone; I still have every intention of staying independent. It was just so cool to meet the folks there.

I drove back to Louisville just in time to catch Back Door Slam playing a show at Waterfront Wednesday. Their tour manager is a great friend of mine, and I think the guys in the band are pretty excellent dudes as well. They are 20 years old i think, and from the Isle of Man, (where the cats have no tails!) but Dave plays guitar like Jimi Hendrix. It's straight-up blues-rock, but it's pretty awesome to watch.

Anyway, I stayed out far too late, considering I had a 6am flight to Philly the next day.

Philadelphia
Adam Brodsky picked me up at the strangely confusing Philly airport, and we went directly to breakfast at the Morning Glory diner. Delicious!

Then Señor Brodsky took me on a walking tour of Independence Square and the surrounding areas. I'm a total history nerd, so I loved seeing where Dolly Madison lived, and where the Declaration of Independence was read. Adam pointed out that the Declaration of Independence is really the best break-up letter ever. "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to break up with you, you crazy crazy country, then you just simply have to. And here are all the reasons why."

I was rather disappointed by the Liberty Bell, being all cooped up behind a glass building. I mean, it's already cracked, so what's the problem with keeping it outside?

We explored an old cemetery -- i love old cemeteries -- and talked to a gravedigger. Well, really he was a conservastionist, and not at all a gravedigger, but gravedigger is much more exciting. He was digging up an old sunken tomb and raising it back to ground level.

So all this was done on foot by about 11am. I wandered over to the World Cafe, where I ran into Miss Laura Shine and lots of other folks I knew from "the biz," shall we say. Running on lack-of-sleep and adrenaline, I basically ran around all afternoon catching up with friends and making new ones. I love radio conferences! Plus the music is great ... I danced my booty off to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and drank weird "Non Comm-tinis" at the World Cafe.

I was only in Philly for a day before I had to catch a plane to Chicago. But I caught up with the Back Door Slam crew again in Philly for a brief hug and hello. Then... a train to the airport and a plane to :

Chicago
Peter Searcy picked me up at O'Hare, with amazingly good timing. I mean, isn't it the biggest airport in the country? And he arrives at the EXACT moment that I step onto the passenger pickup? That's why we're pals.

We played at "The Lodge," a strange club in Lisle, one of the 'burbs. There was a ski hill there, a moose above the fireplace, and a flock of Jack Daniel's girls. You know the ones ... the wear incredibly small shirts and skirts and are always blond.

Peter and I played a kick-ass acoustic set and Seven Mary Three followed with a kick-ass rock set. And a brief acoustic set in the middle, where I played accordion and piano with them.

May I return to the subject of my love life now? Is it possible to have a crush on a band as a whole? Because I have a composite crush on Seven Mary Three. Hi boys, I know you're probably reading this, so now you know. I had 7M3 withdrawal on Sunday as Peter and I left Toledo, and I discovered this dark secret. I wish you had little TigerBeat lunchboxes that I could buy with your faces on it ... you know the ones that say things like, "Casey's my favorite!" or "Tommy's favorite color is red!"

But seriously, if you haven't heard their new record, go listen. It's really beautiful Americana-rock, and there are some really fantastic songs. Right now my favorite is "Break the Spell," because it's been stuck in my head since Sunday. "Hammer and Stone" is beeee-yoo-tiful. Their songs are catchy and smart. I mean, really, the band had a Number-1-song-of-the-year with an SAT word in the title. Listen to the record, Day and Nightdriving, and if you're a radio friend of mine, play the record!

Okay, enough. I promise not to act on said crush, boys. I'm a professional here.

In fact, I'm done with musicians. Getting involved with a fellow musician always means disaster somewhere down the road. i prefer to channel my crushes into severe accordion solos. Or at least getting a drummer to carry my keyboard.

Ooh ooh! In Chicago, one of the Jack Daniel's girls decided to take her shirt off and offer her bosom up to Peter and I. Now that's rock'n'roll! When her advances were shockingly denied (i think the direct quote was "no! no! no! no! no! no! no!") she stormed off to take her clothes off for some motorcycle dude. Most of the JD girls were nice, and so was this one, I guess. She just liked to undress a bit. Come to think of it, it was really hot in the club.

Detroit was interesting. The green room was uneventful there. Peter and I found a sweet little Mexican joint, just north of Canada, and followed that up with a round of miniature golf. I lost. Actually, I made a nice comeback and evened up the score right around the giant hippopotamus, but was defeated by the simple straight shot where the hole was on the mound. Peter killed me in that game.

Club Bijou in Toledo was loud, but a nice place. I'll be back there in two weeks with another band. There's a Dejà Vu next door. I've never been to a strip club, so I thought I'd check it out. Unfortunately, it closed right as I walked in. But fortunately, back at the hotel, the most brilliant movie of all time, Showgirls was on cable. That Elizabeth Berkeley is such a good actress.

In Louisville today, but leaving tomorrow night for a weekend run with .... Days of the New. Yes, you heard it here, but I suspect you didn't hear it here first. Rumors abound. They are probably not true. Ask me if you want confirmation on things; I love fact-checking.

In summation:
Boobs seen this week: 1
Composite crushes on bands developed this week: 1
Books read this week: 1 (Water for Elephants)
Cities visited this week: 7

brigid.

p.s. Go buy my record at earx-tacy! I'm rising back up the charts ... and it would be good to be floating again:)

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The Return of Elvis Costello [in my life]

I just LOVE a good rock and roll show, especially a band that knows how to integrate a real piano player. That Steve Nieve is magical, and I...