Friday, October 31, 2008

I Think We're In England

It looks like London here - cold, grey and drab. But two kids wearing Halloween costumes just came into the internet cafe where I'm sitting. For a second I forgot where I was - it could've been Coventry in Cleveland or Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn. But it's Walthamstow, because I just checked the bus stop outside. (the buses themselves tell me nothing - they're not those red double decker classics anymore)

I'd really hoped to get a US tour recap up here, and post some more photos. But we're back out touring the UK now so it'll have to wait a little while longer.

I hope I'll be writing from a slightly better world by then, with Obama having won the election. Then the memory of trying to do a soundcheck in a Los Angeles bar with the Republican convention blaring idiotically and aggressively from a TV will be cause for a wry reflection and not an image of the future.

I know there's a good fish and chips place down the street from here. Unless they've turned it into a Starbucks...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Learning From History

You know how they say it takes half the length of time you were in a relationship to get over the breakup? That's how it feels with this tour we just finished. We were gone almost two months so judging by how I am today I'm thinking some time near the end of November I may be normal again.

When we dropped our equipment off at the storage space in Cleveland, I managed to pack up a box of personal items - books, clothes, master tapes, photos, etc - to send back to France. One of these days, when we have some money, I'll break down and get a container shipped over but in the meanwhile, this is my completely impractical way of moving. Anyway, back in Cleveland I have this big box of journals I've kept over the years and with every box I ship, I toss a few random ones in. I can't conceive of ever sitting down and reading through all of them, but one at a time can be interesting.

So the box came yesterday, and instead of unpacking a suitcase full of dirty tour clothes, I cracked it open and this morning looked at one of the notebooks. It's from the period of time just after my first solo album came out, 1996/97.

There's a list in there of things I needed to do after coming home from a tour. One in particular looked way too familiar: Find a way to pay bills (how?).

It isn't always like this, but sometimes you go out, do all that work and come back realizing you lost money. You go through all the things you should have done differently (booked less shows...booked more shows...pushed the merchandise harder...charged more - duh...hit the blackjack tables at Sams Town in Shreveport and doubled our money...planned a tour when there wasn't a) an economic crisis, b) an election, c) any sporting event of any kind).

Another entry on the same list in that old journal goes something like "Stop beating myself up. Don't be so hard on myself. Have more confidence."

So in order to learn from history, and not keep making the same mistakes, the thing is not to wail (as I'm inclined to do) "Why am I still not making money at this?" But instead acknowledge that everyone is in financial distress right now. And feel some sense of accomplishment that we are actually selling records and have reviews all over the place, including this one two days ago on NPR, that puts us alongside Paul McCartney and Oasis (who probably aren't feeling the crunch, come to think of it). And to have no doubts that we did kick ass.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

There Were These Two Cows...

I know we made it back to France because today we saw two cows standing in a line looking into a farmhouse window, and we laughed. Hysterically.

We came back to no internet, so I have to type this at the library, on a French keyboard. I'm walking with a limp from dropping a guitar case on my foot over two weeks ago. I think it'll get better now that I have a chance to rest a little.

The pizza van comes to our village tonight, and we picked up a lot of new DVDs in the US.

My brain's not working too well, so for now I'll just say it's good to be home.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Show People

Typical of show people, we're doing our act in New Haven tonight before hitting New York City tomorrow, Friday Oct. 10. There's a portable antique nightclub set up in lower Manhattan for the months of September and October, the Spiegeltent, and we'll be doing a set there as part of my brother Michael's Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Co. revue. The whole thing starts at 8 PM.

I hope we can find time to get to a dry cleaners between now and then. It's bound to be a pretty sophisticated crowd.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hotel Paintings

I'm at the point where every town we pass, I think "I could live there."

I'm at the point where every hotel painting I see, I think "That could be a good job for me, painting pictures of garden gates and checkered tablecloths."

I'm at the point where I want to do just about anything but sit in the car, or repack dirty clothes into my suitcase, or try to make my hair look decent. Scratch that one - I gave up on grooming a few cities back.

My daughter's roommate Libby said, "You two look amazing."

I think she means we look frightening.

I just smiled at a little girl in Starbucks, and she hid behind her mother's leg.