This time out, I rented a car and drove up, which was kind of nice, since I didn’t have to worry about flight delays or putting the miles on my car. It’s an eight-hour trip each way from NC to the Philly area, but it’s just time, and I had a new harmonica to break in.
Here’s a stream-of-consciousness account of the conference: the pink tie continues its world tour of 2008. Tattoos were very popular and disappeared mysteriously on the second day, Showcase, Sarab, Mieka Pauley and her band of well-dressed NYC rockers. I was pretty much coherent in performance, not as random as sometimes I am.
What is the deal with chicken parm and mashed potatoes together on the same plate? Cool to meet tons of people, impressed by folks from other schools and other conferences who still remembered me, sorry I’m not better at putting together names and faces, but all those Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen songs in my head take up a lot of space. They each have, like, eight verses, you know?
I need an external hard drive for my brain. Only partially kidding. Not sure how I’m going to cross the bridge when becoming a cyborg becomes the hip and/or necessary thing to do. I mean, I don’t even own an iPod. But it would be cool to have instant recall for everything and everybody.
Sang David Bowie with a comedian. Played a long time Saturday night at the Illegal Showcase and closed the place. Ate lots of other people’s nachos.
Now I’m glued to my computer, catching up and being my own booking agent. I wish I could just be my own pet, but it’s also nice to make a living playing music. I don’t pay my fish very well.
Return of the pink tie. Showcase felt relaxed, took some pictures of the crowd. Hung with Ben Franklin AND Santa Claus. Did not get my RDA of Swiftkick but hopefully we’ll catch up in Valley Forge. Sang “Mrs. Robinson” at the Illegal Showcase with Del Suggs and Kijana Wiseman. Played harmonica with Maxxtone and Rebecca Loebe. Did some dancing during a mighty, mighty jam by Hooked On Tonics and Chris Cauley, including P-funk, Digital Underground, Stevie Wonder, Ginuwine, and pretty much every funk, r&b and rap jam of the last thirty years…
Met a whole bunch of new folks and caught up with some veterans of years past. I’d be more specific but there were like a hundred twenty schools. Met some very nice military folks. Oh yes, and there were multiple tornadoes in downtown Atlanta, and I had lunch with folks from Bossier Parish, Louisiana in the food court of the mall, under a glass ceiling. While the tornado was in the area. But that’s where Subway was, and I HAD to use those free coupons I got a couple weeks ago at KDEC in Iowa.
By popular demand, here is the ninja ducky that was thrown at me onstage at College of DuPage a few weeks ago.
I spent a few hours tonight figuring out the Jeff Buckley song “So Real,” listening, sifting through bad tabs and bad to ok youtube videos, consulting the man himself in Live In Chicago, and arrived at some voicings that sound and look just about right, and man oh man. To make those sounds happen under your own hands. It’s like tapping into a vein, or building a fire. There were little sparks, and I shielded them from the wind, and blew gently, and then by God it was there. And the song just doesn’t ever stop. It can’t stop, it just burns up everything you give it. It’s a horror movie and the best kiss.
I’m just not used to driving in Iowa. The hills roll so slowly, it’s unnerving, like being in a dream where you can’t outrun someone chasing you. It’s been all lunchtime shows, and after each show I drive to the next town. On Monday I was driving west at sunset and took a bunch of pictures with my cell phone. I need a real camera. You could do a great photo series on old barns off the state roads in Iowa.
I ate three pieces of pizza at Giordano’s in Chicago and had trouble bending over to get back in my car.
While I was onstage in Glen Ellyn IL, two College of DuPage guys threw me a stick of cherry chapstick and a rubber ducky dressed like a ninja. It was a squeaky rubber ducky, but the squeaker was disabled. Because it was a ninja, and ninjas are SILENT.
As a footnote, I should probably mention that I returned their chapstick, since the seal was broken. I’m not going down the way Robert Johnson did. The ghost of Sonny Boy Williamson knocked the chapstick from my hand and said, “Man, don’t you ever use a chapstick that’s been opened!” I swallowed my pride and took his advice.
In Newton, Iowa, two female fans suggested they might get Hedgepig tattooed on their body for real. They had lots of tattoos already and they seemed relatively serious.
In Calmar, Iowa, it was a lunchtime show, but they cleared out tables and danced for my last few songs.
I did a short interview and some live songs for KDEC 100.5 FM in Decorah, Iowa this afternoon, and they gave me free Subway coupons. After the free rubber ducky and the used chapstick, I am telling you, the perques in this business just keep adding up.