caged bird blues
This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.
i just don’t give a shit. i’ll just have to work backwards. the diary turns into a curse, the more that happens and the more clever things i think about to relate, the less time i have and the less motivated i feel to sit down and take hand to keyboard. i don’t write songs anymore. i write diary entries. it’s a start. i wrote the rough outline of a song in mexico and tried to flesh it out during my 2 hours off in boston. it centers around a moment a photograph is taken at disney world. three voices: minnie stuck in her oppressive fucking costume, the housewife, and minnie’s boyfriend the junkie with a view in the projects three miles away that overlooks disney world. main theme (like i can’t relate): WHY AM I DOING THIS?
backwards number one.
so tonight was out first show of the european tour. we landed in deutschland yesterday and hung out with a huge bunch of caged exotic birds (all colors of green and blue and in a box sort of shaped like mini-bird-kennel with a few square inches per exotic bird) at baggage claim D, while british airways figured out where on the planet our luggage had migrated. they were destined for a german zoo. we felt for them. brothers. we bussed to the hurricane festival and slept over in the bus (on the grounds) and woke up with just a few hours til soundcheck. europeans know how to take care of artists…everybody says it and they’re right. we had a nice little cubicle in artists village and we were the first band of many on the main stage. the show was fine despite the fact that it was in the fifties, bright yet drizzling, windy as fuck, and we were jetlagged and unpracticed. being the first band of the bill had the huge advantage that we could wander and observe for the rest of the day. so we ate and watched boy sets fire (punk and effective). then we watched NIN (nin-like and great).
then we watched rammstein (german and hilarious. i decided that making fun of rammstein is as pointless as hating the circus. the people must have their fun). then we watched oasis from the side of the stage. i was pretty unfamiliar with their music though i have checked out a few CDs.
the point HERE is that emily, our tour manager, is an oasis FIEND and had been looking forward to this day the way a….i can’t think of a good metaphor. the way a crazed teenage obsessor looks forward to meeting the band they obsess over. which isn’t a metaphor.
but you understand. this was the girl who had three complete walls covered with oasis posters and magazine centerfolds and spent every allowance on the latest maxi-single. to pick up, we watched them form the side of the stage with NIN (all five in a line, which was poetic and lovely) and then i wandered backstage to where emily had secured a concrete spot hanging with oasis and was introduced to each member of the band, including liam, the singer who was the most opinionated fuck i’ve ever met (guess what – i sorta liked him), noel his brother, who was very nice, and zach starkey, ringo starr’s son, who is drumming for oasis on this tour. truth be told, they’d had a pretty terrible set. it was freezing for them too (i empathized) and they faced massive feedback problems. so i asked liam, the singer,ß what the difference was, for him, between a good show for himself and a good show for the audience.
it’s a mystery. sometimes you play like shit and the audience goes nuts and cries and sometimes you’re completely on and the audience just isn’t there with you.
according to liam, it only works if you play well. don’t you feel the tide turn when you talk to people after the show and they shower you with love and you-changed-my-life-tonight?
i asked liam. no, he said, i fucking leave the venue immediately. well, liam. ah, whatever. they also clued me in on the motto that i would have believed if i had really truly wanted to: “drink and smoke whatever you want, you’ll be fine tomorrow.” fuck. really? two marlboro lights and one vodka orange juice and one heinekin later i lost my faith. what am i doing? you’re going to lose your voice, you fucking idiot. quit thinking that being in the presence of rock stars is special dispensantion for vice.
you’ll be just as hung over tomorrow, asshole.
backwards number two: the DVD shoot.
so while back in boston, for a grand total of four days between tours, we shot our first DVD and played an additional show at avalon for WFNX. it really honestly looked kind of like a fast-motion cartoon in my house as i dropped my suitcase on the floor and started talking to pope downstairs about the shoot. beautiful marie and emilie flew in from france to take part and so did casey from san franscisco, the gentelman beyond reason who has been organizing the brigade through the magic of the interweb. the house was packed from top to bottom with people buzzing 24/7 getting things ready for the shoot…film interns, art department, piano tuners…madness.
the shoot itself began the moment i woke up (good morning Camera In My Face, i know i invited you in but now i wonder if this is truly healthy) and the day was a fuzzy soup of mania that I can luckily go back and watch now that i’ve forgotten. the power went out shortly before soundcheck and about 300 people patiently waited on commonwealth ave for three hours while we waited for it to come back on and finish soundchecking and readying the club. despite this disaster, the show did get filmed and we will see what becomes of it. we were tired. i gave the show a B- overall. maybe the visual will make up for any terribleness. in a stroke of true randomness, we did get christopher lydon to play the MC. i am strongly considering releasing the DVD without the musical performance, i think it would make more sense.
the show at avalon was a typical radio-station-throws-20-hip-bands-together kind of awkwardfest. pointy boots and sunglasses everywhere. i got to see one of my rock-crushes (the singer of the kaiser chiefs) and i streaked across stage during their set to keep the night interesting.
backwards yet still more: ….and everything before that must have been on tour with nine inch nails in america. we did do that, didn’t we? it all gloms together in a blur of bus, dressing room, show, gas station, people and sharpies (both black and silver). i do not love the blur, i do not hate it, and i certainly don’t try to focus on it any more, it’s like trying to make sense of a film playing on fast fast forward. just appreicate the images for now and we’ll take a closer look later. not that i am not enjoying myself. i am, actaully.
i have more free time lately to do as i please. i’m in the tour bubble. as the NIN stage manager, bitter and hilarious name-a-tour-i’ve-been on-it british chap,would put it in answer to everyone else’s crass “living the dream” mantra: i’m “circling the dream”. you’re only in the picture when you look back at the photos. as he also says, after he takes a moment to sigh, order another few people around, yell into his cell phone that any other color WILL NOT DO and puts his hands on his hips while looking around for a moment, fully convinced that the venue will not collapse within seconds: “Time for a fucking hot pocket.” that too.
NIN needs it’s own chapter. it is it’s own world. later.
right now it’s three days later than i started this entry, we’ve played two more festivals and frozen our asses off, brian’s faith in music has “been restored” now that he’s seen motorhead, and i can’t fall asleep and it’s 4:30 am. we’ve been driving almost an entire two days. we re-unite with NIN tomorrow for vienna and it will be nice to see the whole crew again.
the only thing i can remember that, for some reason, i felt it was important to relate was the food on the way back from san diego when the NIN tour finished. we were flying some typically cheap ticket and the food was brought. i always get vegetarian (though i do eat fish) because it’s almost always better than the standard fare but brian, who was sitting next to me, was brought some really unidentifiable meat. it was sort of saucer-shaped and had the consistency of meatloaf. in his defense, he did actually TRY a bite before turning it into entertainment. it came in a sad bed of peas and corn and so he took two of the peas and gave it eyes, gave it a leafy hat and split it lengthwise to create a frighteningly mean-looking mouth, and made it sing all sorts of beatles songs and impromptu operatic numbers about how it’s life was a misery because it was neither beef nor foul, chicken nor pork, and it was going through the most wonderful musical existential crisis and
i was peeing my seat with laughter and we were of course irritating the fuck out of all the nice families around us. then he made things worse by exchanging one of the peas for a corn kernel, so the little mystery-meat-beast had two different colored eyes, and making it sing a medley of marilyn manson songs. here i fully lost it, and needed to either throw up or fling the thing so we gave it a burial at the empty tray table next to me under a blue cocktail napkin.