Fever To Tell

My grandmother can die now. I mean, not that I’d want her to, but… well, you know.

I just did an interview with Kelsey Holm of The Waterloo Courier. I talked her ear off for damn near an hour. Despite the countless interviews I’ve conducted, or the few I’ve been the subject of, I still rambled. God only knows what I said.

Regardless, the result — photo and all — will appear in print some time between now and Saturday’s Waterloo show.

For years, my grandmother has sent me clippings from The Courier, and The Des Moines Register. Typically it’s been articles about my uncle (who recently retired as GM of a major cable news outlet), but recently it’s been articles about The Nadas that somehow mention me.

I think it’s sweet, and quaint, that she actually cuts articles out of the newspaper, slips them into an envelope, puts a stamp on them, and sends it clear to New York City (where, incidently, she hasn’t visted since 1971, though she never fails to ask me when I’m coming back to Iowa). As if the Internet didn’t exist. As if my inbox isn’t littered with URLs the moment they’re published.

But I appreciate it, and I understand it. Since music isn’t my sole occupation, there’s a terrific validation in receiving press. It’s a terrific remedy for my frequent feeling that I am a tree falling in an empty forest. It’s some sort of evidence that I exist beyond my own little digital realm.

Truth is, The Courier got one heck of a story. In the journalism racket, we’d call it a softball: slow, steady, and right over the plate. Saturday’s show at Smitty’s in Downtown Waterloo is Some Sort of a Homecoming (which, by the way, is what I’d have headline the story back when I wrote for The Saratogian, though I’m sure my editor would have found the U2 reference too obtuse).

In addition to the fact that I was born in Iowa, and that my parents are from Waterloo, there’s the whole patronage angle. Brian and Justin at Smitty’s pitched in a significant chunk of dough in support of “Heartland.” This show is their thank you.

In fact, this whole tour, this entire experience of coming home to Iowa as special guest if its Favorite Sons, feels like some sort of karmic payback. It’s a little like when The Lakota sent their sons away from the village and say, “Don’t come back until you have a story to tell.”

I have a few.