Mutual Admiration Society
Frontmen want to be drummers, and drummers want to be frontmen. In 24 hours, I’ve been both.
Thursday night’s Open Center show was a challenge, but not because of the music. Musically, the band was spot on. After some twenty plus years of performing, I don’t worry about the music. (Which is kinda’ miraculous.) I’ve found a pretty good place with it: part confidence, part muscle memory, part Zen. Plus — and this is major — Julia Kent and Todd Cohen make it really, really easy. They’re total pros who have been playing together for years, are complete sweethearts, and completely understand what I’m doing. It’s a mutual admiration society.
Being the host and the organizer, though, was a drag. Of course, the whole thing was my idea. I thought it would be cool to “own” the night instead of being one of five bands run through the rock grist mill. And that was cool. But taking care of catering, wine, sound, sales, management, meeting and greeting … it was a lot. Gratefully, friends like Fish, Jonathan, Rachel, and my sister-in-law Jennifer made it all doable. And rock stars Shiv and Casey Shea made it wicked cool.
And of course Ethan was there, which means I had flashes of pure joy for seconds at a time. Feeling overwhelmed? Tickle the kid!
So what, you ask, did you miss Thursday night?
Hundreds of dollars of delicious wine, cheese, and fruit
A candle-lit, prayer-flagged, slide show-lit performance space
Casey Shea and I performing his beatiful song, ‘To Lose A Friend’
Shiv’s stellar cover of ‘(Hit Me) Baby One More Time’
Julia, Todd and I taking ‘So. Central Rain,’ ‘Here Comes Your Man,’ and ‘Lucky Man’ (with Casey returning the favor) to new heights
Ethan dancing to everything (until falling asleep in Daddy’s arms)
My set-closing, just-learned solo cover of Wilco’s ‘I’m Always In Love’
And what of being the drummer, you ask? Put it this way: by the end of Cockfight’s five song, twenty minute set last night, I was wearing nothing but sneakers, running shorts, aviator glasses, and a knit cap. And it worked. Trust me. I was pretty much spot on my parts. Sometimes during rehearsal, being that I’m not so coordinated, I’ll literally seize up and fall forward into the kit. Not last night. Nay, Dear Rock-n-Roll Reader: I hit that shit. Hard. So much so that at the end of the set, Siberia’s soundman and booker said to me, “So I’m guessing you’re the ringer in the band?” M’ Man thought I was an actual drummer! (I may play there again, with Cockfight, my band, or something new — we’ll see.)
And so I guess that’s it. I’d be excited for a little rest now, if this weekend weren’t so jam-packed: lunch and a movie this afternoon, BBQ this evening, then into the studio to record the Smith Family EP tonight. Tomorrow’s similarly booked up: another film screening, then dinner with the family. But yunno’ what I was just thinkin’ on the walk over here? (I’m at Starbucks now, having started writing this last night after the Cockfight show, then working on it this morning at home before walking over here.) I say again, yunno’ what I was just thinkin’ on the walk over here?
I was thinking that I think that this is what fulfillment feels like. Despite my achy hips and knees, despite the occasional headache or cash hemorrhage, this feels pretty good. No, this feels great. I think I’m happy.