Big City Turn Me Loose

Sweet Jiminy Cricket on a popsicle stick, it’s good to be back in New York City.

I was asleep before the plane left the terminal, and I slept clear through landing. What a blessing. And what a blur. One minute I’m sneaking around the Paramount back lot, the next I’m downing a beer at the Expedia Travel Bar at LAX, then I’m walking bleary-eyed up the jet way at JFK. Wow. I marvel every time I take the red eye: go to sleep in L.A., wake up in New York. Time travel. It’s as close to Star Trek as I’ll ever get.

I walked straight from the car service to Andy’s Deli, where Nick greeted me and said, “Your brother was just here.” Ham, egg, and cheese on a roll never tasted so good. And my bed was never more welcoming. Sadly, my nap didn’t last long. My celly started chiming around noon: the report was in from Cuba, and couldn’t wait. And it didn’t.

Oddly enough, I couldn’t fall back asleep. So I started recording around one o’clock, and didn’t quit ’til nine. The result? A cover of Matthew Sweet’s “Come To California.” Guess the place was still in my system.

Christofer (wearing a “More Iowans Drive Chevy” t-shirt) and I (wearing an aqua-blue tuxedo shirt) hopped the 2/3 to Brooklyn, catching up on the long, slow commute. (I didn’t miss those.) The Smith Family was in full attendance by the time we arrived at Hank’s. It was go time. Not performance time: we weren’t on ’til midnight. But midnight came and went, glasses were emptied and filled, and still, the bands played on.

Finally, at 1:30 and just a few too many into the evening, we hit the stage and made our sweet cacophony. There’s no other word for it: it was a full-fledged, whiskey-soaked hootenanny. I’m not sure that we ever sounded so, er, loose. But I’m positive that we’ve never had more fun. Kev was laughing his way through tunes, Roy was leaning on the wall to keep upright, Scott was off to the races (we all figure he had a lady to meet afterwards), and I was dry humpin’ the bass drum. Yeah, it was a sloppy, joyous romp. The whole affair was bittersweet, of course, as The Smith Family has but one more show before disbanding. Kev’s moving to Minneapolis, and like I told him, there’s no Smith Family without Kevin Anthony Smith.

The party broke up somewhere around four, so Heath and I split a cab back to the city. The Brooklyn Bridge was a glorious phosphorous blur. The FDR might as well have been The Autobahn. We talked about food the whole way home (the band’s customary four bags of salt and vinegar chips didn’t really do the trick). I climbed my stairs and collapsed on my couch — dropping my guitar, jean jacket, tuxedo shirt along the way — sometime just before five o’clock. A few states away in Indiana my father was, no doubt, starting his day as I was ending mine.

Today has been spent by my lonesome, downing Excedrin and Gatorade, wandering
my neighborhood like a tourist, and cleaning house. The windows are wide, the sun is streaming in, and the sound of the city is all around me. I am exhausted, shredded even. I could use a few days off from my few days off. But there are shows to play, songs to write, and people to see. There is no rest for the weary. And that’s all right with me.

Like the little green guy says, “You buttered your bread, now sleep in it.” So… g’night, sleep tight, sweet dreams.

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