Remember To Remember Me

I miss my guitar.

I never used to leave home without my guitar. You never really know when you’re gonna’ wanna’ play, or when a song’s gonna’ strike. I’ve dragged it clear across the country never to crack the case. And I’ve dragged it to different continents and come home with an EP’s worth of new songs.

I lost one too many guitars — my beloved Takamine, for one — to air travel. So a few years ago, I bought a beater. I went into Sam Ash looking for the least expensive, solid body acoustic. I’d hoped to spend a hundred bucks or so. I dropped five. It’s a Norman, a solid body, pine guitar hand-built in Canada. Then I put a $200 pick-up in it.

Anyway, there was no way I was gonna’ drag it from New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco to Los Angeles to New York, considering I’m also toting a suit bag, laptop, cell phone, Blackberry, digital camera, and iPod. Which tonight kinda’ sucks. ‘Cuz tonight, I’m feelin’ it.

The marine layer was low this morning. The air was cool and sweet as I ran along Ocean Boulevard, high above the Pacific. The flora was in full bloom: rabid pinks and purples. At one point, I passed a pale green plant that just reeked of licorice. Absolutely beautiful. Absolutely inspiring.

After work, I dropped my rent-a-convertabible (tourist alert!), and met up with my old friend Blaine Zuckerman. We’ve known each other for about twenty years or so (scary). He’s living in Venice, freelancing in the celebrity party business (you know they’re paid to show up, right?), surfing and doing yoga. Great kid.

Ends up Blaine was free to help me use a pair of free tickets to Wilco at The Greek. And he was willing to drive. We spent the hour catching up (my favorite Blaine memory is riding our Canondales out to Surfside Beach in Nantucket), picking up and wolfing down an In-And-Out burger. Then we hit the show.

“I’m not gonna’ talk so much tonight,” Jeff Tweedy said. “We saw a DVD of a performance today. I talked way too much and I hate myself. So, we’re just gonna’ play a bunch of songs.”

And they did. With abandon. Tweedy was excellent. The band was unbelievable, like Radiohead meets Crazyhorse meets (gasp!) The Grateful Dead. They ebb and flow and stop on a dime. They opened with “Misunderstood” and hit all my faves: “Handshake Drugs,” “Muzzle of Bees,” “Spiders,” “Kamera,” “War on War,” “Company In My Back,” “A Shot in the Arm,” “Jesus, Etc,” and encored with “Heavy Metal Drummer” and the number one song I wish that I wrote, “I’m Always In Love.”

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: when I grow up, I want to be Jeff Tweedy. And tonight only confirmed that. His lyrics are staggering: non-linear, unconsciouss, poetic. In them he’s self-effacing, self-doubting, maybe even just a little bit self-loathing.

“What you once were isn’t what you wanna’ be anymore”
“And if I ever was myself I wasn’t that night”
“When I fold the cold in my jet-lag palm”
“You were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun.”
“Remember to remember me standing still in your past floating fast like a hummingbird”

Tweedy’s wife and sons were in the audience. Apparently, they’ve been travelling with him all week, but are dropping off the tour here in L.A. So towards the end of the set, he lept down from the stage, picked up his five-year-old, held him in his arms, and danced with him. It was pretty f’ing excellent.

All of it, sunsrise to sunset, was excellent. And inspiring. And made me miss my guitar.

Think I might buy a new one tonight. You know, just in case.

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