Do It Again

“When’s the last time we sucked that hard?” Jason asks.

“Um,” I offer, “yesterday?”

Jon chimes in, “Dude, I haven’t been to the point of playing whole notes in a long time.”

In fact, last night’s Lenexa, Kansas show was right on: loud, loose, and a helluva’ lotta’ fun. Considering the way the band set me up for it — Jon called it his “least favorite venue ever” — it wasn’t half bad. The audience ate up The Nadas, and we’re really pretty gracious to me.

My virgin foray in The Nadas¹ tour bus was, to be sure, a bit different than I’d anticipated. Meat Loaf’s former ride proved a little cramped for the six of us (Jason, Mike, Jon, soundman Smitty, tour manager Charidy, and me), despite front and rear lounges plus nine bunks.

This old workhorse has seen some miles. The cupboards swing. The carpet’s torn. The AC gasps. The generator overheats. And the bathroom has odor issues (not from anyone on board: there’s a strictly-enforced number one only rule).

Still, I’ve never had more fun on a road trip. The crew entertains one another effortlessly. Everything and everyone is fair game. There is no line separating appropriate from not.

“Mike,” Charidy says. “I might just throw up a little bit.”

Mike¹s finger’s up his nose to the knuckle. He plucks a hair.

“This one’s from my head, I swear.”

I spent the balance of the trip devouring “So You Want To Be A Rock & Roll Star,” a music industry memoir Semisonic drummer Jacob Slichter. It seems oddly appropriate to be reading while on tour with these guys, as both The Nadas and I find ourselves at a time in our lives where we aspire to grow our art and our careers, but tempered with some sort of adult reality.

Jason and Mike have been performing as The Nadas as long as I’ve been performing as, well, me: twelve years. Collectively, we’ve released some fifteen or so CDs. The Nadas, though, have ridden in vans from Los Angeles to New York City. They’ve lived it (and have the bus to show for it). I’ve pretty much stayed put, venturing out for a few days at a time here and there. We’ve taken radically different approaches to our careers. This is their day job; MTV News is mine. I often question that, wishing that I’d gone for rock and roll 100%, and wondering where I’d be if I had. Probably not here: I met Jason at Sundance. On MTV’s dime.

We’re both releasing records in the fall, The Nadas’ “Listen Through The Static,” and my “Heartland.” Neither of us is certain what will come next. The Nadas will tour heavily behind “Static,” then focus on some other burgeoning projects: Authentic Records and a downtown studio. Me? No idea.

This much I know: I’ll finish the book by the time we hit Omaha.

We leave tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime, Jon and I are wrapping up vocals. For a young producer, he’s really got some great chops, and creative ideas. He had me singing through three mics, jumping around, and playing air guitar just to get the right energy for the “Harder To Believe” vocal. It was a long way around, but I think we got it.

Next stop, Nebraska…

Stay tuned.

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