Here’s To You
It was in the middle of rehearsal tonight when I thought to myself, ‘I am so fucking lucky.’
I landed in Des Moines at noon. Mike and Jason pulled up just as I walked out of baggage claim. They whisked me straight to lunch with the band at Royal Mile. Jason’s wife, Stephanie, and sometimes Nada guitarist, Travis Ballstadt, also showed up. Lunch was on the label, so I decided a few beers were in order. Somewhere around my third beer, and my third bite of a well-earned cheeseburger, I cracked a molar. I’m talking a soul-shattering “SNAP!” Everyone heard it. Stephanie and Charidy asked, “Are you ok?”
I wasn’t. My nerve was exposed. But I faked it. I finished my beer, the group dispersed, and thirty minutes later, I was in a Dr. Zisko’s dentist chair. By three o’clock, it was done. One vicodin, one shot of novacaine, and a fair dose of suction later, my molar was whole again. (In New York, I would still be waiting for an appointment.)
Back at Authentic Records Headquarters, Mike and Jason were making calls for radio adds, while I shipped copies of “Heartland.” We race across town for a live news hit on Channel 8, picked up a few growlers of beer from Racoon River Bar & Grille, then headed back to the office.
Now, you gotta understand that “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” was one of my my favorite songs. It was huge in the heyday of my MTV viewership. I’m talking sixth grade. Chris’ll tell ya all I did was come home from school, park myself on the couch, and watch MTV. It’s the song that started all of the benefit songs. It’s the only good one. So I’m excited to be performing it with these guys, even if singing about African famine in Iowa (or anywhere anymore)seems a bit weird. It’s a heck of a song. (And yes, I’ve insisted on performing Bono’s part.)
So we’re rehearsing in Authentic Records Headquarters. It’s a loft in downtown Des Moines (which, contrary to what you might think of Des Moines, is a downtown). The walls are red brick. There are are Christmas lights hanging from the rafters. A dozen of us are huddled around singing at the top of our lungs. Drummer Justin Klein is running late on account of a drum lesson, so I’ve assumed the throne, am holding down the groove, and leading everyone through the song (which I still know by heart). Jason and Stephanie’s son, Mitchell, is playing cowbell. It’s a beautiful din. And I think to myself, ‘I am so fucking lucky.’