We're on a brief pit stop in Baltimore on our three-week tour that started on Thursday, when we played Mercury Lounge in NYC. I found out the day before that we were playing the same night as Jennifer O'Connor, who's drummer is a friend of mine from Boston. Then they had John Agnello fill in backing vocals for a song, which almost floored me, since Agnello recorded more albums in my Top 20 than anyone not named George Martin or Brian Wilson. (Namely, the self-entitled Jawbox album and Shudder to Think's "50,000 B.C.", along with Girls Against Boys' "House of GVSB" which made a nice run with me in the mid-90s...plus he's recorded the Lemonheads, the Hold Steady, Dinosaur Jr., etc. etc.) I didn't have the nerve to chat him up afterwards but I watched him from afar, picturing him and Zach Barocas building that weird-ass drum sound that starts "Livid." (And somehow not getting a boner.) Then the next day in Brooklyn we saw the bearded black dude from TV On The Radio, and the guitarist from The Mars Volta (separately). NEW YAWK!
I always mean to write this shit down for when Random House comes calling after we make it to the MTV Beach House and Zach manages to set himself on fire on the hibachi or something, but - until I get a better title - here's my first Nugget of Road Wisdom:
1) Celebrate the Small Victories - Yesterday our air mattress pump died around 3:30 a.m., just about the time when everyone was ready to lay down and die after a long day dealing with New York. So instead of shut-eye, we slept on hardwood floors and everyone was tired and sore all day long...a real kick in the fucking knickers. To make matters worse, we found upon leaving the city that the mechanic who replaced our shocks last month didn't properly hook the driver's side one up so it's been flopping and banging in our wheel well to the point that it looks like it needs to be replaced again. (There is a special place in hell for you, sir.)
So last night, after loading in at the club in Asbury Park (and finding out we were opening for a band called Jazz Pollution), we hustled to Target before they closed to buy a new pump and found that they were sold out of everything but the battery-operated kind, which never completely fill the mattresses. In a moment of sheer panic and frustration that can only come from three-and-a-half hours of fitful sleep, I asked a guy restocking shelves if they had any more of the plug-in kind in stock. Expecting Baltimore-style customer service, I was fully prepared to be told to fuck off; instead he walked five whole aisles over, scanned the item number into his handheld device, gave a seriously dramatic pause and said "Lemme grab some out of the back." I literally walked through the sporting goods section punching the air...I think I even spiked a football. Twenty minutes later, we had a new pump, a new outlook on life, and we even made it to Baja Fresh ten minutes before they closed.
Last night was a good night.