:::::: 05.22.03: a return to the american stage ::::::
we played a small warmup show in northhampton. steven and I were bummed turdstone moore and kim were leaving town hours before to go to spain. our gig was apparently blocks from their new england abode. we had much on our hands anyway playing our first show of the tour to a small gathering of locals and students.
the tavern atmosphere was homey with small tables and booths of folks imbibing and chatting as we churned out the folkjams. the next day we were rehearsing in boston at an outdoor tent venue by the wharf. it was unseasonably cold, low 40?s and raining. we practiced all day and night with our hands numb with cold bracing against the elements. the next night was the show. the black keys opened the show. they're a blues 2 piece from akron on oxford miss. label fat possum that puts out r l burnside and junior kimbrough records. I used to go down to mississippi and hang out with mathew who runs fat possum and go down to r l?s juke joint. anyway, I met them when we were doing snl. they were hanging out with and opening up for sleater-kinney. janet introduced us and they gave me some cd's. the drummer patrick is related to my friend ralph carney, tom waits' cohort from way back who almost joined the odelay band on the chinese nose flute.
despite the cold, our show went off. we've brought back much of the odelay and vultures songs that were left off the tour I did with the flaming lips last year. its a return to the hyped up throw downs of yore. last year I was concentrating on the new record and the mood of those songs. I'm hatching plans for a new record for next year so the mood of the show is swinging more towards ammunition and effigies.
over the years there has been criticism of our stage antics by a small coterie of self appointed snoots. my intention was always to make the show seditious and fun. I never minded making an ass of myself in the effort to get people involved. I grew up around LA punk people such as tomata du plenty and darby crash . their performances were uninhibitedly spastic and joyous. I don't care much for the ?rock pose?. I ignore preconceptions of rock conduct. sometimes the best thing to say on stage is the most stupid thing, like ?alriiiight!? last night I told all the ?bboys who like potpourri to throw up their hands and represent.?
sometimes there?s a freedom in saying something meaningless on stage. the weight of ?importance? on a stage can be oppressive to performer as well as audience. we?re all there to essentially take part in a ritual of music and response/reaction. the truth can only be told by the veracity or genuineness of our intention. if an action or word disrupts the structure then I?ll use it. I?m not usually worried about cheapening the aesthetic or lessening the respectability of what I do. I know some artists are afraid of being laughed at or not taken serious. my favorite performers, iggy, patti smith, james brown, mark mothersbaugh were always beyond respectability. they were on an autonomous battleground/playground of their own devising and never bothered to exist in the jurisdictions of respectability imposed by convention and the ethic of conformity as equality.
there?s no point in denying the weirdness and individuality in ourselves. why do it in music, the one place we should be allowed to be extravagant, ridiculous, vulnerable, strange.