Puttin' On The Ritz

More sophisticated by the second, etc.

Monday, May 09, 2005

It's Cold Outside, etc.

Greetings from a virtually windowless room in the basement. I have gotten a dearth of sleep recently, I might have clocked in last night at approximately three of your earth hours. It is spring and love is in the air and the world is both larger and smaller than I am capable of fathoming at this exact moment. As soon as I am master of time and space my life will be a lot easier, I think.

May 7, 2005 -- Asterisk, Brooklyn
We went to see People and Stay Fucked, both of whom we missed. In fact, there were several shows we were planning on attending but we managed to miss every single band we wanted to see. Kevin Shea was still in the house, however. We were coincidentally wearing matching shirts as well so it would have been a shame if we did not play a set. As we are friends of the house and the people who set up the show, we were allowed to perform. Much to our surprise not only did people not walk out on us, they were actually entering the room with the intention of watching us play. Weird! No microphone was used due to the fact that there was no public address system in the room. I hadn't taken off my shirt at a show for a while, and it seemed especially fitting as Kevin and I had the same shirt on anyway. So for a spell I could be seen rolling around on the ground, screaming at the top of my lungs, totally shirtless. I might have had a few drinks at some point in the evening, but I could be wrong. After our set some reggae dude made Kevin play the drums with him for a bit while he did his thing, apparently his father was the guy who sang the theme song for Cops which might provide some sort of legitimacy, perhaps. He told me later that he wants us to open for him at some shows, which might be one the best and/or worst ideas I have ever heard in my life. It is nice to be well received every once in a while -- we have feelings too, people. It is not always about being reviled. Actually, it is never about being reviled. It is always about the good times despite appearances. We also got asked to play a surprise (surprise to the people in attendance) show at an art opening sometime in the summer, which I thought was a great idea. We'll play anywhere, anytime, apparently, although that might not actually be the case. We may or may not see you there depending on whether we are in the same room or not and the state of our glasses.

May 8, 2005 -- Prospect Park Peninsula, Brooklyn
I will start with the list of performers (I think this is the order, although I may be forgetting someone). Todd P, Katrina Rudmin, Some dude whose name I didn't get, Zeke Healy, Currituck County, Mike Wexler, This Invitation, Trevor Healy, Joel Saladino, Benji Cossa, Miguel Mendez, Puttin' On The Ritz, Hisham Bharoocha & Andy Macleod, Alice Cohen, Joe Bradley, TK Webb, Necking, two really stoned girls on Necking's drums, and finally Hisham Bharoocha & Andy Macleod on the same drums. Sheesh! In honor of our one year anniversary (check the blog, dude), I decided to set this up. The idea sort of evolved during talks I had with Tianna Kennedy and Todd Patrick and this is what we ended up with -- an acoustic barbeque on the lake in Prospect Park with every person we could think of asking. Much to our surprise everyone said yes. Some more people were supposed to play but either didn't turn up or turned up and left without performing. The show ended around dusk anyway, so it was probably for the best. Regardless, I wholeheartedly believe that this was the show of the season. Stage management went something along the lines of "Who wants to play next?" The weather could have been a little warmer, but when the wind died down it was quite pleasant. The setting could not have been more ideal, talented musicians playing to the backdrop of a lake and trees and spring. I was a little nervous during our set as I'm not really all that used to playing sober. It is a little daunting to be screaming into thin air and running around whilst Kevin is throwing drumsticks in the lake for no reason, etc. We were only going to play three songs, but we were talked into playing an encore. An encore! There was one point when Kevin nearly threw me into the lake, but then I reversed the hold and nearly tossed him in. The problem with either scenario is that I knew if one of us went in, both of us were going in. If he threw me in I would have pulled him in with me. Had I thrown him in I would have simply jumped in after him. I'm sure it looked like it could go either way, and it certainly could have. It is sort of a zen experience in that respect -- we both just clear our minds and let go. I have no idea what is going to happen from one moment to the next; would you try to predict the actions of Kevin? I certainly am not up to the task. I thought we were done after our fourth song, but then Kevin grabbed the floor tom and started chasing me so I started scatting whilst we were running chasing each other about. The set ended with me lying on the ground mumbling and Kevin playing a guitar case. Was it a successful show? You tell me. I would hope so. We are not comedians, but we are pretty fucking hilarious human beings. I would like to add that this day was perfect. Thank you so much to everyone who played and to everyone who came.

I will give you a little heads up. I leave for Auckland, New Zealand on Friday. I will be spending approximately a fortnight there. Whilst I am away there are plans for us to play a show; I will be appearing live via satellite. Check your local listings and I will try to send you some love from the other side of the world. It might be the most important moment in rock and roll history, although in the end it might not even be a footnote. History is written by the victors and we are still fighting the good fight. I have this advice for you -- fuck yeah.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Future Reminiscings, etc.

May 5, 2005 -- In a car, The Taconic Parkway
Jason Baker, Nick Lesley, Fiona Campbell, and myself made the two hour trek to Bard College in order to witness a Lightning Bolt show. Why, you might ask, would we travel two hours to see a band that plays New York all the time? Well, Fiona Campbell is from Auckland, New Zealand and has never had the opportunity to see them before. That, and it sounded like fun. Shortly before we left I learned that Kevin Shea was going to be there as well, performing with Talibam. There was some talk of Puttin' On The Ritz jumping on the show, but there were already six bands and I didn't feel like playing for a bunch of sweaty college students who were just going to ignore us anyway. I do have some standards, believe it or not. Suffice it to say that we all got quite drunk in some shed by a soccer field (save Jason, as he was driving), which was actually where the show was taking place. Eventually we finally coralled everyone into the car, including Kevin Shea, who required a ride back to Brooklyn. Some more Jagermeister was passed around -- it is not my personal preference, but Fiona enjoys it so that is what we had because Nick and I had already consumed all of our bourbon (purchased at some weird liquor store en route). We realized that we had two bands in the car that didn't really require too much in the way of instrumentation, just drums. Since anything, really, can be a drum and the palms of your hands can occasionally be sticks, it seemed like a good idea to play a show in the car. We couldn't decide who was going to open for whom, Necking or Puttin' On The Ritz. Eventually Necking cancelled, so it was just us. I asked that everyone sit in with us, oddly enough all five people in the car were drummers. So everyone was banging on anything that was about -- the windows, the seats, the steering wheel (Jason even honked the horn a few times), the other people in the car, etc. I, per usual, screamed. I might be the first person in the world to lose his voice from playing a show in an automobile traveling quite rapidly down the Taconic Parkway at 2am. I could be wrong, however. Believe it or not, we actually did a full set. Why not? We had plenty of time to kill and everyone was having fun. Think of it as a private party. Happy Cinco de Mayo, indeed. I have to admit that it was a bit odd playing a show whilst wearing a seat belt, but it seemed prudent as Jason drives really fast. Kevin spent most of the rest of the ride home chatting with persons known or unknown on my telephone (his battery had died), which I quickly came to realize was some sort of love interest. I will not name any names, but suffice it to say that I don't really know any of the details. Any details that I do know will not be shared publicly unless I'm drunk and you ask me. It would probably loosen my tongue even more if you were the one to get me drunk, but I am making no promises. Perhaps I made the whole thing up, perhaps it is time for a nap. Actually, it is definitely time for a nap but that seems highly unlikely at press time. I hope you are well, wherever you are, whoever you might be. I think of you often, just so you know. I might be thinking of you right now. I cannot guarantee that, but:

Somewhere out there,
Beneath the pale blue night,
Someone's thinking of me,
And loving me tonight.
Somewhere out there,
Someone's saying a prayer,
Then we'll find one another,
In that big somewhere out there.

And even though I know how very far apart we are,
It helps to think we might be wishing
On the same bright star,
And when the night will start to sing
A lonesome lullaby,
It helps to think we're sleeping underneath the
Same big sky.

Somewhere out there,
If love can see us through,
Then, we'll be together,
Somewhere out there, out where dreams, come true.