Merry Go Round

I talked my way into Wenco the way Digger would have talked his way into the best restaurant in the city. With equal parts bullshit and bravado and being nice when it counted. Lucky for me, Artie was there that day.

His office was just as cramped and cluttered as the last time I was here, three years ago. He shook my hand and cleared a chair for me to sit in. When he saw my look was kind of grim, he shut the door so no one could eavesdrop what we were saying, though he kept up his gladhandy demeanor while he worked his way around to his side of the desk to sit down. “Your name’s been popping up in a lot of songwriting credits on our labels lately.”

“Oh, has it?” I tried to be casual. “I did a lot of work when I was in LA last year. Didn’t really pay attention to the labels.” That last bit wasn’t me being cavalier: that was true. I didn’t know what label most bands were recording for, and the checks were mostly going to Carynne.

“Remo keeps me up to date on you when he can,” Artie added. “But I’m guessing you’re not just here because you were in the neighborhood?”
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Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)

I went walking then to clear my head and to make sure I made it there on time. If I missed my rendezvous with him who knew what chaos would ensue? I know I predict disaster more easily than most people, but this time I could really imagine another week would go by without seeing him, during which I would drive myself insane.

It could be months before the contract and record company stuff is ironed out, I told myself. No use getting anxious.

Then again, I was anxious I hadn’t said more about where we were meeting. The block Ziggy had been describing was equivalent to Eighth Street on the West Side, but after crossing Broadway it turned into St. Mark’s Place. And the music shop we had both been thinking of wasn’t actually on the block he had been describing. I kicked myself mentally and soldiered on, figuring I’d just keep circulating until I ran into him.
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All the Things She Said

I’ll tell you about seeing Matthew later. Telling you about Ziggy is more urgent. Continue Reading »

I Didn’t Want to Need You

I drunk paged him from Sarah’s in the wee hours of the morning. She was asleep on the couch, looking like something from a Renaissance painting, hair flung everywhere and her arm over her eyes. When the phone rang a little while later she barely stirred.

I answered it in her bedroom. “Hey.” Continue Reading »

I’ve Been Thinking About You

“The problem with writing songs with you,” Sarah said in the morning, when I had put the guitar away and she had put some waffles in the toaster, but we hadn’t yet slept, “is that you write these things that sound so great with the guitar riffs and then when you’re gone it sounds kind of lifeless.”

I leaned against the kitchen counter. “I didn’t think ‘Blue Skies’ sounded lifeless when it went to number three.” Continue Reading »

Somebody’s Watching

The word came via voice mail a few days later that Ziggy was flying to New York on Monday, so I called Sarah to see if she was around for the weekend and if she wanted company. She said yes and yes, so I got on a train on Friday morning (where by morning I mean 12 noon) with a guitar and a book (and then slept the whole way anyway).

I thought I heard a camera shutter snapping when I walked up to the lobby of her building. The door man greeted me like he remembered me. He was a slim hispanic man with very short cropped hair and creases around his eyes.

“You might want to check for paparazzi,” I told him. “In the bushes or something.” Continue Reading »

The Stroke

So, what do you do when your lover-singer-creative-partner-relationship-person-you-can’t-live-without is three thousand miles away?

If you’re me, all you do is suffer a lot in silence.

If you’re Ziggy, you get a pager. Continue Reading »

Los Angeles

I still think it’s weird how my entire outlook on life changes for the better when I’m having enough sex. More to the point: how it changes–for the worse–when I’m NOT having enough sex.

Ziggy left on a business trip to Los Angeles a week later. Before he left we played around with Bart and Chris a bunch, wrote some songs, worked on some things I’d almost forgotten about, but we didn’t have much drive to finish anything since no one knew quite what was going to happen next. So that was fun if a little frustrating sometimes, like it’s fun to play with wet clay but at some point you want to finish it and bake it, you know? Continue Reading »

Too Much Joy

I woke up in the morning to the smell of coffee. I pulled on a pair of jeans. They were on the floor with a couple of other pairs and Ziggy and I are about the same size but I’m pretty sure they were mine.

Out in the living room he was perched on the odd, claw-footed antique chair, with a mug next to him and his notebook in his lap. Continue Reading »

Be Still My Beating Heart

I meant it when I said that “compromise” is part of the package if you’re going to be a professional musician, if what you mean by compromise is you accept that you might not just be able to scream the word “fuck” two hundred times and call it a song. Or any other thing that you might want to do. Understand, you have every right to scream “fuck” two hundred times if you want: It’s that no one gives you a right to make a living doing it. If no one wants to hear you, that doesn’t mean your art isn’t valid or important or good, just that it isn’t commercial. Continue Reading »