A bunch of things I didn’t expect happened on the day of the video shoot. Among them, a phone call at eight in the morning from a PA making sure of how I was dressed (jeans, T-shirt, and a flannel shirt around my waist in case it got chilly, as usual) and telling me to bring a guitar.
Another, the first person I saw upon walking into the lobby of the hotel was a stunningly beautiful woman, and by stunningly I mean I actually stopped and blinked at her a bit thinking “wow.” So maybe there really is a difference between supermodels and the rest of the human race. The unexpected part wasn’t that she stopped me in my tracks so much as she turned out to be Christian’s girlfriend, and that she’d decided to hang around with us.
The presence of Lacey Montaigne in our entourage prompted a hasty production meeting that included several calls to LA where I was under the impression people were being woken up at six in the morning. The upshot: Ms. Supermodel wanted to be in the video. The crew wanted her to be in the video. No one actually asked me until fairly late in the process whether I wanted her to be in the video but I honestly didn’t care. My thinking was if her face got the video into heavier rotation on MTV, all the better.
And I’m a musician, not a filmmaker. Their job was to make us look good and sell lots of records. I had to trust them to do that.
Also, I was half asleep. It’s easier to be blasé about things when you’re tired.
They didn’t put too much makeup on us. We split into two crews. Me and Bart, two cameramen, and two PAs headed for Boston Common. One of the cameramen was an assistant director, as I understood it, while the director-director was with the other crew, who took Lacey, Chris, and Ziggy, off to the Blue Line.
The assistant director’s name was Cameron, though I hadn’t caught if that was his first name or his last name, only that I thought it was great because I could remember it because Cameron = camera.
“Hey,” he asked, as we gathered ourselves outside the escalators up from the Park Street T station. “you guys mind if we do a little documentary style stuff?”
“Like we run the cameras and interview you and whatever while we go along? Like in addition to the video we could be making a ‘making of the video’ video.”
“Sure, why the hell not?”
“Great!” He lifted what looked like a fairly heavy camera onto his shoulder. He wasn’t a very large guy to begin with. The other cameraman did the same. “So I heard the story that you met while busking in the park, here. Can you show me where?”
“It was over by the fountain, wasn’t it?” Bart said, pointing down Tremont Street.
“No, remember? Those guys with the pan flutes were there and they were giving us some murderous looks when they saw I was carrying a guitar case.” I said. “So we moved up the hill.”
We started walking. Bart was narrating to Cameron now. “Wow, I’d forgotten that. It was a nice day out, so lots of people were in the park, I mean performers and such, but there were lots of people-people, too. We weren’t even that serious, really. We never busked because we really needed the money.”
“Speak for yourself,” I said.
“You weren’t hard up, then. We went out to play that day because you needed to get out of the house. If we had really wanted to make some money at it, I wouldn’t have played the bongos.”
“You played bongos?” Cameron asked.
“Yeah, they’re fun. It was sort of a lark, though, you know? We went out and did it mostly because we weren’t gigging at the time and we just needed to play. Daron, especially, needed to get in front of people or he’d go crazy.”
“You would. Don’t deny it.”
I just shrugged.
Bart pointed to a bench. “I think they replaced the benches, so this might not be THE bench, but it was right about here. I sat on the end of the bench and Daron stood. Did you have that little battery-powered wedge amp, too?”
“I think so.” I hadn’t thought about that day in a long time. “We used to play whatever came into my head, basically. Any song I could do, I did.”
“Oh my god you should hear the rendition he does of ‘The Piña Colada Song,'” Bart said with a laugh and I punched him on the arm.
“What song were you playing when Ziggy joined in? That’s what happened, isn’t it?” Cameron prompted.
“It was something by The Cure,” Bart said. “Was it ‘Just Like Heaven?'”
“Or was it ‘In-Between Days?'”
“Crap, I’m not sure.”
“Ziggy probably remembers.”
Cameron looked around. Rush hour was long over and there weren’t many people in the area. “Would you play a little right now?”
“Sure.” I got out the guitar I was carrying: the Miller. I slung it over my shoulder, stepped to the side of the path and started playing, while I was talking. It was out of tune a little but it actually wasn’t bad. “It had to be In Between Days. We used to do Just Like Heaven when you’d bring a guitar, too. Remember? We used to play it at the coffeehouse in Providence. But it’s hard to make it sound like anything without that solo line, and the solo sounds a bit thin without the backing.” I played a bit of it. “Trust me, I tried to make it work with just one guitar but couldn’t really get it to sound like much. But In-Between Days you can totally do with one guitar.”
“Yeah, if you’re you,” Bart put in with a laugh.
I played through a bunch of the intro. “But of course if you don’t know the song it doesn’t sound like much anyway without the words. Ziggy hopped in singing like he’d been practicing all his life.”
“I think he was, Dar’,” Bart pointed out.
“Will you play a little of your own stuff, just for a minute or two?” Cameron asked.
“Sure. Whatever you like.” I segued right into the bridge of Candlelight, which was in the same key. From there I cut into an acoustic version of Grenadier, which sounds drastically different acoustic than it does electric, and ended up in Wonderland. Bart sang some of the chorus when it came around, but his voice wasn’t warmed up and cracked a bit, which cracked us up.
We were still laughing over that when a member of the local constabulary came over to ask if we had a permit. Whatever street performer’s permit Bart had once had was long gone, and the film crew appeared not to have anything either, but fortunately the policeman seemed perfectly inclined to just let us move along. We got back into the T and headed for Tower Records.