Bart and I did some press first thing in the morning without Ziggy, who was supposedly sleeping in, and Chris and Trackie came along, which I thought was a bit odd, but I eventually figured out from the conversation that the place we were going was somewhat convenient to a drum store.
We were at the radio station for a little over an hour, and then a local journalist took us to a place for breakfast and interviewed us while we ate. The drum place was called Waddell’s and I think we were also killing time until they opened. We were in a hired van, which made a lot more sense than trying to take a gigantic tour bus around, Probably the cost of hiring the van was cheaper than the gas, not to mention saving the trouble of finding a place to park a forty-foot long vehicle.
Waddell’s was cool. The owner was a guy named Gary, but he wasn’t there at the time. I didn’t catch the name of the guy who helped out, but he and Trackie knew each other from some gig or something. Now it all made sense why we were here, now.
“It’s the freakiest thing,” Chris said. “I’ve never had head after head split on me like that. I was freaking out, thinking it was me.”
“I told him it wasn’t him,” Trackie said.
“You’re right, Fred, unless you were really being crazy, or you had pyro showering you with sparks or someth–” The guy was behind the counter, and we were standing in front of it. He stopped short, made the connection in his head, and looked right at me in slight alarm. “I heard you had an accident.”
“Yeah,” I said. I touched my cheek self-consciously. “I wore an eye patch for a while. It’s pretty much better now. But that wasn’t anywhere near the drum riser, and the heads splitting didn’t start until way after that.”
“Which is why I don’t think it was sabotage either,” Chris said. “Um, we had a rough time with our opening band,” he explained, when Drum Guy looked skeptical.
Drum Guy shrugged. “It’s more likely you had a bad batch of heads. They sometimes all have something in common, something went wrong at the factory…”
“Or in transit,” Trackie said. “In case it’s something we did, I want to chuck all the stock we’ve been traveling with.”
“And you’re sure it’s not something to do with the drum?”
“It wasn’t just one drum,” Chris said.
“Ah, okay, gotcha.” Drum Guy came around our side and led them over to look at a couple of brands or variations to choose from. They got technical real fast, while I wandered toward the front of the store where a display of hand percussion was arrayed on the counter. Carynne was paging through the day book.
I picked up a qweeka, which is sort of like a coffee can with a spindle inside it that makes a squeaking sound when you run our fingers on it. It’s a little obscene, actually, so I handed it to Bart.
“Have we talked about New York?” Carynne asked, as I examined a light little hand drum I didn’t know the name of. It was like a tambourine but without the zils.
“Not in several days, no,” I said.
“I got a message back from Matthew. He’s all set to come to the promo show at the Ritz and I think I’ve figured out a slot for us to drop by the opening of his photography show on the 21st.”
Us. Somehow it hadn’t occurred to me that Carynne would want to catch up with Matthew, too, even though she’d known him longer than I had. “That’s the Friday?”
“It’s really going to be busy, isn’t it?”
“It really is.” She was looking at the list of places we had to go that day instead of at me. “The publicity requests have doubled in the past two weeks. I don’t know if it’s the sales of the record, or that they showed the explosion a billion times on MTV or what.”
“I hope it’s the sales of the record,” I said. “Where are we staying?”
“The Penta. Digger set it up, we’ve got a whole floor for a whole week.”
“Which one’s the Penta?”
“Do you know where the Hotel Pennsylvania is?”
“Right across the street from Penn Station?” And therefore right across the street from Madison Square Garden, where one of the gigs was.
“Exactly. The Penta is the next one down.” She frowned at Bart who was making the qweeka squeak comically. “Are you doing all right?”
The question was such a quick change of topic I had to say, “What? I’m sorry?”
“I said, are you doing all right. You’ve hardly said a word, you let Bart do almost all the talking at the radio station…”
“Isn’t that usual?” I said. “Me being quiet?”
“Well, yeah, but… I mean, you’ve been staring into space more than usual,” she insisted.
“You have,” Bart added.
“Is that a problem?” I asked.
“That’s what I’m asking you,” she said. “Seriously, Daron.”
“I’m fine, just… a lot on my mind.” Which was true. I was thinking about Ziggy, and songs, and what he wrote, and Courtney, and things I’d said to her, and Colin, and Jonathan, and Matthew, and… “A lot on my mind.”
Neither of them pressed the issue. Chris and Fred figured out what they wanted, Carynne paid for it, and then we headed back. We went right to the venue and got there before most of the rest of the folks.
The crew didn’t have a lot to do, comparatively speaking. Two shows in a row, same place, same setup! Heaven! We did do a soundcheck, and this one Ziggy arrived in time for.
There was no real opportunity for us to sit down and talk, though. Not about anything important. Not when we could be interrupted at any time and there were people in and out constantly. So I settled for staying near him. He was quiet. I was quiet. That was fine.
I wondered if I was going to have to wait until we got home, maybe until we had a writing day together, a rehearsal day. That’d be the time to talk about the notebook. That’d be the time to talk about… everything. Right?
While we were in the wings, waiting to go on, he turned to me and said into my ear, “Is it Philly and then New Jersey next?”
“You forgot there’s a DC show in there, too,” I said back. “But we’re getting close.”
He nodded and squeezed my hand like he’d said something more, something that was worth squeezing my hand over. New Jersey, maybe? Because that was where Jonathan was? Or where I was from? Or…?
No time to wonder about it more. The lights gave us our cue and we went on stage.
(Yet another song from 1989. This concert footage is from then, too. -d.)