The first person who accosted me in the main suite was someone I hadn’t been expecting but maybe should have. Lacey Montaigne hit me with a sing-songy “Da-ronnn!” and kissed me on the cheek like we actually knew each other.
Fine. I know how to be nice to girls. Growing up with three sisters, it wasn’t a lesson I could escape. “Hey, Lacey, how are you? I mean, you know what I mean.”
“Oh, honey, I am just fine.” She play-slapped me on the shoulder.
“I know. That was over a month ago, but you know, it was the last time I saw you and I’ll shut up about it now. Um, how are you liking New York?”
“Love it. Love it. I wish L.A. was like this, or that the weather in L.A. were here all the time. How’s the tour going?” Her hair was aggressively highlighted and somehow instead of looking sunny it made me wonder what she was going to look like when she went gray.
“Pretty good. We had some bumps in the road, but you know, here we are. Three shows to go and then we can take a vacation.”
“I know. I’m taking Chris to Paris. You planning anything fun?”
“Oh, uh, I don’t know. My idea of a vacation is sleep for a week.” It occurred to me, though, that an actual “get away from it all” vacation might not be a bad idea. It was hard to imagine traveling without at least a dozen people in tow.
I’d ask Jonathan where he wanted to go. Yeah. That was a good plan.
“I’ve got to get this set up,” I said then, and she smiled that pretty-girl-and-I-know-it smile and let me go.
Figuring out how to get the right channel on the TV was the hardest part of the setup, but once we got it, I put the tape in and started it during the commercials.
No one seemed particularly interested in seeing the rest of the show, so we kept mingling and chatting. I was surprised but not surprised to find Jordan Travers in our midst.
“Trav!” We exchanged a complicated handshake I had learned during the recording of the album and thought I had forgotten, but apparently hadn’t.
“How are you, my man?” He was wearing his sunglasses indoors, at night, but somehow on Trav it looked normal rather than pretentious. Maybe it helped that they were small lenses. His hair was so short he must have shaved it recently and let it grow back in.
“Tired as shit, man,” I told him. “This ‘morning shows every day’ thing blows.”
“From what I hear it’s been kind of an eventful tour.”
Like I had with about five hundred other people that week I gave the elevator-ride version of the explosion and other tour mishaps story. Once we had that out of the way we got on to talking about other things. He grilled me a little about the Blissmen. Apparently there was some contemplation of a remix album but it was early yet.
Speaking of early yet, he asked me when we thought we’d be back in the studio.
“Ah fuck I should be able to answer that question, but right now, I can’t think past next week.”
“Well, I’ve been bucking for the job to produce you again, but so much depends on timing.”
I wondered if I should bring up the whole BNC distribution fuckup business, then decided the rest of the band should hear it first. And maybe it wasn’t the sort of thing to spread around. I don’t know. “Well, I’d love to have you and you know all the right people to talk to already.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll keep talking to ’em.” He shrugged. “Where are B. and Z.?”
“With W.C.,” I said. I wasn’t sure if he was giving me a blank look then or not, because of the sunglasses. I explained in case he was. “One of our openers, Wednesday’s Child, have a gig tonight and they went.”
“Oh, right on, I’ve heard their record. Another band trying desperately not to get pigeonholed as goth and failing,” he said.
“Okay, explain that to me, because I’ve heard it before but I don’t understand where it comes from. It’d be one thing if I only heard it from the bands, and then I’d think well, it was an artistic freedom issue. But I hear it from A&R all the time, too, trying to make sure we don’t get pegged as if it would kill our sales.”
“You’re not remotely a goth band,” Jordan said.
“That’s not my point. Why are bands and their labels so afraid of using the G word? I mean, The Cure are one of the best-selling bands of the decade and no one’s ever tried to peg them as anything but.”
“Maybe they’re the exception. You look at all the goth deniers out there, Sisters of Mercy, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths… they don’t sell for crap in the US compared to the UK and near as anyone can tell, it’s because they got tarred with the goth brush here so early. Whereas somehow Depeche Mode have avoided it.”
“They avoided it by not being goth, I think,” I said.
“You might be right. They’re too disco, too pop, to be goth. Love and Rockets managed to define a whole new sound, so that’s how they sidestepped it.” He shrugged. “I guess it’s also the whole thing of we don’t have enough radio stations here playing punk or alternative, so they just don’t get airplay. The Cure skip over all that by going straight to Top 40 on the strength of their sales, even when the music isn’t exactly accessible.”
“But don’t you think the latest album is really good? It blows my mind. It’s much more like Pornography than their more pop stuff, and yet it broke big. I’ve heard ‘Fascination Street’ everywhere on the dial, everywhere in the country, I feel like.”
“Oh, definitely. But not every band can pull that off. Everyone can dream of it, though. Hey, have you heard–?”
He didn’t get to finish his question because people were all shushing each other. Our Letterman segment came on.
I was happy with how it sounded. I think we looked a little dorky in the studio, but it really sounded good. Ziggy was in fine voice and the engineering was good. Four minutes of fame.
When it was over, I went back to my room, figuring J. would catch up. He did, maybe ten minutes later.
“Too tired?” he asked.
“Not on your life,” I said. I figured we had time for either a conversation about everything Digger had told me, or sex.
I picked sex. I’m sure that’s a big surprise.
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