885. Superman’s Song

I don’t actually remember anything he said. Bart ushered me into the window seat in the very last row of the plane, buckled himself into the seat next to me. Chris was sitting two rows away. Everyone else was at least ten or fifteen rows in front of us, almost all roadies.

After we reached cruising altitude, Flip and Colin came and placed themselves nearby, too, but they didn’t interrupt Bart.

I honestly don’t remember anything he said. He said a lot. I’m sure a lot of it was very smart and made a lot of sense. But all I remember is the feeling that the band was closing ranks around me to protect me. (And I counted Flip and Colin in “the band.” I’d played in bands with both of them, after all.)

I have to say I appreciate a lot that my friends were so supportive. I got the feeling Bart had been watching from the sidelines for a while and finally felt he had to try to do something.

What was uncomfortable, as usual, was the idea that they were talking amongst themselves to determine what to do with me. But I didn’t have the energy to fight that.

When Bart got tired, he tagged out and Christian came in.

“You think you need it, but you don’t,” he said.


“What you need is to get healthy and not be trying to use substances to make yourself superhuman.”

“Oh.” Yeah, I suppose.

“I know Flip means well, and I know he’s our resident expert at getting broken rock stars onto the stage, but at the end of next week he goes on to his next gig, while Bart and Colin and me’ve gotta live with you.”

My heart lodged in my throat making it hard to breathe. Was I really going back to Boston? Part of me desperately wanted to. Or was I going back to New York with Ziggy? Which I really wanted to, needed to, and expected to…? On top of all the turmoil I had going on in my mind, I now suddenly felt like I was facing down the barrel of a shotgun with a decision I hadn’t even realized I had to make. Or which I had pushed to the back of my mind, at least, but now it was staring me in the face.

“I need help,” I told him.

“You’ve got it,” he said, and rubbed his hand between my shoulder blades. I cried into my folded arms on my tray table until I guess I fell asleep.

When I woke up, Bart was back on watch. “We’re landing in a little bit,” he said.

“I don’t know what to do,” I told him.

“That’s because you’re out of your head,” he said, as if that should be a reassuring conclusion. “Let’s talk about something different.”

“Like what?”

“Like what we should do with Star*Gaze if Artie doesn’t come around.”

I sat up a little straighter, my whole self, brain and body and soul, feeling bruised and tender to the touch. Focusing on a question felt good, though. “You mean like should we try to find an indie label who would do it?”

“Or start a vanity label to do it ourselves to avoid the legal complications?”

“I hadn’t thought of that.” The major label clauses that gave them certain kinds of exclusivity and control on both us as musicians and the music we wrote were a perpetual concern, but there were ways around it if you were clever.

“Or do we let it go?”

My reflex was, of course, defensive. “I can’t believe you’re suggesting that.”

Bart shrugged. “I’m not suggesting it. I’m just pointing out it is one of the options. Shelve it.”

I found myself considering it, trying the idea on for size. “But it’s good.”

“Even though you hate performing it?”

God, I was uncomfortable all of a sudden. “I do not hate performing it.”

He waited a beat. “Now’s not the time to unpack that.” Which was his way of saying he disagreed with me but wasn’t going to argue about it. “How do you feel?”

“Slightly less fragile than I did two hours ago,” I said. “Slightly.”

He nodded. “Well, that’s something.”

(Another hit from 1991. This one was hitting the radio while we were in South America. -d)


  • steve says:

    “What was uncomfortable, as usual, was the idea that they were talking amongst themselves to determine what to do with me.”

    You mean like you were talking with Carynne and maybe Colin about how Ziggy was doing like two episodes ago? Or like how you and Colin talked about Brad, or you and Brad talked about Colin, or, you know, how FRIENDS talk about their FRIENDS because they CARE ABOUT THEM? Like that, maybe?

  • G says:

    Now that’s a whole issue to stress over. Where to go when the tour is over. Maybe different people have different expectations. I see a possibility of stressful conversations ahead, but why speak trouble into existence, right? Right.

    While I’m glad that your friends rally around you, I really would like to get to a time when they don’t really have to do so. It would be nice to see. I think we had flashes of that at some point sometime.

  • s says:

    I agree with steve. Your friends are looking out for you because they love you. I know you can’t help your gut reaction to it, and the way your mind is functioning right now probably means you can’t reason with yourself about it, but try, if you can. They aren’t trying to hurt you. They aren’t talking trash about you, they are talking about how someone they love is hurting and how they can help fix it. Please try not to get your feelings hurt over it.

    I had kind of thought about where you would go after the tour, but I assumed it would be rehab and likely not far from Ziggy. Going back to Allston never entered my mind… Let’s be real, neither Ziggy’s nor the Allston house has what you need when you immediately return “home.” You need to get clean. You need to rest. You need to let your hand heal the rest of the way. You need self care, desperately. But I worry about you being isolated like Ziggy was in rehab. I’m not sure either of you could handle that again.

    You need your friends to help you figure this out.

  • Cecilia R says:

    The tour will be over soon, then you can focus on getting better :< hang on!

  • Lenalena says:

    Where the fuck is Ziggy while you’re having a breakdown?

  • Aunt Muriel says:

    It could be worse — imagine if your bio-dad was along for the tour.

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