Skip forward to the early spring, then, to when things really began to happen. I was at work when the memo came around that Moondog Three’s album was no longer supposed to be shelved in the Local Rock section but in the Indie section, which was right next to the Local section but was definitely a step up in the world. Melissa, the woman who’d replaced me in the jazz section when they’d moved me to rock, had come and given me a high five. Michelle kept a copy of the memo for posterity. I found it hard not to check the bin every day to see if the copies that were there had been sold. I guess it wasn’t a random coincidence that this was when “Grenadier” went from being played on the “Local” rock shows to regular rotation on one of the commercial rock stations in town. We were getting some gigs in places like Syracuse and Troy, New York, and heard it on some of the college radio stations out that way. We were driving to one of those gigs the first time we heard it on the radio and Bart was screaming so much he almost drove off the road.
Christian took the whole thing a little more calmly–he’d been up this ladder once before with Highway Death/Miracle Mile and was cool about it. I started getting less sleep to work an earlier shift so we could rehearse almost every night. It was also a much longer commute to Newbury Street from Allston than it had been from the Fenway. On the other hand, it took a lot less time to get to rehearsal–in our own basement. When Andreas had come back from Belgium I’d moved in with Chris temporarily; he shared a big house with a couple other musicians. After I’d been there three weeks and they had found that I generally owned no clutter, didn’t mess up the kitchen, and could contribute equally to the rent, they decided I should stay. I had a bedroom on the second floor that was about the same size as the studio apartment I had left, and now I had people to talk to for a change. And you know what? I even liked it.
Things were nice and cool between me and Ziggy, and I liked that, too. No weirdness.
One night Watt came around with a couple of pizzas and a six pack, and he and me and Bart and Chris (Ziggy didn’t rehearse every night) sat down and chowed and talked. Watt and I could talk in a kind of short hand that I liked. He didn’t patronize us by explaining too much, but he didn’t leave us in the dark either. That night, after we had slowed down eating a bit, he started by saying:
“What would you think about doing a real small tour of the West Coast?”
“How small is small?” I asked.
“I mean, not very many dates, but pretty big dates.”
Bart put in, “Is there any reason not to?”
“I’ve kind of hooked up with this real buzz bin type band. Have you seen the video for ‘Tear Down the Wall’?” Watt pointed his beer bottle in the vague direction of the TV screen when he said it.
“Yeah, M.N.B., isn’t it?” I’d seen the video a bunch this week and was actually almost a little tired of it.
“Yeah, them. They’re setting up dates for some amphitheaters on the West Coast and need an opening act. I said I’d ask you first.”
“Fuck yeah, we’d open for them,” I said. Even if I was sick of the song.
Watt took a pull off his bottle of beer. “Tour probably won’t happen until the end of the summer, but I’ll see what I can do. ”
He went on to ask if we’d thought about making a video ourselves, the subject of the MNB tour closed for the moment. In Watt’s style we’d have an in depth conversation about that later, down to the minutest detail. He said some of his MTV pals had been making noises, and although it wasn’t a sure thing, it might be a worthwhile investment. Making a video was expensive, but there was money coming in, and… Then he asked if we thought he should try to make Candlelight a huge fucking hit and I told him to go ahead, knock himself out.