We arrived in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the wee hours of the morning after the gig in Syracuse, at a hotel where the night clerk was very unprepared for the entire entourage to descend. As such it took an hour or two to get the rooms sorted out. A couple of members of the crew fell asleep in the lobby. All I can say is if you don’t want scruffy-looking, disreputable rock and rollers passed out in your lobby, have their rooms ready.
Flip and I took a room together. We were going to be in this hotel for nearly a week. The next day was a day off, then two shows at the Worcester Centrum, then another day off, followed by two shows at the Hartford Civic Center, which was only an hour away, tops.
What was weird was that meant we were playing four shows in New England only 50 miles apart from each other, but we weren’t playing Providence or Boston. That struck me as strange.
Flip snored, but not consistently, and if I put a pillow over my head I conked out anyway. I had planned to sleep well into our day off but I found myself kind of restless and awake about five hours later, meaning I was up in time to have breakfast. So I did. And then I hunted down Waldo to nag him about tickets and he told me his “goddamned niece” (Carynne) had already been up his ass about the subject. In other words there were plenty of tickets and backstage passes to be had if I had anyone who wanted to show up.
Then I called up Colin and Christian and tried to see not only if they wanted to come to the show but if they wanted to go out tonight. I had forgotten that it was April 8, therefore the start of Hell Week for Colin, who would basically be working nonstop until April 15th tax filings were done. But Chris and I got talking and a plan formed pretty quickly.
And then I paged Ziggy, just cuz.
Christian drove out in the van that evening and picked up me and Flip and Martin and we went to Providence. We ate at an Italian restaurant on Federal Hill called The Blue Grotto, and then we went out to see some bands. The discussion of what club to hit happened over dinner, with me poring over The New Paper (not the newspaper, The New Paper) looking for what options we had.
“Can we, like, go to your old stomping grounds?” Flip asked.
“No, because my old stomping grounds are mostly closed,” I said. “Lupo’s is gone. The Living Room is gone. Those were my two mainstays. Although, huh, I see AS220 is still around. The Rocket.” There was also a place I’d heard mentioned often by bands up our way–Club Babyhead–but I’d never been there.
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t remember now whether it was the Rocket or Babyhead we went to. I don’t remember the bands we saw–all local acts, all very loud. What I remember is, well, having a good time with the guys. The music wasn’t that memorable, I guess, and we just drank and enjoyed not being at work, not being responsible for anything. Chris stayed dry and sober, our designated driver, and when the night was over he drove us back to Worcester.
I fell asleep in the van on the way back to Worcester. That’s pretty typical of me in any moving vehicle, especially on short sleep.
What was weird was that I woke up in my own bed in Allston.
I confess I freaked out a little bit. Like: how the fuck did I get here? When you realize you don’t remember something you aren’t sure at first how much you don’t remember. I was like: did I get kicked off the tour and have a nervous breakdown and the sedation just wore off? Or did the tour end and I just don’t remember it? Last thing I remember is Syracuse, and…
Right. I remembered having dinner in Providence with the guys. And loud music and Chris driving. And I filled in the idea that I must have ridden all the way home with Chris, which as it turns out was correct. I know myself, sometimes, I guess.
Still, to verify that I wasn’t crazy, I went downstairs and looked for him. He was in the kitchen, frying an egg. He had his hair back in a bandana and was wearing sweatpants that were too short for him, showing his skinny ankles. “Oh, hey, I was about to come wake you up. If you need to be at soundcheck by two we’ll need to go pretty soon.”
I blinked. “How do you know when my soundcheck is?”
“Flip told me last night.”
“Ah.” I must have slept through that part. “Thanks for the driving.” I stretched. “It felt really good to relax.”
He nodded. “You want an egg?”
I looked into the pan. “I don’t think my stomach is awake yet. Maybe some toast. Here, I’ll make you some, too.”
So I put two slices of bread into the toaster and I felt useful.
We sat at the small kitchen table and ate without speaking. When we were done Chris looked up at me and said, “So how’s the tour going, anyway?”
“Great. The shows have been amazing.”
“Saw you on TV the other day.”
“You were awake?”
“They showed a little clip on MTV News or Entertainment Tonight, can’t remember which.” He seemed to be looking me over as he said it, but I didn’t know what he was looking for.
“Do I look all right?”
“You’ve lost weight.” He shrugged.
“I’ve only been gone two weeks, I can’t have lost that much.”
He shrugged again. “Carynne called a little earlier. She can’t make it tonight. Told me to tell you. She’ll try to get to one of the Hartford shows.”
“Okay.” I had a vague memory that she had thought she would be in New York when we were there, too–with one of her bands?–but we hadn’t crossed paths so I’d assumed she’d gotten busy. “You doing okay?”
“I don’t know,” he said.
That was a pretty concerning thing to hear Christian say, given everything he’d told me about being a recovering addict. “Can I help?”
“Dunno. I think I’m just bored. And boredom opens the door to feeling like a pile of dogshit. Colin’s barely here, your sister’s barely here. Everyone’s got something to do right now but me.”
“What do you want to do?”
“I dunno, man. Even if I started another band, it takes time for anything to happen, and people are busy, it wouldn’t be like that would occupy me day after day until it took off. I don’t know. I know I’m sitting around with my thumb up my ass too much.”
My first thought was, dude, you need a girlfriend, but I didn’t say that. My second thought was: “You want me to see if I can get you on the Nomad crew somehow?”
“Oh. You know I hadn’t even thought of that. I was just bitching at you generally.”
“Let me ask. I told you, this isn’t a druggy group. Alcohol, yeah, but we don’t even have heavy weed smokers. Too much paranoia about logistics and the law. So you wouldn’t be tempted. And you got along great with the guys last night.”
Christian’s usual macho thing was to refuse help at least once. “Well–” he started.
“Come on,” I cut him off. “You’re coming to the show. Let me ask.”
“Okay.” He looked at the clock on the stove. “Now seriously, we should hit the road in like 20 minutes if you want to go by the hotel first.”
“If I grab a shower and change my clothes here, I won’t need to.”
“Good thing you live here, then,” Christian said with a smile. “Because my clothes wouldn’t fit you.”
(This is the last Thursday story post until September! Thank you so much to all the fans who will be filling in with fun stuff on Thursdays this summer while I cut back to posting only on Tuesdays while I try to finish writing two other novels. There are still slots open if any of you want to jump in with something you think readers of DGC would enjoy! -ctan)
(This song was at #19 on the date this chapter took place. -d)