“Your new manager is pretty great, you know that?” Courtney said to Ziggy. “The man first of all is a walking Rolodex, and second of all, not an apparent slimewad.”
“I’ve liked him so far,” Ziggy said with a small shrug.
“Anyway, I spoke to Mandy. She’d heard about Galani’s parents but didn’t know what had happened to her. She’ll take her in. She’ll even go and get her. The thing we don’t know is where she is or how to get in touch with her.”
“I know who would know.” Ziggy gave a nod. “Janessa. Here, take her number.”
“Is it okay if I call her?”
“Yeah. She’s cool. Explain who you are and that you’re trying to help out another, what did you call it, Dar’? Member of the FOBD Club.”
Courtney snorted with laughter. “Fucked Over By Digger Club?”
I was startled into laughter myself. “Yes. Can you read my mind or something?”
“I just know how you think, big brother,” she said with a grin. “Zig, I think it might be helpful if she heard it from you, though.”
“All right.” He kept hold of my hand. “Lead me to the phone.”
Puddle in the Road was just starting their set, but back in the production office it was quiet enough to use the phone. I discovered I didn’t really want to hear Ziggy talk to Janessa and I waited in the hallway, where I could hear the echoes of the bass and drums without really being able to make out what song they were playing.
I tapped my fingers on my thigh: I could hear a completely different song in those echoes. This is how my mind works sometimes. I’ll be in the shower or wherever and it will be like there’s a song I can barely hear through the noise and that’s the song I’m trying to make into reality. The exhilarating thing about working on the soundtrack stuff alone at Remo’s was that I get pretty close. I could use synthesizer sounds and effects and computer sequencing to go from hearing something in the shower in the morning to having a half-decent track for people to hear by that night.
Writing music for a band was a little different because it had to stay within certain parameters, but with Moondog Three I knew what we “could” sound like. I had a strong understanding of what our sonic range and timbres were, and of what Ziggy might do. The surprise always came in what Ziggy actually did, but one of the reasons it worked so well, why it felt magical at times, was because when he took things in some musical direction I didn’t expect it was so often wonderful. You could hear it.
They startled me coming out of the office. “Everything good?” I asked.
“Everything’s copacetic,” Courtney said. “I’ll give you the details later. Right now shouldn’t you be getting ready to go on?”
“Yeah.” Among other things I needed to change my shoes, hand my laminates to Flip, and make sure I’d brushed my hair or I’d never get the post-show knots out of it. I’d done a vocal warmup before soundcheck but I should do a quick one of those, too. I took Ziggy’s hand and pulled him with me to the green room.
He was quiet, sticking with me without getting in my way, watching and listening. And maybe thinking about all the things I’d said.
My mind, on the other hand, had gone blank, like all I could think about was the show. I was aware I was shutting out everything else without being aware of what exactly I was shutting out.
I didn’t want him to think I was shutting him out, though. “Hey.”
“We’re hopping into the buses and heading north as soon as we’re done here tonight.”
“I know.” He slipped his hand into mine again. “I’ll say goodbye before you go, though, okay?”
“O-kay,” he said, and pushed me in the direction of Flip.
A little while later I found Ziggy in the hallway with Fran and Clarice, the three of them singing three-part harmony of some gospel hymn and then cracking up laughing when one of them–Ziggy, I think–got their part wrong. We warmed up a little more together after that.
Normally I do not get butterflies in my stomach before a show. Maybe on opening night. Not usually. But that night it feltl like everything was taking forever, like the span between when Puddle in the Road came off the stage and when we were in the wings waiting to go on was longer than usual. Maybe it was and I just didn’t notice the delay and assumed it was in my head.
But it was probably in my head. We usually went out as a group and took our places, prompting a cheer, and then Remo came by himself prompting a bigger cheer. We always stood there for a while after the lights went down, letting the audience find their voice before we took the stage. It sounded like a Friday night crowd that night, energetic and ready to be rocked.
Good. I didn’t give a fuck if the place wasn’t sold out as long as the people who showed up really wanted to be there.
And then it was stage time. Stage time is different from all other times. It’s like a parallel universe, actually, and all stage time stitches together into one continuum. All road time does that, too. And all home time. This is how it can be that a musician who goes out on the road for four months can come home and the day they left can seem like yesterday. There’s a way in which it was.
It was a good show but it felt to me like the band was tired, like the energy came from the crowd and pumped them up but I could feel the fatigue at the edges. I don’t know whether it was they knew we were almost done with this leg, so they were letting it show (to me, not the audience), or if this was why Remo only put them on the road six or seven weeks at a time before a break. Or if I was projecting my own lack of sleep onto everyone else. I don’t know. It was a perfectly fine show with some very fine moments. Given that it was one where we weren’t deviating from the default set list at all, there wasn’t anything unusual to remember.
When I came off stage Flip traded my guitar for a towel and my laminates as usual, and I slung the lanyard over my neck then toweled my face as usual. When I pulled the towel away, though, I had a faceful of Ziggy. A kiss, and then he pulled back, his eyes bright.
“You’re really great, you know that?” he said, and it didn’t sound like something he’d been rehearsing saying.
“I get by,” I said with a laugh.
I grabbed a shower because Flip said there was time to, and then I grabbed Ziggy to say goodbye.
“I’m really, really glad you came to Los Angeles,” I said. “And not because of whatever happens because of the radio thing we did. And not because I made a good impression on your manager.”
We were in a back hallway that had already been cleared of gear.
“Ditto,” Ziggy said. “You know when I was glad I came?”
“When Janessa showed up–”
“When Janessa showed up!”
“Sh, sh, let me finish.” He held my hands. That seemed to be a good way to get me to focus these days. “When she said to me, ‘I see why you picked him,’ or something like that, do you remember?”
“Yeah.” I remembered the words a little differently, but I knew what moment he was talking about.
“And you didn’t freak out when she said that. That was the moment I knew.”
“That you’re okay with there being an ‘us’ again, whatever ‘us’ means.”
Huh. “I was more than okay with there being an ‘us’ when we spent a week in your old apartment.”
“Yes, but then I went and messed it up.”
“And I am pretty sure it was me who was trying to make an ‘us’ when I asked you to come to Christmas.”
“Yes.” He was nodding. “The other moment where I was really, really sure was when Barrett told you it was obvious to him I wasn’t giving up on a relationship with you.”
“Uh huh. I felt that one, too. Instead of being freaked out that you’d talked about me with your manager I felt…validated.”
“That’s why I think…” He took a deep breath. “I think I finally understand.”
“That underneath it all your biggest fear is that I won’t defend the ‘us’ as much as I actually will.”
“Will you?” I asked, while I tried to figure out if that was true. Was that my biggest fear?
“I think I will,” he said, “but I do think that where we go wrong sometimes is we don’t agree on what ‘us’ is, which makes it hard to know what to defend.”
“That makes sense. But Zig. What is ‘us’?”
“We’re not going to answer that question while standing in the back hallway of a civic center,” he said.
1. Did you see the fanworks challenge prompt for this month?
2. Reviews! SO CLOSE. Come on, folks, we just need ONE MORE review on volume 3 and THREE on volume 7. As soon as we get there I’ll release the scene…
3. Remember to look at all the awesome memes!
4. Pre-order the volume 8 ebook now at the $2.99 price! It goes up after it launches on Nov. 10th: Pre-order links: Amazon • Apple iTunes/iBooks • Smashwords • Barnes & Noble• Kobo
5. LAUNCH CHATS!!
• Chat with Daron: November 10 8-9pm in the chat room here on the site. (See the popup in the lower right corner of your browser screen!)
• Also Nov 10th: ctan will livestream from 9-10pm eastern for book launch of Vol. 8. (Direct Youtube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0vzienFR-g)
Post questions to be answered in the chats by either of us here or on the Facebook RSVP page!
(Yep. Another one from 1991… A catchy one. Poor Robyn struggling to hear himself here, afraid he’s flat, and he manages to hit his high note every single chorus. -d)