719. Sax & Violins

(Video chat tonight to talk about the Kickstarter! Submit your questions on Facebook, in the YouTube stream chat room, or below! AND NOW WE’RE ONLY $150 from a backers-only chat with Daron! Only if we can get to $3,000 by 9pm EDT tonight!)

We’d been rehearsing for maybe a week when one day someone came to the loading dock during a break. Or maybe they’d been there for a while and waited until we were in a break to try to get our attention. Bart went to answer it while the rest of the guys wandered around to refill their coffee (Chris) or grab a smoke break outside (Marvelle, who swore he was trying to quit) or visit the restroom (Bradley).

When Bart didn’t come back right away I started walking across the brick floor to find out who he was talking to. I heard my name being taken in vain. Then he let the guy in, a slender figure carrying a sax case.

“Mitch!” I shook his hand and we pulled each other into one of those one-armed back-pat hugs. He was sporting a narrow, well-cropped goatee. “What are you doing in town?” I was fully expecting him to say he was here to play a gig and was just dropping by to say hello.

“I’m checking out a rumor you’re hiring a horn section and decided I better come down here and find out personally why you didn’t call me first,” he said. His voice was light, half-joking, but his face was concerned. By concerned I mean kinda pissed off but also kinda worried, as if maybe there was a reason I hadn’t called him, like was there was something he should know that he didn’t? Like, uh–I don’t know–maybe he was worried that one time we slept together had made me decide not to call him?

“I haven’t called anybody yet,” I assured him. “We’re literally still figuring out whether we want live horns or if we can get by with keyboards. You want to help figure it out?”

“You bet.”

Some people might have thought it was weird for a guy to show up like that, but I didn’t. Getting gigs is all about being in the right place at the right time. Sometimes that place is at home by the phone, but sometimes it means putting yourself in the right place.

I introduced him to the rest of the band one at a time as I showed him The Hangar. Not surprisingly, he and Marvelle knew each other. Ziggy shook his hand but looked at him curiously, like I’d found an injured bird or rabbit outside and brought it in to see if it would be a good pet. (Ziggy often looked at people like that, you know.)

I hadn’t written horn charts yet, but I sent Tony to make a photocopy of the keyboard parts on a couple of songs, and when he brought them back I sat down and marked them up. Mitch looked over my shoulder while I did it.

“I’m not the world’s best sight-reader,” he said.

“This is in the wrong key for you anyway, isn’t it?” I said. “Just use it to get a general idea of the riffs and where to put them. I’m leaving it up to you to figure out the actual hits and fills. Have you heard this on the radio?”

I put the pre-recorded version of “Do It” on and let him hear it. His head nodded as he listened.

It takes a while to figure stuff out, to make a group of musicians fit together, especially while working out parts that were still changing. But I tried not to sweat it too much if things didn’t mesh right away.

I think I mentioned before that the songs on the album were recorded at various times and sometimes on different coasts. One thing that inadvertantly worked in our favor was that with all the different drummers that had been used, sometimes Marvelle picked it up right away but sometimes Bradley was the one who nailed it from the get-go.

A lone saxophone isn’t the same as a horn section but that day was enough to convince me that live horns were going to be a good idea. I didn’t make any commitments, but I asked Mitch to come back on the following Monday if he could. He said he would.

He stuck with us that night when the guys went out and then caught a cab when we went our separate ways at the end of the night.

Ziggy was clingy in the limo and bit me somewhat harder than necessary to get my attention. “Ow.”

“He likes you,” Ziggy said.

“I know,” I said. “He’s got a list of all the gay bars in Asia.”

“Oh, really. Has he got other continents, too?”

“Dunno. I’ll ask.” I slid my hand under Ziggy’s shirt so I could touch more of his skin. “Are you jealous?”

“Of course not,” he said. “I’m just not used to people being more attracted to you than to me.”

That made me laugh. I didn’t really think for one second that the jealous ran that direction but I played along. “You’re just intimidating. I’m the safer choice.”

“For a thirteen-year-old girl maybe. If he’s bar-hopping Asia, Mitch isn’t intimidated by the likes of me.”

“I think you’ve forgotten how intimidating you can be,” I said. “Nobody likes disappointing you, Zig.”

“Tsk. The only thing that’d disappoint me is if you’re too tired for sex tonight.”

“I am tired,” I admitted, but I was pretty sure under the surface we’d just had a conversation about Ziggy wanting exclusivity. Best to remind him of the primacy of his claim on me. “Never too tired if you’re on top, though.”

“Mm, good idea. Hey, let’s multitask.” He opened my jeans and set about trying to empty my balls with his mouth before we got to the apartment. (He succeeded.)

Update on tonight’s chat! A flurry of donations this morning to the Kickstarter means that as of 1pm we’re only $150 short of getting a chat with Daron tonight at 10pm after the video chat ends! Can we do it? Back now and maybe we can! Click here to pledge in the Kickstarter!

Video chat with Cecilia tonight from 9-10p Eastern US time, right here:

(And of course the video for today’s musical title:)


  • s says:

    Jealous Ziggy makes me grin stupidly. He’s too damn cute.

    Kudos, Daron, for not freaking out at the idea of possibly having Ziggy, Mitch, and Colin along for the tour. There was a time not so long ago when you were out of your mind having Ziggy, Colin, Matthew, and Jonathan in the same building for a couple of hours. Of course, maybe that thought hasn’t hit you yet…

    Here’s my question for the chat, even though I won’t be able to attend: Daron, are there any songs that you wrote that you ended up really not liking? For spoiler purposes, we can stick to M3 songs. I’ve heard many artists say they had a song that got requested so much or for whatever reason they just ended up really wishing they never wrote it.

    Sanders and I have a few other questions, but I don’t remember if those were supposed to be public or if I was supposed to email ctan about them. Hehe. It’s been a long and trying week.

    • daron says:

      Kudos, Daron, for not freaking out at the idea of possibly having Ziggy, Mitch, and Colin along for the tour.

      Wait what?

    • ctan says:

      Sanders and I have a few other questions, but I don’t remember if those were supposed to be public or if I was supposed to email ctan about them.

      Post them here or email them — but the earlier I get them today the more likely I’ll actually remember to answer them during the chat!

    • Bill Heath says:

      Things could get worse. So far, Mitch, Colin and Ziggy (and Carynne). Maybe Jordan comes along to tape some tracks, Jonathan joins them to report on the tour, Matthew joins the tour to photograph, and the possibilities are endless. And, if things coould get worse, they usually do.

      Ziggy-sense comes to the fore, far more reliable than Spidey-sense. If Ziggy wants exclusivity, Daron needs to put on a chastity belt and give the only key to Z-Man.

  • daron says:

    In other news GODDAMMIT PRINCE

    • s says:

      My heart…I’m crushed…

      FUCK YOU 2016!

    • sanders says:

      Joy Reid just did a fantastic, off-the-cuff analysis on MSNBC about why Prince mattered as a gender-performance artist and the impact he had on breaking down racial boundaries between rock and soul. Those are the things I’m going to always think about.

      I don’t know how to accept this anymore than I did Bowie’s passing, and in some ways, this hits deeper when I wasn’t sure anything could.

      • ziggy says:

        *burns down everything*

        • sanders says:

          Once the words “Prince died” set in, you were one of the first people I thought of. I don’t know why that moment of you listening to him in the bunk sticks with me as clearly as it does. I think it’s… you make sense to me because Prince exists and I grew up on his music and the way he pushed black and brown people who didn’t necessarily connect to Bowie or Annie Lennox to look at the world and rethink the ways we saw masculinity and gender play, sexuality, and what was provocative and radical. We’re both here and who we are because he was who he was.

          All these stories are coming out now from people close to him about just how generous a person he was and how quiet he kept it, the musicians and entertainers he offered financing, taking part in Yes We Code, private performances for kids. It’s amazing how much wasn’t widely known about him even after living in the spotlight for so long.

          • s says:

            Ziggy singing “I Would Die 4 U” tears me up every time I think about it. That scene was probably the beginning of my “I hate Jonathan” campaign.

            Anyway, Ziggy was one of the first people I thought of too. He’s had a rough year with his idols.

          • ziggy says:

            He cld also be inanely & insanely self-centered…but somehow made it work and inspired the people around him to stretch their own talents, mostly. Which is one reason he’s a role model for me. If I weren’t insanely self-centered at times I’d be dead ten times over. This world would have run me into the ground long ago.

            Damn. Was gonna link you to my favorite interview with Wendy & Lisa. From Out magazine. Looks like it’s offline now but a snippet of it is on Towleroad. They call Prince a “fancy lesbian.” http://www.towleroad.com/2009/04/prince-is-not-gay-but-he-is-a-fancy-lesbian/

            • sanders says:

              Funny, I think that interview was in the last paper copy of Out I read in a bookstore. Their description of him cracked me up.

              In the continued trend of MSNBC having great coverage yesterday, Rachel Maddow did a fantastic piece about Prince’s place in music and the kerfluffle over his “obscene” lyrics. I remember being in middle school and writing a paper on how horrible the PMRC was, mostly because I owned half the albums they directly went after and the Parental Advisory warnings were like a beacon to interesting things.

              Maddow also pointed out something I’d never noticed. Every album makes it clear that he produced, wrote, performed, and generally designed them, and played most of the instruments if not all of them on nearly every track. I can’t help thinking that allows him a little self-centeredness at the same time it points to possible control issues. On the other hand, it’s exactly what allowed him to push other musicians along, recognizing and highlighting their talents.

  • G says:

    Somebody is being really freakin’ selfish taking all of the legends away. And I thought of Ziggy and Daron all day, wondering how they are going to react to this one. Ziggy burning shit down? Yeah, I figured that.

  • Janie Friedman says:

    As always, can’t reply on mobile. Haven’t had a chance to mourn, yet. But here’s my Prince story.

    I went to Minneapolis Central High School. I was a Freshman in 79-80, and Prince came to play a free show. I had no clue who he was, so I ditched. Yep. Four years later I discovered him for myself and became a huge fan.

    I’m not as devastated as with Bowie, but it’s a near thing.

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