171. No More Words

Of all the parts of the country I’d been in, Texas was the strangest-feeling yet. We were due to stay three nights in a motel on the edge of Austin, the first night to sleep off the drive, the second night after the Spring Weekend concert at University of Texas, and the third night after the show in San Antonio which was maybe two hours drive from there.

My whole feeling about Texas was that beady-eyed, big-hatted men were watching me through binoculars with shotguns in their laps. Austin was supposed to be a funky town, college-y, artsy, yadda yadda, but where we were staying outside of town was utterly suburban. After the let-it-all-hang-out attitude of New Orleans, I didn’t feel confident about anything here, not even how to read the cultural signals that might have led me to a few moments relief and blind bliss in the hands (or mouth) of a stranger.

Most of what I remember of Texas is the numbing act, me and Ziggy avoiding each other, and when we couldn’t avoid each other, the false smiles, the forced camaraderie, even the act on stage, the pretend enthusiasm for one another’s moves and mime-like mugging and grimacing.

That first night in Austin, I rushed from the stage after the last tune, drenched from the oven-like heat and drained from the huge, pumped, frat-boy crowd, and puked twice and then cried with my head against the cool porcelain of the toilet backstage.

Christian declared it heatstroke, made me drink half a Gatorade, and I made it back up there to fake my way through a rote encore.

Back at the hotel, Chris’s big-brother mode continued, and the two of us sat up in the hotel lobby drinking vending machine sodas and talking until almost morning. The upshot of this was I felt marginally better and Christian felt I was maybe a little more cracked than he had previously given me credit for. (“But a talented motherfucker,” as he put it, “and that gets you a lot of slack in my book.”)

The next afternoon I learned something that surprised me, which was that Kevin was a kickass harmonica player. We sat by the pool with a guitar and harmonica and Bart on the hand drums playing the blues until we were sunburned.

San Antonio had a more civilized venue, an air-conditioned music hall. I remembered to drink plenty of water and my stomach behaved. But the show was more of me playing the part and stumbling around, waiting for it to be over.

That night, while not sleeping and listening to the sound of the motel breathing and the whisk of cars on the highway, the night before we hit the road for Colorado, something began to sink in. Waiting for it to be over.

The tour had four more dates, but they were distant, and spread out over the course of almost ten days: Boulder, San Francisco, Eugene, and Seattle. There were 1200 miles between Boulder and San Francisco, and about a thousand between Boulder and here. Days and days of driving and being trapped with him and waiting for it to be over.

I must have made some noise of frustration or despair because Bart said from the other bed, “Are you okay?”

“I can’t keep this up.”

He knew what I was talking about–every one of us did. If the fakery wasn’t fucking obvious to the audience that was only because they believed in the dream world illusion we took on. “So talk to him, have a fight, or something. If you do nothing it won’t change.”

“It won’t work though.” I sat up, holding my head in the dark. “I’ve tried. I can’t talk to him or fight with him. Because he’s like not real. It’s like we’re not even speaking the same language. It’s like we can’t even keep track of what’s wrong, it’s so wrong.”

“Well, fuck. I can’t stand it anymore, either.”

I heard cloth rustling and his voice moving. He clicked on the light by the window and was pulling on a pair of shorts.

“What are you doing?”

He didn’t answer but he put his glasses on and went out the door.

“Oh fuck.” Then I was looking for my jeans and putting them on and trying to follow him.

When I got out into the hall, he was standing in front of Ziggy’s door with his hands on his hips, looking at his own bare feet.

“Did you knock?”

He looked at me and I could see that he hadn’t.

“What are you waiting for?”

“I’m trying to think of what I’m going to say,” he said, holding one arm by the elbow and frowning.

“See what I mean?” I said, my eyelids feeling heavy. “You see?”

“Shit,” he agreed, and we went back to bed.


  • Jude says:

    Tiiiiime to find a new vocalist.

    • daron says:

      If only it were that easy. Even at my most deluded I know this kind of shot at fame doesn’t come twice. Changing singers is like changing horses in the middle of a race. I’m riding him as much as he’s riding me.

    • Bill Heath says:

      Sears catalog does not carry charismatic singers with talent and sex appeal.

      The singer is the “front man.” He or she is the public’s image of the group.

      Daron is absolutely right. He cannot change singers without destroying what is M3. So, for now, the choices are

      A. Figure out how to make it work with Ziggy.

      B. Close up shop.

      Those are the “for now” choices. M3 can go into hiding for a year and come back out with a new singer. I’m sure Mills will back that. Not.

  • Cynthia says:

    I agree with Jude. Its been a long time coming.

  • Emma says:

    Gahhhhh. Now even Bart understands.
    That’s two band members that feel alienated from Ziggy.
    I can’t see things going too well.

  • As I mentioned on Twitter, I must be the only one more annoyed at Daron than at Ziggy. Ziggy appears to have backed off and is doing things Daron’s way and is accommodating him seemingly at every turn. And Daron’s response to this is… to continue to be suspicious, to pull away, and to wreck the band to boot?

    Uh-uh. It takes two to mess something up. Daron, you’re not off the hook here. Meet him halfway.

    • sephydoll says:

      OMG thank you for this comment!!! I felt really alone until I read your post. I feel exactly the same way as you. I am so frustrated with Daron at this point, I have a hard time keeping objective thoughts.
      arrrrrgh!!! Unless I completely missed something in the story, Daron needs to grow up a bit, me thinks (so does Ziggy, but I think he is trying a bit harder than Daron. Daron seems to be carrying his scorn around and is not trully willing to forgive and try for peace).

      • ctan says:

        Ziggy may be a manipulative, immature attention whore, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t right when he said Daron needs to be more honest with himself (and by extension the people he’s in relationships with) about what he wants.

      • *high-fives*

        We can be the ‘grow up Daron’ club charter members then. 🙂

        • Janie Friedman says:

          Can I join the club, too? Pleeeese? I am really rooting for Daron, but my god, he’s managing to ruin it all by himself. Ziggy is very correct that D needs to be honest with himself. About a lot of things.

          • ctan says:

            LOL! This club may need T-shirts and membership cards soon. 😉

            Maybe Daron needs to learn how to sabotage his tendency to self-sabotage.

    • daron says:

      I have to wonder if my ultimatum didn’t finally sink in or what… maybe to both of us. Now if I can just get my feet under me while he’s not screwing around with me constantly, maybe I can finally figure out what I actually want from him, if anything.

  • Sara Winters says:

    I don’t even know what to say because…yeah. Good luck?

  • s says:

    I’m soooo in the irritated with Daron club! I love you but a BIG part of this is your fault.

    Don’t kick him out. He’s as much a part of the success as you are, maybe even more because let’s be real, the singer makes the band. That’s the name and face and voice everyone knows. Sorry.

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