This post is a little more blog-style than usual. Just back from Flagstaff and facing the seven hours of class I'm about to give...
So, after drinking beer and watching YouTube until sunrise with CX Kidtronik, Frosty and Kwame in a hotel room in PHX, the cab came to take me away. I was drunk and was continually messing up English greetings. I said, for instance, good evening. They would say, good morning, drunkard. Like Christopher Lane said when I left, everything resets when you sleep. Unless you don’t sleep, then you’re yesterdayman in a today world.
- Here are some of the videos we were watching to distract you from reading the rest of this post. They are very intellectual.
- Indian Thriller
- Lego Thriller
- Cuba hitchhiking
- Year 2000 music
- James Brown interview
- Stevie Wonder on the Talk Box
I spent all of Earth Day in an empire of airports. I probably slept with my mouth open. After snow flurries in Flag, it was near-rain in LA. Only when landing in DF did it warm up again. Metaphor what you will.
So what was it like? Euphoria tornado beer forest caffeine remix handshake cellphone performance word collapse. It reminds me what Derrick Brown was saying on stage at the show, how good it feels to meet genuinely kind people. Writing that doesn’t seem to convey the right idea. But right from Lane’s friend Colby at the airport the first time, I met a lot of great people in that 72 hours.
Coming into Flag, we didn’t make one single stop before we hit El Charro café on San Francisco. The kids from Brooklyn were looking for nachos and margaritas. A cultural experience, basically. The place kills, as it always has. American-Mexican chiles rellenos and sopapillas... the rest of the night was spent between the minivan, Aaron Johnson’s apartment, Day’s Inn, my sister’s house, the south side, etc.
The next day I picked up the books from the printer on the east side. Thanks go out to Jim for doing an amazing job. Right away I started stuffing and addressing envelopes: all of you that ordered last week will be getting the goods in the next couple days. Let me know if it takes longer. Now, what books are left are here in Cuernavaca, or sitting in a series of boxes across Arizona.
The soundcheck was hectic but was the chance to see everyone under one roof after months of planning: Saul, Derrick, Buddy, Lane, Aaron, Frosty, CX, Kwame, the Orpheum crew, volunteers, etc. Saul is a kind, calm and focused man. It was really interesting talking with him. Then Derrick, Buddy and I hit up the Black Bean, which is a strange sort of ritual everytime Derrick comes into town. Except now they have tequila shots and Derrick has to eat tiny, baby-bird bites. We should have combined the two. It was great to see Buddy again, it had been a couple years. The two of them are on tour in a rented Mustang.
I ate lasagne with my family and generally was cold even inside the house. Then Biskit, Leena, Jewel and Melinda showed up, exploding the place. We all left to the Orpheum, Jewelinda voltron chaos bliss. The show was very, very good. I think I got to see more people on the sidewalk before hand than any other time. I went on a little after nine, shouting ernest gibberish. My set went very quickly, afterwords some people said they expected more, but that is what the show called for. I forgot to say a lot of things that I meant to. Like a shout out to Kingman High School and Sedona Red Rock. Ooops. I’m not sure if Flagstaff realized that the dinosaurs really, really are coming back. Joke’s on them.
Buddy and Derrick have both evolved since I last saw them, both of them are playing with music now, and I thought it worked very well. I had of course heard a lot about Saul’s performances, and knew his work, but it was the first time seeing the two together. It seems like the three of them (Saul and the band) did exactly what they wanted to do, smoothly. Trying to describe the mix of musical genres that they span would only make it sound like a soundbit-laden fusion band, of which they are the opposite. A lot of bands combine sounds in a very intellectual, intentional way, which never works as well as realizing that at one time Bad Brains were playing rap, punk and reggae all at the same time and there’s really no reason for further “innovation” or pseudo-creations of genre-combos. Music is one. It all just flows, as it should.
Flagstaff was euphoric and looking for an afterparty. There was some confusion at the Orpheum and things scattered a bit. It happens, maybe as it should.
Would it be overly dramatic to call the experience life-changing? Of course. But that's just fine. The night reminded me how much I love so many people that I'm now far from, and how much I owe so many of those people. Jesica reminded me how important high school shows are. All of it together reminded me that I can't wait to tour again.
Thanks to Christopher Lane for the idea and the opportunity, thanks to Aaron Johnson for making it happen. Thanks to everyone for coming out, everyone who bought one of the new books, and everyone that said hi. I’ll see you in July.