Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Killing Time In NYC


A lot of people in the bay area have been writing us recently asking if we don't love them anymore. I guess it may come off that way since we've been having less and less chances to play hometown shows. I assure you that Oakland will always be the city I call my true home, the setting for the vast majority of my important memories, and the place that I know is most densely filled with those who care for me and my band and our music. But if I had to choose a second home from all the places I've been fortunate enough to visit, I would doubtlessly choose New York City.

Our succession of shows with lostprophets ended at Irving Plaza about 10 days ago. After the show we took up residency on the couch and floor of my old friend, Emily's Brooklyn apartment. She lives in Williamsburg which is essentially a hipster's paradise. Tons of cute artsy cafes and restaurants and bookstores and art spaces and bars are mixed about amongst aging warehouses and apartments, funeral homes and delis, embroidery shops and furniture stores. Its the sort of place where the most packed bars are the ones with no sign out front and the record stores are playing Antony and The Johnsons over their speakers. Not to say I'm proclaiming myself to be a hipster or anything, but I was excited to have our days off between tours land in a place where every person and establishment is unique. You just can't find that everywhere in this country.

Emily's apartment is only a few blocks away from the L Train which delivered me fresh into Manhattan's Union Square each afternoon and brought us back a little less sober early each morning. I tend to enjoy my wine and whiskey more than usual every time we visit NY but this time we not only landed there on halloween weekend, but also just in time for the CMJ festival which brings out hundreds of bands and music industry folks for five packed days of shows at venues all over the city. These two events may be helpful in explaining how Joey and I ended up in the 5th floor of a classroom building at NYU at one AM last saturday, or how we shook Noel Gallagher's hand in a hotel bar.

This last week was like an ending scene in some epic fantasy movie. All the characters from the past year came out of the woodwork and greeted us. There was The Format at a mexican restaurant and the Matches at a village bar, Matt who produced our record for drinks and a movie,, and Josh who took our promo shots at breakfast. At our show, old friends from labels we had met with earlier in the year, and even relocated bay area folks we hadn't seen in forever came out to see us. And there were many hugs and drinks had by all.

This stay was one of those times where I just kept asking myself, "Holy Shit! How did I end up on the path that led me here?" Sitting on the stoop of a Brooklyn apartment handing out candy to tiny trick or treaters, riding the subway in full face paint, meeting old friends in bars in the village, getting back to that rad coffee shop in greenpoint and sitting for hours, making out under the arch in washington square park, seeing the Cardigans acoustic, stumbling upon awesome new bands that I've never heard of, finding my 'new favorite restaurant' every day....... I know all my blog postings end up as lists of my most recent bewilderements... I do tend to get very listy, I know they are unfocused, but such is my memory out here, Its a constant slideshow of new interesting images and people...

We just stopped at a gas station outside of Detroit and some metalheads outside asked me about our band, how I like the Michigan weather?, How is it getting out of the van every day 500 miles from where I was last night... I told them I'm used to it, how days blend together out here and you grow to accept your fate, like a dog who's master is at work all day. I just hope that I never cease to be overwhelmed with that feeling of amazement as I stare out of the window, I hope these images and memories that I shuffle through as I write these journals don't become watered down with time.....

Of all the places we pass through in this country I think have the most difficult time leaving New York. I'll admit to my infatuation, but now its time to let the city and the people and places there fade behind our van and trailer as we do with each city, each day. Time to bury my New York self somewhere close to the surface, where I can dig it up every couple months when we return. Time to see what the rest of the country has in store for us this time around...


Epilogue: (11/8/06)

Sitting at a truck stop Waffle House I hear a good ol' boy at the counter say to his clearly working class cohorts, "Man I wish George W Bush would walk in here right now so I could tell him what I think. Talking 'bout immigration and the war in Iraq. He's a talker man, but... he's not doing anything." His buddies nod in agreement and I would bet they voted for him in the last couple elections. I swear I'm feeling the tide of discontent rising. The day after election day, here we California kids are passing through the heart of America where for the first time in years a leadership of checks and balances has been voted back in place. Can I declare that the pendulum has reached the extent of its arc? May we once again begin to tumble back into the fundamentels that we've been told this country was found upon?