June 21, 2004

THE BALLAD OF EL GOODO

I know from TV and movies that the desert is where you go when you wanna dissappear, and that whether you like it or not, this is where you go when you go crazy.

Last time I was in the desert, I was 17 years old, I was two weeks out of high school, I was driving an unregistered 82 Econoline, with no drivers liscense; I was moving from Minnesota to Los Angeles. In Texas, we started doing a little trucker speed to counter the drain of 110 degree heat, and stayed spooked for the next three days. We drove all night, listened to Sonic Youth EVOL on cassette on repeat and I cried because I had no idea what I was doing. We got through AZ, and wound up at my friend's uncles in Indio, CA at 4 am, scaled the fence and floated in their pool , fully clothed, for what seemed like hours. There was a dead frog floating with us. I thought it was an omen.
Being a teenager is fucking hard. I just wanted to be free.

Yesterday, watching the desert unroll backwards from the loft, all I thought about the desert is I bet there are a lot of bones out there -- settlers, dinosaurs, hitchhikers, people who knew too much. I made lists of my favorite desert movies -- Paris Texas, Rueben & Ed and Three Amigos. I tried to keep linear thoughts, make little lists, rather than give in to the core-rattling last week of tour crazy think. I did the math: I have only been home 16 days since March 16th. I am on the fray. It's all half sleep and bad dreams, extended digression in my brain over things like, say Despite being the most visible female band going, The Donnas cannot be part of the feminist revolution, because they are willingly part of the machine . I listened to Big Star #1 three times in a row trying to figure out if they were pulling a Van Morrison and trying pass the God songs off as girl songs -- summer hymnals faked out as summer lust, grace and gratitude getting a romantic dust-up. I think I am right, they are secret Christians . I started thinking about if I could not only build, but live in a hay-hut. Started thinking about living in the desert.

Tuscon is sultry, quiet, unassuming. It's creepiness, it's sinister-bent, as a city, is passive. It has to do with the hot wind and the trains and the strip malls. It's the kind of place you get kidnapped.

Last night we played with a great band, maybe best band of the tour, they had a cello, and were like a really angry Calexico. Travis Morrison did middle slot, doing original works and highly spirited covers, my favorites being Christina's "Dirrty" and a song from Fiddler on the Roof. The Spoon song was pretty tight too. He took a call on his cell phone mid-set and it was actually funny. Trav has front person blood in him, makes him able to get away with a lot that us normal people cannot. You need a certain audacity to roll like he does. People love entertainers. I do not know if indie rock is the place for him. What he is doing demands a wider circuit. Like day-long jam band festivals, or outdoor street fairs, or Lollapalooza. I think normal people really will love what Travis is doing. Punk kids, with thier bear trap minds and ironic shunting, this is not for them.

Not sure how much updating will be done for the rest of the tour. Today we go to Phoenix, then 15 hours overnight to Ft.Collins, then to Denver, then overnight 10 hours to St. Louis, then overnight - five hours - we drive home. Any update I have is sure to be scary at best- "Spent 17 hours in fetal ball listening to nothing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and Deerhoof..." Say a tiny unicorn prayer for me, and I will hit you up soon.

Posted by Jessica at June 21, 2004 03:59 PM | TrackBack