While Sarah is writing, I’m moving. My office to be exact. I’m three weeks into this move. I’m moving the office from downstairs to upstairs. Why is it taking me so long? I’ll tell you. This move is going to be different. I am not throwing the rules of Feng Shui to the wind. I am going to be ergonomically correct mentally stable. I will live out the rest of my days with peace of mind and body. What that means is that the 20 pounds of shit that used to fit in the ten pound bag of an old office now needs a 40 pound bag. There ain’t enough room. So I’m sticking to my guns and throwing out what I no longer need or use.
Enter the rolodex. The old one. The one from the band. From when I was a band. Thinking I’d keep all the unused cards from the old rolodex to put in my new, currently fabulous rolodex which is running out of cards, I actually went through the thing. Let me tell you something, old rolodexes should not be sifted through; they should be burned. The painful memories, the awkward moments, the embarrassments, the fights, the angers, the tears were all dredged up in that willful move to clean out the rolodex. You can’t believe the volume of contacts I had in that rolodex all there to support the dying effort that was my band: rehearsal studios, recording studios, sound people, amp stores, music stores, drug stores, tuners, luthiers, the flute doctor, vintage and hip clothiers, photographers, Apple downtown (the elevator bongs like the startup charm when you get to their floor), and the hundreds of bass players and drummers that were known as the “thundering herd of the CeLange rhythm section,” not because we were ever reminiscent of the great old Woody Herman, but because we couldn’t keep a single one on board for more than a season. Most of the people in the rolodex are no longer speaking to me. If they are, chances are I don’t want to speak to them. Going through that rolodex unleashed ten years of heartbreak that I had carefully beaten down into a small enough size to fit in a dark corner of my subconscious, never to surface until the after life when surely I would be carried to heaven on the back of St. Peter just for putting up with so much crap, exploitation, and disrespect.
There were some good memories, sure. When Genya Ravan’s card came up, I smiled. The first time I heard Genya sing on a Ten Wheel Drive LP, I was blown away and scared to death. Genya out-Januses Janus. I had no business even being on the same planet with her, let alone in the same business, doing the same thing. A few years later after we had asked her to produce our first CD, she came to see us at one of those horrible clubs on Bleecker Street that have sound restrictions. Putting sound restrictions on a Bleecker Street club is like gentrifying Beale Street in Memphis or closing down Maxwell Street in Chicago. Oh yeah, they did that too.
But you get the picture, I had totally missed the NYC scene. Nevertheless Genya Ravan was in the house and wouldn’t you know it my head was too out of the game to enjoy the mini triumph. I’d had to run down to CB’s to drag the bass player to our gig. He’d been sitting in in a pickup band for no money. In a shithole like CB’s no less. CB’s was even more gone from the scene than the dump I was playing in that night. If that wasn’t a dis I don’t know what is. So my idol is in the audience and I was too steamed to feel a thing. Anyway, I got to work with Genya Ravan and yes, when it was all over, I did fall on the floor to worship and thank her, a memory I dredge up on my own on cold and distemperate days.
G.E. Smith was in my rolodex, an artifact of the transitional period between being a musician and being a writer. Right after everybody got hooked into the Internet, somebody contacted me to do an interview with Little Mike (of Tornado fame) for the Delta Blues web site. The webmaster had asked me to send in reports form the NY scene and so I got on the masthead. Little Mike’s manager contacted me thinking I was an actual writer. I did the interview (I’m sure the manager realized his mistake and my lack of experience when he saw my piece) and decided that I liked writing. I did a bunch more: Popa Chubby, Adam of Satan and Adam. I tried for Susan Tedeschi, but she had the same manager as Little Mike and he hadn’t forgotten me. But I did get G.E. Smith who I have always been fascinated with since way back when I used to watch Satuday Night. G.E. hasn’t been on in about 15 years so you can see how I got the interview. I think I’ll keep that card along with Genya’s.
My rolodex had a card for Miramax Productions. What the h…?
A bunch of people from the new me were in there too: Timmi Duchamp, Ellen Datlow, Wendy Delmater, Matthew Kressel. Guess I was using that old rolodex for a while in my new life, before I got smart and populated the address book that came with the computer. That smattering of current and important people will get moved to the new digs. Count on it. I’m still in the game here. Not disillusioned. Not yet.
The Textile Planet