A Throwing Muses memory: we were playing a club in Texas--a late show on a stormy night--where everybody was high except us. Everybody was really, really high except us. And not high on anything recognizable. Like Extreme Ecstasy plus acid or something, we guessed. And beer, of course. A roomful of dancing, lovey, noisy loons. "Wasn't acid invented here?" asked Dave. "Or was it ecstasy?" So we played the show, rolling our eyes at each other and hoping the crowd settled down (they didn't--they only got nuttier) and made it to the second encore. As Dave was counting the song in, the promoter jumped on stage wearing metallic silver pants (which I know is not a crime, but it was still...funky). We waited, watching him. He then stood on the drum riser next to Dave and removed his glittery silver pants (this might actually be a crime...especially in Texas).
Dave was looking like he wanted to be somewhere else when the promoter grabbed a microphone and invited the audience on stage. The lovey loons were only too happy to oblige. They clambered up, swaying, shouting and hugging, as we backed into the wings. Then the promoter with silver pants around his ankles announced into the microphone that we needed help loading out--that everybody should grab a piece of our equipment and take it outside into the rain.
Dave and Bernie objected, but since neither had a microphone, the happily befuddled audience members focussed on nothing but taking apart our gear and putting it outside. Like psychedelic cattle, they grabbed whatever they could and lumbered out into the rain with it, some people wandering off with our stuff, others carefully placing our equipment in puddles on the sidewalk. As band leader, I took charge by hiding on the bus. "I have to put the baby to bed," is how I put it to Bernie. This was true, but I also felt strongly that I was not equipped to deal with the loons.
Our bus driver was still at his hotel, sleeping, so that he could drive through the night, so my son and I were alone on the bus. Tucking him into his bunk, I felt the tour bus begin to rock. At first, I thought it was the storm, but there was so much shouting outside, I left the baby in order to peek out the window in the front lounge. What the hell's happening out there? A whole bunch of loons were rocking the bus and chanting my name: "KRISTIN! KRISTIN! KRISTIN!" --the entire audience was on the sidewalk. I saw Dave Narcizo, who was voted "Everybody's Pal" in high school, screaming at a laughing hippie in the pouring rain. They were both holding his cymbal stand and sort of...struggling over it. Then I saw Bernie, the other nicest person I know on planet Earth, doing the same thing with a guitar case. He and his own laughing hippie were engaged in a slow, wet struggle of yelling and pulling, both drenched to the skin. Mr. No Silver Pants was dancing in his boxer shorts. Jesus christ.
When the bus door opened, I was relieved that Dave and Bernie had escaped their hippies, figured that when our driver arrived, we'd just leave, with or without our equipment. But the people who stepped into the front lounge were not my band mates; I had forgotten to lock the door behind me. It was like Night of the Living Loons--the psychedelic cows stumbled around the lounge, silenced by the change of scene, picking up our belongings, looking in cabinets, bumping into stuff.
Deeply exhausted by this, I backed into the hallway and shut the door between the lounge and the bunks, crawling into bed with my son, thinking he might need comforting. This was not true at all; it was me who needed comforting. Mail carrier, I thought, fire fighter, baker, cop, teacher, veterinary assistant...
Then I heard our bus driver's voice swearing and ushering the cows outside. Soon, his voice was joined by my bandmates' voices, also swearing. I chuckled. Then my son started to giggle. We lay there, hidden and laughing together in the dark, as the bus pulled away from the curb, then came screeching to a halt. Drugged-up loons were throwing themselves into the street in front of the bus. I knew this because of my bandmates' and the bus driver's continued shouting and swearing. I laughed harder into my son's hair, and he, understanding nothing of what was happening, giggled uncontrollably.
So anyway, I see this Texas night whipping across my bandmates' faces all the time. I figure our loved ones' memories are always racing across their faces; shared memories the most vivid. I know Dave and Bernie's faces are coated in thousands of stories. Brutal or funny or brutally funny, our stories help when we're frustrated in our attempts to move through time by, say, moving through space. And it's soothing to watch these home movies which leave a residue on our skin. We're left with shit-eating grins and shit-eating grimaces. One of my favorite universal phenomena is that everybody's gotta eat shit sometimes. So we wear the movies for ourselves and for each other, hoping against hope that we're all lucky enough to be condemned to repeat our bewitching histories.
A special note of extra thanks for another unbelievable year of support and build-it-together-ness. I'm so moved by - and grateful beyond words for - what we can accomplish as a community. xo K