Today’s alarm came from a woman outside screaming on her cellphone. Her life was falling apart before our very ears. She was loud. The word “fuck” ripped through her throat. My fingers scissored open the blinds. She was across the street with her back to us. She stood in front of her bike. And she stood completely still while she continued to scream for ten minutes. I didn’t think it was her until a particularly blood-curtling “fuck” shook her head. It was sad and scary.
The Sunday matinee for Rush sold out. It was our best show yet. The cast found a vein of gold in energy and rhythm. The band wasn’t too shabby either.
Unfortunately, in my direct line of vision for the whole show sat an unhappy obese woman brewing with hate in the front row. She looked like Leslie and the LYs, but without irony or fun, and more hate. I thought witnessing conservatives reacting to a Rush Limbaugh satire would make me giggle, but it only bummed me out. She was such a sad person.
Hey. Shit happens. I wouldn’t let it ruin my day.
The Nurse Novels practiced the six songs for our next studio session on Saturday. These are the songs we don’t know as well. So there were some bumps. But like a school bus, sometimes the bumps are fun.
Corn and porn decorated the drive to Bloomington, Indiana. Today I met The Bitter Tears for a recording session at Russian Recording. It is owned and operated by the wonderful Mike Bridavsky.
The Bitter Tears have been my favorite Chicago band since 2004, when I first heard “Murdered At The Bar.” We soon became fast friends. At their shows I stood front and center, yelling and dancing. This is back when I danced. Alan, Mike and Greg recorded horns, accordion, bass clarinet, and theremin for my band, Let’s Get Out Of This Terrible Sandwich Shop, and we played many shows together.
In 2008 their drummer Foster Lee relocated to Baltimore to manage The Charm City Rollers, a roller derby team. Last February they invited me to play drums. I was thrilled, and remain thrilled to this day.
In 2009 we did two US tours in the East and Midwest, and a five week trek through Europe. I blogged all about it.
Today was my debut with The Bitter Tears in the studio.
It went really well. Russian has a huge sound. The drums sound like bombs. My new vintage cymbal sounds tough, man. Mr. Bridavsky is a great engineer.
Alan, Mike and I laid down basic tracks for six songs: “Fire Messiah,” “Boxcar,” “Sunday,” “Sailor,” “Black Skin,” and “Death-Filled World.”
We started around three in the afternoon and finished by nine. Afterward we enjoyed quality pub grub at a microbrewery, and talked about girls while watching Olympic figure skating. Back at the studio we listened to records and imbibed some more.
We’re making good time.
I started going grey in my late 20’s. It was my hair’s way of telling me to grow up. I chose to ignore these requests, and have worn a messy, uncombed sort of mop top for close to a decade. But when the greys started coming in in ALL CAPS, my childish Beatle doo began resembling a gloomy haystack. It was time to get an adult haircut.
Based on a suggestion from a recording studio message board, I rode my bike down to Joe’s Barber Shop in Logan Square. The screen door opened to reveal a cramped, cluttered room. I took a seat in the one available chair between a guy wearing identical shoes to mine and a growing Mexican boy. Five feet in front of us two men worked the two barbershop chairs. The older man was the owner, and his awards decorated the wood-paneled walls shared with ‘85 Bears and ‘84 Cubs team photos. The younger guy sported muscle car muscles, rockabilly tattoos and a grizzlying beard. They worked on a guy my age and a younger Mexican boy respectively.
I worked on writing until the rockabilly barber gave me the nod. I took off my free Miller Lite snowcap to unveil my matted nest hairstyle and took a seat.
“So what do you want to do?” he asked.
It had been four months since my last cut. It was obvious to both of us that the shagginess in the back and on the sides needed to go. That much I knew.
But I’ve always had unnecessary difficulty when communicating with hairstylists. When I was a kid my parents would give me money every couple of months to walk to Fantastic Sam’s. There I would receive some type of haircut. Then I would take the haircut home and mess up to where I thought it looked good enough for me.
This continued until one day in 1995. I had seen a picture of Beck in Rolling Stone, and I really liked the way his hair looked long. At the time I had been growing mine out, but it wasn’t really working. So I carefully ripped the little 1”x1” picture from the music magazine and brought it to SuperCuts. The girl behind the scissors didn’t really know what to do with the tiny, crinkled clipping and my big mushroom of sad hair. Especially after I told her I wanted it short in the back but wanted to keep the length I had. What I ended up with was two haircuts. A normal looking one in the back, with a long one on the sides. It looked like I had hair curtains that were obstructing the view of a normal haircut. Eventually I went home and cut the curtains off and restored it to my mussed-up liking.
Another 14 years went by.
“So what do you want to do with this?” the barber asked, referring to the top of my haircut.
From there we went to Mixteco Grill to celebrate St. Valentime's Day. The chef is a Rick Bayless ex-pat, and we enjoyed his refreshing ceviche, followed by Lauren's pork chop in a tangy mole, and my roasted lamb in an earthy dark mole. My mashed potatoes were delicious, but Lauren's sweet mashed potatoes were the best I had ever tasted. With a bottle of red wine split evenly in our satisfied bellies, we looked and felt great.