From the top of the pyramid to the end of the road

Harlem Shakes

Harlem Shakes w/ Deerhoof

Diary #7

The last days of tour felt like the last days of summer camp.

Busdriver's last show was Winston-Salem. After we'd all sadly exchanged goodbyes, Brent and Satomi from Deerhoof suggested a group picture. Satomi urged us to build a human pyramid for the occasion.

The Winston-Salem venue, the Warehouse -- a commune/coffee shop/rock venue/art gallery extraordinaire -- let us sleep in their basement. Bleary-eyed and already wistful, we gathered our sore limbs from the dusty rugs, and forced ourselves to try a drink called "Electric Yoohoo." It worked. We were ready to go.

When you tour a place that you've never visited, you're compelled to collect peculiar experiences. It becomes a compulsion. Hence our eating Fried Green Tomatoes, Shark, hominy, and all sorts of stuff that we would never order at a diner in Brooklyn, even if they had it.

Our last show with Deerhoof was at the Ottobar in Baltimore. Everyone on the tour except for John from Deerhoof and Lexy from the Shakes was sick. Lexy fiendishly consumed oranges we'd purchased in bulk in Florida (oranges are best van deodorizer ever!). Greg and Greg's brother David, from the Unity Reggae Band, joined us for a few songs on drums and tenor sax respectively.

After our shows we confessed the nicest things we'd been thinking about each other's bands for the whole tour but would feel funny saying, and then proceeded with normal interaction. We said we'd miss the members of Deerhoof as musicians and people, and we already do.

We stayed in our friends' hotel room that night in Baltimore and briefly attempted to act like rock stars before we went to a 7/11, purchased children's cereal, ate it, and went to sleep.

No one told us how funny it would feel to come home from tour. Back in New York, Kendrick, Caural (Zach from Busdriver), and Lexy met up and attended a stellar Volney Litmus show even though we'd been hanging out for days on end.

You've led such a strange lifestyle and all of a sudden you're re-inserted into your more mundane routine, alongside your friends who haven't gone anywhere. We were only gone two weeks but the intensity of the experience and the friendships that we developed made it feel like two months. We miss the simplicity and singularity of purpose that you experience on the road, where you have a very particular job that you do increasingly well each night (ideally) and your only responsibility is to do it as best you can.

After all, you can't pay taxes from a moving van. Isn’t that a Willie Nelson lyric?

Thanks for reading,





Dancing in the Street: Our 25 Favorite Motown Singles

Detroit's Motown Records will forever be important as both a hit factory and an African American-owned label that achieved massive mainstream success and influence. We select our 25 favorite singles from the "Sound of Young America".


The Durutti Column's 'Vini Reilly' Is the Post-Punk's Band's Definitive Statement

Mancunian guitarist/texturalist Vini Reilly parlayed the momentum from his famous Morrissey collaboration into an essential, definitive statement for the Durutti Column.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

What Will Come? COVID-19 and the Politics of Economic Depression

The financial crash of 2008-2010 reemphasized that traumatic economic shifts drive political change, so what might we imagine — or fear — will emerge from the COVID-19 depression?


Datura4 Take Us Down the "West Coast Highway Cosmic" (premiere)

Australia's Datura4 deliver a highway anthem for a new generation with "West Coast Highway Cosmic". Take a trip without leaving the couch.


Teddy Thompson Sings About Love on 'Heartbreaker Please'

Teddy Thompson's Heartbreaker Please raises one's spirits by accepting the end as a new beginning. He's re-joining the world and out looking for love.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Little Protests Everywhere

Wherever you are, let's invite our neighbors not to look away from police violence against African Americans and others. Let's encourage them not to forget about George Floyd and so many before him.


Carey Mercer's New Band Soft Plastics Score Big with Debut '5 Dreams'

Two years after Frog Eyes dissolved, Carey Mercer is back with a new band, Soft Plastics. 5 Dreams and Mercer's surreal sense of incongruity should be welcomed with open arms and open ears.


Sondre Lerche Rewards 'Patience' with Clever and Sophisticated Indie Pop

Patience joins its predecessors, Please and Pleasure, to form a loose trilogy that stands as the finest work of Sondre Lerche's career.


Ruben Fleischer's 'Venom' Has No Bite

Ruben Fleischer's toothless antihero film, Venom is like a blockbuster from 15 years earlier: one-dimensional, loose plot, inconsistent tone, and packaged in the least-offensive, most mass appeal way possible. Sigh.


Cordelia Strube's 'Misconduct of the Heart' Palpitates with Dysfunction

Cordelia Strube's 11th novel, Misconduct of the Heart, depicts trauma survivors in a form that's compelling but difficult to digest.


Reaching For the Vibe: Sonic Boom Fears for the Planet on 'All Things Being Equal'

Sonic Boom is Peter Kember, a veteran of 1980s indie space rockers Spacemen 3, as well as Spectrum, E.A.R., and a whole bunch of other fascinating stuff. On his first solo album in 30 years, he urges us all to take our foot off the gas pedal.


Old British Films, Boring? Pshaw!

The passage of time tends to make old films more interesting, such as these seven films of the late '40s and '50s from British directors John Boulting, Carol Reed, David Lean, Anthony Kimmins, Charles Frend, Guy Hamilton, and Leslie Norman.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.