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,

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.