Another late night television performance, completed without a massive on-stage trainwreck. Let’s dance! The best part of playing on Jay Leno last night, besides telling Connie Chung I was a “big fan,” was Joe’s story that about halfway through “One Man Wrecking Machine” he made eye contact with Pat Riley, who was watching us from the couch. And as you might expect from someone with a coach’s mentality, Pat gave Joe a a nod and a subtle wink. In other words, “you’re doing a good job young man, now go get your head in the game and Godwilling we’ll get out of here with a Victory.”
I don’t know when they cut to commercial after our song, but Ryan said he tried to engage Connie Chung in conversation rather aggressively when Jay etc. came out to shake our hands, hoping the cameras would catch him and Connie yapping away. How’d he do? I went to bed before the performance aired. A great man once said: I don’t have to see it (Dotty)… I lived it.
And here’s another thing I lived:
Just a little taste of what we all have to look forward to when our friend Ace delivers the final cut of our video for “The New Underground.” We shot it a few days ago with our heads popping through an elaborately-constructed graveyard set. For the record, I asked the gentleman pouring fertilizer on my face if there was manure in the dirt, and he told me they “bought the kind with the least amount of manure.” We’ve definitely come a long way. I remember the old days before anyone knew our band — when the set designers on our video shoots wouldn’t even bother to check the manure-count on the fertilizer they were dumping on us.
So the weirdest part of singing the national anthem at Fenway Park on Tuesday was standing out there behind home plate while the Red Sox line-up announcer introduced us… clearly someone had written a good hearty bio for him to read before the singing began, and the four of us listened while a voice with a lisp went on and on about how we “went to Tufts University” and have “enthralled audiences” with “evocative lyrics” and such… I was waiting for him to get to the point where we were voted “Best Local Live Act” in the 1997 Boston Phoenix Listener’s Poll, but he wrapped it up and then my bandmates kicked into the Oh Say Can You See Song.
I decided early on that I wouldn’t rally to be one of four vocalists at Fenway. Instead, we rented me a pair of marching cymbals and spent a week debating whether it was brilliantly anti-climactic to *hold them and never hit them* — or whether the set-up demanded a pay off. As it turned out, the guys arranged some nice harmonies, sang it strongly, and I clanged my brass together after “Home of the Brave.” We walked off the field by going through the stands above the dugout, and the Sox fans were generally receptive to us — nothing came closer to a heckling than “Nice job, Cymbal-Boy!” and I’ll take that. I did do a nice job hitting the cymbals together.
So we were feeling pretty good about our performance and then in the bottom of the first inning some guy with a thick Western Mass accent went up to Ryan and said “Yooz guys was good an’ all but ya drummah shoulda at least mouth’d da words or somethin’…. dey had him up on da Jumbotron da whole time… he looked pretty stoopid.”
And he was right. Just about every picture I’ve seen from that event features me on the giant screen in centerfield, looking like a jackass, eyes closed, mouth slightly open, holding cymbals that some camera-guy was sure I was *about to hit.* If only he knew how hard I’d rallied for the *hold them and never hit them* approach (It’s Kaufman-esque!)…
… and this wasn’t the dumbest I’d look that night. We didn’t get to stay for the game since we had a radio event to play for a station in Boston at 8pm. So we leave in the second inning with the Sox up 6-0 (which is good, we don’t want to have any hand in a sox loss) — get to the site of the radio station event, and kick into a stripped-down version of One Man Wrecking Machine. About half way through the song a gust of wind blew the Mix 98.5 FM banner up in the air, and it came down on the front side of my head. I suppose I could have ducked beneath it or moved it off my face, but I decided to be all zen and just play through it. I make a really ugly drummer face when I play anyway.
zen and the art of beat maintenance
ugly drummer face