michael's communiqué #7|
The streets are lined with soiled snow. It is still Autumn...the last of the brown and battered leaves should be falling off oak trees...but instead it was clumsy flakes of snow. Some of them were so large it felt like the atmosphere was out of focus. A snowstorm is the only thing that makes New York City feel slow and silent. I quite like it for the first 15 minutes... until I have to figure out how to liberate my car from a snow drift using only my feet and a copy of The Daily News. Then I start fantasizing about warm summers on West Meadow beach with kites struggling against their strings like wild dogs on leashes. The snow keeps me indoors and I pace the floor of my apartment, where I run the risk of making a mess simply out of boredom. I may be a bit of a loner sometimes...but I'm no shut in. I like to walk the streets...flaneur...drink hot lipton tea at the Alpha Donut shop...chat with the staff at 99X. If I stay in too long I'm liable to strangle "Gloomy" the blood splattered teddy bear The Todbot got me for my birthday. It's a shame to go all "Shining" on one's stuffed animals. That's why I had to give away my Hello Kitty...
So the release party at The Knitting Factory on November 20 was quite enjoyable for moi. It was fantastic to see so many kiddos fill the joint, and the strange assemblage of dance moves you employed seemed to fascinate the couple journalists present. After surviving the stress of opening for Belle & Sebastian (and apparently not doing too shabbily) in front of curious Bowlies in velvet seats... it was nice to get back inside a concrete crater in NYC and play a show that felt like some sort of old time revival. Gospel music for unemployed saints. We have so much potential you and I...why won't anyone take us on?
It was quite simply a damn good time.
We went to Philly last week which was less a good time. Really grim space with one bare bulb shining upon us... creating an ambiance somewhat akin to a Soviet comedy club. The highlight for me was having artist Karen Kilimnik join us for dinner before the show. Our newest collaborator Kurt Brondo (whose playing accordion and second synthesizer) is a friend of hers from his time working at The 303 Gallery (www.303gallery.com) in Chelsea, and invited her down. She paints these trashy, haunted, adolescent-feeling masterpieces which span time, low and high culture, and life and death with the same macabre zeal. She was as quirky and unpredictable as her work, and quite generous with her mango salad.
The record is doing quite well, with good reviews coming in pretty regularly. There is a noticeable difference in how some critics are dealing with our use of "new wave" for lack of a better term (and believe me there is a better term for what we do) this time around. I think the heaviness of our dire new century has helped people get beyond glossy readings and into the weight of our work. And this makes me pleased. Love us or hate us...but please do realize that, for us, pop music is a serious business.
So while poverty means I am going to be making the majority of my Christmas presents out of play-dough, I am still trying to get into the spirit. December has all the trepidation of a coin flipping in mid-air. Heads...we have warmth and magic and blessings...Tails...we hang ourselves from the Triborough Bridge with our Christmas stockings. But remember...things are always darkest...before you open your eyes...so open them! I walked down the bustling "Little India" streets of Jackson Heights Queens last night to have a bit of curry & lager with my friends...and the white christmas lights strung amongst the wispy trees, the gleaming gold window displays in the import shops, the smell of spices and fire coming from Kebab stands...well it made me feel like there were worse things to be in the world than a struggling writer in a pretty special pop band whose members lavish Tikka Masala upon you on your birthday. Life is beautiful...by design. Just like 47th street in Jackson Heights turning around the mood of a weary young man in a foreign legion overcoat. Amen.
So we will return for a week of Holiday shows with Morrissey main man Boz Boorer. We are quite looking forward to chatting with him...as he recently revealed Saint Stephen himself had enjoyed the first track of our record. Dear me...I almost fainted into my Grape Nuts. We shall be pogo-ing to a bit of rockabilly and rock n' roll and a good time is almost certain to be had by all. As far as The Faves we will be playing some songs we haven't for a while and taking questions on current events...so why not join us for one or more performances...Who knows who may turn up in the audience?
I'm referring of course to Uncle Dom, a famous juggler in Sicily during the 40s...
Until our paths cross...creating a lovely tartan plaid...
Your man with a plan,
Michael Grace Jr.