What feels like
twelve lifetimes ago, we were in a studio in New Orleans called The
Music Shed, working on Vital Signs.
We were pretty inexperienced in the studio at that point, and after
a week or so we'd already come down with a bit of cabin fever. There
was an issue of Rolling Stone in the control
room that we'd all taken turns thumbing through. The cover story was
a sprawling retrospective on The Beatles (a bit of digging suggests
September 2009), and at one point Zack opened it to a full-page photo
of Ringo Starr and walked up to me (I'm honestly not sure if it was
me, but I'm going to say it was me so I don't have to use a bunch of
weird pronouns just to get through this dumb anecdote) with an
intense look on his face, and just, like, showed me that picture of Ringo. Really put some Ringo into my eyeballs. (Starrs in my eyes?)
had Ringoed me.
From there, Ringoing quickly evolved into a series of elaborate traps and escalating reprisals which would continue far beyond the remainder of the recording session. It was
sort of like getting iced, but there was no real punishment-
other than knowing you'd been Ringoed, which stung like hell. Our
producer and engineer, the immeasurably awesome Chris Finney (whose
name you may recognize from the liner notes of pretty much everything
we've ever done), was all about Ringoing, and by the end of that
week, we had transformed his studio into a veritable Ringo minefield. Getting a drink from the break room fridge? Ringo on the inside of the refrigerator door. Left your laptop open in the control room when you went to the bathroom? Enjoy your new Ringo screen saver. At one point, Finney told me to close my eyes and then played a dissonant chord on a keyboard and claimed to have Ringoed me psychosonically with the power of suggestion. (I'm ashamed to admit that it worked- probably for the same reason that saying "don't think about a banana" makes you think about a banana.)
The battle rages on to this very day. After a show at
the Grammy Museum this past June, we used band money to purchase a
tote bag bearing Ringo's gorgeous visage from their gift shop and shipped it to Finney.
few nights ago, after the final, glorious show of a huge, glorious
tour, I took a moment to greet a few diligent fans who had been
waiting outside by our bus. One of them, a Tulane student in a big
fur coat, had her phone in her hand. I assumed she was going to ask for a selfie, but then I saw what was on the screen. It was Ringo.
I had been Ringoed. You win this round, Finney-sama.
Under no circumstances should you take this tradition as a knock
against Ringo Starr, who is an excellent and criminally underrated
drummer and by all accounts a wonderful human as well. Ringo kicks
ass. The only reason Ringoing is a thing is because it's a thing. STUFF DOESN'T
ALWAYS HAVE TO MEAN THINGS
Day 20. 3:33 AM
Eastern Standard Time. I'm not sure when I'll actually post this,
but I'm doing the majority of the writing in my bunk on the bus
ride home from tour. Bus tour is cool because you get to just
time-warp to the next place. I'm going to fall asleep on a futon
mattress as it trembles and sways with the motions of the bus, and
when I wake up I'll be in New Orleans. I just set my watch back to
Central time in anticipation. Oh joy, oh rapture unforseen.
love when I'm surfing the 'net and visiting all of my favorite
websites and absorbing tons of content, and then all of a sudden
there's a pop-up that's like, "subscribe to our newsletter or
whatever!” and I can either click on "Yes” or "No,” but
then the yes/no buttons are "YES! I- like most cool, successful
people- choose to get THE HOTTEST CONTENT delivered straight to
my Geocities inbox!” and "no thank you; I am a dumb gross idiot
for passing up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy free content." Like I'm the asshole for not wanting to receive fortnightly* emails from a website that I
already check twelve times a day. Anyway, click the "NEWSLETTER”
button in the upper right-hand corner of this webpage screen to sign
up for our newsletter. You probably won't regret it.
After seconds of exhaustive research, I have arrived at the
conclusion that "bi-weekly” is ambiguous, as it may refer to
something which occurs once every two weeks, or something which
occurs twice every week. I have therefore chosen to follow the
example of our friends in Australia and New Zealand and employ the
less equivocal (and frankly much more elegant) "fortnightly.”
Let's keep "fortnight” in the vernacular, people. Would that I
could stand athwart "fortnight”'s inevitable fall into desuetude.
The friend whose
album I'm plugging today is Natalie Mae, with her hot-off-the-press
release, Run To You. Natalie is an old friend of the Revivalists, going back to her days with a raucous folk-rock group from
the old scene called The Blue Party and a particularly
debauched tour we shared with them in 2010. She's also birthday twins with
our own Zack Feinberg! Natalie's solo work is more characteristic of
her folk roots, with heart-lain-bare songwriting and front-porch
instrumentation. I'm going to hell for picking the instrumental
track on an album full of stories, but I can't help it- this one just levels me:
always ask questions like "how long is your tour?” and
they're always impossible to answer, because, in a sense, we've kind of
been "on tour" since like 2011. We have time off, and time on, but it
still feels more like a continuum to me than a lot of definite
start/stops. Everything is a part of everything else, maaaaan.
Embrace the harmony. I feel like it's standard practice for
me to recap a bunch of shows individually, or at least mention every
city by name and say something nice about all of them. And I could
totally do that, but part of what really struck me about this
tour-segment is the degree of consistency from night to night.
mostly thanks to our crew, who really stepped up and took the time to
get everything down to a science. (Didn't I mention something about a
"tech day” a few weeks ago?) But it also comes down to
the rooms we're playing and the people who keep showing up and filling
those rooms and being fun as heck. So what's interesting for me
about the past three weeks is that I can't really point to any one
show and say "that was the standout,” or "this one was a little
rough.” Obviously, I'm going to be biased towards the Tulsa show,
because we finally got
back to my hometown, and how could I not favor a show that was
essentially my thirteen-and-a-quarter-year high school reunion over
the rest of them? But was it actually a better show than, say, the
second night at the Belly Up in Aspen? Or the Saenger in Mobile?
Were we tighter in Knoxville? Was the crowd more exuberant in St.
Louis? Was the backstage hummus richer in texture and more savory in
Lafayette? I can't say. This tour was always loud, it was always
smooth, and it was always sweaty as hell. I've always said sweaty
shows are the best shows, and by that metric, this was the best tour.
least, until the next one. Which is also still this one. See you in a
little under a fortnight.