I creep away to the road again…
I’ve been on the road so much lately that cities start to blur. I wake up in hotel rooms and stare at the ceiling for minutes sometimes just trying to remember where I am. I go from one morning radio show to the next, sometimes having a blast, sometimes just struggling to remain interested.
Another morning "Zoo" with it’s "wacky" crew.
A country station that’s terrified that I’m gonna swear on the air. The DJ’s hand nervously twitching near the dump button in case I do.
"We’re a family show."
"Good, I love my family."
"So, tell me about that Andy Dick…"
Every now and then I’m in a really fun station. Great people having fun on the air. Making people laugh, realizing they have a great job. Enjoying life, laughing. They get it. I cling to them like water in the desert.
Another club that I’ve never been to.
"The early show is an older audience, so I wanted to ask you if you’ll tone it down a little for them."
"Nope. Where’s the sign? That’s what it’s there for, to let people know what they’re in for."
"Yeah, we got the memo about the sign, but I think we’ll be ok without it. It seems like that would scare people off more than anything…"
"Good. If the sign scares them off, then they’re not the people that should be here anywhere. You have to put up the sign. Trust me."
"Well, we had Bobby Slayton here last month, and we didn’t use a sign for him…"
"The sign. Please put it up."
The manager walks away thinking I’m a dick, but after the show, they can’t wait to put up signs. The phone people are instructed to be very clear that the show is for mature audiences.
"I’ll tell you what, I was surprised that the older folks in the crowd really seemed to enjoy the show."
"Yeah? Well, they used to be young, you know."
"Yeah, I guess. We did have a few walkouts, though."
"Good. Anyone that would get upset at anything I have to say isn’t someone that I would ever hang out with in the first place, so fuck ‘em."
I meet the people at the local gym.
People want to hang out after the show.
The bartender knows a fun club to go to.
There’s cool people in every town, you just have to find them.
The only time it really feels normal is when I’m on stage.
When I’m in the groove.
When I’m home.
Then it’s the same feeling virtually everywhere I go. I get into my own head… and I open it up. If it all works out, the whole audience links up, and we’re all one. We stop thinking about the real world, and we have fun for an hour and a half. The cocktails flow, and the inhibitions go by the wayside. They laugh about fucking, and sucking, and violence, and stupidity, and the fact that you’re gonna be dead someday.
I give them everything I have, and the laughter and the looks on their faces are more satisfying than anything I could possibly describe. I do it show, after show, after show, until the week is over.
Then I find myself glassy-eyed and half asleep turning my rental car keysover to a human drone at the avis lot. I wander through the airport terminal looking for my gate number, with my fisherman’s hat pulled down low. I watch fat unhappy people yell at their fat unhappy kids, but I don’t hear them. Instead they all move to the sounds of James Brown blaring through my walkman.
The fat lady gets angry, she grabs her son’s arm and scolds him. She scolds him for moving about on his own free will, for being more difficult to raise than she had imagined, for being the reason she’s forced to stay with the man she calls her husband. The man she stopped loving years ago. I see the man’s mouth move too. He talks, but I only hear the Godfather of soul…
"Papa don’t take no mess!"
The plane boards, and I take my seat next to the window. I look down as we’re in the sky and I wonder if the plane is going to crash. I wonder if today is the last day of my life.
I think about my next gig.
I fucking love it.
I’m coming to your town soon.