Monday, October 23, 2006

The high/low post...or...seeing your kids perform an awesome show and then being pulled over by a State Trooper

The Sarah Zimmermann Trio featuring the amazing Sarah Z on guitar, Julie Slick on bass, and Eric Slick on drums...and yeah..finally some good pics of Eric with his Gaiman haircut and um, Eric, who is now "available", is a freaking chick magnet and I'm glad he's not home to read this or he'd make me delete it but like, you know, I refuse to be censored.

Hi, Eric.

Julie and Sarah trading licks

The beautiful Julie Slick, playing, as usual, with pic in mouth.

So last night was unbelievable...this trio of Paul Green School of Rock Music All-Star grads decided to form a band, had a total of four practices, and courtesy of Paul, landed gigs over the weekend at three separate venues -- one in Philadelphia Thursday night, one at the New York Knitting Factory Saturday night, and last night at the Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, New Jersey, where I'd never been, by the way, and was chuffed to be right around the corner from the infamous The Stone Pony.

Sigh..the Stone Pony is where Bruce Springsteen got his start, and not to go off topic, but those of you who know me are aware that I am not a Bruce fan (well, I thought his first 2-3 albums were decent when he had David Sancious on keyboards and there was some good song writing...but when he did the Born in the USA CD he lost me totally and I became a huge non-fan). Which leads me to my next off-topic topic: Our local pseudo-intellectual public radio college radio station out of University of Pennsylvania, WXPN, has been running a countdown for the past few weeks of the top all time 885 artists (their station is FM 88.5) and right now we are up to #10, Joni Mitchell. Anyway, click on the site and have a look at the list so far. I'm having heart failure over the listeners' votes. are all such geeks! Oh, there's a surprise. Anyway, I'm outraged at how far down some true musical heroes are on the list and what crap singer songwriter lame-o stuff made the top 50. And I'm gritting my teeth right now because I just know Springsteen is coming in at #3 or #2, beating out just about everyone.

Here's my guesses for the remaining 8: Beatles, Stones, U2, Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, and are they really going to do this but...oh god, I don't think they played John Mayer yet and if he beats out everyone from David Bowie to Lou Reed to John Lennon I may take a bullet to the head; and The Grateful Dead (kill me now, please...I hate few bands more than I hated the Dead).

Anyone want to send me a quick email and make a wager? Cos' you know these are the remaining eight bands. How original.

Don't get me started.

Anyway, back to the show. So Saturday night the SZ Trio played the Knit to an ultra hipster crowd who came up to them after the show and told them they're going to be famous. Julie and Eric are both deferring to Sarah in this project and neither one are advertising that they are currently in Adrian Belew's band. They didn't have a huge crowd but it was an enthusiastic one, which is basically what they had last night at Asbury Lanes. What an awesome venue that was, as you can see by the photos I hope. A bowling alley straight out of the late fifties. And there had been a wedding (yeah, I cool) there the night before so the way cool chef who runs the snack bar there took out all of these huge shrimp and crabcakes and pasta and not only heated them up, but he made like dijon sauces and scampi and we felt like we were at a black-tie event stuffing our faces with all this fantastic food before the doors opened to the general public.

These kids rock. They played a mix of originals but since they are such a new band, did a couple covers -- Message in a Bottle, Third Stone from the Sun, and Traveling Riverside Blues. They freaking brought the house down. This guy behind me was going nuts. "There should be a million people here to witness this...this band is fucking amazing!" When they launched into an original tune, he lost it altogether. "Listen to this! Listen to this! I'm going to be singing this song all night. I'm never going to get it out of my head. This is unbelievable."

And then he took like a hundred pics of them with his cell phone. It was like he knew he was witnessing something really special. So Gary goes out to have a cigarette with him and spills the beans about J&E being in Adrian's band and the guy just about pooped himself. He ran back into the venue and reported back to all of his friends, who then swarmed the band after the show and shook their hands, etc. was an awesome night, except for one thing. We got pulled over by the State Police on the way home. I'm still shaking and even this morning, still not over it. God Bless America (snort).

Julie and Eric had opted to go home with Sarah so that they could have another practice today at Julie's studio in Downingtown. So Gary and I are driving down the New Jersey Turnpike. We drive a wussy Jeep Liberty because we've needed to have SUVs ever since it became obvious that we were J&E's roadies. In other words, no more fun MG convertibles and Camaros and the like which we used to own...we were forced to be grown-ups and get a huge gas guzzling car big enough to cart drum sets and amplifiers around. Gary sets cruise control for 65 mph. First of all, that car can't even go any faster without shaking; secondly and most important, before ditching my full-time job to write, I worked for two decades as a personal injury paralegal and spent my days looking at photographs of hideous accidents and bruised and battered victims. So no way in hell would I allow Gary to speed. Though he's not a speeder anyway.

But here's what Gary does do. He smokes cigarettes (a habit he started at age 30 when he stopped drinking!) and has shoulder length hair. It's my guess that the State Troopers saw a long haired hippie with something lit hanging out of his mouth driving a Jeep; it was late at night; and we were the subject of age old sixties' discrimination.

It was just a week or two ago that I blogged here about sharing Alfred Hitchcock's irrational fear of policemen. When I saw those flashing blue and red lights behind us, even though I'm the one who had the two beers and not Gary, I started to shake uncontrollably. Naturally, after getting pulled over, I'm the one who had to roll down their window. I could barely get a coherent sentence out. There were two officers. The first one said "New Jersey State Police. Please give me your license, registration, and insurance card."

Gary starts fumbling through his wallet. Of course he'd just removed his registration card from his wallet two weeks ago when he had the car inspected and I was acting like such a nutcase he couldn't remember where he put it. He had me empty the glove compartment in my lap and I started dropping stuff everywhere.

The other trooper glares at me and says "Where are you coming from tonight!"

"Asbury Lanes," I stuttered.

"What were you doing there?"

Huh? When did I leave America? Oh right. This is Bush country.

Okay, here's where I should tell you that Gary is still a hard core hippie and I could see a snarl starting to form on his face. Oh dear god, Gary, I silently pleaded...please don't.

"We went to see our kids play in a band," he barked back, barely disguising his hatred.

"They're in a famous rock band," I blabbered.

"How old are your kids," asked the completely humorless trooper, who, by the way, looked young enough to be my son. The other one had meanwhile returned to his car to do a computer check on big bad Gary.

"19 and 20" Gary replied, because by now of course, I was having a complete nervous breakdown wondering if Gary'd received any parking tickets I'd neglected to pay and we were going to end up in jail. Another horrible thought I had was that the troopers were going to pull us from the car and handcuff us and Julie, Eric, and Sarah would be driving by at any moment and witness this.

Have I mentioned we were completely innocent??? I mean, I could see if they pulled us over in 1977...yeah, yeah, we both would have had cans of beers between our legs and lit joints hanging out of our mouths, but Jesus Christ, those days are long, twenty years gone. But they made me feel so damn guilty and terrified (just call me Mrs. Hitchcock) I acted like we were hauling 18 kilos of cocaine in our yuppie-mobile.

Gary then says "How could I have been speeding? I'm on cruise control at 65."

"You were also cruising in the left lane, Sir. The left lane in New Jersey is for passing only."


Oh god, Gary, please don't argue with them, I again begged him subliminally. Sadly, I was very close to losing control of my bladder. (Damn those two beers and the two hour ride home)

And then, in a completely bizarre joke by my twisted higher power, and I swear to God this is true...we were listening to the radio and Pink Floyd's "PIGS" came on. I looked over at Gary completely mortified because I knew exactly what he was going to do: He turned it up!

(Okay, by this time, trooper #2 had also gone back to his vehicle...I guess they needed to figure out what to do with us. Gary the rebel and Robin sitting there with eyes like saucers and drool dripping from the side of her mouth)

Anyway, after making us sit there for twenty minutes, they returned to our car, gave us a ticket for speeding at 83 miles an hour (totally fucking impossible and we're going to fight this like you would not, get this, they no longer put the amount of the ticket on it; I have to go on line this morning to get the amount and I'm guessing it's going to be like $300.00 in which case I'm going to have a stroke altogether).

So that was my night.

Gary made me calm down and started laughing.

"Look, Rob, would you rather they think we're middle-aged grandparents? Be happy we still look cool enough to be pulled over by the cops."

Right. I'll remember that when I have to go to court with you and again come face to face with those horrible, horrible Nazi State Troopers.

Actually, Gary is correct and I am so glad we still look young and hip and are going to fight "The Man"...our hearing is scheduled for November 2, but that's when Gary and the kids are going to be on tour with Adrian out in California and they won't be back until November 16. So I'm going to have said hearing continued until January, 2007 I hope. Have I mentioned I'm going to be all alone here for 16 days? I'm so excited I can't stand it, but it did occur to me that makes me the sole caretaker for the dog, which means early morning and late night walks (arghhh...) and feeding myself. I'm a really great cook but for the past couple of years, Gary and Julie have been having some sort of gourmet battle every night, and while I've been the lucky recipient of their incredible efforts, I've lost control of my own kitchen and if they aren't around, I forget to eat.

So one of two things will happen. I'm either going to lose ten pounds while they are away or order take-out every night and it's going to be stuff like Thai food and pizza. Here's hoping for the former, not the latter.

Anyway, in other news, and yeah, yeah, there's more, my new website will launch later today -- should it be ready this morning I will come in and edit this post -- and I'm going to do my first bonafide CD review tomorrow -- something I seldom do because I'm not a music critic but a music lover who will do exactly what a writer isn't supposed to do and start it out with "I love this CD!" But this is a special one and warrants some serious attention and so I will leave you now so that I can work on it and give it the justice it deserves.