Friday, October 09, 2009

Update from the road

Dear Blog:
I'm sorry I've lost interest in you lately, especially as we are coming up on your five year anniversary this month. I was going to do something special to celebrate, but then I thought to myself: Robin, it's a blog. What the hell are you thinking?

Truth is, and I know this is sad, but I've kind of lost interest in blogging. Between writing an actual new book, editing one I wrote a while back, Twitter...and I'm even losing interest in Twitter, too, it's just been a drag lately. Even more shocking, I've lost interest in the internet.

Yes, it's true.

Know why? Real life has been way more interesting. As I said, I've been doing a lot of writing, a lot of reading, I went on a fantastic vacation with my family and my "baby", eleven year old Monty dog, and in between all that I've been touring all over the United States and Canada with the Adrian Belew Power Trio, selling their merch, i.e., their new CD "e" and t-shirts.

Tonight, for example, I'm in a place I never thought I'd find myself - Edmonton, Alberta, where they had five inches of snow yesterday and it feels like it's twenty below zero outside. One week ago today, I was on the beach in New Jersey, throwing a ball to my dog wearing nothing but a t-shirt and light cotton cargo pants. Today I'm desperate for socks and a winter coat -- neither of which I brought with me on tour.

I mean, c'mon . Ir'a October 9 for Christ sake. In Philadelphia that is still summer.

Oh yeah, speaking of that, a moment of silence and a Happy Birthday to the late, great Johns: Lennon and Entwistle.

The show tonight has been pushed back to 11:00 p.m.; I'm at my merch table bored to tears and I just realized I'm here for another two hours before the trio takes the stage, so I said to myself Oh okay, why the hell not, do a blog post for your fans. Ha ha, just kidding, what fans, but you know what I mean. I know there's a bunch of you out there still swinging by daily looking for an update, so what the fuck, here it is.

Let me backtrack for a minute first. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that I also sold merch on the August/September ABPT run and I did do live tweets back then but so far on this run this is the first time I've had good working wireless and we're already on the 4th show. And having already done the Twitter thing, I just haven't had the urge to do it again. But I digress. When I last left you, I probably didn't tell you about the seven hour train ride home from Pittsburgh with the lunatic on the cell phone I wanted to murder; I may have mentioned I became a vegetarian on that tour...well, I'm still a vegetarian and almost but not quite a vegan now, and having spent the last couple of days in Canada, if I wasn't a vegetarian before this tour started, I'd sure as hell be one now. More on that in a minute.

So yeah, I got home from the last tour on September 13 and then on September 14 had the first of four periodontal surgeries. Let me give you all some advice. If anyone ever tells you to have periodontal surgery, just take a gun to your head instead. It would probably be far less painful. I required a week long prescription of Vicodin after that experience (and now I know why people love that stuff; but no, I did not...I slept in a hazy fog for seven straight days). On Saturday the 19th, I took off for two weeks to the beach house where I continued to recuperate - that's how bad it was -- and even the first few days of vacation were spent gingerly trying to eat. I was still on a pretty strong antibiotic at that point and couldn't even ride a bicycle. So that kind of sucked, but eventually I felt better...the only bummer is I need three more of those surgeries and now that I know what it entails, I'm not real motivated to go through with the next one. But it must be done, and I guess that pleasure awaits me next month when I return home from the tour.

Anyhow, I was at the beach until October 3; I got home that Saturday, ran and got my hair trimmed that afternoon (ooh, and I totally changed my hair which I did not plan to do but I have a fantastic stylist named Shari Sigafoos who works at American Mortals - she's a friend of my son, Eric ad he turned me on to her -- anyway, she's brilliant, she told me I should cut bangs and I said Sure, change is good. A lot of fans have taken photos with me on this tour so if any turn up of me and my bangs, I'll post one. I've also managed to lose over ten pounds on the new veggie diet so it's like transformation city here. (Did I mention I've pretty much given up sugar and butter, too? Yeah. I can't believe it, either.)

Ran home from American Mortals just in time to throw another suitcase together for three weeks on the road and a couple of hours later I hopped on a plane for Minnesota. The first show on this run was in Minneapolis on Monday, October 5. I met up with Julie, Eric and Adrian there on Sunday night, October 4.

Man, there were a lot of people in football jerseys there. You know why? Our show was scheduled the same night as probably the biggest Monday night football game in history - Brett Favre, who now plays for the Vikings, was set to face his old team, the Green Bay Packers.

When we learned this, we gave a collective groan. That did not bode well for the show. Hell, Adrian, Julie and I would have been home watching that game ourselves. (Not Eric...Eric is all about the music). So we were kind of bummed but we made the best of it - we enjoyed, at least vicariously, all of the celebrating going on (The Vikings won) and yep, even got to watch the end of the game after the concert. The venue where the band played was pretty cool and the people who did attend were devoted fans who were extremely enthusiastic - they not only missed "the game" for us, they braved what had to be a massive traffic jam because the venue was pretty close to the stadium where the Vikings and Packers were playing.

It was fun.

The next day, though, we had to drive to Canada. Hey, to get there, we had to drive through Fargo, North Dakota. Did you guys see that movie? Of course you did. Well, having seen Fargo up close and personal, I now understand. Har har. Anyway, it was bleak and the weather was pretty awful, too. Lots and lots of rain. Bleh. And then, for the second time in two months, we got flagged at the Canadian border and had to exit the car and answer a bunch of questions. Oh, those crazy rock stars, eh? I guess they had to do computer checks on all of us; I just prayed that all the nasty letters and emails I've been sending to Republicans since 1972 didn't appear on my record anywhere but whew, I was cleared along with everyone else and off we went to Winnipeg.

Winnipeg was really cool. I love Canada. I may live there some day. Or not. But I really dig it lots and the people are super friendly and laid back. I love the accent, too. Oh, who am I kidding I'm not leaving Philadelphia any time soon. Philadelphia rocks. In fact, the more I travel all over the world, the more I realize what a cool little city it is. In fact, I'm homesick just writing about it now.

But man it was a long drive from Minnesota to Winnipeg. Brutal. It's one of many 14 hour drives on this tour. Thank God I have some great books with me. I just read Straight Man by Richard Russo. Somehow I missed reading it all those years ago. If you haven't read it yet, just do it. Trust me on that one. You can thank me later.

My next book is one on Zen Buddhism by Alan Watts. I actually started reading it yesterday. Yeah, yeah, I know. First I give up meat; then I give up the internet, now I'm reading books on buddhism.

Just call me Robin the hipster.

But wtf, it's where I'm headed. There's all this hate and greed in the world right now -- especially in the U.S. -- and I'm having a really hard time dealing with it. I was naive enough to believe that having Obama in the White House would bring us all together as a nation; instead, it's brought out the haters and those who worship Fox News. As I mentioned recently on Twitter, I have a new rule: I'm no longer going to speak or even be civil to anyone who is a regular voluntary watcher/fan of Fox News.

But I congratulate our President on having won the Nobel Peace prize today and as Julie, Eric and I pondered this over breakfast, we hope it raises the bar for him to work even harder and fulfill his campaign promises. I can just imagine what the haters are saying today. I think I'd better stay away from all television for the next several days, though truth to tell, I stay away from it anyway.

I'm digressing again, aren't I. Well, one more hour until Adrian et al take the stage and I still have much to say so where was I. Oh yeah, the tour.

So the show in Winnipeg was fabulous! Packed with people; I talked to some really interesting fans; it was a joyous evening.

Except we had another fourteen hour drive ahead of us to Calgary. We had the next day off, and we decided to divide the trip into two seven hour days on the road. Except that we didn't count on SNOW, and a one lane highway with insane oil trucks who were passing on a double yellow line. Yeah, I was pretty sure we were going to die in Canada but somehow we made it. We drove over 400 miles in a place I can only describe being on the moon? There was no greenery, nothing to look at...just flat yellow land with weirdly placed bales of hay (someone please tell me what that's about) and then, we'd come across these beautiful cows, close enough to see their eyes staring through our car window. Hence my line about being a vegetarian. I could never eat a cow again as long as I live. And then we saw the pig trucks - cold, silver metal vehicles taking pigs, already marked for death and I mean that literally; they have marks on them made by the farmers, squealing through tiny slits as they were being driven to their execution.

I am chilled to the bone just thinking about it.

Meanwhile, I had a "meatloaf" tonight made of lentils and nuts and it tasted better than any real meat I've ever had. So I invite you all to join my team.

Oh God, who would have thunk it . Not me. But I feel so fucking great it's ridiculous.

Anyway, Calgary was very cool as well...great show, damn near perfect in fact, awesome fans...and woo hoo, only a three hour drive to Edmonton today.

And now I must go, because people want to buy CDs and talk to me, and I'm trying not to think of the massive two day drive to Vancouver tomorrow for our show there Sunday night...can you believe it's Thanksgiving here on Monday? How insane!

I'm really looking forward to Vancouver though. And in a perfect world, I'll be back for an update then.

In the meantime...