A lot of news lately but I have another thing I’ve been keeping under my hat and I’ll try to keep this brief* and not flip out too much**: we have a special co-headliner for one show this tour. It’s the show in Pioneertown. As is often the case, I have a little story to tell here.
In 2012, we toured Transcendental Youth. Shortly before we left for tour – like, two days before – my emotional health went through the floor. I hadn’t been on tour in that kind of state since 2008; I hadn’t missed it. If you are in one of those crying-while-awake ways, it does not help the situation to wake up and get in the van every day. But I did two things that helped me find my way back to the surface. The first was I made a conscious effort to trying letting the shows do some kind of work for me: to try to use my own songs the way I use other people’s songs to heal or find catharsis or in some way patch me up. It worked. Not every night, not every song, but I came to really look forward to the ones where it felt like I was journeying into some hidden cavern in my heart and retrieving something of value. It did not hurt my secret project there that the album we were touring was Transcendental Youth. I took this strategy into the future and it has been a great thing for me personally, I recommend it if you make stuff: let the stuff you make work on you, be open to it.
The second thing I did, which is what I always do when things get hairy, was find a song that I couldn’t even sing the chorus of without crying, and then start listening to it about ten times a day. I don’t recommend this to everybody, it is just something I do. I can’t go looking too hard for the song: I have to just be listening for something that crushes me and then embrace it. Past listen-several-hours-a-day lifesavers for me have been KT Tunstall’s “Hopeless,” KT Tunstall’s “Fade Like A Shadow,” Amy Grant’s “Nothing is Beyond You” plus three songs off of her “Legacy…Hymns and Faith” album, Andrae Crouch’s “Take a Little Time,” Ana Gabriel’s “Mi Talisman” and also “Quien Como Tú” and wow I didn’t actually know how long this list was until I started typing, there’s probably a half dozen more, Gwen Stefani’s “The Great Escape” is one and a Bone Thugs-n-Harmony song called “I Tried” is another and there’s also Christine Fellows’s “Migrations” and “Vertebrae” I still can’t even listen to those ones.
Anyhow, my song for that tour, the thing I listened to on headphones in the back of the van all day, was Aimee Mann’s “Labrador.” Aimee Mann’s ear for songs that will crush me like a bug is extremely keen. The video for “Labrador” is a shot-for-shot remake of a video she made with her band in the ‘80s, and it’s totally brilliant; the chorus is one of the saddest things I have ever heard in my life.
This is the only show of the tour we’re playing together. I kind of can’t believe it’s happening. If, during Aimee’s set, you wanna find me, it will not be hard. I will be the guy completely losing his composure and making everybody uncomfortable by just letting the tears roll right on down my face for about four minutes during “Labrador.”
Also, the venue only holds 350 people. This is going to be rad. THANK YOU AIMEE FOR SAYING YES TO THIS IT WILL BE SUCH A HUGE HONOR TO PLAY A SHOW WITH YOU!
*once again, did not succeed in keeping it brief
**not exactly acing this one here here, as it turns out