Two days until the big show and I am FREAKING THE FUCK OUT! It's kind of like what you felt like the night before Christmas when you were a kid. I keep staring at the clock, willing it to go forward, I can't eat, I can't sleep. All I seem to be able to do is smoke and have diarrhea. Woo-hoo.
Last night I kept having the recurring dream that I was very sick and kept throwing up a combination of white paste and carriage bolts. And every time I'd see a carriage bolt in the mess of white paste puke I'd say to myself "Oh, that's why I'm sick". What the hell does that mean for me and the future of my marriage?
Anyway, I have no point today. I am just a bundle of nerves and nervous energy.
Marriage, who knew?
P.S. The journal will return Monday, July 10. Until then I will be basking in wedded bliss on beautiful Block Island.
So much has happened in the past four days that I don't know where to start (i.e. I am too damn busy and lazy to tell all the stories - plus, I'm sure Brendo Frendo will go into them in great detail).
Anyway, instead I'll try to give you all an honest insight into how I feel four days before my wedding. It's actually pretty simple. I am more anxious than Bill O'Reilly would be at PRIDE weekend.
Not that I think I'm making a mistake, because I know I'm not. That's actually the one thing I'm sure of. This is a good decision. It's just all the things that are accompanying this good decision that have me bouncing off the walls.
On one hand I am full of nervous energy just about the prospect of changing from a single man-child to a married man-child. I will fundamentally have to change the way I refer to myself for the rest of my life. From now on I can no longer be single. I will from this point on either be married or, more likely, divorced (just kidding, sweetheart).
I find this pretty exciting but also like I'm at the airport standing in front of one of those signs that say "Once you pass this sign you may not turn back." You know you don't need or want to turn back but it still stops you in your tracks for a minute. Of course, the sign is more intimidating when it says "Once you pass this sign you may not turn back - also you will need to grow up a little, get a career, make some money so the children will be able to go to college, think about life insurance, get a car, shift your focus from yourself to your married unit..."
Tomorrow - what it feels like three days before the wedding...
Well, seeing that this is ostensibly a journal about the band, let me be the first to inform you that the record has arrived! We all gathered over at Gordon's house last night and gave it its inaugural spin. It sounds gooooood. I mean, it sounds so good that it almost makes the hair-pulling utter migraine of getting it pressed seem worth it. Almost.
Anyway, it's done and once we get our shit together it will be available to all of you, definitely within the next week.
A bunch of folks have asked me if I was going to spend today's column lionizing myself and describing my contribution to the band. I feel like that would be silly, especially in light of the fact that many in the comments section have already decided that I was the cock, balls and asshole of FXA. What can I add to that warm and loving description?
Anyway, just to wrap up our week of self-congratulation, I wanted to say thanks once again to everyone who has supported us in any way over the past four years. This was an amazing ride.
Fooled By April is dead, long live Fooled By April...
Photo by Michael Young
P.S. Should I keep writing this thing? I'll be out of town until next Thursday and judging by the comments I'll make my decision. Rock and Roll.
Pete is the member of the band I have known the longest and the one for whom I feel the most affection. I bet if you asked Gordon and Jordan they would say the same thing. I mean, I love Gordon and Jordan, but because of the volatility of our three personalities there has always been some friction. Not so with Pete. He's just a really nice guy who is ridiculously easy to get along with.
To imply that Pete's easy manner was his most important band contribution makes it seem like I think he isn't a good musician. He is. He is solid, dependable, creative with the bass and is becoming a better singer every day. But he isn't flashy and doesn't demand the spotlight. He has a lot less ego than the other three of us, but his musical contributions were always unique and important. It's just that I value Pete so much more for his non-musical abilities.
This brings back to his easy manner. It's important to realize that about 90% of what makes a band successful is non-musical. By being a sweet guy, a great listener, an enthusiastic supporter and a voice of reason Pete Galea was the glue that kept this band from disintegrating. I consider him the soul of the group. There would have been no Fooled By April without him.
This contribution would have been enough, but Pete has a special place in my heart because he is so fucking smart. He is bar none the smartest person I have ever known (sorry Craft, you're #2). Not just book-smart (which he is), but intuitively intelligent and filled with the desire and capacity for learning. If I don't understand something then I ask Pete. He'll either know the answer or by god he'll find out.
Pete's intelligence and thirst for knowledge made my life in the band a lot easier. With Pete I could take time off from my spiral of self-destruction to play a couple hours of Scrabble or work on The Incredible Machine. Without these distractions, tours would have been rough. Instead, they were a ball, and I actually learned things! Damn.
Finally, Pete believed in this band. Another non-musical aspect of a band's success is money, and with extreme generosity (like, many thousands of dollars worth) Pete floated this band during our formative years. Without his belief that we were going to make it we never would have even gotten out of the gate.
He is an eccentric enigma in many ways. I can't say that I always know what goes on in that bald head (sorry, couldn't resist), but I do know that it's probably something really cool that I'll be interested in. He is a unique guy and we're all better for knowing him.
Yesterday I paid tribute to Gordon, the leader of this band and a pretty damn good guy. Today I'm going to give you the skinny on Jordan.
If Gordon was the brains behind this operation, then Jordan was unquestionably its heart. When he moved up from Texas in 2001 he brought the spark that allowed us to be what we became. In a number of ways he transformed the band from a bunch of mediocre starry-eyed dreamers into a bunch of starry-eyed dreamers who worked their asses off to become better. What was it about him that pushed this transition?
Jordan is the most musical person I have ever met. Period. No one I know even comes close. Give him any instrument and in minutes he will be able to pull a beautiful tune out of it. For example, one day I was at home and thought someone had put a Coldplay record on, but it was actually Jordan in the basement with a keyboard. The thing is, Jordan doesn't play keyboard. Damn. Additionally, he can sing circles around anyone I've ever met, including Gordon, who's a really good singer.
To me, this musicality was initially inspiring and scary. It made me realize my severe limitations and really forced me to become a more proficient singer and player. I won't ever really be in Jordan's league, but his example helped me at least enter the ballpark.
Jordan is also almost like a kid with his emotions. This is not an insult. The thing I admire in children is that you always know where you stand with them. If you hand a five-year-old a strawberry Popsicle and he doesn't like it, he's going to tell you. On the other hand, if he loves it he's going to get insanely excited. I think losing this honesty is a big part of what makes adults such pains in the ass. Jordan never lost this honesty. Everyone who knows him knows that he tells it like it is. In terms of songwriting, this made me always shoot to get Jordan's approval - the pinnacle being his famous "bad ass!" And since his musical instincts were usually correct, that "bad ass!" almost always meant we were headed in the right direction.
Finally, Jordan just has a big heart. He's the kind of guy that makes you feel special when he greets you. There's no reserve, just a big smile and hug. I admire the hell out of that confidence and warmth, especially when I'm standing in the same room avoiding any strangers and staring at my feet.
P.S. He's also really fucking handsome, which never hurt our image either....
So, it's over. The band, although still great friends, is no longer a functional music unit. A huge thanks to everyone who came out and helped us put this thing to bed the right way. It was a very emotional experience to see so many people who have been so good to us being so good to us one more time.
Anyway, I think the experience of talking about the last show will have to wait a few days. It was so emotionally draining that I don't think I even have a handle on how I feel about it yet. And so for the next few days I will use this space as a tribute to my boys, to give anyone who's interested a window into what makes them so special to me.
What can I say about Gordon? He is by far the number one reason we achieved any success as a group. He started the whole thing, wrote some incredible songs and never wavered from his vision. Even when I thought he was wrong, he would amaze me with his persistence and tireless pursuit of perfection. Without him, we would never have graduated from the likes of the Skybar (that's right, the band is over and I'm talking trash - that place BLOWS). He was this band's singer, manager, accountant, booking agent, songwriter, promoter and a million other things. He organized our tours, got us a lawyer, made us a corporation and wrote a song that made us financially solvent. Damn.
More than anything though, Gordon was an unfailing optimist and rarely, if ever, got discouraged. In terms of the band, this optimism was instrumental in coaxing Jordan and I out of our writing shells and especially in making Pete and I feel like we could contribute as singers. Gordon, like anyone, can feel threatened by other people trying to assert control, but he always made me feel like it was okay to step up and use my own voice. That might not sound like much, but he didn't have to do it. He didn't have to share any creative control over FXA, but he did, and that is a great part of what made this band so important to me.
I've learned from him, admired him and been thankful for him. Raise your glasses for Gordon Wright....
Last night marked the end of an era. We held our last Fooled By April rehearsal and from this point on we shall enter my dank, dark, crappy basement no more.
I certainly won't miss the smells and the air that always makes me allergic. I also won't miss the complete lack of heat which required us to wear parkas and ski hats and crowd around an electric heater like a bunch of bums at all our winter rehearsals.
I won't miss the total lack of acoustics nor the spiders. I won't miss the sketchy electrical wiring and the blown fuses. I won't miss the bickering. I won't miss humping the gear up the most rickety flight of stairs in the universe and I certainly won't miss the neighbors' bitching.
But then again, I will miss every one of those things. These are the things that make a band, a real band. Why do supergroups of successful musicians always break up after an album or two? Simple; they never had the basement experience together. They never tried to make a shitty practice bass amp work as a PA speaker or were suddenly left in total darkness around a bunch of dangerous equipment during a summer blackout.
We did a lot in that basement - wrote two records, practiced for the gigs that were our greatest triumphs as well as for the gigs like the Halloween bash at Westfield State where we played for one retarded guy and Jordan's sister, we wrote songs that became a national TV commercial and forever will be stamped into the DVDs of some of the WB's greatest shows. Most importantly, we spent a good chunk of four years of our lives down in the dank working towards a dream together. That counts for something.
And so, strange as it is, I think I will always remember that nasty place with a great deal of fondness.
I may not have believed it when I was younger, but you really do learn a lot more about life the further you get into it.
For instance, if you ever find yourself asked by your lovely fiance to apply self-tanner to her entire lovely frame you would think the answer would be an immediate and enthusiastic "yes." You would be wrong.
The answer is yes, but a yes tempered by a little forethought and preparation. You see, without the aforementioned preparation you might end up the next day with one VERY orange and poo-brown palm.
Following on the heels of Anonymous' wish that I "die in a fiery motorcycle wreck," yesterday I almost did exactly that.
Coming home from work I pulled out onto Highland Street and hit the gas. This is one of my favorite parts of the ride because it is straight, flat and usually safe. As I made my way through the gears I noticed a maroon SUV inching out of a driveway on the left hand side of the road. "He won't go," I thought to myself as I kept cruising, thus breaking the cardinal rule of motorcycling - Don't Ever Assume Anything. Ever.
And so, as you can guess, the SUV went. He darted out straight across the road toward another side street and directly into my path. I hit the brakes hard and prepared. I say "prepared" because I knew I was going to crash.
These are the thoughts I remember thinking:
-Wow, so this is it, this is what it's like to crash. It really does happen fast. -I hope my face is okay, the wedding is so soon. -I hope my arms don't break so I can play the last show. -I probably won't die, right? -I should be wearing my leather pants. -What if I do die? What about Sarah and our future kids and possible a puppy?
I literally thought every one of those thoughts and about a million more as the side of the SUV raced up to meet me.
At this point, somehow through the grace of something, the driver of the SUV hit the gas. This allowed me to slide around the bumper and not T-bone the car. I missed by about a foot, I'd say.
Needless to say I then felt like I had to puke and pulled over to get a grip. As I sat on the sidewalk an old lady approached me. Sweet, I thought, here comes some sympathy for the injustice just done to me:
"Are you OK?" "Yes, thanks." "You know, you seemed to be going too fast." "Well, he shouldn't have cut me off." "It looked like you were going too fast. Those things are dangerous." "Hmmm. Fuck you, Grandma." (Note: not actually said)
Why do some people have to stick their obnoxious know-it-all noses in shit that doesn't concern them, thus making the situation way worse? Arg. But that's a topic for another day.
Anyway, I made it home a little wiser and a lot more wary. Whose fault was this whole situation? Honestly, it's probably about 50/50. I shouldn't have been so cavalier and the SUV driver should have looked my way before just pulling out into the road. Of course, seeing that in any crash I'm going to be the loser, the onus for safety is really on me and so I guess it really is my fault. Live and learn.