The Past Week
16 October 2010
I arrived in the US last Wednesday, over a week ago now. It’s been a crazy busy week. Just off the plane on Wednesday, I went to the United Stations offices on 40th street to do an interview with Chris Douridas at KCRW. The next day I had a bunch of interviews and played acoustic sessions for 4 stations ending with soundcheck at The City Winery. On my walk home after soundcheck I went over on my ankle and nearly broke it. I think all the running I have done over the years saved me but I still called my friend Wolfgang, who was in town at the time and staying just around the corner from where I had my accident, to assist me up the road. When we got home, he tied some frozen berries on with a tea towel and I sat for an hour before trying to walk on it. There was talk of a doctor but after trying to put weight on it, I decided against paying $800 for a guy to come and poke me and tell me I had a sprain and to keep the weight off it for a couple of days. The show that evening was great. Lot’s of funny moments. I was falling asleep on my feet after. Met and gret many after show. I think for an hour and a half. Almost too much even for me. It was cool to see ya’ll.
The next day was full of sessions and interviews accompanied by Steven my publicist. Steven is a lovely guy. We ended our day in the basement of a townhouse in midtown singing Drug Buddy.
Saturday I spent with my friend Wolfgang. We went to a poster shop on Chambers Street where he picked up a cool Dracula poster and some other stuff. We walked up the Hudson, detouring through Pier 40 to watch some football match that was going on. I had a phoner at 3 and chatted outside a lady shop to the Vegetarian Times about my recent conversion while W bought presents for his lady and his daughter. We hung downtown for another hour at the apartment he was staying in, listening to, among other things, Eric Burdon and War. Then we wandered to Spring Street and hopped on the 6 train uptown to go see his friend Pia. She lives across the street from Strawberry Fields at Central Park. On the journey I had my head down, singing drug buddy to myself when a pair of comfortable shoes came nto my scope. Then I heard a familiar english voice say “Fran Healy!” It was Steve Lillywhite. He and his friend Nigel (not godrich) were heading uptown too. Steve is the man who recorded Travis’s first album Good Feeling. Steven my publicist had mentioned it only a day earlier as his favourite Travis album and here was Mr Lillywhite on cue in a subway which we all ended up taking to 125th street as it was the express and not the local. So strange for us both to get on the wrong train. Even moreso when yesterday (today is Friday 15th October) I was taken to within a stonesthrow of the place where we tracked that album at Bearsville studios in upstate New York. My radio promotor drove me out to Woodstock WDST radio for a session. Anyways after we waved goodbye to Steve, we went to Wolfgangs friends apartment. It overlooked Central Park at the treeline. We made it just as the sun set fire to the rooftops on the upper eastside. His friend is married to one of the magnum photographers, Elliott Erwitt. His images are some of the most famous of the 20th century. It was a TOTAL THRILL and an evening which will be pinned upon my wall forever. After some food we all wandered down to Strawberry Fields to pay homage to John Lennon on what would be his 70th birthday. There were around 150 people in attendance radiating outward from some ropey cover song players standing on the big plaque, singing beatles songs and coming together. Then we walked to the Dakota Building. My second trip there this year. Such a pointless end to such a big presence. We wandered back and ate some pasta, drank some more wine, listened to some Lennon and talked about everything. Then it was time to go home and I was very drunk and jetlagged so we cabbed it, rushing down through New York City’s bright lights. It’s my second home and a place i fall in love with again and again and again.
I awoke early on Sunday to catch the plane to LA. Was super early. Got into LA at 12.30 pm and went straight to meet Emery at El Cholo in Santa Monica. Then to the hotel and to the roof for a cocktail in the hot hot sun. Then we headed to Echo Park and the Filter Fest Finale. I was on second last in the Methodist Church. We went looking for a drink and caught Jenny Lewis singing. The place seemed to clear after this. I was worried. Playing a gig on your own is quite embarrassing. I headed to the stage and found most of the folks outside had packed like sardines into the hall and were waiting while I line checked my guitar… This was one of those shows where everything clicked. They happen once in a while and usually unexpectedly. I played for 50 minutes. The new songs sounded great and the old songs sounded great. I played mostly The Invisible Band songs. Dear Diary being a highlight. So quiet. It was great to be in LA and everyone there made me feel like a long lost relative. I don’t think I have had that much warmth from an audience in some time. Thanks Filter.
The gig the following evening was different. It was at Bardot on Vine. Chris Douridas had invited me to play his club night. I’d been to Bardot before but didn’t know the name. Was a night last year with Nigel and other LA friends. But before Bardot I drove to the ElRey to see Teenage Fanclub. Was a big surprise and they played so well and to hear the new songs live was a big treat as well as the classic Fanny tracks. I left before the end and headed to my prior engagement got my address mixed up and ended 20 miles outside Hollywood. Panic set in slightly but I managed to navigate back to where I was meant to be with enough time to get my shit together. The show at Bardot was different in that it was a club night and a bit rowdier, which I like as it gives me the chance to do my rowdy crowd control. I was shocked at the volume of cheers when I came out. LA was always Travis’s spiritual home in America and if my trip to LA showed me anything it was that the love was warmer than ever…
The following night I played at Hotel Cafe. The show was great. The thing that filled my mind tonight, however, wasn’t my own show. Across town, long time friends of Travis, Remy Zero were playing at Spaceland in Silverlake. It was a bittersweet event because they were remembering their drummer Gregory Slay who had died afew months ago. We headed over there hoping to catch some of the set and when we arrived they hadn’t yet gone on. We grabbed a drink and watched a beautiful film about him projected onto a screen onstage. He was such a good soul. Super talented. Then the band came on. A guy called Sanders Bohlke sung a sung before the set began. It silenced the crowd. Then the Remy’s went at it and they rocked. I wandered to the bathroom and on my way back, worked my way to within a couple of rows from the front and watched some songs and remembered some cool moments we all spent together. Then the band asked me to come up and play a song. Cinjun mumbled to Cedric not to ask and ced almost didn’t so I jumped on the stage and played Slideshow and as I sung I thought about the lyrics to Indefinitely. RIP Gregory.
Now I am back in New York and heading back to Berlin tomorrow. What a week.You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.