Friday, July 18, 2008

Carte Blanche

Current mood: strong
***I'd like to request, please, that any of you readers not post this on any message boards or forums. Feel free to link to it, but please don't do the copy & paste thing. Thank you:)****

Emails and blogs are dangerous. When you have a fight with a lover, it's easy to write an angry letter, full of passion, emotion, maybe even threats. But the nice thing about the letter is that it's usually written late at night, and it takes a lot of effort to actually address, stamp, and mail it. This gives you plenty of time to rip the letter in shreds, and with that, feel better about moving on, and not saying anything.

But with an email or a blog -- it's far too easy to hit "send" before you have time to heal. With a blog, you've got thousands of on-lookers reading the very personal letter.

This may be a controversial blog. It's not about a breakup. I've hesitated writing it, and I have waited until i'm calm and have thought it through, out of respect for the parties involved. I actually think the whole situation is both terribly sad and incredibly funny.

I never thought I'd quote Talladega Nights when writing a thoughtful essay, but here goes:

Ricky: With all due respect, Mr. Dennit, I had no idea you'd gotten experimental surgery to have your balls removed.

Mr. Dennit: What did you just say to me?

Ricky: What? I said it with all due respect!

Mr. Dennit: Just because you say that doesn't mean you get to say whatever you want to me!

Ricky: Yes, it does!

Mr. Dennit: No, it doesn't!

Ricky: It's in the Geneva Conventions, look it up!

I played Indianapolis on Wednesday night. It was a solo show with the fabulous Tim Brickley, who had invited me to his Troubadour Series at D'Vine Wine Bar. It was a really fun show, where I met several new folks. I also saw some friends from Louisville, as well as friends from the world of Seven Mary Three. When you play with post-grunge rock bands, and that bands' fans come hear your alt-country-cabaret solo stuff, you wonder if they'll like it at all. Thankfully, there are open-minded people left in this world. Thanks for listening, guys.

Coincidentally, also playing Indianapolis that night was: Days of the New. Why have I not blogged about the previous tours with Travis Meeks? Out of respect, the preservation of mystique, and a professional responsibility not to go disclosing details of everyone else's lives. I am not going to do this in this blog either.

Maybe someday I'll write a book, a travel memoir, like A Walk in the Woods or A Year in Provence. Maybe I'm working on that now, with a goal of finding that balance of information without spilling it all.

The Days of the New show was interesting from an audience perspective. I showed up at 11:30ish, knowing they were supposed to start at 10:30. As I walked in, I noticed a lot of people leaving the club and getting in their cars.

I asked one, "Are they finished?" He replied, "No, they just started," and shook his head.

I know the set-list well, so it's safe to assume that they left after "Touch, Peel & Stand." The crowd of what was maybe 200-300, dwindled down to about 40ish by the last song.

It's not because the band is bad. i want to be perfectly clear of that. On the contrary, everyone in the band is incredibly talented, and even more important, they play really well together. Some of the most beautiful tones I've ever heard come from that band's live shows, and the vibe that happens on-stage when everyone is listening and feeling is incomparable.

But that doesn't translate to a rock club venue. Travis's new music belongs in an art house. It belongs in a place with season-ticket holders, and it needs to be advertised as world-acoustic-rock, not as the post-grunge 90's rock band. I pity him that audience members expect "Touch, Peel & Stand." Travis plays it every show; he knows that many are there to hear it. I wish more audience members would give it a chance, but the new music is very difficult to connect with in a club setting. At times, it feels self-indulgent and [almost] pretentious -- not a word I throw around lightly -- at least, from the perspective of an audience member. It was also interesting to lurk around the crowd and hear what they were saying, seeing as most of them don't know me as the accordion player.

After the show, I said hello to Travis, who was surprised to see me. He was friendly, at first, but soon turned just plain mean.

Which brings me back to Ricky Bobby.

Just because you say, "With all due respect," doesn't give you the right to be a complete asshole. I know that Travis has actual, diagnosed, neurological problems. I have done nothing but defend him to the world since i first met him (see my previous post in April about Days of the New). In Louisville, where he has hurt and offended many people, it is especially difficult to champion him as a kind man with a troubled brain. This week's LEO has a cover story on Travis, written beautifully by Mat Herron. I know I was one of the few people willing to say anything kind about Trav.

But much like saying, "with all due respect,": Just because you have a troubled brain, doesn't give you the right to be a complete asshole. There's a difference between the Aspergers talking, and when it's personal and cruel. I can tolerate one, but will not tolerate the other.

I'm going to leave it at that. I wrote a lot more details, but thankfully, I was able to delete them before addressing, stamping, and dropping it in the mail.

And you know what? I feel a lot better.

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