News / Blog

January 12, 2007

Oh, well. There's always last year.

Greetings,

I’ve been told by Joyce it’s high time I wrote something for the blog, so here you go.

To take from Fractured Fairy Tales’ Sherman and Peabody, let me set the wayback machine to December. We finished up our tour of the USA, and it went really well. We saw a few places I had never seen before, like Baton Rouge and Birmingham, Alabama. Despite me chomping at the bit pre-show to knock in the teeth of a drunken fratboy anti-semitic prick in Baton Rouge, it turned out to be pretty cool. I’m Italian, and you know what they say about Italians. Peyton, who sprung from the waspy-ish of seeds in the waspy-ish of soils, was also ready to tear someone a new one. If any of you folks have been lucky enough to meet Pink on the road, you will agree that he is a gentle, peace-loving dude. So you can imagine what kind of activation energy it takes to get his violence wheel spinning. And trust me, you don’t want to be caught under that wheel. Anyway, the club in Baton Rouge was very cool, and that single asshole wasn’t, in any way, representative of the place. As for Birmingham, Alabama, it was fantastic from the get-go. Perhaps a high point of the tour at a time when needed a high point.

I got either food poisoning or a stomach flu on Thanksgiving night in LA. We ate at Canter’s Deli, so for the sake of preserving one of my favorite LA eateries, I choose to believe I had a stomach flu. Seeing as most of us ate the same thing, the chances of it being a flu were good.

In San Francisco, I got to have sushi with Jonathan Richman, and then he later got up on stage with us and played some outrageous electric guitar while my cousin Joe Harvard sang “Pablo Picasso,” and the band put down the groove, quiet, the way Jonathan likes it. It was the coolest few minutes of my musical “career.” That moment would hold first place for only a few weeks. It would be dethroned by a sportswriter and a baseball general manager. But I’ll get to that.

We toured almost the entire six weeks with Elvis Perkins. I keep saying this because it’s true: Pernice Brothers have been possibly the luckiest indie rock band going because we have always, without exception toured with bands that are really good and even better people. Elvis and the guys were great to listen to every night, and they were fantastic people to hang out with. It makes it so much better touring when you don’t want to murder the other band. I sincerely hope they feel the same way about us.

In Northampton, a group of older relatives of mine showed up. Luckily, my great aunt who is a nun was not among them. Thanks to my dear mother’s organizational acumen, they showed up at about eight-thirty for a ten p.m. set. Hanging around in a club blows for even a young person. Anyway, my father’s cousin (whom I love) says to me, “Oh, you go on at ten? Your mother said nine.” When I broke it to her that they had an hour and a half until the fireworks started, she said, “Can’t you go on at nine?” I did my best to clean up the language in the songs, but when one sings “Bum Leg,” one must, deliver the wood, as it were. I let ‘er rip, much to the shock of a table of pre-octogenarian Italians. Then I got the hell out of there.

The tour ended in Boston with me shooting the shit with a woman who runs a local drag king show. I must have been on my way to completely out of my mind, because we were actually making tentative plans to have me enter a drag king contest that was coming up the following week. I figured that my trump card was the fact that, well, I am a dude, and hairy. I’d have to win, no? I mentioned it to a buddy of mine who said, “I don’t know, man. Could be a battle royal.” I asked the woman running the contest what would happen to me if the other contestants found out I was a dude. She shook her head and made a face like her dentist just told her she needed two root canals and her insurance would not cover it. She and I decided I should start out small, by calling CURVES (the psycho Am-Way of the weight loss world) and telling them I was a really masculine German weightlifting woman who new to the area and wanted to “zwing by ahn cheg owwt da zhit.” I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Finally, the “pizza resistance,” we played Baseball Hall of Famer, Peter Gammons’ “Hot Stove, Cool Music” benefit. A very good cause we would certainly support again. It was especially insane for me, my brother, Jose and for Pat. We are BIG baseball fans. Besides hanging out with and listening to some really good bands, I got to talk baseball with Peter and Theo Epstein. While we were setting up our gear before our set, emcee Mike O’Malley was interviewing Peter Gammons onstage. They were talking about some of the finer points of the logic behind trading or not trading a player. Boring stuff for the non-fan, but pure gold for the freak fan. Poised to play our set, Bob, Pat and I looked at eachother with our mouths agape. To quote Madonna: “It mind-boggled the senses.”

The show ended with an all-star jam (“jam” being another one of those words that makes my skin crawl, but I’ll go with it.) I sang the English Beat’s (just the Beat for everyone outside of North America) “Save it for Later.” Among the players on stage (and forgive me if I don’t name you), there was Bill Janovitz, Mike Gent and Pete Donnelly from the FIGGS, J.J. and Jen from the Downbeat Five, Peter Gammons, Theo Epstein, Ed from Q-Division, Lenny Dinardo from The Red Sox. It’s probably all archived at boston.com if you want specifics. Anyway, it was very bizarre to turn from the mic and see Gammons and Theo playing guitar back there. Bill Janovitz and I have known each other since our college days at UMASS, and have played together before. (Bill, while I enjoyed playing with you, you’re not in Cooperstown, nor are you the GM of the Red Sox. Yet.)

We all gathered at a quiet bar after the show. I spoke at length with Mike O’Malley and Pete Donnelly. I looked across the room, and James, who knows very little about baseball (and by very little, I mean nothing) is shooting the shit with Sox pitcher Lenny Dinardo (who is a really nice guy.) I pulled James aside and asked if he was okay, and he said, ‘Of course. Lenny and I are getting along quite well.” They were discussing cricket. Genius.

Theo was gracious enough to sign my son’s Topp’s 2004 World Series baseball card. (Yeah, sure it’s for my son.)

As for what’s next with me and the band, well, I’ll have to write that in another post. I’m way over one thousand words. Until then, pax vobiscum.

–JP 1/12/07 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Joe @ 7:17 pm