News / Blog

September 5, 2011

Pernice, Scuds, “Tour” Diary

My dearest friend,

I am putting the hard news up front, for the one guy, probably long-ago unsubscribed, who complained with every single missive, about my long windedness. He said that I was ruining Pernice’s career, not to mention his day, every time I wrote. He also said that Pernice’s songs might be better if he stopped talking to me, and spent more time writing. He was apparently a very important person, with no time to spend digging through the circumlocution for the valuable nuggets of news about the musician and writer Joe Pernice. So, for him:

• New Pernice Brothers record: Almost done. Release, sometime soon, can’t commit.
• Pernice shows: Just one scheduled now, a few songs, in New York City 9/23.
• Scud Mountain Boys shows: We’re working on them. Probably December. Just Northeast U.S. right now.
• Scud Mountain Boys releases: Ashmont is re-releasing Pine Box and Dance the Night Away, either separately, or together (as in The Early Year) as they were, with no new material. Ashmont is also releasing a Scuds rarities disc of some kind, as there is an abundance of stuff that was recorded. Don’t know what’s on it yet. Expect it to be released in December, in time to sell at the aforementioned shows.

For the rest of you-



Pernice to me: Just one thing before we leave. I’ve stopped wearing pants in cars. Bob’s OK with it. You are too. No discussion.

Oh yes, last weekend was FUN. The “tour” (six shows in five days) started off just fine. Joe played Connecticut for the first time ever, and we were so pleased to meet some of you. The club was WEIRD. It had the most off-putting feng shui I’ve seen since many years ago when I visited a band in western Canada who had nothing in their living room but a giant bong, a van bench and a life-size cardboard cut-out of Andrew Dice Clay. And for me to even consider feng shui is very telling, since I obviously don’t believe in that crap. As far as I’m concerned, it may as well be voodoo. Or astrology. Or psychology. Anyway, there were pool tables where there should be pathways and teenage girls in my way at every turn. Nonetheless, the mashed potato and bacon pizza was quite spectacular, and the crowd was large. And best of all, Scud Mountain Boy Tom Shea joined Pernice and Other Pernice on stage for an almost-impromptu (is that like a little pregnant?) reunion. This was the first time in over a decade that Joe and Tom had spoken, never mind shared a stage. If I had a heart, I might have gotten a little misty. I got over that quickly though, when, as we were driving back to Boston, Joe convinced me to buy a McDonald’s fruit smoothie at 3 a.m. Bastard.

Boston (really Cambridge, but I feel so out of place there that I often don’t call it by its name)

Me to Pernice, as he’s driving and on the phone: You know there’s a mute button on the steering wheel? P: Is there one on the passenger seat?

People who came to the first of these two shows at the Lizard Lounge should ask for a partial refund (not from me – ask someone else), because at the second show, Joe told a lengthy story involving former Pernice Brothers and current Sadies drummer Mike Belitsky, a washing machine suspended in mid-air, and a bottle of cloudy raspberry-flavored lubricant, that was well worth the price of admission. (If anyone has video of this, PLEASE send it to me.) On an ordinary night, this would perhaps be the most remarkable thing to happen, but this was no ordinary night. Scud Mountain Boy Stephen Desaulniers was in the house, along with the aforementioned Tom Shea, and for the first time in 14 years, they played together on stage. That’s ¾ of the Scud Mountain Boys. I am not making this up. Here’s some video, recorded by fans (thanks!).

Freight of Fire
Scratch Ticket
Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves

Joe also announced that they have been in touch with Bruce Tull, and the four of them will play some shows. See below for very few details.

A guy, a girl and a Subaru drive into a hurricane… OR An Italian, and Irishman and a lezmobile drive into a hurricane… OR an “artist” a bottom-feeder and a lezmobile drive into a hurricane…

Me to Pernice: I’m not hooking up the satellite radio right now. P: Right, we should really talk the whole way. M: Where’s the box?

Having already lost our Sunday night Easton, Maryland show in anticipation of Hurricane Irene,* Joe and I set off from Boston for Vienna, Virginia early Friday morning in my brand new Subaru Forester, which I bought as fodder for one of Joe’s running jokes, but also for the all-wheel drive. Other Pernice WAS going to come with us, but he didn’t show up at the bus station by the appointed pickup time, because he was home trying to find his referee jersey, an item as important as his guitar for this particular trip. About the time we got halfway through New Jersey, we started to hear the news reports about New York shutting down at noon on Saturday. We called Joe’s agent and confirmed that the Mercury Lounge show (a.k.a. the show at which we make enough money for the tour to break even) was canceled. We drove a little further and got to around Trenton, when we started hearing that the George Washington and Tappan Zee bridges would also be closing on Saturday, and realizing we’d most likely get stuck south of New Jersey to wait out Irene (alone together), and that Joe’s flight home from Newark on Sunday would almost certainly be canceled, we canceled Vienna and turned around. We did what anyone would do when faced with such a situation – we drove as fast as we could to the Outback Steakhouse in Wilton, Connecticut, and ordered a couple of steaks.

Pernice to me: Good going, Puffy. This is reminiscent of that time you booked us into Hurricane Katrina.

In the first few days of September 2005, the Pernice Brothers were on tour in Florida, headed for shows in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Good times. And it’s not JUST Katrina and Irene. You may recall (or your parents might) that the Pernice Brothers, most of whom lived in New York at the time, embarked on a European tour on the evening of September 10, 2001, flying from JFK to Heathrow, and then were trapped overseas with no way to get home for over a week. Also, on a slightly smaller scale, but no less memorable on account of the firearms involved, was the time, also on the same tour in 2005, that the club in Dallas was seized by the ATF for non-payment of taxes, just as the band was loading in for soundcheck! I’m not saying that Joe’s touring karma is wiggy, but if I was planning a wedding or something, I’d steer about 100 miles and a week clear of a Pernice show.



As Joe announced at the Boston show we were discussing earlier, the Scuds will be playing a few shows, with the full lineup, including Tom, Steve and Bruce. We believe these shows will happen in mid-December, and we believe they will happen in Northampton, Boston, and New York. Beyond this, I can’t tell you anything. (Of course, if you have a wheelbarrow full of money, and want to make an offer for a show, you know where to find us!) I fully realize that this will make some of you ecstatic, and others of you complain. I must remind you at this juncture that life is unfair (as if there weren’t already enough reminders about that out there). But, I will also don my tourism hat, and tell you that those cities are DELIGHTFUL in December – the weather is PERFECT. We have Christmas decorations, Hanukkah gatherings, and, with the proximity to elitist college institutions, even celebrations of the War on Christmas, if you’re into that sort of thing. You should make a vacation of it! Don’t book your tickets yet though, as we have to book the shows first. I promise news soon.

Scuds Recordings

The plan is this. We’ll be re-releasing Pine Box and Dance the Night Away either separately or as the double CD The Early Year, on Ashmont, just because they’re effectively out of print, and we want to have them available for these December shows. It’ll be just as it is on The Early Year though, so if you already have it, you already have it. In addition, if the pressing plant cooperates, we will be releasing a limited edition vinyl album of Pine Box. And last, we will release a disc of what I’m told are Scuds rarities – songs that were never released, as well as alternate versions of songs that were, and maybe some live stuff. I don’t know how many tracks, but am told it will be a full length CD. I’ll post more when someone tells me something, or when I get parts – whichever comes first.

Joe has been asked by our pal John Wesley Harding to play the latter’s famed Cabinet of Wonders at City Winery in New York on September 23, with Jami Attenberg, Todd Barry, Eleanor Friedberger, Andrew VanWyngarden, Tony Visconti and Dan Zanes. Click here for tickets and info.

I’m sorry. It’s getting close to done, and I think you’re going to like it when it is finally done, but I don’t have a release date. From what I’ve heard, it contains some of Pernice’s best songwriting to date (Oh Joe you’re not getting older, you’re getting better), and it features James Walbourne, Peyton Pinkerton, Ric Menck, and a luminous cast of special guests. Plus it’s being mixed by our pal T.W. Walsh, whose work at the console, and impeccable manners, we greatly admire. I wish I could tell you when it will come out. I could tell you, but I’d be guessing, and we’ve been there before, haven’t we? It never goes well.

Watch for the return. Joe promises it’s coming.

I think I am done now. I’m certain you are.

Faithfully yours,

Dorchester, Mass.

*So, we lost a few shows because of the hurricane. No big deal. Lest you think I’m making light of a bad situation, our hearts go out to people who lost important things, like houses and loved ones. In fact, the house where Yours, Mine and Ours was recorded, owned by my brother’s family, was in one of the badly-affected areas. It escaped any real damage, but some neighbors were not so lucky. Joe spent many years in Western Massachusetts, which was hard hit. We hope that if you haven’t already, you’ll consider donating to relief efforts. We donated to the Vermont Community Foundation, but there are plenty of great relief agencies out there helping.

Joyce @ 4:15 pm