My dearest friend:
Hi there. Me again.
So The New Mendicants CD EPs are in production, finally. As always, things took longer than expected, what with my advanced age and arthritis, Joe’s insolence and Norman’s Scot-Canadianness (sp?), but the parts have been shipped and the elves are hard at work (at a fair wage and with good benefits, even though it eats all of our “profit” margin), and we expect to have them in Boston, ready to be mailed in a few weeks. Then I just have to carry them into the house (probably 5 or 6 at a time, as my strength will allow), stick them in envelopes, write long personal notes to all of you using the Palmer Method, put stamps on them, in some cases fill out those damned customs forms (why can’t every place be in America, asked the ethnocentric American?), load up my scooter, ride down to the post office, give the many boxes to the surly attendant, and you’ll have them in no time at all! This all means that there is still time to order if you like. (If you’d rather not interact directly with us – and frankly I wouldn’t blame you – you can wait until the downloadable version is available in all the usual places, which will be about the same time I am interacting with the surly post office attendant. I will keep you posted!)
Joe and Norman are in Australia playing shows, and people have uploaded some videos. I have posted some links below. (Please note – this is the part of our program where you all contact me individually to let me know that they should come play in your city, because I totally have control over where they will and won’t go. You should know that both Joe and Norman have, in their old age, according to Joe, “developed severe allergic reactions to secondary and tertiary markets.” If you live in one of those, you might consider a move to the big city, but I wouldn’t, since even I don’t believe Joe when he says he wants to tour. I’ve learned the hard way.)
Anyway, here are the videos-
There are no current plans to arrange any further new Mendicants touring, mostly because no one except Belitsky has even ATTEMPTED to use the Google calendar I set up to try to track the movements of this international super group. I can’t work under these conditions.
I don’t really have much more to say, except that I DO expect Ashmont Records and Tapes will release one new Scud Mountain Boys and one new Pernice Brothers opus. Of course, they will not be released by Ashmont Records and Tapes as records, because we seek to break the hearts of the 10 of you who often ask, or tapes, because irony is dead outside of certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn. But we might make some 8-tracks. Not really. But let’s see how quickly that rumor seeps out there.
Thanks to all who have ordered the New Mendicants EP. I have enjoyed all the personal notes and requests in the files. Rather than answer you individually, I thought I would do it here, since there are probably others out there who feel like you do. You’ll never walk alone.
- Will in Louisiana requests that I fold his order into origami swans. I am NOT that talented, and birds creep me out a little. Also, no.
- Robert in Virginia professes a kinship with the New Mendicants on account of his fantasy baseball team is named after monks. That is SO weird, because my fantasy monastery – The Incarcerated Cardinals – is half-named after a baseball team.
- Ryan in Minnesota, Herb in New York, Stacey in Maine and Jake in Florida all ask if Charlie Ashmont can lick their envelopes. He is totally game for this, but I must warn you that the odds that he will have JUST finished licking his winkie before he does this are great, based on the frequency of his regular winkie-licking.
- John in New York, Ben in Kansas and Hesh in London ask if they can get signed copies. The answer is I’m willing to try, if you don’t mind waiting. I’ll have to mail the CD to Joe in Toronto (which is another country). Then Joe will have to mail it to whatever country Norman is spending the next few months in, forgetting that he should get it to Belitsky first, as they’re both in Toronto. Then, I’ll have to email Norman 17 times to ask him where it is, until finally his wife finds it for me in the bottom of a guitar case. She will give it to Joe once they return to Toronto several months later so Belitsky can sign. Now it’s autumn. Then Joe will lose your address, and decide to just bring it to Boston at Christmas to give to me to mail. Then, he will forget to bring it to my house. Then I will drive to his parents’ house on the South Shore on Christmas Eve and retrieve it, forgoing my own Christmas dinner. Then, I will mail it to you. So, if you can wait until Christmas, I’ll see to that. Of course, I could just sign their names, and you would never know. But I feel like that would be a violation of this non-relationship relationship we have going.
- Here I’d like to point out that more people have asked for Charlie Ashmont to lick their envelopes than have asked for autographs. I think this means my message is getting through.
- Steve from Memphis calls me “droll.” I believe that’s a typo, and he meant to write “doll.” Joe would not agree though.
- Nancy from Ohio asks if I will be running in the special election to fill Senator Kerry’s seat once he’s appointed Secretary of State. The answer is no. Joe has some files he has threatened to release if I try to run for office before he has a hit record. Someone else will have to make the world safe for democracy.
- Brad in New York asks if I can check out his band. Aw, Brad, honey – I am the LAST person you want checking out your band. It would be like having a cynical, middle-aged, music-hating, early-to-bed woman in mom jeans showing up at your gig, unhappy to be there, eager to be home on the couch under a blanket, and not afraid to tell you you’re wasting your life. You don’t want that. It will cramp your style and dash your dreams. I apologize in advance for my imagined behavior, and wish you the best of luck.
- Neil from Vancouver offers: “A compact disc by a Scot, an American, and a Canadian, by your New England label, for a tour of Australia. I’m not sure whether that’s more cosmopolitan, or more white. Either way, I’m in.” Neil, in David Roedinger’s landmark book The Wages of Whiteness, he argues that European-American white working-class racism is underpinned by a complex series of psychological and ideological mechanisms that reinforce racial stereotypes. (None of these psychological and ideological mechanisms involve middle-aged indie rock that I am aware of, but I digress.) However, you might want to rethink buying into the social construct you seem to be perpetuating. But, keep in mind that all sales are final.
- Zach from San Francisco asks if I can please include an advance copy of the new Scuds LP in the shipment. How cute is that? Like I am even going to GET an advance copy of the new Scuds LP myself. Silly rabbit.
- Michael from Somerville is upset that there’s no Boston show scheduled and that the band covered INXS instead of the Go-Betweens. We had a band meeting about this, and it was decided that we should acknowledge his extreme suffering with this. (Note: By clicking this link you agree NOT to sue any of us for your unhappiness with regard to what any of us does in our personal pursuit of happiness, protected by the soon-to-be-enacted 28th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I have inside info.)
- Kyle from Missouri says that his order is “contingent on the band playing in St. Louis.” First, all sales are final, and I have already spent your money on a chew toy in the shape of Joe for Charlie. Second, my brother lives in St. Louis, and he says, and I quote, “It’s a nice place to live, but I wouldn’t want to visit there.”
- John from Massachusetts says, “Without Joyce Linehan, there would be no Pernice Brothers.” You have this a little jumbled. What it should say is “Without Dr. Joyce Brothers, there would be no Pernice Brothers.” Here’s a clip of one of the band’s therapy sessions with her. As noted philosopher Bowser says, “A little therapy never hurt nobody.”*
- Private to Derek in New Jersey: I don’t shovel my own walk or mow my own lawn. Also, all sales are final.
- Mark in California eloquently offers, “Shit best b good!” I’m not sure where to start with this. I believe this is the way white rap (see Roedinger, above) fans address rappers. I am not culturally literate in rap, having stopped acquiring rap records in 1992, with Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic,” when, like most middle-aged white liberals, I could no longer reconcile the homophobia and misogyny with the sonic magic. Of course, also like most middle-aged white liberals, I could not bring myself to take enough of a stand to throw the record away, because I knew that 20 years later, my music snobbery and cultural superiority would be questioned often enough by my 14-year-old nephew that I would have to, on occasion, prove ownership of said record. Anyhoo, Mark, I digress; I have NO idea what you’re telling/asking me.
- Louis in Alameda asks me to “please send with requisite amount of love and snark.” Sweetie, I have NO idea where LOVE enters into this exchange, and unless you think it’s something I can somehow monetize, I’m just going to imbue your package with snark for now. All sales are final.
*Being an Irish-American, I of course disagree with this, seeing the need for therapy as a weakness to be discussed only in hushed whispers in very small circles. We have a long, proud history of stewing in our neuroses, and talking about anything other than ourselves. Who am I to mess with history?
That is all.