Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Lufthansa Flight 1140<

It's New Year's Eve 2007 and out of the blue I get an e-mail that begins like this:


"This is V______ of C_________.

"I handle E_______ booking for ISIS and will have them on tour for approx. 2 weeks in April 2008. ISIS gave me a list of bands they'd like to have as possible support and The Austerity Program was one of them ..."

For those that don't know, Isis (all caps as per the band, a rule I will flaunt out of contempt for silliness) is a band of five guys who are all friends of ours. More to the point: over the last 10 years they've put out a bunch of very good records and their audience has appropriately grown with each one. These days they can go to Europe, play two weeks of shows to hundreds and hundreds of people each night, invite some smaller outfits along for the ride and still come out way ahead.

The band I'm in - the Austerity Program - consists of me, my friend Thad Calasandwich and our accurate/sociospastic drum machine. We're the kind of band that records our own records, moves at a slooow pace that fits well with the rest of our lives and, officially, does not do things like tour Europe. This is not because we hate Europeans. (Not me, anyway. I haven't checked with Thad on this.) But this band, while being an unusually important thing in each of our lives, must live with our families and our work and our friends - other things that are also unusually important. I don't want to give the wrong impression here - neither Thad nor I are seething wannabe rockers who fell into impotent conformity and now see a burning red every time Keith Richard's raisin mug makes the rounds on the TV. I like having more than one thing I truly care about in my life and feel astoundingly lucky that each of these things is more important for me at 34 than they've ever been.

But come on. I don't have to spell this out for you. Figure us as the dude purposefully hiking along a state highway on the edge of Death Valley. The e-mail above was Peter Fonda rumbling up, sliding a tanned hand off his apehangers and rolling his fingers in a slow beckon. "You all wanna go for a ride?"

The answer to that question was yes. And it will continue to be yes for the next two weeks.

It's April now and I'm on the plane that takes me to where we're going = Leipzig, Germany. (That's in Europe, for my friends in the midwest.) About 6 hours ago, Jill (wife) and Max (son) dropped me off at the subway. More will be said about their/her generosity in allowing this to happen, but this kind of gift should not be overlooked. I get to go play rocker on a foreign continent for two weeks (fun). Someone else gets to play single parent with a toddler who will happily and emphatically repeat the same phrase with a frequency that would even make Funk Master Flex reel with nausea.

Oh, and that trip on the subway was a goddam embarrasment. It was late rush hour and I was the nomad holding up train doors and blocking emergency egress with about 75 pounds of crap as I worked up a nice shirt splotching sweat-pour. This was truly a metal moment; with my straining backpack and oversized carry-on nonsense I looked like the sturdy gent from the cover of Led Zepplin IV. I got ot the Lufthansa gate and felt freakish enough that I couldn't understand why things went right - they checked my bags, they let me through security, I got on the plane. I'll leave it up to you to figure out where this was coming from, but I was contantly expecting someone in a zebra striped ref shirt to come prancing out of nowhere to throw me a red card. "Justin Foley? You know you shouldn't be here in the departure line at JFK. Get back on the R train. This airport is only for cocaine-addicted refugees, cocaine-addicted models and other truly international types."

So I'm finishing this as this plane rumbles along obove the northern Atlantic through cold, rarefied darkness. OW SHIT. Some punk kid just knocked my elbow hard as he thumped his way down the carpeted aisle. Looking at him, I'd guess he's probably two or three months through the gates of new adolescence and just a bit chubby. He's meandering about wearing one of those in-flight sleep pillows/neck straddlers. Upon seeing this, my natural first impression was that he was sporting an oddly colored horseshoe style life preserver. Kid, if you're reading this: It's Not Too Late - ditch the pillow, get an Ipod and start hating your parents now.

Meanwhile, the ex-Georgian (country) setting next to me just disappeared for about five minutes; I'm betting 16 Euros to your 3 pesos that she joined the mile high club with a total stranger. AS I WAS TYPING THIS, NO LESS. (ref. the deed at approx "..trip on the subway ...") Ah well; good for her.

So, in other words, it's just me here dealing with a long-ass plane ride.

Listening to:
Lustmord - Heresy
Soul Explosion, Volume 1

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