Freddie at Monkey Business is a hospitable guy, running a pleasant venue with an army of guys around him who make sure stuff gets done. His reputation is nationwide. The catering person at the Hinder shows told us of Freddie’s greatness. Monkey Business is a venue that makes all its money doing hip hop on the weekends and opening during the week for national rock bands that are either on their way up or on their way down or , as some might suggest of Days Of The New, are holding steady in Netherland.
Alligator sushi after sound check. Malcolm watching cable in the band room. On MSNBC a child pornographer has been captured in Asia. On MTV a young man is interviewing two girls for a date while his buddy gives him direction from a remote location.
The sound at Monkey Business that night is hard to deal with. Its like we are playing in a furniture store showroom. Its never easy to come off of an amazing show and play as well the next night, but I know the real lack of greatness for our show in Hilton Head: I try for one last time to wear the beard. I knew better, but I had to give it a shot – just to be sure. Bad move.
After the show, Malcolm grabs his bass to sit in with the guy playing piano and singing in the lounge next door. I grab my snare and hi hat and follow. An overly enthusiastic rocker guy who seems to be a regular at this hang almost spoils “Superstition”, growling the few words to the song before Malcolm asks him to stop. Then Big Momma comes to the stage and lays out “Down Home Blues” and “Chain Of Fools.”
Travis is agitated after the night is over. On top of the issues on his mind, he is also agitated with being agitated. “I wish I had a manager who saw me for what I really am,” he says before exiting the van and heading to his hotel room.
Malcolm, Phil and I congregate in our room. A few minutes later my phone rings. “You have your computer on you,” Travis asks.
“Look up Aspergers.”
I do so.
“This is why I am how I am,” Travis says. “And it’s why this whole thing may not work.”
As we talk I move from the computer to pace the apartment, eventually walking out the door and up and down the sidewalk in front of the hotel office. When Phil heads up to bed, he takes the outside stairs and is able to see that over the roof of the office, Travis is also outside, also pacing.
“Those fools,” Phil says to himself.
Travis finally spots me and we end our talk face to face. Aspergers moves on to the dysfunctions of our situation. It is the first discussion I have with Travis where we address the real work before us, considering each other and Phil and Malcolm and Fresta as people who might be working together for a while and not just some guys willing to get in a van.
"When this started I had all kinds of ideas about Nathan and how Phil was meant to be here," Travis said, "But I have to let that stuff go. This is a business. And it has to be done right."
I don't see how one point excludes the other, but I can agree: this has to be done right. I tell Travis I'm not sure what I'm ready for exactly, but that I am here to make more of things and not less. If it means more responsibility I'm willing, I say.
Travis think about this. "I ask alot," he says finally.
"I know," I say. I feel anxiety that comes when I fear I am in too deep, but I don't step back. I don't step any closer either, not now, but I don't step back.
When I get back to the room I chat Malcolm up until he passes out on his bed. I have to admit to myself that I am tired, too. Part of me wants to sit still all day and write tomorrow, but I have decided that whatever happens when I wake is what I will do.