The story continues to reveal itself in clangs and whispers, just as the problems of arranging it come clearer. (We are two weeks from our dress rehearsal.) [Cue sound of teeth popping off hard candy to sound like biting nails.]
There's THIS...Less the band started focused work on Astroland a year ago, but the seeds of the story started shaking in a few of us much earlier.
OR...In early 2005 I took a hit of weed in the back of a rental van traveling east from Pittsburgh to New York City and had a mild yet transformative breakdown. On the previous day, Less the band had breakfast with my Dad at North End Cafe in Louisville. Afterwards, we got in the van and I left Louisville for what seemed like permanently. We had to drive to Pittsburgh to play Gooski's, and then we would drive to New York City where I would wait for Traci to join me to begin the rest of our life. I was on my pilgrim's ride to a new home, to a place where I would always be a visitor, with four guys I barely knew.
By time the van pulled in to the rest stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I'd cleared up the whole fascination with aliens thing: "Of course we relate. We're not at home, either. We think of aliens because we are them." (Things I've added since that talk: we think of God for much the same. If only we didn't have to spend so much time getting over ourselves.)
We ate Mc Donalds outside on the handicapped ramp. Two pudgy kids in cardboard-colored Boy Scout uniforms locked the doors of a station wagon and walked into the food court.
"Poor bastards," said Paul.
Everyone has memories of that talk at the Rest Stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It is part of the picture of Less the band. It's in our history. Thank God.
Last night at Mercury Lounge Paul told the audience anytime we played an "old song". (Funny to have old songs when we've played less than 75 shows in our lifetime. ) Later as we rode in the back of the Zip Car with Rob's ten speed banging our knees Paul said, "Ray, remember after that one trip, how you had to piss real bad and we pulled over on Canal Street so you could do it?"
How could I forget? It was the end of the big trip, my first moment in New York feeling like a New Yorker. I stood on the curb and filled two McDonalds Extra Large cups with warm piss. Adam held one of the cups for me just for the hell of it.
Riding in the Zip Car last night I had another flashback to the "old days". It was also a day when Less the Band returned to New York from a run of shows and mixing our record in Chicago. Unlike the first trip, this one was a little more tense. No one was volunteering to hold the cup.
But as we crossed George Washington Bridge, Chernus told us that a photographer friend of his had called and asked if we wanted to play a battle of the bands at a metal club that night. Chernus thought the guy might take band photos for us if we did. We discussed extending our time together one more day.
"Are we fucking high?" asked Paul. But then he volunteered to go rent a U Haul for the gig.
We didn't qualify for another slot in a future band battle, but we played the best show of the year that night.