the fourth of july

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.


july 1st
Things have reached that point.
We’ve just finished our second-to-last festival gotten into a van for a ten hour drive to Roskilde (one of the biggest, 70,000 people in denmark) and Brian was already at the end of his rope five days ago. Emily just handed back a clipboard and paper so we could put our signatures down for something and brian (instead of simply signing the thing) spent a good ten minutes kind of twitching and giggling and drawing a creature that looked like edvard munch’s “the scream” with giant vulture wings and feet like shrivelled elves’. We didn’t even find it funny, just….brace for drive and shut up.
Things have reached that point.

july 3rd – 11:30 pm
well fucking brilliant. arriving back home at 11 pm, 5 am body-time and listening to the boston cab driver blaring bad synthesized R&B while the skyline
greets me covered in haze. it’s enough to make me want to turn around and go back, as much as i was sick of being on tour. we fully hit the wall about a week before the end. now i am home, water boiling, and refusing to go to bed until i can make some sense of anything. i always have to do this, i don’t know exactly why.

tea is done. cathode is injected into the stereo. i’m already feeling better.
i just feel a little lost. this is when i want my guidebook to this life, to tell me where to start, how to come to terms. my voice teacher told me a few months ago that some of the huger performers he’s known will often take tour breaks in their hometowns without going home. they just check into a hotel and keep their rote touring schedule so that they don’t have to deal with the mindfuck. i feel like i don’t live here anymore. i walk into pope’s apartment upon getting out of the cab a few hours ago and nobody blinked an eye. they’re just as used to me being a ghost of a human being as i am. my heart is breaking a little bit. the more i tour, the less i feel like myself. the constant people, the constant working out of interpersonal drama and other people’s issues is something i can actively escape when i’m at home. i just close the door. on tour, there are no doors. everybody’s shit is in each other’s shit constantly. my nerves weren’t built for that. if i had a few magical hours a day in wehich i could beam myself back home, to my safe place, alone, where i process and write and get free from the ragged wreck of humanity, i’d be far more equipped to survive the schedule. but it’s all or nothing. when you tour, you just go. and you’re just there, which is always sort of somewhere but never really anywhere.

“i’m in italy.”
“some festival near….padova.” i’m not sure which part of italy because i forgot to check the atlas.
“but WHERE?”
“outside…wandering around…trying to get to a place where i can be alone….in a weird concrete landing, behind the tour bus.” this is where most of my conversations take place. sort of nowhere.
“i miss you.”
“i miss me too.”

“i’m in berlin.”
“just kind of walking down a street, somewhere near the venue.” i don’t know which part of berlin; i forgot to check my map. i don’t care, really. we’re not staying and if i knew where i was, it wouldn’t help me.
“what’s there?”
“nothing much….apartments….i just passed a pawn shop and bought a cigarette tin. it’s one of those typical streets in berlin where you just feel like your’e lost in the middle of nowhere. no signs of life but yet there are people who apparently live here and call it home.” the spectre of every building having been thrown up in 15 minutes in the 50’s may be part of the problem.
“what’s the plan today?”
“eh. i have about two hours til soundcheck, and we may not even get one. i’m going to wander up and down this street…warm up my voice, it’s all fucked up, and then head back to the venue.” where i will also feel like i’m nowhere.
“i feel like i’m nowhere.”
“you’ve been on the road for a while, now. i miss you.”
“i miss me too.”
“i love you.”
“i love you too. i think i’m going a little crazy.”
“i’m not surprised.”

“i’m in the bus.”
“somewhere between two cities. we’ve been driving for 14 hours. i knocked myself out last night.”

“i’m in england again.”
“where’s that?”
“in the south, somewhere…look at a map, fucking.” why is it my job to fucking know these things?
“i trust you.”
“don’t trust me, i’m losing my mind.” and i am. the sun is starting to shine. it’s simultaneously t-shirt and heavy jacket weather.
“what’s going on?”
“i’m in the parking area for the tour busses. just some strange big fenced in sandland. i’m truly alone for the first time in 72 hours. it rained like a motherfucker here and everyone is wearing industrial rainboots. it’s crazy.”
“when do you play?”
“tomorrow. i need to be careful tonight. no drinking. no smoking. the show tomorrow is important.”
“i’ll let you go and warm up.”
no! never let me go, never stop talking and giving me this human vocal thread by which to connect myself to what i know my life was and is. i don’t want to warm up, i don’t want to go back to being nowhere in this parking lot with no stove and no bed and no door that closes and i don’t want to take my luggage to the dressing room and make myself a cheese and bread sandwich and a weak cup of tea in a plastic cup which will melt.

but then again, it can be wonderful. it’s work. after watching such a collection of huge folks close-up and backstage over the past week, i feel like my rose-tinted music glasses have been finally fully crushed and replaced with a stark reality of routines, gigs being called in from distant planets, nodding teen heroes being propped up by crutches backstage because their heroin habit has reduced them to 89 pounds, the mechanical nature of it all, the cocaine, the hangers-on, the wandering hipsters, more pointy shoes and blazers than you can shake a dying tambourine at, the lack of love, the whole fucked-up-ness of the inevitable disaster when you take a trade and artform fundamentally rooted in the expression of pain, suffering and insecurity and organize the shit out of it. does anyobdy feel like they’re really in the middle of the party? not from where i was sitting. it seemed like everybody was always hovering around the edges, looking into a collective void.

the deadliest part: i’m home, and it feels closer to nowhere than ever before. this is bad, very bad. the british, i found out recently, have a name for this. they call it The Fear. it’s a general sweeping mental malady that sets in after living in the UK with it’s suicide-inducing weahter after a while. I have contracted a strain of The Fear. maybe not quite so bad. The Ennui. The germans call it Weltschmerz. Do we have a good english term for this? we will know. I hereby dub it The End.

don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t like this every day and every where. i’m exhausted. i want more. i want my drummer back, i feel like i’m losing him to the dark side again.
i want to skip over the part where i climb into my empty bed and wait to see how long it will take me to fall asleep on this fucked up schedule and get to the part where i wake up to the beautiful day and i’m magically compelled to immediately practice and open 67 pieces of mail and fly into a general manic creative frenzy and clean my whole kitchen from top to bottom and forget that i just spent five weeks doing absolutely nothing but listlessly watching life wander by between rock shows. i want my life to come back to me, because i don’t fucking know where to go to find it. it’s terrifying.

i want the fourth of july to just go away. i want the sound of people practicing fireworks outside my window to vanish. it sounds like war to me.

emily and bri stayed in europe and went to the G8 summit to reckon with The Man. i will live vicariously through them and their emails about how the resistance is going. reading todays’ paper about live 8 and the general response of the experts and then watching the BBC coverage of Iraq on the plane and then watching a film about the last few days of Hitler’s life in the bunker couldn’t be doing much to improve my mood, come to think about it. simultaneously getting my period upon boarding the plane and having no sponge and no underwear didn’t fucking help matters either. it all sucks, man. everybody’s dying and complaining and trying and it’s always this way. there is absolutely nothing to be upset about.

it’s the fourth of july.
it’s the fourth of july.
this is hilarious and sad to me, for some reason.
if i wasn’s so tired, i’d find a sarcastic reason why.

i must have also been going through a hormonally challenged day when i had that unforgettable fourth of july image burned into my brain, i think it was 1998 or 1999. i was seeing will, and he lived near the mass ave bridge, where thousands of people always gather to watch the fireworks over the river. we walked onto the bridge but somehow lost each other. i looked and looked and coulndn’t find him. the relationship wasn’t working out anyway at that point. i’d never seen the fireworks before, i watched from the bridge, alone, surrounded by families and lovers and drunk people and the whole typical assortment. then they were over. and thousands of people started walking off the bridge, but i just stood there, in the middle, facing them all coming at me and thinking about america and patriotism and loneliness and people’s lives in general and jsut started bawling my brains out (i’m not a crying-in-public kind of person generally. to myself, quietly, over the paper when i’m PMSing, yes, but not like this. no way.) and the people passing me, who were all in a kind of a fairground headspace, just looked at me with that “damn, what the fuck is her problem?” kind of look and they kept streaming by, thousands of them, bearing lawnchairs and coolers and it got uglier and uglier and i got sadder and sadder until somehow the whole thing ended and i made my way back to will’s house, where his father offered me a beer and a piece of watermelon and i felt better. i wonder the hell was wrong with me in those days.


Back to Blog