Spanning the world

It took almost the entire year, but I believe this post will feature our first emoji!  (Unless, of course–and this is very fucking possible–it’s not actually an emoji, and I’ve just committed some hopelessly out-of-touch Internet Is A Series Of Tubes-like faux pas.)

Night two of our muy bueno visit to Buenos Aires and Santiago is there: I can tell that in October the 15th of 2010 YLT played in Buenos Aires, Argentina and that day my former girlfriend moved in with me after a rough period of long distance relationship.   It’s funny because today I’ve been thinking a lot about her and now I run into this 😀  That was a hell of a night, full of love, hope and music.  A pity it didn’t work out.  But that’s another story. . . .

Two years earlier, it’s another two-night run, this time in Taipei.  We play “Batman” for the recently deceased Neal Hefti.  And in 1987, we make a rare Hoboken appearance at someplace that’s not Maxwell’s, at a benefit for local fire victims.  Speed the Plough/Trypes/Yung Wu’s John Baumgartner sits in on organ and accordion for our short set.  Tune in next time . . . if there is a next time.






Love is in the (Buenos) Aires

Our second tour of South America was a mixed bag.  Stops in Chile and Brazil–the highlights of our 2001 trip–were completely dissatisfying festivals.  But fortunately we were not lied to in song: The best was yet to come, specifically two shows in Buenos Aires, the first one four years ago today.  There’s a little awkwardness when we arrive and find La Trastienda wallpapered in sponsorship.  Eventually, we compromise by agreeing to whatever they want to do so long as it’s off the stage.  The audience soon turns that into a hazy memory (truly: I’m thinking the sponsor was Coca-Cola, but can’t be sure).  During the quiet part of the set, we take a request and perform an impromptu two-acoustic-guitars version of “Deeper Into Movies”; the crowd is not as persuasive when they start ba-ba-ba-ing for “You Can Have It All” during the encore (except for those who came back the next night when we played it).  Perhaps best of all, our second show is on the eve of the day of respect for cultural diversity.  Our evening flight home allows us time to have a fantastic lunch and then take advantage of a parade route that is mere blocks from our hotel, marveling as indigenous Argentinians march by in eye-popping regalia.


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Goin’ on a holiday

Nineteen years ago today, as Yo La Tengo and Run On make our way west across the U.S., Rick Brown and Sue Garner celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary–which if memory serves is traditionally the fabric softener anniversary–at Sudsy Malone’s in Cincinnati.   (Coincidentally, we’d be playing in nearby Newport, Kentucky on Georgia and my anniversary just a few years later.)  Across the street from Sudsy’s was Bogart’s, where we played with Superchunk in 1993, which I mention because that’s the lineup at the El Rey in Los Angeles in 1998, at a party to launch Mr. Show’s fourth season.  The two bands merge, as it were, for Peter Frampton’s “Show Me the Way,” the chorus rewritten as “I want you Mr. Show me the way/ Bob and Dave/ I want you . . . now on Monday.”  There would be no fifth season, so the sound mix must’ve been subpar.  (The day before we recorded the theme from The Simpsons, as heard in the closing credits of “D’oh-in’ in the Wind”–during the session Dan Castellaneta very graciously phoned one of my brothers as Homer to wish him a happy birthday.)



(Tally) Ho, Adrian

Our swing state tour draws to a close 10 years ago today in, dare I say it, spectacular fashion at Philadelphia‘s First Unitarian Church.  Sue Garner and Dave Schramm, who began the tour with us, are back, as is Todd Barry.  David Kilgour is the lone holdover from the previous shows in North Carolina, and joining in for one night only are Danny Ray Thompson and the late Tyrone Hill from the Arkestra, and Calvin Johnson.  In addition to singing four songs (among them Chris Stamey’s “The Summer Sun“), Calvin makes an eloquent speech, putting into words that which we’ve at best implied in the previous four weeks.  Danny Ray and Tyrone are a revelation as always (and yes, that’s something of an oxymoron, but it’s true nonetheless), elevating songs they’ve never heard before and will never hear again.  It’s the last night of tour, so we ask David to sing his Top 20 hit, “Tally Ho!”



Dumber than the average bear

On tour in the U.S. with David Kilgour in 1997, our crew was traveling by van with the equipment, and Georgia, James and I were following at a safe distance in a car.  It gave us the freedom to take scenic and culinary detours, and on our trip from Athens to Knoxville 17 years ago today we did both.  We lunched at the Dillard House, in Dillard, GA–where if I’m not mistaken, on a previous visit Joe was confused for Kurt Cobain–after which we headed deeper into the Nantahala National Forest, with plenty of time before we were due at Moose’s Music Hall.  Without warning, traffic on the two-lane road slowed to a crawl, and continued crawling–when it was moving at all, that is–for miles.  There were no cars in the oncoming lane, but it seemed a rash combination of dangerous and dickish to pull into it, so we waited.  And waited.  Somehow word reached us that a bear had been spotted near the road.  As interesting a detail as that was, it didn’t entirely explain the tie-up, not until we finally arrived in the greater bear vicinity and saw cars not merely pulled off the road for a sighting, but stopped in the road itself so people could get out to investigate.  We, on the other hand, wouldn’t give the damned bear the satisfaction of actually looking at it, and sped off as fast as we could.  (Had this happened today, when every single person has a camera and an insatiable appetite to share, I think we might have missed the show entirely.)  We finally emerged from the mountains, only to find ourselves once more bumper-to-bumper, this time due to Dollywood and its neighbors.

Adding to the excitement was that this was the only day we were available to play in Knoxville, so the promoter did something he ordinarily avoided, which was book a show on the same day that the University of Tennessee football team had a home game.  Delayed as we were, we arrived in Knoxville just as 106,656 UT fans were hitting downtown to celebrate their victory over Georgia.  It was bedlam.  But a short walk from the club, our car couldn’t have been more stuck if there had been a bear on the streets of Knoxville.  I let Georgia and James out of the car, instructing them to tell Joe I love him, as I couldn’t be sure I’d ever see any of them again.  Of course, none of us thought to warn the David Kilgour group (who loved scenery as much as the next band) about the bear, and they almost did miss their show.

Weddings can be stressful too, I’ve heard, though if there was any on Michelle’s wedding day, she does not mention it in her email:  My husband and I used your song “Our Way to Fall” for our first dance at our wedding.  We got married on October 11, 2003 in Massachusetts.



Learn how

Our U.S. tour with Run On is a little slow out of the gate, 19 years ago today.  New soundman Mick Learn has come highly recommend, though if we’ve ever met, it was only in passing while we were playing his home town of Portland, Oregon.  When he’s late for soundcheck at the Grog Shop in Cleveland,  we call him for his ETA and find out he thinks the tour begins tomorrow.  Fortunately for all concerned, he’s visiting relatives nearby.  We welcome Rick Brown by encoring with “Let’s Compromise,” by one of his old bands, Information.


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