People of Tomorrow, I’m Stuck in Yesterday!
The last day of our US tour has come and gone and I find myself trying to grasp what just happened. I’m deeply accustomed to my life on the road, and I’m used to doing things most people think impossible, like flying from Sydney to Chicago via Singapore and Hong Kong within 36 hours for a show, or sleeping off bronchitis over a 17 hour drive in a tour bus bunk (aka my bed on wheels, which I’ve not-so-affectionately nicknamed “my bouncing shelf”). As I write this, I am stranded yet again at a random airport, staring out at the drizzly tarmac, counting the hours of my life I will never get back. It sounds so dramatic, I know, but you must understand – when I calculate my time spent in transit, I am confronted with an alarming figure. Multiply this number to include my bandmates and our dedicated road crew of 7 and you start to wonder… Are we all insane? Where do we get the energy to keep this thing going?
Of course there are always ways to improve the way you roll in show biz, so we step up our game every chance we get, eagerly absorbing any secondhand news of ways to do it better. Rumours circulate of tour bus waterbeds, walk-in closets and so-called “Star Coaches” with all the amenities of normalcy. Neil Young is said to have the back lounge of his bus equipped with a grand piano, and I’ve heard tales of stainless steel chef’s kitchens, traveling wine cellars and on-call medics with suggestive names like Dr. Buzz. Private jets are out of reach for most of us these days, but legends of past extravagance (and logistical bliss) live on. Meanwhile, somewhere warm and sunny, a DJ is “loading in” for his gig equipped with little more than a USB stick and a briefcase for his million bucks. Ha ha, good one. You can’t blame the guy, but damn! The fact (the problem?) with musicians is we have proven over and over again that our love of music means we’ll blindly tolerate all kinds of deprivation when it comes to creature comforts. In some circles, it’s almost a kind of sport to see how much you can endure as proof of your authenticity. It becomes a matter of principle. You don’t feel like you’re missing out on any basic human essentials because you’ve convinced yourself that you are above them, like spiritual aesthetes or men of the cloth. Living rooms that aren’t speeding down the highway through the night are so … static! Kitchens with more than a toaster oven are so… cluttered! Beds that aren’t stacked on top of each other like grown up summer camp bunks are so… boring! isolated! ordinary! domestic!
When everything stops and I go home for five minutes, it’s hard to believe these 65 shows since the release of Synthetica even happened, that we played “The Wanderlust” and “Pale Blue Eyes” at Radio City Music Hall with Lou Reed and made our mark at so many other historic venues across the country. It’s hard to place any objective value whatsoever on our efforts, it’s all so fleeting! I suppose this is a heightened version of what we all experience every day: the uneasy push and pull between wanting time to pass more quickly because of the challenges at hand, and simultaneously hoping that we’re making the most of every minute, constantly asking ourselves, “Is this my life?” knowing that the answer is “Yes.”
On any given day, nothing matters more to me than what happens on stage, and I know my bandmates have taken the same heavy oath. We all have friendships, families and loves to prioritize, but the commitment we have made to music, and all it demands, is immeasurable. Metric fans, for their part, continue to match us in their dedication. I’m amazed by the number of letters we received these past weeks, and although many of your stories describe heartbreaking times, I do feel a singular sense of purpose when you tell me the songs we wrote got you through those rough periods. Thank you for letting me know.
We’ve got some time off before we embark on our arena tour across Canada, and I’m looking forward to laying low at home, playing the piano. But the truth is, like a true addict, I’m already excited to get back out there and do it all again…this time in the snow!
As of now, 6 hours later, I’m still stranded at the airport, rereading the letters you wrote to us. I’d like to sign off with an excerpt from one we received from an extraordinary kid named Alex:
“Thank you for asking questions that made me want to seek out answers, such as why do people think apathy is something to be proud of?”
P.S. Got a new video for “Breathing Underwater” coming for you soon…In the meantime, here’s a little taste of our moment with Lou Reed in NYC and two sweet crowd shots from ACL taken by our pal Lauren Graham. Enjoy!
"The Wanderlust" with Lou Reed @ Radio City Music Hall 9/23/12
"Pale Blue Eyes" with Lou Reed @ Radio City Music Hall 9/23/12
Austin City Limits, 10/13/12