Sunday, November 4, 2012

Detroit 4/11/2012

I have a bad throat.

That's right, BBC news, CNN, Al-Jaazera and the South Grimsby Stoat & Echo - I have a bad throat, so hold the feng-shui'd clitty-slapping front page and get my (I imagine) bruised larynx pressed into the pressed and pressing news agenda of your impressionable readers. Get John Simpson(*1) down to the scene in a helicopter and film him interviewing tearful fans as they flee the scene of my face. "How do you feel, madam?" "Megafied, John.". Yes, you've got your fucking hurricanes and rape gaffes and other minor dramas of the $6 billion race to change precisely nothing and the molten, slowing echoes of the Arab Spring and Luis Suarez(*2) and aubergine pesto and genetically engineered yawns and right-on goat herders dictating to bankers how they can (or can't) spend their blood money and fuck that and elephants being sick on ghosts and (hashtag) everything.

I have a bad throat and the world keeps turning. A shit complaint, in a carbon-based realm of cancers, curses and Piers Morgan but my day-to-day now revolves almost entirely around a process of medication as the business of fun and rock and roll and the greatest holiday men (and wombed men) could ever know throws it's shapes across our lives.

To rewind (figuratively). I never wanted to be a singer, vocalist, vox-iter, shouter, frontman or preening bolstered bell-end, I wanted to be a guitar player. Play, stare, feign disinterest, then slink off before the memories are fully formed. Effort - the enemy of good sense (Singers don't stay in bed late like guitarists, they're always up early writing letters of complaint to arms manufacturers or dressing neighbourhood children as jungle animals to celebrate various religious festivities). My first show, I wore a yellow t-shirt (poorly advised with my skin tone - I looked like a racist tomato) and hated every minute. Later, I loved it, because when people (and I use that term loosely) sang my words they would shittify them as such a remarkable rate it was as if they had been sent from heaven to break my heart. So, y'know, you (well, I - or perhaps you as well) keep going and life fills in the gaps. Eventually you (I/you/we/it/Chris) write some good songs and the whole thing comes to a point in a moment (or sequence of moments) where it all feels worthwhile and crisp and pure and right and the acceptance of others (most others - loved ones are peculiar) means so little as to be acutely welcome when eventually expressed. 

"You love our band? Thankyou. So do I. I give my life to it. "(*3)

When the band that became (for want of any better name turning up in time) future of the left started I was completely past any notion of wanting to hear my horrible fucking voice crucify any more of the semi-decent melodies I was occasionally capable of writing. I'd listen back to demos or rehearsal tapes and cringe at the predictable and limited range of sounds that one man can make (unles he is being attacked by balloons) but more than that I was sick of spending most touring days in a state of waking dread, frowning through sniffs and blue with despair the second anybody in the vicinity coughed or complained about a sore throat. I wanted to be a guitar player, real but hidden, safe in the knowledge that I'd be easily capable of completing my stage role unless I happened to be attacked by a circular saw or blinded by a sudden snowfall. 

The fact that I'm sitting here now, snug in the van as we race away from Detroit, communicating with Julia by mime (she's getting pretty good at interpreting it, despite the laughter(*4)) and everyone else by typing on my iphone should illustrate perfectly how well I hold to my resolutions. The New York show, in the well-meaning but utterly inappropriate Europa blew my throat as I over-compensated against it's tin-can maw and I now struggle with the barest syllable. Cleveland was suprisingly triumphant, lifted from hoarseness by a wonderful crowd but a Sunday night in a pretty-good Detroit exposed the upper-mid frailities (that particularly effects Arming Eritrea) without the fall-back of a writhing mass of humanity to distract me from the truth. Chicago tomorrow. Famed, cold, impassive Chicago- they write histories there, I've heard. I'll sing a good fuck there or die trying. 

I stood on a stage once, in Melbourne, and literally could not sing a note. The death of close family members aside, it was the worst moment of an average life spent fighting the inevitable onslaught of physics. Three hundred people staring at my fat face as I motioned to Jack to stop the song (I forget which one - it was a rock show and I dare say quite warm) because there was no human sound to give, not even a whisper. Those people (YOU people, who knows) had paid to see us (*5) and, thousands of miles from home, I shrugged and walked away.

I know, I know- Singers are pricks. I have a bad throat. Yup. Yes. Hell, I have a bad heel as well (too much road running) and hearing which would shame a goat in a sand-storm. I also have issues with the modern craze for dance competitions and a sea-food allergy which to be honest, interests me less than it interests you. 

We're at a motel now. I'm going to put cold pizza down my trousers and drink an Amstel Light like it's a thing. Goodnight.


ps. Aside from all this I'm having a great time.

(*1) or any of the highly respected news monkeys.
(*2) a man who is brilliant at kicking a ball but less significantly less good at being a human being, if evidence is to be believed. 
(*3) i would never say or even really think this but it sure is fun to write down.
(*4) i like to think this is affectionate.
(*5) and by extension, partly me.


  1. I always thought you were some kind of mutant human-bear amalgamation that could sing in your wondrously furious tones indefinitely.

  2. If you can find a Whole Foods, or some other co-op, or hippie market, get some Honey Loquat, it really, really works.

  3. If you can, find some green tea and manuka honey. Steam inhalation can do wonders too. A relaxed full vocal warm up (lip rolls, sirens, etc.) before each show should help prevent the voice from blowing out again/any permanent damage. Keeping an active posture should reduce any strain on the throat. I'm no expert, just hope that helps!

  4. cant wait for your arrival in portland, or. i hope you're feeling better, but even if we all muck up the set, we all will have a good time :)

  5. Hey, I saw you guys in chicago, I was the guy who drove down like 200 milesish?
    From wisconsin.
    The show was amazing, and for how sore that throat was, you sounded just amazing, the whole set was amazing.
    Was also very happy you guys were all friendly. Musicians I've met from bands I really like have mostly all been dicks.

    So, you know, thanks for being cool, and next time you're in the states, see if you can make it into wisconsin, we have better beer here, I guess, I don't know, their all crazy for it.

    AMAZING SHOW, THAT IS COMMENT, I AM SLEEPY. Next time I will have you sign my fanny pack, that would have been a good idea if I had a sharpie.

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  7. Canadian pails to your "Passed Around At Parties" track.


  8. go make a new album and theme it around blade runner, global warming and mcdonalds please


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