Mexicalli Live- Teaneck, NJ
There was no time to go into Manhattan and get back to leave by 3pm. So Lauren and I went out into our new little neighborhood of Long Island City. Our hope was to find a drugstore, a cool brunch place with a shop next door that sold funky cool little summer dresses for next to nothing. We found Duane Reade! I had a list of stuff to buy. I’m not convinced that I will be close to a drugstore for the rest of the tour. Lauren helped me fill up my basket of necessities. Just a few creature comforts would go along way. Drugstore – check!
Next up was our brunch place…. there were so many cute places. The criteria was a festive atmosphere, healthy food and perhaps a good drink special. Masso’s had the two for one mimosa – SOLD!
I texted Angeline to see where she was at…she was at the place next door having a Bloody Mary. We cheersd via text and later she came by to sit with us. The food was great! The drinks were great… the only thing that wasn’t stellar was my voice. We had done 3 nights in a row with interviews , friends etc…it was taking a toll on the ole vocal chords.
We met Clem back at the van. She had gone into the city with a list of items that she needed to eat while strolling with a friend. Gretchen was also in the city and would be having a day with her sis and then meet us in NJ. While having lunch, Lauren got a call – as the conversation went on – I realized that she was speaking with my dad. They tried to keep it as a surprise but the secret was out. My dad and my brother Todd were coming to the show tonight!!!!! I was so happy. One more night I get to have with friends and family! We also got calls from Nancy who was bringing an old friend that I played music with in the city about 16 years ago named Matt Turk. He’s a great musician and all around sweetheart. Check out his website at www.turktunes.com. He’s got a new record coming out in the Fall. Back in the late 80’s he played with a group called The Hour. He has a huge catalog of solo stuff as well as some cool collaborations. It was great to catch up with him and to just reconnect. I’m hoping we can collaborate again someday. He and Nancy showed up as we were having tea at this very Jewish orthodox restaurant. She had run into him at the farmers market in Rhinebeck earlier that day and decided to come to the show together. On the menu it offers having your Bris there for x amount of dollars per head! Anyway, I was trying to soothe my raspy throat as much as possible. It was feeling rough but I was hoping for the best. My dad and brother arrived and we all went to the venue to eat. The place is called Mexicali Live. It’s a place that they have lots of Grateful Dead related jam bands. It was nice to have a meal with all my friends and family. It seems that many families were there to have a Sunday dinner. It made me homesick for those kinds of weekly gatherings. I was happy everyone came out to make it happen. I think a lot of the families were infact the families of the members in the opening act. They had their kids out on the dance floor and others filming the show. The drummers two daughters sat by the side of the stage hanging on to his every beat. It was really a family night and I loved it. I wished my boy was there too! My dear friend and huge Zep fan Lisa Jennings made the trek and so did Richard Lauren’s boyfriend. Love was all around.
I had my ritual elixir which is good tequila – before the show. This tradition started in my early days of singing with my singing partner Wyl Muchrison. Wyl, really mentored me as a singer and we played in several bands together over the span of 20 years. The first was an original funk jazzy jam band called ‘Funktional Loonacy’ and then later we co-sang in a disco cover jam band called ‘Monica’s Kneepads’. There is no one like him! He has an impeccable ear and can pretty much sing anything really really really well. He and I would joke before each show and have a little cough….than order our tonic to make it go away. He drank Jim Beam and I was always going for the Tequila; although I have much more refined tastes in what type of Tequila I will drink now. Back in the old days, it was Cuervo….that just won’t do now. I prefer an anejo or a reposado. I think it helps to relax me and to warm up the old chords.
On this night, nothing was really helping those chords. This was the 4th night in a row gigging AND I played my hometown gig AND had very little sleep. By the third song I felt that the power in my voice was dwindling. I’m not really sure how I made it through ‘Communication Breakdown’..but I managed. As a performer and as a human – I felt scared that the whole thing was just going to be lost – my voice that it. I always want to play my best show – always. I don’t care if there are 10 people or 10,000. We were only on day 4 of a 6 gig stretch without any nights off. It was scary! By the time we got to ‘In My Time of Dying’…I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and knew that I would be able to get through the set. I was so relieved. There were so many nice folks at the show who had nothing but kindness and good things to say. They saw us play and they saw me sing – but they didn’t get to really see me sing. Or maybe they saw me – but they really didn’t get to hear me sing. Anyway, I just heard from someone who was at the show who is coming out to Cali to see ‘Get The Led Out’ and us. I’m so glad because I promise to deliver a much better vocal performance. When I read the reviews; it seemed that no one noticed. I was the only one who felt a lot more Janis Joplin that Robert Plant. The best part of the night was meeting all the people who came out and having them meet my family and friends. My dad was grinning from ear to ear. I didn’t talk to much so as to preserve the pipes but I felt like my dad aka Kactus Keith did all my PR work for me. He’s a lover of people and I he was sinkin his teeth into my world! Everyone loaded us out and after our goodbyes – they tucked us in the van and we were off. Goodnight NJ…goodbye to the northeast. I miss you already!