A brief trip home brings much needed rest, while a return to the road brings out the best and worst of this life within 48 hours.
St. Louie - March 4
Drivin' through the Ozark Boot Hills on our way home to St. Louie via Lawrence, Kan... a ride I've taken many times with our father, playin' the church festival circuit when we were kids.
That stretch of Missouri is very famous... the outlaw Jesse James would hide out in all the caves around there scheming his next hold up... Mark Twain was from Hannibal just a little south of here... and Branson, where all the country stars put on big shows.
We arrived in St. Louie just as the sun was rising and went to where it all began for us: our parents' basement/bomb shelter. I pulled out a piece of old carpet, plopped it down on the cold cement floor... where in the summertime it would sweat from the humidity... and closed my eyes. It was, believe it or not, the best sleep I've had in a long time.
By 1 p.m. we were back in the white storm cruising down the highway with Chuck Berry tunes on the stereo... to the radio station to serenade the city with a bare all version of the tune "Bom Bom Bom." That evening was great playin' our music to an enthusiastic hometown crowd... nothing like home.
I was feeling lucky that night so when I was done playing I walked a short distance down the cobblestone road along the banks of the Mississippi... and hopped on to the River Boat Casino Queen.
Nashville - March 7
We are staying at this old train station in Nashville -- The Union Station -- like the one in St. Louie that I spent many a day gettin' lost in scoring the best grass St. Louie could offer. This one they turned into a hotel. It's got this country, workin' on the railroad atmosphere and you can feel the spirits of all the people who passed through there many, many years before.
We've been driving an hour out into the country to record on this farm; it's super surreal. We are passing old barns and windmills and silos as we drive down Route 64. Then a sharp right 45 miles east of the Nashville skyline down this gravel road to the house that is across from a big red barn. We park on the lawn that has nothin' but dead grass. We all take our boots off on the porch next to the "It Feels Good to be Home" mat. We all stumble in tired from our Sleep Deprived Tour of America. Our eyes light up as the whole house is full of amazing instruments and recording gear...
Everything seemed like it was left over from the golden age of rock'n'roll. There is all this old flower wallpaper and squeaky wood floors. The engineer is a total character out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I felt like we're in a time warp writin' songs about all those people in the train station... all their stories -- some going home to see their wives, some just passing through looking for ways to survive.
The sun began to set as our song took on a life of its own... that place became our sanctuary for a day... no music business phone calls, emails, BULLS***! We were finally able to escape... if just for a day.
Nashville - March 8
Our day of bliss ended too soon. By the time we made our way over to the Exit Inn, as we began playing our set, some little s*** felt the need to get up on his hind legs and grab my microphone from the stage and tell us to "f*** off and get outa Nashville."
Then like a little jackrabbit, jumped off the stage and ran to the back of the club by the bar. Well, Lillian invited the "star of the show" back up on stage so he could have his three seconds underneath the big bright lights! As he gets back up on stage he hits Lillian in the back of the head... you could probably guess what happens next. They both fall to the floor, the kid is tryin' to throw punches, our roadies toss him back in to the pit and that little phony gets kicked out.
I guess he was just acting' like our leaders up on the Hill... if you don't like something or someone, you start a WAR??!$$$!???!!! That brought us all back to reality.