Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Let me write about last night:
We pulled up to the World Café and there was already a band on.
I went to the dressing room that we had used 2 weeks ago to lay down.
It was full of guys who were in the 3 bands on before us.
One guy started talking to me like I was an idiot and I walked out of the room mid-conversation.
I started wandering aimlessly around the storage room when my brother told me my aunt’s family had just arrived, so I went out to see them at the bar. They were all smiles and my aunt was alarmed that I couldn’t talk... how are you going to sing???
I don’t know I don’t know I don’t know either...
I needed to eat something but didn’t want to sit in that room, it was too loud and I knew I'd start seeing people I knew soon, which had to be avoided.
Jim and Mark and Markie were busy with gear.
Dan told me not to worry, when the show started, adrenaline would kick in and I’d get my voice back. I tried to believe him.
Some other guys asked me about the music I do, and told me what they thought about the music they heard on the site... so its like Madonna? No it's like Patsy Cline. I walked out of the room and went into the venue bathroom.
I washed my face and held back tears, then my mom walked in.
Her and my father had just arrived... I started to cry when she hugged me. I don’t have a voice, I’m running a fever and I look horrible. This is a disaster... and now I’m crying about it.
She held me for a few minutes and the weight of the world slid further down my shoulders.
She prayed for me and told me it was going to be okay. I wanted to believe her, but I couldn’t see how it was. I kept testing my voice out and there was nothing there. My whole middle range was gone do you know what that means mom? I can’t sing any of the chorus!!!
I didn’t know how I was going to put on a show.
I felt like I was dying. I told her I couldn’t eat with her and daddy the room was too loud and busy, but Aunt Laura had just gotten here and had a table. I went back to the dressing room and Dan told me the band was going downstairs to the main room to eat.
There were no seats at the table where Mark & Jim were. I was going to sit by myself when I spotted my brother sitting with my cousin and his girlfriend. I sat down at their table. I hadn’t seen Shawn in ages.
When the waiter came round, I tried to order soup and salad, but he came back 5 minutes later to tell me they were out of the things I’d asked for. I ordered something else and 3 minutes later he came back to say, I had the wrong menu. Another waiter came over and asked me why I had an upstairs menu downstairs. We all sat there staring at them in disbelief. I’m not going to answer your question, I only want a cup of tea with honey, do you have that
I saw the manger of the venue and went up to her and asked if it was possible to get a bowl of soup brought down from upstairs. She was kind and concerned and apologized for the ring around.
The waiter brought me lobster bisque and tea ten minutes later.
It wasn’t very good, or my taste buds weren’t working properly
My cousin was talking about the run around his band was getting with [an indie label].
So much for winning last year's competition.
I whispered advice to him for 20 minutes then headed back to the dressing room
The asshole was trying to talk to me again but I told him I was sick and had to save my voice.
I tried to put on make up but couldn’t look in the mirror
I only saw huge bags under my eyes.
I tried to sing.
Now I was scared. The show was in an hour and I still had nothing.
I gargled two cups of throat coat and stood in the storage area, screeching through the chorus of AU... I’m gonna wait it out...
Oh god it was too late to cancel the show, what the hell was I going to do.
I went back in the dressing room and put my dress and make up on.
The last band finished and I told them they sounded good.
Tables and chairs were being brought in
“The place is filling up! We gotta make room for everybody.”
I forced a smile, Excellent, I’m going to be crucified.
They were blasting Daft Punk, the countdown was on...
It will be there.
Just keep going no matter what. ... everybody was saying the same thing to me.
Mark, Jim and Markie came in and said everything was ready. We stood in a little circle and I squeezed my eyes shut, holding back tears.. “oh jules... listen you’ll be fine... the adrenaline will kick in, and your voice will come back.” Okay.
I wanted to run for the hills, but there aren’t any in Philly.
Jim told me I’d be fine... even if we could only do two songs, it would still be fine.
My brother gave me a tight hug and Ethan came to get us.
I’ll walk out in a minute.
I heard Mark start his guitar solo and got down on my knees... please God I am going to die out there unless you help me. Please please please please please have mercy on me.
I walked out to loads of screaming and took my place... in between Mark and Markie.
I didn’t look at the crowd as I moved the mic stand back and turned to face Mark.
The verse started... I sounded like Bob Dylan!
I heard my raspy voice switch into my upper register for the chorus...
I was sure my voice was dropping out in parts.... I couldn’t hear myself in the monitors.
Mark was singing louder than normal to my right. When the first song ended applause broke out and I tried to read into people's expression.
Nu Taboo started...
I got into the character I play in that song and kept going...
My voice was so raspy I let my body get into the groove and kept praying no one would notice how bad my voice sounded.
People were getting into it... I thought I was cracking the whole time, but I didn’t see horror on anyone’s face...
How do they not hear this? It’s atrocious... I was sure I was singing out of key.
My head was so congested, this is a disaster. I wanted to end the show I felt dizzy. I looked helplessly at my brother. He nodded and when the song ended, I tried to say something to the crowd, but there wasn’t much coming out..
Avalon started... all in the upper register... keep going. I tried not to grimace and pushed with everything I had... I kept moving, hoping this would make up for my pathetic voice. I couldn’t do the end choruses and held the mic out to some kids... Mark kept singing and I thought we were finished.
“Guys, I’m a bit sick and have lost my whole middle register. (did I really just say that?) Should we keep going?” I sounded like I had emphysema. People were screaming, shouting for more. My mom and aunt were in the center of the crowd smiling. “Alright, we’ll carry on, but f*** it, your going to have to sing the choruses because I’ve got nothing left. I jumped off stage and started dancing to Ride the Pain... kids were screaming the chorus into the mic... Out of nowhere 2 hardcore fans shoved signs at me. I started laughing... they’d made signs that said Pain, Pleasure and “I haven’t seen or heard enough until I look under every rock.” I jumped back on stage and held up the signs at the appropriate parts... unbelievable... this was an effen miracle... people were smiling and singing and grooving and I felt like a conductor.
I couldn’t believe what was happening. We’d finished our 4th song.
I heard the chords of Waiting start. My stomach was missing as I heard them drop out and the heartbeat pulse through the house... the first half of the song was nothing but vocal and a heartbeat... I closed my eyes and started... "make a wish, say a prayer, maybe both would be fitting here... "my voice sounded completely normal... I started to cry in the middle of the first chorus when the chords came back in... the room was completely silent.
I opened my eyes and sang the next verse... I looked in the eyes of friends and family and strangers and continued... ”while you hesitate... hearts like mine will break... ” Mark finished out the song with a beautiful melody and I heard the Bahamian waves flood the room. I started laughing and did the twist when the bass line of Would You Mind started... who cares what my voice sounds like. It’s not about me... this was the best show I’ve ever been a part of... Half way through the song I jumped off stage again and started dancing with my mother. She was smiling so big... I turned to my cousin, she was all grown up and dancing like a woman! My aunt was giggling... People were dancing all around me, “I don’t know what I’ve been looking, waiting for, but I know where I’ve been..” the song ended and On the Dancefloor started, and I ran up to an old biker who had a beard down to his chest... and started signing... kids were singing “grip it move it flip it use it take it prove it shake it... I couldn’t breathe and didn’t care... there was a full on dance party going down... We’d done it, the song went by so fast, all those kids who’d been coming out to 1plus1 and MNQNN shows for years had done it...
That was officially the best night of my life.
Everybody told me I was crazy, my voice sounded normal and whatever I heard was not what they heard. I don’t know how that happened.
I whispered back to every person who wanted to talk and decided to stay at my parents house overnight. My mom said she’d make me chicken soup. I passed out in the backseat of their SUV.
I can’t talk today.
I don’t know what the hell happened last night.
Was that adrenaline?
Was it God?
I am definitely sick with something.
This is bad.
My head has a bowling ball rolling around in it.
I have to cancel the show tonight.
Phil, please call soon as you can.
I sent the email and the phone rang one minute later.
Jules? Phil, I’m really sick... I was pushing loads of air out to make my voice audible.
There’s no way to do this tonight... I’ve gotten worse since Saturday...
Phil told me not too worry its 8 am and he’d get a hold of Dan and cancel the show,
But I had to get myself to a doctor this afternoon.
I’ve never cancelled a show in my life and feel guilty about this...
I saw a doctor.
The woman was ancient...
My business manager hadn’t emailed me back
To let me know if I still have health insurance
I’ve got to sort things out with him... my financial situation's a joke.
The doctor my A&R’s suggested accepts most insurances.
I imagine he will cost loads of money if I don’t have insurance.
I called the number he’d emailed to me...
I tried to talk,
Hello, hello I can’t hear you, what did you say
I’m sick... I shoved the phone at Markie and asked him to tell her I need to see someone fast. They kept him on hold for 20 minutes, and then said there was no openings.
Dr. Shapiro must be about 80.
Ethan called and told me about a doctor that he sees in emergencies here.
He couldn’t remember the name, but one of his friends might.
Twenty minutes later, he had made an appointment for me.
What a guy.
Her office at Central Park West is a time capsule.
It looks like the dentist office I use to go to as a child.
Every magazine, minus Fortune, is at least 2 years old.
The air con is making me cough.
My name is called and I walk into a room
It looks like a torture chamber at first glance.
All the equipment is as old as she is.
There isn’t a computer in sight.
She shuffles slowly around me
as I tell her I think I’ve got a sinus infection...
She checks my pulse
Looks in my mouth
Looks in one ear
And asks me if I’m allergic to penicillin.
$50 in 2 minutes
and I have a prescription for amoxicillin.
I don’t think this is going to make me well by tomorrow.
I feel a bit more human today,
But have so much pressure in my face and head I think the balloon will pop if I go up in an elevator.
My friend Will told me last week that his girlfriend Zhana wanted to give me an acupuncture treatment.
I’ve never had acupuncture and am not keen on the idea of being a pincushion.
I had made plans to hang out with them tonight.
But Will is insisting Zhana can sort me out with her pins.
Do you think it will help me get my voice back?
You bet your life it will.
Zhana called and told me to head downtown immediately.
Markie and I walked out of the Montrose ten minutes later.
Why does a building have a name?
We arrive at Will’s office quickly.
It's actually his office, loft, and Zhana works out of there sometimes.
It's busy and beautiful and I feel like a walking zombie.
Oh please don’t look at me, I’d rather be dead.
Zhana’s world of Chinese medicine is going to save me.
She’s just told me so.
I’m sitting next to her in the back master bedroom...
It’s a mecca.
Everything is so bright and white.
She talks fast and I follow her down the yellow brick road.
She knows what she is talking about.
Now that she’s told me her story,
She wants to know my entire medical history.
I’m whispering like Satan.
She asks me everything from the color of my urine
To the consistency of my bowel movements
To my sleeping patterns.
I’m just going with it, f*** it.
My brother left the room 5 minutes ago.
She takes loads of notes and starts telling me about life through needles.
I don’t care what she does to me, I need a voice in 30 hours.
The last show of the tour is tomorrow at Rothko.
I might be damned.
Before I lay down on the bed she tells me she’s ordered me herbs
And a syrup that we had to go pick up afterwards.
She is going to save me.
Lying on the bed I look at the needle she’s showing me.
And tells me where they are going to go and what center each place is.
How many are you putting in me?
I think of hell raiser and shudder.
I have to inhale before she inserts one and exhale when she puts one in.
I thought of all the tattooing and piercing I’d had done a few years ago.
The first ones she puts in are on the sides of my nostrils.
It feels strange to have this pins sliding into my pores.
My nose is twitching and my eyes tear.
There's more going into my brow and temples
The ones going into my shins hurt like hell.
It should feel like electricity running down towards your ankles..
Do you feel it?
Sweet mother yes. I’ve never felt anything like this.
Is it going up or down.
Oh no, it needs to go down.
She’s had to wiggle a few of them around until
The river of electric was aimed in the right direction.
The last one was going in the top of my head.
She told me this was the best place...
It opens the main energy channels and a lot of students walk around with pins in their head studying.
I thought about this the whole time she left me there..
I am a giant pin cushion.
She had put a large piece of tinfoil over me to keep me warm.
It was lighter than foil and silver.
When she put it over me, I felt it push on all the pins.
OUCH. I am a baby.
Take the pins out, I want to go home.
These pins are going to give me my voice back, be a man!
I’m a woman. I’m a mess.
Twenty minutes felt like hours.
I tried to relax and started 3 part breathing.
The pin in my breast bone felt like a wasp stuck under my shirt.
When Zhana came back in she asked me if I was okay.
She uncovered me and my left hand was numb.
She started talking about the herbs I had to simmer for 1.5 hours
When I got home.
Herbs plus 5 cups of water, reduced to one cup. Drink the liquid... it doesn’t taste very good... but its going to help your head and sinus clear out... its got antibiotic properties...
At night I had to reboil the same herbs, this time with 4 cups of water reducing to 3/4ths of a cup of liquid.
I felt lightheaded. Dear God what has she done to me?
You’re on your own with this one kid.
I walked out of the bedroom and she told me I had to come back tomorrow for a follow up treatment and then we’d go to a spa even further downtown...
I was wondering how much all of this was going to cost me... I spent all my per diums on dresses that Markie made fun of.
We walked out on the street and Zhana chatted away. Markie was looking at me strange.
Did she take that pin out of the top of my head, I couldn’t remember.
We walked into a Chinese store a few blocks away and she started talking to the old man sitting behind the counter. I hadn’t ever seen most of the dried things in there.
He started asking me questions and told me the Western antibiotics were very bad for me
I wouldn’t need to take them now that I have these herbs.
Zhana found the voice saving syrup on the shelf and told me to take this every three hours as well. I spent $60 dollars on 5 white packages and the syrup.
We walked out of the store and Zhana told me I should take some syrup now. She was opening the box, the bottle and broke the seal... here take a mouthful. It was like molasses
Sliding onto my tongue. It tasted too sweet & the only thing I could read on the box was
For thinning voice. I was gagging and went back into the store for a cup of water.
I’ll call you in a few hours, you need to get home as soon as you can and start boiling the herbs. The herbs! The herbs!
I didn’t say much to Markie in the cab home. I didn’t know what had just been done to me. Anything?
I opened one of the white packages.
There was a birds nest inside.
The house smelled so bad an hour later. Oh God it was nauseating. It reminded me of the San Pedro I had smelled cooking for days in Peru last year. The windows only opened 6 inches and it was hard to air out the apartment. I remembered the exhaust fan a half hour later and looked at the cup of dirt water in front of me. You have to drink it hot.
Okay, change the channel I really don’t want to ingest that. It tasted worse than dirt. Worse than ash, more bitter than anything I’ve ever experienced. I was twisting trying to swallow gulps of it. Markie took a sip of it and paled. It took me ten minutes to drink, the bottom of the glass was filled with residue. Was I suppose to drink that too? I spit some liquid back in the glass, swished it around a few times and retook the last gulp. I lost my appetite. I have to drink 9 more cups of this? I was definitely not going to take the amoxicillin now. That bird’s nest would probably change my hair color.
Zhana called a few hours later and asked for an update. Did I feel better yet? The needles were meant to have unblocked loads of channels and I might feel a bit strange. I told her the birds nest made me feel strange. She told me not to forget to take a tablespoon of syrup every three hours or to reboil the herbs.
What the hell is that smell? Jim walked into the kitchen a few hours later when I was an hour into the second round. Jules, that’s’ fucking disgusting. I know, it tastes even worse.
He couldn’t bear to stay in the apartment and left as I was pouring the next glass of liquid.
It was easier to get down, but still disgusting.
I was alone. Markie had left a few hours ago to meet up with a girl who had a boyfriend but was drawn to him. Good for him.
I am going to shower and go to bed.
I have little pink dots where all the needles were.
I wonder how long they’ll stay.
Oh god Jim’s home and wasted.
I heard him tiptoeing (holding the walls up)
Outside my door
I looked at his silhouette in disbelief...
Jules, you still sick?
His hand was brushing the wall, looking for the light switch.
I groaned and reached for the lamp.
Jim what are you doing? He had chocolate on his face and a mug of milk in his hand...
What you doing?
His accent is so thick when he’s wasted.
Go to bed Jim. It’s 4 am.
I am not going to soundcheck.
I have to meet Zhana downtown for another session of acupuncture and then we’re supposed to sit in a sauna to help get rid of the mucus in my head.
I feel better than I have in days but no where near the gazelle I’d like to be.
I’ve been testing my voice out and part of its back.
I’m so happy, Markie keeps telling me to save it for the show.
Zhana was in good form and she put all the pins back most of the same places and a few extra ones.
She told me I should keep the one in the top of my head
Cuz it really works
I laid under foil for twenty minutes a bit more relaxed this time and thought about the show...
I couldn’t do a show with a pin sticking out of my head.
No matter what I tell myself, I can’t do it, sorry Zhana.
She came back in and started talking about something else as she pulled out the pins...
I asked her to remove the one in my head, she protested it would blend in with my hair, was I sure? It would help.
Zhana couldn’t come with me to the spa,
One of her clients was getting sick and needed an emergency treatment.
I left the building with directions and started heading down to Fulton Street.
I hadn’t eaten in 20 hours and went into a deli wondering what I would be able to.
I sat down because a manic Spanish man told me to.
I ordered soup and a salad.
The salad was huge and the soup was Campbell's.
I am running out of money quickly.
I left the café thirty minutes and noticed the time.
I would only have 1 hour to spend in the all day 88 Spa Zhana had told me about.
I got in a cab and headed to Fulton street.
Where was it?
People were speed walking all around me.
Three men walked past me and one of them bumped into me.
I heard them speaking Hebrew and watched them walk into the spa.
There it was.
I followed them through the doors and down some stairs.
I feel light headed, not at all like the gazelle I was this morning.
Today's tea made my stomach hurt and I think I ate too much at the café.
One of them kept turning around and smiling at me.
They paid, were handed towels and walked down the stairs somewhere..
I heard kids yelling and apparently there were a few different saunas and a pool and whirlpools. I felt paranoid and this was overwhelming.
The Russian at the front desk smiled at me and asked how he could help me.
I didn’t have a bathsuit and didn’t want to sit in a towel across from those guys.
“Is this a unisex spa?” Of course it is, just leave you know you don’t want to be here.
“Of course!” Oh, I forgot my swimsuit. I am no where near the degenerate I sometimes am today. I’m a paranoid pin cushion and is that pin in the top of my head still?
I kept smoothing my hair down and ran for my life.
Okay not really running, I was back on the street wandering around aimlessly.
I had a few hours before the show and needed to boil the birds nest again.
I kept trying to get a cab but the streets were gridlocked and I kept walking
And then I was there... the gaping hole.
The site of it all.
I stood behind a fence and stared out over the place where the towers use to be.
All the other buildings were gleaming in the sunshine.
I remembered that morning... standing on the roof and watching it happen.
This isn’t our war.
This isn’t our game.
They didn’t need to die... any of them.
Not for those capitalist pigs in DC.
Only the innocent suffer...
I stood there for an hour and thought of my life since I left NY almost 4 years ago.
They called me and my girlfriend Mara, the twin towers in high school... I got lost in the hole and remembered...
The joint venture with DAS that my post Elektra band MNQNN was going to take... the showcase on Sept 12th that never happened... fear, debt and desperation as we were evicted 2 months later. Moving in with my parents with my tail between my legs... the summer I became an alcoholic and moved to Philly... mnqnn shows... the rage, the guitars the self mutilation and destruction... all those kids who came to every show... my band who wanted to kick me out for drinking too much.. The Israeli restaurant I slaved away at... The downward spiral and depression that caught up with me... the ex-boyfriend who hustled me and sold drugs out my flat, the psych ward... the indefinite break up of mnqnn... the day my brother came in my room and told it like it was... wake up dead girl! The nightmares over... You’re not done living... not till you’ve looked under every rock... you gotta put the damn hashpipe down and call back Josh. The dream that was reborn ... I haven’t seen or heard enough until I’ve looked under every rock... The line that saved my life and became ridethepain. The new deal with Virgin... the duo Self Serve with Stuart... the infatuation and the record we made... the reinvention tour that shelved me for 6 months and made me a solo artist again... the photo shoot I almost froze at in Iceland... the management company who saved me from the black hole, the success of 'Avalon' and the Duran Duran tour... the move to London and the desperation that came back with the failure of my second single... the fear of being dropped again... the festivals we’d rocked all summer... and finally... this month’s residency. I’m still here. Out of the ashes... plans are being made... new buildings will or won’t be built... but it's not over. No matter what happens next.
The sun was shining.
I went back to my apartment and got ready for the final show of this long month.
I am alone, the guys are at the club and this place is a pig pen.
I am boiling a bird’s nest again and going to get ready.
Good bye NYC
5:05 am and I can’t sleep, I’m over twelve hours away from actually leaving the city
I haven’t tried yet.
I had to pack and clean
oh yes, we found out via email we had to clean before we left.
... but we’re a rock band
Last night was the final show at Rothko
With all of Zhana’s needles and herbs I had a voice by 8 pm.
I wish I had had more faith because my favorite Virgin, Laurel showed up with Kavi!
And she’s the reason we’ve been doing our wicked cover of You Get What You Give
I said I do the song if she was there...
but fear took over when I got to the club and I crossed it and New Shoes off the set list because I didn’t think I could do it. They had the air con on full blast and it felt like an icebox.
Bitch! I could’ve of done it. Cry over the spilled milk go for it.
Nevertheless, the show was good
And there was lots of hugging and kissing afterwards.
What a strange 40 hours its been...
2 acupuncture treatments in 24 hours
A memorial at Ground Zero
A fruitless wander through Century 21
Countless cabs back and forth in an attempt to get my voice back...
& 4 more birds nests to get through still.
And this is it?
This is the end?
I think were all exhausted and I’m glad to go home.
Home... London? For now. I have to move out of my flat in two weeks and don’t know what comes next.
All the reports have been good.
The label's happy and hopefully this month has started a fire that will be sustained.
Part of me wants to move to Brooklyn...
Part of me wants to make life happen in London...
Its more economical to live here...
I could probably afford to play more shows with an American band.
Was it anything I had hoped it to be?
I don’t know what I was hoping for when I came over...
Mostly, that I wouldn’t be dropped.
Although I just found out my A&R’s leaving now.
It doesn’t ever end... Ever.
Maybe stress got me sick this week.
Sam’s in town... he’s playing Rothko tonight.
Maybe I’ll get to see him for a few hours this afternoon.
Thanks for reading this.
Maybe you have a little bit more of an idea of what its like for us.
I hope so.