Sunday evening I probably had 30 of the best minutes of my life. Finished my sound shift, talked for a brief moment to Rick Valentin, a guy 19-year-old me was too nervous to say hi to when Poster Children came to my weird college in the woods of North Carolina, a guy that played songs that pretty well mark a few years of my life and who is still playing great songs in weird places, a guy I never thought I’d see again, up to about two hours earlier when I found out he was Thoughts Detecting Machines. I got a beer and went to the roof, all golden hour and light breeze. Sat with three guys I’d played music in weird places with and laughed, watched 747s on final approach to ORD.
I called home on the Space Video Phone and talked to the beautiful Nicole and Cecilia, the latter asking Are you in Chicago daddy? Did you play drums? I showed her airplanes, she laughed and said Ooh it’s loud! Then I called my dad to wish him a happy father’s day, told him yeah, we're still in Chicago.
All right man. You having a good time?
Oh yeah. It’s the best, just the best.
All right man, all right. You always liked that place, Chicago. Even when you were little, that place was your favorite, you really enjoyed that city.
Yep, I do, I really do.
I told him a little about the space, about the extraordinary organization and efficiency and general right-the-fuck-on-ness of it all.
Wow. Wow. That’s something, guy. Good on you man, that’s great. It sounds like you’ve really found a home there.
My father can’t hear as well these days and I can't stand talking on the phone, and a lot of our phone conversations are a series of verbs and their nouns and affirmative responses. We get a sense of how each other is doing and occasionally we exchange information, but neither of us has ever been a great talker, and we’ve been at our worst with each other. When he said those things above, they blew past me, because he’s said them before. I’ve called him lots of times from Chicago, and he’s said much the same thing lots of times. He’s been exactly right every time, I just don’t know why I didn’t exactly hear it before. Somewhere in the middle of his story about the doors they’re having to replace I heard it again in my head and the next thought was oh goddammit don’t you fucking cry right before I just started beaming. Looking at the sun raking across backyards and a roof full of friends and grinning like I just won a million bucks.
How long has it been leaking? Are you going to have to do the whole subfloor or just right there?
Also I saw like 50 incredible bands, many for the first time, made new friends, hugged old ones, drank Malort, had a sausage named after my dumb band, saw a great documentary, and played a rock show. Thank you fine folks of the PRF, this thing really is a hell of a thing. The woefully incomplete list of specific thanks includes
Jonah, the only guy in a cowboy hat that makes me feel like things will be alright; Julia, for your work on the thoroughly incredible merch situation in which we sold merch but did not have to sell merch (Chris’ long hours back there notwithstanding, guy’s a born salesman); Bob Farster and the kitchen staff that just made food magically fucking appear as soon as you thought Am I hungry?; the cavalcade of people working the beer and wristband alcoves; Ringo for the assist (friend you have no idea how glad I was when I saw you).
Garth and Matt and Rich, an absolute wrecking crew that made sure all you chooches could hear what the fuck was going on hour after hour after hour. Did you know a sub shit the bed? No, because they just got another one. Did you at any time in ~40 bands have to wait around while someone went to get an amp or finished setting up mics or otherwise ran/dicked around? No, because this shit was wired so tight no need went unmet, the entire enterprise was so agile that no problem could even get a foothold. A fucking orchestra set up. An orchestra. They were miked up and playing in the time it takes whoever you’re playing with next week at Shitty McGee’s to get their pedals plugged in wrong and one of these dudes was in the orchestra. I did some sound shifts, and so did some other people, but these men never stopped. They are heroes. Hey, did you know they also made a multitrack recording of the entire thing and Matt Engstrom is mixing it for every band? Jesus, these were their days off.
John Hastie and Christy Prahl, who have opened their home and their lives so completely and unselfishly to me (and my bandmates) that I know their house nearly as well as my own. I will always misjudge at least one stair into the basement but I could negotiate stacks of gear, Controlled Burn merch, that column in the middle of the room, and 600 books blindfolded and 8 Old Styles deep. Thank you so much. You are two of the loveliest people I know, and I’m really glad we are friends. Come back to Durham during baseball season.
Good work, PRF.