Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fields of Gaffney

guest post by Places Parallel reader, JR

Hey there.

So Maise and Iris are out of ideas, and they're dying to hear all about my holy-grail-that-is-Eric-Gaffney-performing-at-my-feet story, so I decided to set five minutes aside and whip a little something up to help them out. I'm nice like that.

If you've been paying attention, then you realize that I am a big fan of Eric Gaffney, the vastly more talented co-founder of Sebadoh - the other being the wildly overrated Lou Barlow, who is still pretty good, but not all that and a bag of chips...and who was kicked out of Dinosaur Jr by one J Mascis, who is totally dreamy and a living legend, and...where was I? Oh, right, Gaffney.

I won't drill down into the minutiae, but suffice to say that for nearly a year, Eric Gaffney and I went back and forth about him playing in my venue as a part of a new audience development initiative. I would pitch the idea, he would say no, they were no draw, no one knew who they were. I would write it off, only to hear from Gaffney two months later saying that his email address had been hijacked and that he was thinking now that it would be a good idea. Then he got into a drunken bicycle accident and had fractured like ten bones in his upper body and wasn't doing much but recuperating. When I had written him off completely, though, I suddenly received an email from him totally out of the blue, wondering about setting up a date. After all of the back and forth for more than six months, I was unsure about whether to make him a formal offer, but in the end I did and he accepted, and we had a show (it was a double bill with Edie Sedgwick).

There were some things about the show I would do differently if I had a chance for a do over, but really - that moment when Eric FUCKING Gaffney walked through the front doors of my theatre with his guitar case and asked my staff member "Where do I put this?", well...I really can't have asked for more than that. I had PMS and was pretty emotional and spent a large portion of the evening crying. Really. I was even walking around with a camera in one hand, a Kleenex in the other. JR is not afraid to show JR's emotions.

Now, for the real confession - I'm terrible at writing show reviews. When I'm there, I'm just there in the moment, and I tend to forget a lot of the details, and when it's a show at work, I'm paying a lot more attention to pretty much everything else happening. But through the magic of being JR, however, I was fortunate enough to get a recording of the entire event from the soundboard, and it's great. I promised not to share or swap it, though, so instead of songs, I give you the second best thing - stories! The FoG show was heavily punctuated by Eric's stories, and it was impossible to tell whether they were true or not, but that didn't diminish their amusing nature. (They also served to confirm the backstory that I had given him in my mind, that he is the indie rock version of Kramer. It's so totally true.) I've uploaded maybe half of them for your edification.

Before we get to the stories, though, let's take a peek at a few pictures, right?

The marquee outside my theatre; I caught Gaffney taking a picture of it on his cell phone (theatre name removed to protect the innocent).

Some staff (obscured so they won't steal the spotlight!), setting up the stage on the stage. This was a small event that took place entirely on the stage, as you'll see. We didn't use all those pesky theatre seats that you see...they were just a cool backdrop.

Eric Gaffney, looking up at the stage lights, perhaps wondering what would happen if one fell on his head during the performance. Did I mention that he was 45 minutes early for sound check?

Eric "Fields of" Gaffney on my stage within a stage. I know next to nothing about playing guitar, but he had something on this acoustic (a pickup?), that would allow him to switch it from acoustic to electric. He was actually getting some (intentional) feedback out of it, which was great. Overall, though, the performance was largely acoustic, with foot percussion (the drum in this pic is Edie Sedgwick's).

Eric Gaffney, telling one of the stories. The performance was lengthy, and as full of stories as it was of music. Most of his stories were amusing non-sequitirs. I bet you wish you were there.

This is sort of, visually, Eric Gaffney in a nutshell to me. There is something special about him; if I could read auras, I would probably see something good in his, and in this picture it's almost as if you CAN see his aura...he's just vibrating at a different frequency than other people.

Foot percussion. Yes, it's a tambourine, and he forgot his at home so we had to buy him one for the night. Since we bought it, it belonged to US not HIM, which meant that I totally swiped it after the show. I was going to take the set list, but went with the tambourine instead. I ended up with the set list, too, which came back with the recording of the night. Awww, yeah.

You might be asking, "JR, how come there is no picture of you and Eric Gaffney, both giving a thumbs up to the camera, or shaking hands like Elvis and Richard Nixon?" Well, kids, the reason for that is that it's not the nature of my relationship with him...yeah, I'm a total fan, but I wasn't in the role of fan that night, I was in work mode. We talked at the end of his set about the whole thing (and specifically about the size of the audience, how I wished it was more), and he was extremely supportive, wacky and totally cool. Exactly what you'd expect.

So, yeah, now you want to hear the stories? Enjoy.

John Cougar Mellencamp

Fields of Gaffney

Did you know that Gaffney's ex-wife is Peaches' manager?

Catharsis of Phlegm

How Kramer-like was this story? A friend named "MDR"? Remember Kramer's friend FDR, with the birthday wish?

Open D Is Tricky

Isn't it?

Or Whatever

Trucking songs!


This one might be my favorite.

Dr. Gene Scott

Pretty sure he's talking about a televangelist (look it up on Wikipedia). This is particularly nuts out of context.

I Was Eating A Lot of Captain Crunch

Acoustic Shows

Again, Kramer..?

Lucky To Be Alive

He breaks it down right about here. (And seriously, he didn't remember it? Whoa.)

Ink Spots

Paper or Plastic

This is at the top of the show, when he whipped out the merch.

The Wolf

I like when he howls in this.

Okay, okay, I caved, and I'll include a tasting of the music that was a part of the night.

Locket Love clip (Ramones cover)

So, that's it. My dream came true.


maise said...

Thanks so much, JR, and thanks to Iris for publishing this because I am USELESS these days.

I just want to clarify that I'm not out of ideas forever. I just really, really need a vacation. And I'm getting one!

This is my Irish year, kids, so I'm off to Dublin and Belfast for a week. Then on March 17th, some friends and I (and hopefully Iris!) will be seeing Flogging Molly, so hopefully we'll have a review and some A/V goodies as a St. Patrick's Day present for you.

JR, the sound on my computer has been dead for months, but when I get to work, I'm looking forward to hearing Gaffney's stories. Thanks again!

Iris said...

Going to try to make the Flogging Molly/St Paddy's Day party and then might have one or two other things up my sleeve in the next few months. There just hasn't been anything interesting going on within a 600 mile radius and I'm eeking out the last day and a half of vacation time I have before it gets renewed. I've also had my head in a lot of books lately which may or may not be directly related to the in-laws still living with us. Don't get me wrong, they're great, but I am SO ready to kick back some green beer and relax with friends!

Also SO fucking ready for Trent to drop the NIN tour dates so I can start planning my summer. -GAH-

JR, it sounds like you had a great time with the Gaff at your place. I have the opposite affect for concert reviews (as you all have probably noticed) where I remember all the details (big, small, and/or indifferent) and live for them all. I think my punishment later in life will be that I'll end up with Alzheimer. -sigh- Sounds kinda bleak, huh? Anyway, JR, did the Gaff see you walking around crying or were you able to compose yourself for face to face interactions?

D:ANGEL said...

Two thoughts:

This quote out of context makes me laugh: "I was even walking around with a camera in one hand, a Kleenex in the other."

It sounds dirty.

And Open D stuff is not tricky. My band wrote exclusively in open D and it is easier, if anything.

AnonymousAnonymous said...

uh, Trent's going to reflexology party in Perth. I am jealous.

D:ANGEL said...

Trent update -

"The day the whole world went away" is in the new Terminator trailer.

Iris said...

Man, I've been down and out with the flu. -bleh-

I heard the rumor that TDTWWA was going to be used in the trailer but I only just watched it today. At first I didn't want to like it but it kinda got me going by the end. Think that has more to do with the actual song than the trailer though. Christian Bale needs to fall off the movie wagon for a while. He's losing believability for me. Batman and John Connor within a summer of each other? Pick a hero.

I loved The Dark Knight for Heath Ledger's performance but Bale's voice work annoyed me at times when he was trying to talk too low/gruff during the Batman scenes. It sounded too forced. One example was when he was talking to the Joker while dangling off the office building at the end. Does anyone else hear it or am I the one?

Iris said...

Oh and for those who haven't seen the new trailer yet...LINK!

Anonymous said...

You are all WELCOME, even though you're apparently too overcome with awe at my circumstance to comment. Ingrates.

Anyway, I agree with EG that open D is tricky, and I don't even play guitar.

Maise, please weigh in on Gaffney's stories.

Iris - I hid around a corner during one particularly poignant moment, but otherwise I kept it (reasonably) together.

DA - yes, out of context, that quote is actually kinda funny. It's also funny because during shows, I usually have my camera around my neck and sometimes go into the bathroom to check my makeup and only recently realized that people could easily take me heading into the bathroom with a camera in totally the wrong way.

AnonymousAnonymous said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you JR!

Women please, did you see that video of NIN with Dillinger Escape Plan singing "Wish"? It was smokin hot! Pure masculine energy. Lots of guitars, fabolous singing (I liked both of those voices together) and large crowd. Lots of running around and great drumming. I am surprised that Rob didn't get knock over from all that action. I like these newer videos - better quality and closer to the band. Good job!

The Cat Formerly Known As AngelCat said...

Oh, how I wish I could have been in the presence of these wonderful stories. Mr. Angel used to tell me stories every night before bed, and bring me warm milk, too. Before he was a traitor.

Is anyone around here following March Madness? Care to make it interesting?

AnonymousAnonymous said...

Hey, the Cat Formerly Known As AngelCat, do you have a symbol drawn on your face around the whiskers? Does the symbol have something to do with the emancipation of fur?

Traitor? Oh Pussycat, isn't the kettle calling the pot black! If you only dealt with Mr. Angel straight without the super kitty cloak he would still tell you wonderful stories. And he would take you anywhere. Go be friends with the sparrows,and the boys who shoots the arrows. If only you had a heart.

No Puking in March Madness and keep the streets empty for me.

Anonymous said...

I hear the rumbling call... UConn needs to stop importing it's players from the surrounding states and just tend to the cows instead of the hoops. Fuck Michigan State Spartans and UCLA. Let's keep the NCAA in the ACC family this year with UNC & DUKE. Let's not be stupid, a clear smokin Tarheel win - sending the Devils back down their tobacco road.

Isabel said...

That sounded really exciting - incidentally I'd be curious to find out what did you call The Gaff? Was it Mr Gaffney? or was he down to earth and wanted to be called Eric, or Gaff?

Incidentally, did anyone read about the 'feud' between Trent and Chris Cornell, Trent posted a rather amusing twitter about Cornell's new album (it does sound like something Simon Cowell would think was musical genius, so complete bollox) but Cornell responded with some crappy biblical rebuffs

I mean I love Trent but I could come up with some better ripostes than that - I'd probably remind him that he was the person who inflicted Marilyn Manson on the world for a start - these feuds aren't what they used to be

Anonymous said...

Good question, Isabel. It was Eric. Though, if you ask me, it could have easily been Coolest Guy In The World.

Anonymous said...

The "Gaff" thing is the pet name I have given him in my mind. And it's probably largely due to one of my favorite performing arts-related inventions, gaffer's tape (known colloquially as "gaff tape"). It's better than duct tape.

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