Tuesday

Some weekends are like stepping on an accelerator. We rehearsed the "Larch & the WonderWheels" U.K. line-up both afternoons. Mid-way through our three hours on Saturday, I knew we'd gelled into something moderately different from either band, yet completely pleasing to play. I have total confidence bringing this to England. We're going to have so much fun! The solidity stayed through hangover Sunday, right on schedule as we're now one rehearsal away from departure Friday... I was also fortunate to experience the Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn rally from the unique perspective of taping more Freddy's Brooklyn Roundhouse episodes. This gave me the opportunity to interview musician Dan Zanes (rock star to three year olds, formerly of the Del Fuegos), Rev. Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping (grand concept political entertainer), several local politicians, and one of the hard-working organizers of http://www.nolandgrab.org - a great site for detailed information and blow-by-blow coverage of this eminent domain issue. I enjoyed confusing people with our Plastic Beef set at Freddy's on Saturday night. I loved the two songs I double-drummed with Joe, and we had some country-tinged jams, attempted a few mystic/ethereal moments and finished with some wild instrumentals. I guess maybe most people will never understand why, when we can pull off a wicked tight original rock band set as the WonderWheels, do we choose to "dabble" with half hour jams and "unrehearsed" performances (we call that improv). I would reply that those people are enjoying the benefit of years of various projects and rehearsal time when they like a Liza & the WonderWheels set (or Beef, or The Larch), and that without the Beef I would never have taken the time to learn so many cover songs which is beneficial to me as a writer, and as a practical matter of working and getting paid and having as many chances to play as possible. Because you only live once... ... which brings me to a truism I remembered in the course of catching several interesting local acts this weekend: A good performance is good, but you can't play it safe and still play rock and roll. When you're performing, it's the time to bring every resource to the floor, feel every feeling, project every notion, and take chances. A "bad" note only lasts a second in concert. It's the guttural scream of John Lennon at the end of Twist and Shout, or the slightly winging quality of Ray Davies when he's singing a brilliant revelation, the vulnerable complexity of an artist reaching as far as possible, that makes great art. Self-consiousness, the curse of the sensitive, infects the performing artist with concerns that distract from the whole purpose of performing. In the end, I admire more the performer that I would say caterwauled her way through her mercifully short set with squinched shut eyes and a throat so tight I could see the rigid tension in the chords of her neck muscles. I didn't like the sound of her voice, but she enthralled with her conviction. Others disappointed me with on-stage apologies and beautiful sounds boxed in and aloof, kept far away and cool which is no way to draw others to your light.

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