Beck Hansen

       Days off on the road are filler days. They never really start, and you never notice them ending. They are in between everything else. They are for sleeping in a few extra hours. They are for taking a nap after you’ve slept in a few extra hours. To commit to any great endeavor on a day off will be paid for in the days afterwards. Therefore, inactivity seems to be the appropriate conduct.
       My day of inactivity was preempted by a trip to the hospital where I got X-rayed and poked at. The outcome–a sprained foot and a nice dark-stained bamboo cane. I also got wheeled all over the place by a pregnant nurse.
       Back at the hotel I limped up and down the halls breaking in the new cane. I believe canes are very hip-hop at the moment. If this is true, then it will truly save me during these next few shows. As I am currently limited in my range of motion, I will not be able to perform in my usual fashion. So, in the meantime, until recovery is complete, I expect the cane will have to speak for me when I’m onstage. The stance which a good cane affords will take the place of peripatetic showmanship any day. It is a saber of funkiness; a baton with which to lead audiences into ecstasy.
       I suppose at this point I should introduce the personages with whom I am travelling. Let me start with our tour manager, Ben Cooley. To some he is known as the rock and roll rabbi. To others he is the youngest older brother they never had. And still to others he is the oldest younger brother they could never get rid of. To most of us, we might as well be married now. We depend on him to guide us, most importantly to the bathroom when we are caught up in unfathomable sports facilities and mega-structures where we seem to find ourselves from time to time.
       Next, I will introduce the band. Joey, a k a Stagecoach, is our faithful Slagwerker (German for drummer). He is the longest-standing member of our group. He is a sensual percussionist, and more importantly, a percussive sensualist. His tastes are refined and his skills are generous. We look to him for thundering delicacies and the warmest of eyes.
       Justin, a k a Showboat, is our bassist. He gets shit started like no other. He hits it hard and never drops it. His madness is meticulous. His patrons are gassed. He knows how and when to drop bombs. Taking care of business is his hobby.
       Smokey, a k a Smokestack, is our guitar player. He is the veteran. He has played his way across this land through honky-tonks and convention centers. He makes the familiar exotic. His lonesome slide can become swallowed by the hissing squall of appended machinery at any time. While nobody’s looking, his experienced hand tosses off miracles with ease.
       Theo, a k a Hound Dog, is our keyboard maestro and tabla player. Born in Bangladesh, he worked his way from Moog player on ‘60s Indian film soundtracks to L.A. sound engineer extraordinaire. Like some gas station Miles Davis he rips a B-3 line, then wails on tablas. Offstage, he smokes a Sherlock Holmes pipe and tells tales of Ravi Shankar’s girdle.
       The newest member of our ensemble is the enigmatic D.J. Swamp. With a bandana on his face, incognito, he steps to the turntables and wastes the room. He rocks beats in a way nobody else can. Some call them tricks, we call them eruptions. After smashing his records, he walks away like a Southern gentleman. The freaks bow down because they have no choice.
       Our bus driver is called Em. White hair and beard, his eyes always on the road, he suffers no fools. Ex-bodyguard for Kenny Rogers (and a fair resemblance to), he protected him from rabid elderly women. He had an album on Capitol in the early ‘70s called “Time of Man.” If you have a copy, let us know.