Last night I dreamed that our band was on tour in Ireland, and I was trying to take a band photo.
Now, as always with dreams, they seem so real in the moment. And in this dream especially, there are many things that could have duped me into thinking I was not in a dream state. For one thing, the dream is consistent with many of my experiences in Ireland. In the first dream scene, there is a girl sitting across from me at a table in the dining car, who has just joined the band. She is clearly Irish. And we know this because her name is Brigid. Her name isn't Tiffany or Taylor or Kaneesha or Fatima. It is Brigid. So, point one for dreamland. You got that right.
Also, we're on a train. We are not in a tour bus or a sports car or an SUV. Now, I haven't been to Ireland since '86. If I were a betting woman, which I am, I would bet that all of the above are used nowadays when bands or just normal people are touring. I use the term “normal” here to speak of people who are not in bands. Band people are not normal, trust me on that one. But when I was there, which is also what my subconscious is picking up on, we took the train everywhere. So, point two for dreamland. Dream land is spot on.
The view out of the train window is also not Dune. It is green. It is lush. It is Hobbit country, replete with rolling, grassy hills—not mountains mind you—and lots of short, stubbly, deciduous trees. There are rock walls separating one stretch of land from another. There are no barb wire or electric fences like you see in the Western ranch land of the United States.
Point three for Dream land.
But here is where the dream diverges from this seductive reality that I am starting to believe.
First off, in this dream, our band is on tour, but no one in the train with me is in our band. Charlie isn't even there. That of course is part of what makes this a good dream. All of a sudden, I have no one to fight with about rhyme schemes—whether a certain word is really what we are trying to say when I just want it to frickin' rhyme and fit the rhythm—chord progressions—like that phrase only needs two chords, not seventeen, yes, it is jazz, but enough is enough—and programming—no, we don't need another deep, dark, song. The audience is melancholy at this point and many of them are depressed enough as is from the pandemic and climate change. Give them a damn swing tune.
Second, I can't imagine that Ireland is our demographic. Now, don't get me wrong, some of my most favorite travel memories are of Ireland. It is a magical place with the warmest, friendliest people, who live the sanest pace of life and drink lots of beer. Never mind that I am allergic to beer, that is not their problem, clearly mine and one of those bad cards I was dealt. (Although maybe not so bad, as most of my family have alcoholic tendencies, so my allergies may have spared me. Instead, I am forced to deal with my depression by obsessively exercising and reorganizing cupboards.)
The Irish also love music and singing, so a person may think that there would be jazz clubs, but it just doesn't jive. Think reels and jigs, acoustic guitars and bodhrans and you get the picture.
I don't think I ever heard jazz wafting out of anyone's radio back then in the 80's, when I was there and when people still used radios. Most people were just mad for U2 and the Talking Heads and all that fantastic Irish folk music.
It's not a jazz country. If we toured there, we might make enough to cover food, which in all fairness—sorry Ireland—wasn't a strength. Think here “batter burgers.” They sounded intriguing but turned out to be as disgusting as they sound. And beer. But then I am allergic, so what would be the point?
All that being said, as we are sweeping past the beautiful countryside, in the dream train, with the Irish girl named Brigid—I'm not sure if she is the back-up singer, a new horn player or in the rhythm section? —I decide, in this dream, to take a band photo.
And again, as in dreams, this action is usually where all the anxiety of whatever we are dealing with in real life comes out. Real life as it were, being waking life. But lately waking life is just getting weirder and weirder for us humans. For instance, Ireland just legalized abortion. In real life. The most Catholic country in the world. Think on that one.
And I guess for me, I am having anxiety about band promotion. It is difficult to get five band members in the same room to do anything. That's why we have side men. Or side women. Or side theys. Because not everyone can make it to every gig. We often need to hire up a sub because we all have to play in more than one band or job to make it. Danny just retired from Amazon, but still has bass students and plays in other bands where he usually makes more money than ours, Ronnie runs a warehouse, and plays in a shit ton of other bands where he usually makes more money than ours—you get the picture.
In other words, getting the band together for a photo, when we all look good, not sweaty from the gig, and I am wearing the right color of lipstick, can feel impossible. It's hard to do a photo before the gig, while everyone still looks good, because someone is usually running late due to shit Seattle traffic or shit Seattle parking. The only time I ever wish I lived in the suburbs is when I am running late for a gig. It is then that I long for stretches of land, wasted in asphalt, with parking slots big enough to open a car door all the way for unloading guitars and amps. That fantasy always flashes through my mind when we are double parked on a steep cobble stone hill and I am yanking my guitar out in the rain, desperately trying not to take the paint off the white Tesla/BMW/Audi next to us.
But you can't have it both ways.
So, there I am, in this dream, herding our band out of the train, onto the set of the Vikings, where the rolling hills and rock walls are now the stage for our upgraded promo materials. Green countryside backed jazz band. It doesn't feel quite right, now, does it? It really seems much better for, again, a folk trio, or The Chieftains or even U2. But this is my dream, and I must recount the truth of it.
And the band is HUGE. There are so many people there, I have to line them up using the rock wall as a guide. It's as if our band has turned into a movie set and there are gaffers and grips and sound guys, all white guys with fat bellied black t-shirts and too much hair. You would feel like you could smell them if you ever saw this photo, but you can't because it is NOT REAL.
And I am stressing out because no one is listening to me—also feels a bit real—and everyone is moving around, straying from their assigned spot against the wall, all one hundred of them, and no one has on the band t-shirt. Shit, I have to hand those out to everybody, but I can't find them, they are back on the train, which is still moving, by the way, even though we are not on it, and it isn't out of the scene, just one long mf train.
This is another one of those dreams where when a few of the people turn out to be naked, you wake up.
Maybe I had this dream so that I am relieved when we get real band photos done. Because it will never be this bad with one hundred people in Ireland against a rock wall with a moving train where I have left the t-shirts and so many of the men need a shave and deodorant and three very pretty girls with red hair are naked. And Brigid. Turns out she is a bitch and wants to take my job as lead singer.
Thank goodness for real bands that just have scheduling problems.