OK, here it is.
I'm with the band.
It's another one of those downtown, hip-scene cafe gigs... Smoke-filled rooms, institutional wood tables, the old black worn off and shined by young oily hands.
It's not that it's dark, it's just a symptom of the battle between artists and the florescent light industry-- so there are only three frosted bulbs in the place, coffee stained, nico-stained... It makes the scene, where all the audience becomes chubby yellow faces--no hair, no bodies, just chubby yellow faces with wet watching eyes... watching us.
We, we're like these tall dark trees, just looming there, breathing out this music like some tropical rain-forrest shit... pouring out this stuff for them to breathe, those wet eyes and faces.
There is sweat between my fingers.
There is sweat on the instruments. Stephan's strings look like catgut where his fingers slip over vibrating metal, Bryce's clarinet is obsidian where his fingers slip over vibrating wood. Tom is this hairy barbarian, meat-claw hands flat, flailing congas, bongos, skin pulled tight over a hollow.
There is pain in the air, and heat.
We are dying and they eat it up.
We are dying and we love it, love the touch of the crowd's heat, pushing for a top, a close, some compensation for all of the living-- forgiveness.
And that's when it happens.
When the flashes start coming, where the words are the music are the audience are the us, the were, the Will-Be Holy Redemption, when the room balls itself up, us beating a blood to the every limb, to the every cell--somewhere I hear the drum pumping--and this now swallows itself into that whatever else, that whatever nothing--
and I'm swimming now, swimming in blood, and it's not that I play but it plays me-- they play me, and I am blind, blind in a seat, blind in a body, in a Now that will not relinquish itself until the final last reverberation, and the first push of air between hands when the room re-exists, and the bodies reappear to reaffirm that this world was not forsaken, but just temporarily forgotten in its own instantaneous unity.
It is then, only then, as we soak up some worldly affection from these strangers, and my mouth is spitting through the micro-phone-- it is then, that I wake up.
What do you think it means, Doctor?
* * *
Keys, Vocals, Brass, Guitar (trk.6): Geoffrey Alan Rhodes
Bass: Ian Rashkin
Traps, Hand Percussion, Conga (trk.1): Neil Wilson
Congas, Bongos, Tom Tom, Pot: Tom Hemba
Tenor Sax (tracks 4, 12, 13): Lorrick Russow
Clarinet (tracks 2, 3, 5, 13): Bryce Tanner
Cello (track 15): Danna Birdsall
Violins (track 15): Heather Hull & Marc Gavin
Bass Clarinet, Soprano Sax, Tenor Sax (tracks 2, 10, 13): Craig Flory
Vinyl (track 8): DJ Bill-E
Guitar (tracks 7, 16): John Ray
Guitar (track 9): Garth
Analog Tracking: Erik 4-A,Vagrant Records
Digital Tracking: Ian Rashkin, Un-Labeled Records
Mixdown Engineers: Ian Rashkin, Alan Rhodes, Neil Wilson
Mastering: Brian Michalski, Neil Wilson, Alan Rhodes, Ian Rashkin
Track 4 recorded at the Speakeasy Cafe, Seattle, July 18th 1998.
Tracks 14 & 15 recorded live at the Tractor Tavern, June 28, 1997; strings recorded at Un-Labeled Records.
Album Design by Alan Rhodes, Ian Rashkin
All Photos ©1998 Mike Regan, except: Silver Gabrielle ©1997 Tim X
Thanks to: Erik 4-A, Ron Weinstein, Pete Macias, Bryce Tanner, Lorick Russow, Craig Flory, Dave Carter, John Ray, Heather Hull, Marc Gavin, Danna Birdsall, Bill-E, Garth, Robert, Craig McMeekin, Brian Michalski, Neighbor Bruce, Gretchen & Tim at Speakeasy, and especially to past Eyes Like Mars members: Bryce, Stefan, Andreas, Bob, Kevin.