posted on June 2, 2008 at 9:17 pm

tomb of the unknown rocker
rocknrolls where we all intersect really
cmon give us rocknroll mem’ries
cmon give us the wild stuff the dark stuff
its blurring in my mind
an endless stream of motel rooms and tubs full of ice n beer
shaking some bastards hand that i hated
sitting in some office somewhere on the phone
in a tiny dark room in new york at 6 a.m.
its winter its dark its cold i am a longwayfromhome
i struggle to make a suitcase close
always sox and shirts hanging out the side
im miserable and i feel nauseous
all around me the hotel comes alive
i imagine my compadres getting up in their rooms
a shower comes on next door
a door slams somewhere
the phone rings …a soft american accent
its big mike our tour manager
big mike who is a lithuanian giant
like a giant out of the bible or something
i sikked ‘im on peter murphy for his arrogance
and murphy screamed
keep that man away from me
then in new orleans
the mighty lemom drops ate peter koppes chocolate
a melee ensued
2 tough rock bands pushing each other about…
until big mike waded in
and the lemon drops melted away
anyway big mike is not only big
but hes a real smart arse as well
“good morning mr kilbey…how are we feeling today?”
mr kilbey pours out a string of invective that his olde mum
wouldnt like to read here
but mr big mike could see how enthusiastic i was
see you downstairs at breakfast mr kilbey he sneers
yeah bugger off you latvian monster i hiss
“lithuanian” comes the reply….as per usual
look in the mirror
my hair looks a fright
bags under my eyes
teeth yellow
nose red
eyes grey
tongue coated
pulse weak
etc etc
i burn from lack of sleep
my whole body trembles and i feel like im burning in cold fire
i see my bag of toiletries is not packed
so i open up the suitcase
which explodes in undies n books n cassette tapes
after another prolonged struggle the suitcase is subdued
i also have a carrying bag with my passport
and whatever book im reading
and a load of cassettes
cassettes like
everyone knows this is nowhere by neil young
best of bread by bread (i love bread!)
this mortal coil
echo n the bunnies
new gold dream by simple mounds
i drag all my possessions together
and exit the overpriced hole
the roadcrew stand around miserably outside
smoking cigarettes on the footpath
trevor johnno johnston waves at me sadly through the glass
i shake my head at him
he gives me a dopey smile which cheers me up ever so slightly
we have 2 aussie roadies johnno and a character called john goodenough
goodenough is a rugged aussie specimen often with a bare chest
and very rarely without a lady companion
once in madrid he asked a record co guy if he could ride his harley
the guy says yes
and goodenough takes off overnight on it
much to the record co guys horror
he never came back that day
a five minute ride round the block
turned into a tour de force
goodenough arriving back just in time the next day
(with senorita in tow, of course)
(did i tell you that story before?)
anyway we stand in reception
and eventually the other jokers come down
we grunt at each other
we’re all pretty sick of each other by this stage
(its twenty years ago today…)
mwp aint come down yet
he’s hard to wake up sometimes
so biggus mikus goes up to search for him
(it was like waking the dead)
i go into the excuse for a cafe
where theres cawfee n baygles but nothin’ for me
nevermind i feel sick anyway
a tour bus pulls up
and some guys jump on
big mike is angry now
peters wandered off looking for food
and ploogy tried to not pay his incidentals
eventually mart appears dressed in his black coat
he doesnt say anything or even look at anybody
he goes straight to his bunk and disappears behind the curtains
tom verlaine gets on the bus with his eternal cig and cawfee
errr you aint lookin’ so good there errr kilbey he deadpans
tom dont look so good either
no one does in the ghastly light of that pale winter dawning
hey killer …ploogy beckons me up the back
the inner sanctum…sancti sanctorum biggus called it
we go in the back room and ploog chucks on his dub cassette
hes giggling like a fiend
he produces some weed hes been given
and we sink into some half dream
the bus starts up and the heaters finally come on
the dub drones on in the back compartment
others come in
but me n ploog are sprawled all over both seats n they leave
half propped i watch the sights of manhattan go past
the tramps n hookers n biznessmen n women
the chauffeurs in the limos
the doormen the bag ladies
i watch from my cocoon of dub and bus
its real warm in the back here
ploogy sleeps n snores n wakes up n rolls another spliff
by that time we’re rolling thru bleak industrial badlands somewhere
black rivers full of filth and chimneys vomiting muck into the sky
but its all like a film rolling by
in here where i listen to the best of bread
which has driven ploogy to his bunk
i am king of sancti sanctorum now
i gaze out across the bridges n cars n lights
the people hurrying to work
screaming at each other silently behind their windscreens
traffic lights flare on the rainstreaked windows
i watch, a stoned detached foreign watcher
unseen from behind his tinted glass
mothers drag kids across zebra crossings in the morning drizzle
guys load up their trucks n vans
none of it in the least vaguely connected to me
i have achieved detachment from this rat race
now im a hampster running on my own little treadmill
we drive n drive all day
we stop for lunch but mwp sleeps on
we drive into the rain n sleet
north to boston or somewhere
the amps n guitars
the strings n frets
the straps n buckles
the snare n the cymbals
the lights n the effects
the speakers n the desks
roadies in their bus watching spinal tap or porno
smoking cigs n dope n eating burgers n bitching bout us
big mike comes in the sancti
mr kilbey he slyly smiles
how are we feeling now mr kilbey..a little better we trust?
come in here you giant i say
or close the fucking door!
biggus sits down n flops out his paperwork
hes got receipts and bundles of cash
hes got maps n directions n agendas n stuff
he runs through my list of activities that day
like a kings advisor giving his monarch the rundown
at 4.30 youre going on wpox to talk to randy sangwich
me :bullshit!
at 5.15 youre talking to the baltimore balls from a payphone
me :oh no!
at 6 we do a 2 hour soundcheck
me : what…!?
at 7.30 we meet retailers
me : no fuckin’ way!
at 8.30 we meet the lovely folks from arista
me : what the f…?
at 9.30 your onstage
me :great…!?
and after the show you meet the competition winners
me : what about my fuckin dinner?
mr kilbey its taken care of…
we’re ordering in pizzas half hour before show
me : oh no
oh yes mr kilbey…now have a nice day
he exits
i look out at the grey wilderness of the freeway
wheres the fucking glamour, fiendss?

53 Responses to “flair”

  1. avatar
    Centuryhouse | 2 June 2008 at 10:52 pm #

    A good read, Mr. Kilbey 🙂

    It’s been a while since I’ve gotten to stop by and read (life’s turns have kept me busy) but glad to see you’re still writing. I have some catch-up reading to do!

    Take care,

  2. avatar
    MEM | 3 June 2008 at 12:21 am #

    we can’t go forward can’t go back…

  3. avatar
    restaurant mark | 3 June 2008 at 1:07 am #

    it’s not all glitz and fun is it? sounds an awful lot like work. oddly enough i was at that show in new orleans with the mighty lemon drops…tipi tina’s…saw so many great shows there…that one being high on my list. missed the chocolate fight though! i was 17 or just turned 18. my best friend, tim (who was also at the restaurant with me last time) and i got upstairs afterwards and talked to marty and pete for a long time. spoke to you briefly and you were polite, but had an air of not wanting to be social at the moment…so we were polite back and let you be. i really miss that place…wonder if it’s still open. i have no idea…maybe veleska knows?

    take care

  4. avatar
    The Good Ripple | 3 June 2008 at 1:30 am #

    Har har har! Great job on demystifying the rock and rool lifestyle Killa! Your portrayal of MWP particularly hilarious.

  5. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 3 June 2008 at 1:38 am #

    Enya is to be envied. She makes celtic, spiritual, instrumental CDs with choirs and synths. She has an angelic voice and heavenly chants. She has a mystical and aloof aura. She never tours and is never seen. She’s a millionaire with no hassles and lives in a splendrous Irish castle. How did she do it.

    David Gates had a refined and sensitive voice!

  6. avatar
    kat | 3 June 2008 at 1:47 am #

    what a great story, i can really picture all this..

    best of bread was a staple in our house growing up, sk.. !

  7. avatar
    princey | 3 June 2008 at 2:45 am #

    You’ve asked that question a few times sk, “where’s the glamma?”. Is that what you really expected the rocknroll world to be like? Thanks for sticking it out all these years anyway, glamour or no glamour!
    Been listening to Isidore alot lately, what a great album. (can’t wait for Kennedy/Kilbey cd)
    Love from cold, grey and foggy Melby.

  8. avatar
    veleska1970 | 3 June 2008 at 2:47 am #

    “wheres the fucking glamour, fiendss?”
    well……i could say under marty’s shoe, but that joke’s tired.


    unlike mark, i wasn’t at the tipitina’s show (death in the family that week), but i did go to your show at the orpheum theatre when you returned a few months later. it was the first time i saw you guys in concert. it goes without saying it was awesome. (of COURSE it was!!!)

    thanks for these “tour” stories. what a wonderful insight into how it really is.

    lotza love……

  9. avatar
    veleska1970 | 3 June 2008 at 2:50 am #

    to mark: yes, tip’s is still open. i don’t know how much damage katrina caused, but it is still located at 501 napoleon.

    man, this brings back mem’ries. spent a LOT of time going to concerts at tip’s…… 🙂

  10. avatar
    JJ | 3 June 2008 at 2:52 am #

    Sounds pretty bleak, the way the picture is painted. That’s the way life is. But, surely….there must be some semblance of redemption onstage, when the music begins to generate it’s roar and hum, and the crowd moving forward, caught up in the oncoming storm? it takes them away, if only for a few brief hours, from the existence you describe from the rain-streaked bus window.

    I saw the band here in Atlanta, when Mr. Murphy opened for you. An arrogant fellow, eh? He is quite an ego.

    Enjoyed today’s blogge. I’ve been out for a bit, death and crises in spades.

  11. avatar
    linjo | 3 June 2008 at 5:23 am #

    Thanks Steve, thats a great read. Just goes to show I suppose, that whatever fortune comes your way, you still have to take yourself with you and any of the insecurities, irritations, ADD tendancies etc you may harbour. Sure wouldnt mind finding out what its like to have lots of money, though I know it wouldnt make me miss happiness.
    Brien, Shepherd’s Moon is my favourite late night, alone on the lounge cd. Its so incredibly beautiful and takes you to another time and place (preferably where there are lots of 6ft blonde viking hunks!) Linda X

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 3 June 2008 at 5:33 am #

    just like our sadly underrated poet Bon Scott said: “It’s a long way to the top if ya wanna rock n’ roll!”

    Yes, it is possible to like AC/DC and the Church, 2 very different bands but both with staying power, honesty, and a love for what they do ie making fuckin’ great music

  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 3 June 2008 at 5:49 am #

    It’s under Marty’s shoe, isn’t it?

  14. avatar
    captain mission | 3 June 2008 at 7:04 am #

    its all a glamour really, rock and roll industry, but that music rings true.

  15. avatar
    Queen Hatshepsut | 3 June 2008 at 7:31 am #

    Well then, that’s the problem isn’t it. Wherever you go, there you are.

    I remember being in Europe for a month a few years ago. After another Bataan Death March tour through Paris I recall thinking “I can totally understand why musicians get hooked on anything and everything on the road.” I was ready to throw myself into the Seine I was so tired and strung out.

    And I wasn’t even working.

  16. avatar
    Leelinau | 3 June 2008 at 8:22 am #

    swhitch glamour?

  17. avatar
    fantasticandy | 3 June 2008 at 9:49 am #

    your ‘road’ stories always fascinate me……
    and strangely, there’s a tenuous ‘neptunian’ link to this tale…..
    carl was ‘stand-in’ drummer for the lemons just prior to that tour(they were old school chums).
    i think at the time he was hankering after a stint with another outfit called ‘the weeping messershmits’…..who also nose-dived into obscurity!

    where’s the glamour indeed!
    andy L.

  18. avatar
    verdelay | 3 June 2008 at 11:26 am #

    The glamour’s for us, not you.

    That’s the trick
    That’s the con
    That’s what they never told you

    We live vicariously, without the tedium
    We invoke the glorious archetype, without recourse to the crushing detail
    We imagine ourselves in your shoes, without having to struggle into them backstage night after night.

    You were nailed to that bus seat for our rock’n’roll sins
    You were pushed from pillar to post for us to gawp at you in wonderment
    You were riled and ripped off and had shiny things dangled at you so we could watch the deflating train wreck that would inevitably follow

    If that sounds bleak, it’s because it is true

    Not a martyr, because you called the demon down
    Not a figure of pity, because we all wanted to be you
    Not a figure of fun, because we didn’t understand the irony. And neither did you.

    The veil has been lifted, and you’re the one with the blisters. But you saw things we couldn’t ever hope to even imagine. Not glorious things, just important things. Not glamour. More like terror.

    The Memory is wearing off, and I’m out of #79. Put that old record back on, and we’ll all twist again…

  19. avatar
    davem | 3 June 2008 at 11:37 am #

    And a davem link Andy. I played on the same bill as the Mighty Lemon Drops a couple of times in the 80’s. They went on to bigger things whilst I enjoyed the glory of working in social housing. Totally just though ‘cos I was talentless!!
    Great tale SK. Thanks.

  20. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 3 June 2008 at 12:00 pm #

    The Killer likes Bread? I never would’ve guessed, but it only makes you more endearing to me, Steve. Usually I get the impression that your taste in music is – well, dare I say, almost a little predictable? I mean, it always seems to be the cool stuff. So I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Now, as for me, one of my favorite albums (Nether Lands)is by a singer/songwriter, who is considered very uncool – Dan Fogelberg. I really can’t ecplain my own taste in music. I mean, I love Nether Lands and I love Gold Afternoon Fix and Forget Yourself, and lots of other music that just doesn’t seem to have much in common. Except: heart, soul and passion.

  21. avatar
    fantasticandy | 3 June 2008 at 12:07 pm #

    thomas, that fogelberg record has some great stuff on it…

    dave, you did the right thing!
    i bet youv’e helped oodles of families out of a jam over the years….well done great mate!

    p.s. mr. flowers…..wise words!

  22. avatar
    Richard | 3 June 2008 at 12:28 pm #

    I agree with andy about verdelay’s contribution today – a very good answer to a beautifully framed question

  23. avatar
    Richard | 3 June 2008 at 12:37 pm #

    Oh, and on the subject of Mr K’s musical tastes I’m not sure I agree with thomas that ‘it always seems to be the cool stuff’. I well remember many moons ago when he confided in us that he was pretty keen on Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet.

    Sure made me feel better about some of the guilty pleasures in my collection.

  24. avatar
    Ross B | 3 June 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    Wonderful writing Steve, I love your bleak, misty observations gazing through your tinted window.

    Brien I read your comment and for some reason immediately cognized ‘Bill’ instead of ‘David’ when I saw the name Gates, as having a lovely voice etc…for that split second I recoiled in horror!! 🙂

  25. avatar
    craig1.618 | 3 June 2008 at 1:42 pm #

    right on mr flowers…..right on

  26. avatar
    Jen Jewel Brown | 3 June 2008 at 2:24 pm #

    That was absoluoootely hilarious. Man was I there – Christ you write like nobody’s business Kilbster.


  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 3 June 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    God I hate tour busses.

    They’re like jails. I’d rather drive myself.

  28. avatar
    CSTCoach | 3 June 2008 at 2:39 pm #

    man, that sounds like a grind. really bleak. and all for those brief moments on stage when everything comes alive. you know, the more i think about it, travel’s a lot like that too. an awful lot of discomfort, often sickness and misery, lonliness, but its all worthwhile for those brief flashes of insight that change your view of the world, and for those sublime moments when you forget yourself and meld with the world and the experience.

    This was a hilarious description, burst out laughing at that one and startled the cat: “like a giant out of the bible or something” I could just see that. Bastard Goliath, who’s greatest evil is waking Marty up in the morning and being cheerful to Steve…

  29. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 3 June 2008 at 2:44 pm #

    Dear Ross B:

    I do like Bill Gates when he donates millions of dollars to help the poor and sick in India.

    Way back in 1980 I was actually engaged to the girl of my dreams. She lived in a bucolic Orange County suburb in California. Her next door neighbor was Bread’s David Gates. I never met him but I did meet one of his canine companions.

  30. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 3 June 2008 at 2:56 pm #

    Fantasticandy, it’s a pleasure that someone besides me actually admits to liking some of Fogelberg’s stuff.

    Dancing Shoes
    Scarecrow’s Dream

    Those songs will be with me for as long as I live. Sketches is one of the most haunting songs I’ve ever heard.

  31. avatar
    Thomas Thomsen, Denmark | 3 June 2008 at 3:05 pm #

    Dan Fogelberg’s heart was in the right place, too. He was very passionate about nature, animals and native americans. He seemed to be a very decent human being. Unfortunately he died recently. He was only 56 years old.

  32. avatar
    fantasticandy | 3 June 2008 at 3:06 pm #

    it’s flawed thomas…….
    but, yes there are moments of great beauty on it.
    he was VERY inconsistent,
    yet when he got it right…
    sheer bliss!

  33. avatar
    ScaughtFive | 3 June 2008 at 3:16 pm #

    It does sound a bit better than riding around in a van getting paid in beer and free fake hugs, smelling like a century of dirty laundry. Not much though. Now me loves clean clothes and quiet.

  34. avatar
    Polydora | 3 June 2008 at 4:37 pm #

    Hey, Daniel. Has been awhile. Good to see ya back.

  35. avatar
    William | 3 June 2008 at 6:18 pm #

    Funny, I’ve actually imagined you covering Guitar Man. I think it would be cool. I’ve even contemplated doing it at karaoke…”in the style of Steve Kilbey” — I’ll let you know how it goes.

    Great flashback travelogue today — could feel the N.E./bandmate chill. Brrr.


  36. avatar
    elduvik | 3 June 2008 at 6:30 pm #

    Looks like a “hello, is there anybody in there, just nod if you can hear me” kind of situation…

    Anyway when I saw you in London two years ago you were rocking… and you looked happy! (perhaps it was the Manuka honey, it s healthier than most weeds…)


    Genoa /Italy

  37. avatar
    davem | 3 June 2008 at 7:05 pm #

    It’s certainly made me want to put goldfish on!!

  38. avatar
    The Kipper | 3 June 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    Wow, it has been 20 years! I was there at what must have been one of the band’s first stops–Toad’s Place in New Haven. A small club with a tiny stage, free Fosters t-shirts for all…a very informal gig. Then, the band later came back through and played the Palace Theater…Let’s Active opened, anyone else remember them? So, I managed to see the guys in two very different settings on that tour. 20 years ago, wow.

  39. avatar
    eek | 3 June 2008 at 8:55 pm #

    wheres the fucking glamour, fiendss?

    I’m not sure whether it’s more scary or pitiful, but I will bet there are plenty of people in the world who would think that experience is exciting and glamorous. Of course I also bet if they actually had to live it for any length they would soon grow disenchanted too.

    I have to admit reading this makes me feel guilty for wanting y’all to tour though…I mean isn’t saying “please, please, please come play here” actually saying “please, please, please come make yourself miserable for weeks so I can have a great night (or several) out”? So I’m always torn between encouraging you to tour while knowing it can be grueling and not saying anything so as not to pressure you, even though I’m thinking “I want them to tour, damn it!!”

    …oh dear that does sound really pitiful (and maybe even scary).

  40. avatar
    davem | 3 June 2008 at 9:26 pm #

    How true Holly.
    Every day I hope for news of the boys touring.
    Bad fiends.

  41. avatar
    steve kilbey | 3 June 2008 at 10:11 pm #

    yes yes
    youre right, as usual
    nice one

  42. avatar
    fantasticandy | 3 June 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    tour, tour, tour!!!!!!
    y’see love is blind.

    ok….so only a pitiful handful of we mortals down here even realise it…
    but you guys are gods…..
    wer’e like the pawns in the chess game between zeus and hera in jason and the argonauts!
    you play with our emotions and motivations…..
    c’mon killer… i’m greedy… gimmie a piece of ya one more time?
    andy L.

  43. avatar
    eek | 3 June 2008 at 11:03 pm #

    Davem — “Every day I hope for news of the boys touring.
    Bad fiends.”

    Oh we’re good fiends, Dave. We’re just rotten, selfish people. 😉

  44. avatar
    tim | 3 June 2008 at 11:22 pm #

    you make it look all so easy mr. kilbey.

    guitarman, baby im-a-want-you, tee hee…

    funny thing, 20 years ago this august i was introduced to bread. its ture.

    on the quesion of glamour,
    i thought burton cummings penned a neat song called glamour boy by the guess who (post randy bachman)
    great wheatfield soul!!

  45. avatar
    veleska1970 | 3 June 2008 at 11:41 pm #

    i second that motion, eek.

  46. avatar
    Lian | 3 June 2008 at 11:41 pm #

    i learned it at elementary school, that if you only have touched the ears of an elephant, don’t rapidly say elephant is like a fan.

    I can’t say what an elephant like even if I can see them as a whole with my eyes, because I dont really know their feeling. (Can anybody tell me why old elephants choose to die longly but not surrounded by their family?)

    but i really appriaciated it that what you wrote a few days ago. you caught the spirit.

  47. avatar
    Lian | 3 June 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    and you expressed it wonderfully with imaginatic words. that was really catching.

  48. avatar
    Lian | 3 June 2008 at 11:58 pm #

    … or, you maybe was right, this time too.

    sorry, SK, too many comments today. I should learn dont behave too improvisely, or just shut up if i know nothing.

  49. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 4 June 2008 at 12:54 am #

    I’d love just to have a great, high audio quality live Church CD. Sk’s “Acoustic and Intimate” is just as good as being their (this coming from a monk).

  50. avatar
    Lian | 4 June 2008 at 1:09 am #

    I’m listening to SK’s “acoustic and intimate” now, Brien. I dont exactly know the reason but it’s my favoritest I’d say.

  51. avatar
    Anonymous | 4 June 2008 at 2:35 am #

    Just a little test – I have been locked out for months and am trying to get back in……seems only can do anonyously…Big Smiles Kate

  52. avatar
    matthew | 4 June 2008 at 12:25 pm #

    If I studied “Goldfish” carefully enough, wasn’t the glamour underneath Marty’s shoe?

  53. avatar
    Matthew | 4 June 2008 at 12:27 pm #

    Oh damn… always pays to read the preceding comments… I see my joke’s been well & truly done.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.