Davy's On The Road Again Ch. 15


"Here. Dry off. I want to show you something." She led me back into the house and toward the wing that she'd kept closed up as it was an area she never used. I hadn't been in this part of the house before as she led me past several large bedroom suites toward a large room at the end of the hall. It was another den. This one contained a pool table, lots of shelving, a bar, some couches and an entertainment center. There were large french doors opening out to the pool and back deck as well as another pair of large french doors leading to the front of the house. The cathedral ceiling had large skylights and the room was filled with light.

"I have never used this area since Roy died. This fucking house was just too big for me. I've kept it closed but Clarence and Rose cleaned it up for us. What do you think about putting the pool table and the furniture in the hotel and turning this into a music room and a recording studio? If this is no good, there is always the basement which is huge....but I like the airiness of this room and I'd like to see it come alive."

"Wow! What an idea! How cool!"

"There's a real nice recording studio in town, Great Divide. Maybe they can help you design and equip it. You should talk to Jamie, the owner, who is an old friend of mine"

"Gee. This is a lot to take in before my coffee. It's an amazing idea, though. Maybe Stevie and I will head over there today. Let me dream a little about this."

"No, don't dream. Do it. I want to start recording these songs. And, you know, it's our house now and it's a very, very fine house."

"Tell that to Graham...Okay, okay. And speaking of this very fine house, I was day dreaming yesterday about it. What about building a small caretaker's house near the entrance by the road, you know, a place where a caretaker and his wife, the housekeeper and maybe even cook could live (perhaps Clarence and Rosemary). It would also beef up security. Think about it. But let's have some coffee first, okay?"

We padded back into the kitchen and poured our cups of caffeine. Amy read "Domesticity" out loud and was finding a melody. I called Stevie and told him that I needed him to come over as soon as he could. As soon as I got off, the phone rang. It was Graham.

"Davy, congratulations again. When's the big day?"

I asked Amy and she said it would be in a week and a half on Saturday night.

"I'm coming and I'll be there with a bunch of buddies. Is there a hotel you suggest?"

"Don't worry about that, Graham, we have rooms for everyone. It'll be a fun party."

"Brilliant! But listen, I sent you an itinerary and musician list for the Breadbasket Tour. I cleared it with Danny and it looks good to him. I sent you an email. Please call me back after you've checked it out, will you?"

"Sure thing, Graham. I'll download it now and we'll talk later. I want to see about installing a studio here in the house and I have a few other chores but I promise, we'll talk later."

I walked into Amy's office off the bedroom and booted up the iMac. In a few minutes, I returned with an Excel spreadsheet and some pages of notes. While we sipped our coffee, we went over it.

"Thirteen cities in two and a half months, that ain't bad. Let's see...the tour starts in Boston, then New York for two nights, then Washington...look at this! Washington is outdoors on the Mall, a full day with some acts in other cities and the whole thing is being televised on NBC as a phone-in drive, the President will speak...wow!...then a few days off, then Atlanta, Miami...a few more days off...New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver...a week off. Well I guess we'll be here...ummm...Seattle, San Francisco and L.A, couldn't book into Texas....no, I have it backwards. It ends in Boston. That will leave us near Jimmy's gig in Montauk...excellent! The core acts are Crosby, Nash, Jackson, Me, Mark and check this out, Bruce joins us in New York and L.A., also Billy Joel, Public Enemy and Lady GaGa...also Stills and Young join up in a few cities...Dylan in Washington, Chicago, Minneapolis and L.A...in New Orleans and St. Louis, Allan Toussaint with Elvis Costello, Irma Thomas and Dr. John, The Nevilles, a cajun/zydeco revue with Buckwheat Zydeco and Terrance Simien...other acts committed are Los Lobos, Pearl Jam, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Kenny Chesney, The National, Robert Randolph, The Black Keys, Linda Ronstadt, John Fogarty, Etta James, Solomon Burke, Marcia Ball...Jesus! House bands include Hillman, Van Dyke, Gadd, Cooder, Lukather, Will Lee, Anton Fig, Sid McGuiness...Paul Shaffer is the band leader...also The Meters, The New Orleans Social Aid and Pleasure Club, Wynton Marsalis...Holy Shit! I like how he adds 'and Special Friends.' LiveNation will handle everything - venues, hotels, transportation. Well, we'll see about that! Those guys are fucking greedheads. I'll talk to Danny...Sponsors include Apple, Ford and Comcast Universal with regional tie-ins. It looks like our summer is booked, baby."

"This is insane, Davy! How is this ever going to make money?"

"Well, it says here that everything, or about 65% of everything, will end up in the local Food Pantries. All acts do four or five songs...payment to be discussed. The money is being overseen by the not-for-profit run by David Geffen, Danny, Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush. Fucking wow!

Stevie walked in at that point and leaned over me to see what I was reading. His mouth hung open.

"You're going to have to free up, pal, since you're a member of my band."

No response.

"Look, he's speechless, Davy! A first!"

"Homina, homina, homina...I am. I'm speechless. I better get a new autoharp. Wait 'til Sal hears about this! She said to tell you that she'll be over in a little while. She had to go over to the hotel to tend to some bills. Wait until she hears about this! So this is why you called?"

"No. I just got this from Graham Nash. I have another project for you. Come, let me show you."

I led him toward the big den telling him about Amy's idea. He thought it was a great idea. I told him that Amy suggested we visit Jamie today to get things rolling.

"Sure. Good idea. Jamie is a regular customer. I know him well. You know, if I recall correctly, he tried to wangle a date with Amy way back when but she wouldn't bite. He's a good guy, you'll get along fine. Let's go soon though because I have shit to do at the restaurants later.

"Okay. Let's go now. I have to get dressed. I can't be walking around town with my wang hanging." As we walked back to the kitchen, my phone rang.

"Hey David! Sure I'll be there...yup, Amy and I are tying the knot a week before your gig in Denver...Wanna come? It's going to be one hell of a scene...aw, too bad...Yeah, it's cool with me if you're recording...video, too? For PBS? Cool...You did? I'll download it now...Yeah, I just read Graham's email. This shit is sick, man...You'll be hooking up with the tour in Chicago, Minneapolis and L.A.!...cool. Yeah, I'll listen to it now and call you later."

Amy looked up from the itinerary notes. "That was David Hidalgo. He just sent me a couple of mp3s he wants me to hear. Stevie and I are going to take the Jag so you can try out the Escape. You know it has automatic parallel parking, video monitors and the Sync Media system, right?"

"Yes, dear. I saw the commercials, too. Sally is on her way over. You guys get a move on it...Stevie has things to do."

I downloaded the tracks and burned a CD while I got dressed. I also grabbed a CD of the Shangrila tracks. A few minutes later, Stevie and I were heading into Aspen. My phone rang again. It was George. "...yeah, we'll talk more on this. Kisses to Sarah...See ya next week."

"Ain't you something, Davy. Cruisin' with the stars! Who better than you?"

"You just wait, Stevie. You remember when we toured in '68? That was nothing compared to what we'll be doing this summer. Maybe we'll take Big Chocolate for a few dates...kinda like Willie Nelson's bus."

"I like that idea just fine. I'll start working on having the managers cover for me."

My phone rang again. It was Janey and Ian and they were ecstatic. Unfortunately, they couldn't make it out to the wedding as they had to fly to Scotland where Ian's sister was getting married. She said that her daughter, Cris, my niece who lives in Fort Collins, would be there.

We pulled up in front of the recording studio. Fortunately, the staff was just coming in. Stevie introduced me to Jamie and I told him about my plan. He suggested that he come over to the house to check out the space before he suggested anything and we made plans for late afternoon. He showed me around the space and it was really nice...very comfy. He also said that there was no way I could have anything in place before the wedding but he offered his studio if I needed it. I pulled out my CDs and asked if we could have a listen. He put on the Shangrila demos first and was flabbergasted by the musicians. I told him that it was very possible that some of those musicians might join me in his studio and I thought he was going to pass out. We listened to the demo and it drew his staff into the control room. Everyone thought that they were great. Jamie was very impressed by the Shangrila sound. I told him that Shadow was remixing my old stuff there. Then we put on the Los Lobos CD. First track was a kick-ass version of "Sally Take A Ride". Hidalgo and Rosas dueled with killer leads. I absolutely loved it and I knew we'd be doing that song in Denver. The second track was "Canasta de Pan (Breadbasket)" in Spanish with a very Tex-Mex/Norteno/Mariachi feel like only Los Lobos can attain. It purely knocked me out.

"Odas las noches alrededor de las seis, reunimos 'redonda la mesa,
Mamá y Padre y Abuelito, mí y mi hermana, Mabel,
Nosotros doblamos las manos y damos gracias al Señor,
Para la comida nosotros estamos a punto de digerir,
Y para prometer hacer lo que tiene razón y hace todo que podemos."

"Fucking A!" I wiped my teary eyes. Stevie slapped my back. "Now you see why I need a studio in the house, Jamie?"

"Don't worry, Davy. We'll make it as sweet as Shangrila." A staffer took some pictures of us for his wall and I signed a few autographs. I also got compliments on "In The Key Of Me" at The Woody Creek and was asked if I would do a set there again. I thought it was possible...maybe even before the wedding and I told them to keep an ear open. Jamie and I agreed to meet later and Stevie and I pulled away.

"Davy, can you make a quick stop a couple of blocks away? I have to pick up something?"

"Sure, Stevie." I slipped Los Lobos into the CD Player and flipped out all over again. I listened to it again while Stevie ran into a small office. He was out quickly with a large bag.

"Check it out, man" Inside the bag was a half pound of herb. We stuck our faces into it and it smelled sweet. Stevie rolled one as I drove back to the house. It was very, very good ganga.

The girls were just getting into the Escape as we pulled up. I told Amy about the meeting and George's call. She said that both Danny and Emma called and that I should call them back.

"Sally, you must hear this. You're going to plotz on the spot." I put the Los Lobos CD into the player. They were freaking out. "That's my song! That's my song!" screamed Sally joyfully. I told her I would do that with them at the Denver show and I would dedicate it her. Then "Breadbasket" came on and Amy started to cry. She just looked at me and nodded.

Stevie and I went into the house. I showed him "Domesticity."

"Now, this is a song, Davy. This is great. I can hear it."

I called Danny while he rolled a few for me. "Hiya Dan...yup, that is some itinerary...sure I'll do it...how much? You're kidding me! Let's turn half back to the Food Pantry Fund...No? Why not?...But what is this bullshit with LiveNation? Them and that Sillerman asshole fucked up the concert business forever...that's true, They all suck and they are rip-off artists. Always were, even Wolfgang...too expensive...empty seats...You spoke to Eliiot Roberts. He said what? Really?...Well, that does ease the pain somewhat...All right, all right, whatever you say...it'll pay for the studio we're building in the house...and that, too. Yup, a week from Saturday...We have a room for you so don't bother...No shit! God bless precious metals...Sure, go ahead...do what you do....Chuck D? He did? He sampled it? No shit! Very cool. Okay...okay...uh-huh. Good. I see you a week from Friday...with Emma? Excellent. I love you, man. Honest. Bye."

"I'm rolling in it, Stevie. Money is coming in faster that I can ever spend it. I'm going to have to start giving some of it away. How much you want?"

"Shit, man. If I'm going on tour with you, you better pay me top dollar. I have some heavy backline demands, dude. Plus, I have to get another autoharp."

Stevie and I burned another one as we walked Santo around the property. Make that, some of the property since the house and grounds made up fifty-five acres in all. We stood at the top of a hill in the back where a pristine pond lay surrounded by trees. There was a small enclosed gazebo that looked like a perfect writing room to me. I just shook my head in amazement. We were both nicely buzzed as we walked back. I waved Stevie off as he left to do his things.

Back on the deck, I called Graham and got more details. I called George and we shmoozed for a while. I called Emma. I told her that Danny just told me that they'd be flying in together. She said that Angie can't wait to be the flower girl and that Andy was excited to see me again, his favorite uncle, 'the rock star!' I asked her how she and Jack were doing financially and she said fine, that they were flush ever since I shtupped her with some of my lottery winnings. I told her that I wanted to put her and Carla in charge of my real estate holdings which would provide them with more money. She said that Jack would love that bit of news. She bitched about Carla for a little while and I complained that even though she was in Japan or China or wherever the hell she was, I hadn't heard from her in some time and I missed her. Emma said to expect a call soon but that Carla didn't seem too thrilled about my getting remarried. Too bad. It wasn't about her. I told Emma about the summer tour and she was thrilled about that. I promised that she would have the best seats in the house when we played New York. I also asked if Amy and I could stay at their East Hampton place when I played Montauk in late August and there was no problem with that either. Emma is kind of like me that way, easy going and hospitable. Not like her mother. Carla is more prickly, more like her mother. I told Emma I loved her and to kiss Jack and the kids and I couldn't wait to see her next week.

Frannie called me from St. Remy in the Provence area of France. She babbled on about her writing contract for the London Times and that she's be in France for another three weeks and then in Italy for a few more. She's said she'd be up in Lake Maggiore and Lake Como. That's when I jumped in. First, I told her about the upcoming wedding and asked if I could buy her a first-class round-trip ticket so she could make the wedding. She thought about it for a few moments and then opted out saying she had a deadline to meet on the Friday before the wedding. She said that she'd heard from Janey about the YouTube videos and had watched them. She said she'd be flying into New York in August for a couple of weeks and I suggested we meet up then and she could catch a concert. I then asked her if she would like me to ask my friend, George Clooney, to meet up with her in Lake Como. I thought the line went dead. "George...like THE George Clooney?" That idea she liked knowing full well she'd get major placement in the Sunday section of the newspaper. We talked for a little while longer and I asked her to reconsider my plane tickets offer but, as is her way, she was adament in her refusal. She asked for our address so she could send a gift.

I opened my laptop to check my mail when the phone rang again. It was Susan. She said that she'd found a place in town to take the bus for maintenance. She said it would take a few days and could she fly in on Tuesday and stay through until Monday after the wedding when she would fly back with Elon, who was coming in on Friday. Sure. I told her that she could stay at the house so we could have a couple of days to party and she liked that idea. She told me, on the q.t., that she'd be staying with Elon at the hotel after he arrived and that it was hush-hush. I told her that my lips were sealed and that I'd see her next week and hung up.

I had email from Shelley and Linda. They'd heard about the wedding on E.T. and were excited for me. They said that all was well with them and they'd got over their problems. I wrote back that I would have seats for them in Chicago. the next email was from Laura, who asked me to call her. There was an email from Carla and Denis and one from Alan and Anna, both were congratulatory.

The phone rang again. It was Mark. "We're back on Beech Knoll Road, my friend, and this whole town in buzzing about your wedding. I think we're going to fly in on Friday with a whole bunch of loons but I'm not sure. So, how you doin?"

"We're okay, buddy. Just busy with this and that, I'm building a studio in the house here so whenever you and Deb come to visit, we can lay stuff down. And man, I'm going to email you a couple of tracks Hidalgo sent me. They're killer."

"It looks like we're going to plenty busy this summer. It's one hell of a tour."

"Yeah - but it looks like a lot of fun. The four of us are going to pah-tee!"

"Maybe the Obamas will join us."

"Yeah, right!" We went on like this for a while. He said he had a surprise for me from New Orleans and that he couldn't wait to deliver it. "Coolio. I'll see you guys next week. Love to Deb. Bye."

I called Laura. She asked if she could fly in on Tuesday to cover the wedding and hang with us. I told her that we reserved a room in the house until Friday when we'd move her into the hotel. This excited her because of all the others with whom she'd be hanging. After I hung up with her, I closed my eyes and just dreamed for a little while, listening to the birds chirping and the hawks crying from way on high. This was idyllic. What a tough way to exist.

I hadn't read a newspaper in some time getting my news from the web and the TV. I couldn't remember the last time I did The Times crossword puzzle. But here, in this lazy backyard, I opened the Aspen Times and blew through it. Then I blew through the Aspen Free Press. Local news that I know nothing about is very easy to scan although I did happen to capture a certain wedding announcement. Still, it bothered me a little that I was out of touch with the major issues of the day. In my old life, I made political stands all the time. A lot of us did. I felt that, as a resident of Nutopia, each of us should have strong principles and the ability to discuss them freely. Imagine! Today, no musicians nor artists seemed to stand for anything except making a buck. What does Christine Aguilera stand for? Or Justin Bieber? Or Lady GaGa? Name one popular artist who stands for anything? You can't. And while some people might not care what my politics are, I think it's important to challenge my fans, to force them to think beyond their own sphere of comfort and to open a dialogue. Maybe the time was right to speak about these things again. Anyway, that's what I think, for what it's worth.

Something was running around my head. I grabbed my pad and basically, the song wrote itself. As I wrote, the words sang the melody to me. I liked the F#m modulation and worked that in. I wrote "Poor Man" on the top.

"These are hard times in this world today,

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