We are in one of the Darwin Deez hubs of the world, North Carolina.
For the last two nights, we slept at the house of Darwin’s mom and dad, Susan and Darryl. At the childhood homes of my close friends, there is always one particular old photo that becomes dear to my heart. The photos of little Darwin are fun because you get to see Darwin without a mustache. My favorite photo is one of teenage Darwin and his afro, which I am now posting here for your own personal enjoyment.
Darwin’s parents’ house is nestled in the forest of Chapel Hill. There was a lot of rain from a tropical storm during this visit, and the forest seemed to bleed a beautiful ultra-saturated green. It was almost like the windows and doors of Darwin’s home opened into some Oz-like fantasy world.
Tim and I slept in this cozy shed in the backyard. I think it’s where Darwin’s dad does his psychiatry work. There were the most beautiful forest creature sounds coming through the window during the night. Frogs croaking, crickets chirping, birds cawing. There’s something fascinating about the excitement of the forest creatures at the sunrise. During the night, during midday, things are calm and steady, but inside of that transition when the sky lightens, there is an electricity, like a celebration. It’s interesting to think about animals and insects experiencing events, having rituals of their own.
The rain sound against the shed was also pretty magical.
Greg and I, and Greg’s friend from town, Tracy, went and swam in a quarry in the forest. I guess that once upon a time, people built a big interstate and left a giant hole in the ground, and now the hole is filled with water, and is a hidden enchanted sort of lake, with very clear water, and with high cliffs along the side that I was too chicken to jump off of. Tracy works at a neuro-trauma place and told us the story of a guy who nail-gunned a nail into his skull and didn’t know it, and other chilling neural nightmares. It was raining when we went swimming. I brought my eyes down close to the surface of the water and watched the rain make little white ripple sparks all along the lake’s watery horizon. I thought about how I’ve been getting by playing music for the last three years straight now. I’ve played some funerals and given some piano lessons, but absolutely no 9-to-5 grind. And there’s been a lot of open space for me to do things like swim in rainy hideaway rock quarries, in places far from home, and that seems pretty special. I feel lucky.
The show at the Local 506 was real wonderful. One of our favorites of the year. We have played that venue a lot. I think it was our fourth time. There were some rowdy backwoods sort of dudes that drove from like three hours away, and they were bouncing like pogo sticks and churning a lot of energy in the room, and there were a lot of sweethearts and cuties up front that were seeing us for the first time, and Mash Deez and Nick Deez from DD band lineups of yore were in attendance because of a tap dance festival that happened to coincide, and the sound was crisp, and the band was well oiled and tight, and it all swirled together into a glowing eve of music. It was especially good because in November, we played our first post-hibernation show at Local 506, and we didn’t play many songs off the first album, and we didn’t do any dances, and the new material was still pretty rusty, and the show was basically rough around the edges, so it felt nice to redeem ourselves to Chapel Hill. At the end of the set, after Red Shift, we exited the stage, and at this particular venue, the exit leads directly outside, so the band rallied in the parking lot and listened to the cheers and got ready to do Bad Day for the encore, and then we realized we were locked out of the venue, Spinal Tap style.
At home, waiting for us at 2:30 in the morning was a Gemini cake. Our band has been more or less infested with Gemini birthdays this month. My birthday was May 26. Tim’s was the 31st, Greg’s June 3. Basically, Darwin, an Aries, has surrounded himself with Geminis. This is not to mention that Miles, our drummer from 2011, was also a Gemini, and that Stephen, the head of our record label, is also a Gemini, and that Darwin’s dad is additionally a Gemini and shares a birthday with Greg “Big Prawn” Richardson. I consulted with Prawn, who confirms that yes, he does feel a certain paternal responsibility towards us, the bandmates. So yeah, the Darwin Deez band is structured around some mysterious psychological/astrological/paternal inclination whose significance is anyone’s guess. I am personally skeptical about astrology and have heard seemingly countless disjointed explanations for what comprises my Gemini nature. Then again, I’ve also been told that my skepticism towards astrology is directly rooted in the fact that I am a Gemini, and Geminis can’t bear the thought of being uncomplicated enough to be understood. Darwin on the other hand, has an affinity for astrology. The Gemini cake was dairy-free chocolate, with remarkably creamy dairy-free frosting, and vanilla yogurt on the side for those interested, and fresh strawberries. I ate a giant piece and then went to sleep in the forest shed, full of chocolate.