New York City Serenade

Jay Buchanans CMJ diary

THURSDAY, OCT. 19

12:15 p.m. Soho Grand Hotel

Waking up in New York. A hot shower and the best tap water I've ever tasted. Ron, Todd and Chris shoot across town for CMJ passes while Ty and I stay behind to visit a deli across the street.

1:15 p.m. Walk to nowhere in particular

We get pops and falafel and head underground to eat on the steps in the subway. Something about this place makes even your pulse change. On our way back upstairs, we bump into our friend Mary Jane and decide to walk to the World Trade Center.

3:45 p.m. Hotel room

Ty and I work out some new ideas on guitars, and Todd sits by the window smoking a cigarette. Chris picks up a guitar, and we start a new jam. Todd immediately gets up and snaps a few pictures. I love this band.

6:15 p.m. Sound check: the Shine

The club is a good size, with wooden floors and high black booths lining dimly lit walls. In the corner, there is a brass plaque over a big booth with the words "This booth is property of Bone-Thugz-N-Harmony" inscribed on it. We jam the empty room pretty good for about five while the soundman gets a feel for us. Todd and Ty start with the telepathy. I want to make love to Chris's kick drum, as usual. A gear back line has served us well, and everything sounds good. A pretty woman at the coat check with glitter on her face agrees to sell our T-shirts out front while we play.

8:30 p.m. CMJ Festival ASCAP Showcase: the Shine

There is a good all-female band called Lift playing the club before us. The club is dark and crowded. We get drinks and relax over a few record meet-and-greets with some industry friends who are excited to see our show.

10 p.m. Show time

The lights go low. From the stage, we see the place has filled out nicely. We see the same faces that we've seen over expensive plates and good conversation since the band's inception seven months ago. We are charged, and we have got to play. Ty asks, "Are they going to announce us?" Todd shakes his head and tries to squint past the stage lights. "Fuck it," he says. We open with "If You Leave" and lock in. As is all too common, the sound check turns out to have been a complete waste of time, but we get over it quickly. For only a second, the lights flash over the crowd. With the sight of swaying heads and flailing arms, we know we have an audience. Throughout the show, we exchange glances that communicate each song's dynamics. With our last song, the place goes nuts, and we like it. Afterward, I am surprised to bump into OC Weekly's Jeremy Zachary at the side of the stage. We get the gear back to the hotel.

10:45 p.m. Soho Grand Hotel

Having been offstage for less than 10 minutes, everyone is still sweaty. We discuss the show. Both hugs and black eyes are exchanged. Overall, we had a good show.

11 p.m. The Shine: drinks and a lot of talk

After handshakes and introductions, we get a booth. We are sitting at the Bone-Thugz booth. Our friends Jackie and Wade from ASCAP are very happy, and we take some pictures. After a few more drinks, we head out for pizza.

12:30 a.m. The Rumba Room

After hitting a few more clubs, we find ourselves at the Rumba Room. This place is upstairs and dimly lit. There, we get a cocktail and meet D'Angelo's A&R. Chris is immediately locked in a heavy discussion with him on the world's greatest funk drummers. They talk for more than half an hour. Our A&R friend from last night is there, and we are talking shop. Couples salsa around our booth, and times are good. By 2 a.m., everyone has had enough to drink, and it's time to go back to the hotel.

2:30 a.m. Soho Grand Hotel

Todd, Chris and Ron hit the sack while Ty and I walk to a deli across the street. We get sandwiches and pop and eat on the sidewalk. Empty cabs pass. We go upstairs to smoke one in the bathroom with the fan on while discussing a new set list.

FRIDAY, OCT. 20

1 p.m. Still asleep.

2:30 p.m. Lombardee's Pizza

This is the oldest pizza joint in New York. Fucking rock & roll pizza. We walk all over the city for a few hours.

7:30 p.m. Soho Grand Hotel Lounge

We meet our ASCAP friends in the lounge and have a few drinks. We decide to go to dinner.

9 p.m. The Cellar

We sit at the table drinking and discussing new projects. The band is ready to start the night, but our friends are very tired. We have a few rounds, eat some dinner, and depart.

10:30 p.m. Drink Land

We meet our A&R friend inside. The white ceiling has a thick black spiral leading to the center of the room. The whole place is shoulder-to-shoulder packed with bodies grinding together like a stash of M&M's in a fat kid's pocket. Chris and I go outside for some air. We hang out for a bit, and our A&R friend goes home. We get the private room in the back and meet there with another A&R friend. After a few drinks, we head out to another club. After that, we hit another, and soon this A&R gets tired, too.

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