I had just arrived home from having dinner out, and there's a message on my machine from Julie, the publicist for FLICKERSTICK. We have a friendly (if long-distance) relationship, and she's a very sweet person. She had gone to New York to see the STICKERFLICK show at Irving Plaza, which of course had been cancelled due to recent horrific events. Stranded on the East Coast with a wedding in Dallas to attend, Julie headed for Philly and called me in search of a hotel room. I offered up my couch, but she had other people to see and tend to -- specifically, SOULCRACKER! That's right, since Bands on the Run (From Good Taste [tm Sars]) have become a "family" of sorts, she's pals with them as well. They had just played a show in Allentown, PA, and were hanging in Philly for the night. Would I like to come and hang out with them? Would I? Is a bear Catholic? Does the pope...you know I had to go.
After I referred Julie to Philly's rather trashy but cheap and not totally uncharming Parker Spruce Hotel, she called me from her cab. She was going to meet up with SUCKCRUSTY at Mako's, a semi-divey bar on South Street within walking distance of my place. Could I come meet them? Meet and hang with the band without having to hear them play? Sounds ideal.
Mako's was practically empty, save for Ramsey, AP, Bob, their sound guy (whose name I forget -- sorry!), this guy Reed that works on the team, and Julie. I hung at the bar with Julie and Ramsey and nursed a Guinness. Bob and AP were glued to the TV screens watching -- not newscasts, but Son of the Beach. Yeah, well, what did you expect. That Inside The Actor's Studio would be on at a bar? Or The MacNeil Lehrer Report? Mako's is anything but erudite. In fact, I think that's their slogan. Julie and I chit-chatted as we killed time waiting for Sutton and THE CRACK'S manager, Johnny, to show up. Beastie, by the way, was absent from the group and, according to Ramsey, "never goes out" with the band anymore. Halfway into my second pint, they showed, and I asked Ramsey (totally adorable, by the way, in his triple-studded mall punk belt and his green eyes and stripy hair) to do his chugging trick. He obliged, and the half-pint went down his throat in about two seconds. Can he do it with milkshakes, too? The world may never know. I mean, he didn't answer me. If you can pour things down your throat like that, wouldn't you want to experiment with other liquids besides beer? Like, oh, say, soup. You could eat lunch in five seconds flat. Not lumpy soups, like black bean, but a tomato would go down well. Or even a noodle soup. I'm just thinking of the possibilities. Ramsey has a talent, and I'm wondering if he's fully explored where it may take him. Besides a direct ticket to Drunkenville, I mean.
So Julie, Johnny the manager (who is from Havertown, a Philly suburb), and I wanted to take the "party" to Tattooed Mom's, a great bar on 6th and South Streets. We walked the three blocks, and I realized our entourage was larger than I had thought -- there's some guys from one of the bands SOULSUCKER had played with the previous night. We were passing all the South Street "landmarks" (ooh, a Gap! And a Condom Nation!) and we went by Johnny Rockets, a fifties-styled diner. Sutton, no drinks in him yet, suggested we hang there. I said sotto voce, "One milkshake, two straws?" He looked at me funny. I swear I wasn't coming on to him. I SWEAR. Ramsey and Julie kept saying how they were charmed by Philadelphia and liked it a lot, which was very sweet of them. Since Philly is in the shadow of New York City, just two and a half hours away, we tend to have an inferiority complex. I love Philly, it's my home, and it's really nice to hear other people say good things about it. Oh my god, I'm being charmed by SOULCRACKER. Am I fired? ["Yes." -- Sars]