In 2004, They Might Be Giants undertook a writing challenge: to write a song for every venue they played during their tour. Fast forward a few years, and my friend Miles runs merchandise for The Residents, and in Atlanta he plays TMBG's song for that venue, the Variety Playhouse.
TMBG did not make songs for any other place The Residents played on their 2013 tour, and I thought it was a shame. Poor Miles, living a life largely devoid of venue songs. Well, no more I said! I decided to write and record songs for each venue that was not already covered by TMBG. They originally appeared here as the doors opened before each show.
In 2016 I repeated this exercise for their Shadowland tour, this time making songs for every venue, even the repeats. Same great taste, slightly different flavour.
Another tour, another set of venue songs. Bonus fun in that my recording studio computer died just before I started, resulting in me upgrading to a new version of Cakewalk (I had been sporting one from 1995) so I got to additionally deal with learning new software. Wheeee!
I became a Residents fan at age seventeen. I am now thirty-four years old. When the band tours, I attend as many shows as I can afford (usually about four). And when I finish my mini-tour, I immediately start pricing flights for more shows that I can't afford. I love them that much.
While I'm around, I become an unofficial gopher for the touring crew. They need it, I fetch it - coffee, food, rubber bands, markers, socks, whatever. This began as a way to offset my sense of being an interloper because I'd show up really early and stay really late. May as well count t-shirts to make myself useful, right? Otherwise I'm just a big nerd who doesn't belong and gets in everybody's way. With each show everyone's more comfortable with me, I'm trusted with larger responsibilities, and I am able to bring more value to the organization.
The 40th Anniversary Tour has been my most happy tour experience. Past tours have not been unhappy, mind you (Bunny Boy is a possible exception because only days earlier I had lost my home to a fire and had that nagging homelessness on my mind the whole time). I'm just... happy. Really, truly happy. There's really no better word; it is a simple and pure feeling. I'm sure this tour is not the sole reason for my current elation, but it's definitely a factor and deserves some of the credit.
And most of all, I no longer feel like an interloper. I feel like I belong, that I am welcomed. Obviously there are limits; I don't feel I'm allowed to barge in during soundcheck and start suggesting changes. I carry boxes and load them onto the bus, but I never step inside the bus. I'm on friendly terms (and even all-out friends) with many of the people associated with the show. That might include some Residents themselves, I dunno. It's hard to tell who is who, and honestly I gave up trying to figure out their identities sometime in college (that kind of maturity should be a prerequisite for graduation). But using the popular loose definition of Resident as 'anybody who works with The Residents' I can say this: I am friends with The Residents. For seventeen years - half of my life - I have been forming relationships with some of the best people in the world. It's just a shame I wasted the first half of my life not knowing them.
|Do you like Venue Songs?|
|Toss a buck in the case.|
|Touring acts gots to get paid, son.|