If I had a dollar for every time a girl/woman told me it’s not me it’s her…
Our friend from way back, Juliana, graciously offers her version/explanation of the events described in my Dreaming post.
Bill, it’s not you; it’s me. Don’t take it personally that I said I would sing on “Dreaming” and then I took off. You see, I suffer from a sometimes crippling disorder called “Rock Club-itis”. It is a phobia; a fear of being in any rock club for even one second longer than I absolutely have to, in order to do my work.
Like an alcoholic develops a sick liver after years of tippling, a touring indie musician can develop an intensely strong physical aversion to being in rock clubs. A drunk is affected, over time, by too many drinks, too many hangovers; I have been damaged by too many hours hanging out in the darkness, sitting on too many dirty, beer-stained, puke-scented couches in cramped, freezing-cold and stifling-hot backstage kennels. I guess you could call this affliction a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. Or post-rock stress disorder. PRSD. The inevitable result of all my years on the club circuit; years of forced exposure (work; touring) to that stifling, harsh (everything always so LOUD! Too loud! Hurts my ears!), unsanitary and uncomfortable environment. (I won’t even get into how a gig schedule screws up one’s circadian rhythms.)
This is how bad it is: When I’m walking down a street and I spot rock club in the distance, I get queasy and nail-bitey and I have to cross the street in order to avoid passing too closely to the venue lest my growing anxiety (proportionate to how close I am to the club) overwhelm me and, like, throw me into a fit of hysterics or something.
And that is my explanation for bailing before you guys played “Dreaming”. I wanted to sing with you, I really did, but as I stood waiting for the song to come up in your set list, I started to feel that old familiar nauseous/frightened feeling and the flashbacks started happening and the walls started closing in on me and I knew then that I had to flee the venue, for sanity’s sake. I had hoped that I could stick it out until “Dreaming” rolled around but I failed. I failed you, Buffalo Tom, and I failed myself. I am weak.
Plus, I am really shy. Jumping up on stage with a band during their show always SOUNDS like a good idea in theory, but when showtime rolls around and my guest appearance looms, I sometimes chicken out. I can’t speak for Westerberg, but maybe he experienced something similar.
Oh, and FYI- I did actually play guitar in the first incarnation of the Blake Babies; you were correct about that. We were originally a quartet, with Seth White on bass, myself on rhythm guitar, and John Strohm on lead (Freda on drums). I later switched to bass, when Seth quit the band. From then on, the Blake Babies were known as a trio.