Philadelphia PA – “Infidelity on the Road” – The Painted Bride Art Center – September 12, 1999


By great coincidence were the opening act for Entrain, my favorite Martha’s Vineyard Band. I used to sneak into The Atlantic Connection to watch them when I was underage and dance ’til the sun came up. Their music energized me in a way that freed me from my awkward teenage insecurities and inspired me to move from the roots of my soul. I was overjoyed to see the members of Entrain who I’d become friends with over the years. I watched their soundcheck with admiration and excitement.

The Emmys or the Grammies or the Oscars or some other ridiculous pomp-inspiring award ceremony was on TV over the bar. Between songs, I watched pretty, attention-seeking egos stroll the red carpet all dressed up in the latest fashions. Men strutted with their chests puffed out like peacocks and women paraded arched backs to display what days of self-starvation can do for a waistline. The stars panted nervously and self-consciously when interviewers’ asked them banal questions like “Who are you wearing?” or “What do you think your chance of winning is tonight?” their vapid eyes glassy with excitement.

I watched with an anthropological eye, curious as hell to know how these celebrities were surviving their fame. Of course many are not, Chris Farley, Kurt Cobain, River Phoenix abd Margaux Hemmingway to name a few. But many of these stars looked alive enough and I wondered if it was an act or if they actually liked themselves in the mirror when they went home and removed their tuxes and spanks.

Sal & Kipp

Kipp called on my cell phone and I relieved myself of my self-assigned ethnological study for the privacy of the green room. He was at home in Boulder

“I’m getting a serious vibe that you’re cheating on me out there with someone,” he said.

“No!!!!” I denied.

The truth is, I was. In fact, I’d had a lovely little noncommital romp with Phil back in Providence and probably wouldn’t deny myself more late-night casual snogs if given the inspiration. I grew up believing in an unwritten rule about infidelity on tours. There was a not-so-hidden “what happens on the road, stays on the road,” and “if it happens on tour, it’s not really cheating” policy I’d picked up on from as early as 8 or 9 touring with my folks. But even after growing up with this understanding engrained into my belief system, I knew deep down it was wrong.

I was in no hurry to admit this to my boyfriend, however, nor my suspicion that our relationship was more than a little over a thousand miles before I got home. So I denied any infidelity adamantly and felt wretched for doing so. When I got off the phone, the song was already written. I just needed a pen and some paper.

Ten minutes later “Split Decisions” was jotted on the bottom of a paper plate and Soucy was coming backstage to get me. “Fifteen minutes, Sal,” he said delicately, looking into my red weeping eyes. I could hardly open my lips to tell him that I’d be right there. Fifteen minutes? Hadn’t we just gotten to the gig? I ran into the dressing room to let the boys know I was leaving it up to them to create a setlist for the night.

I grabbed the keys to the van and rushed into the alleyway. Grabbing my bulky black bag out the back, I peeled off a wrinkled gray T-shirt and a calf-length red skirt. My hair was tied back in a nest of a bun and my eyes were puffy from crying but there was little I could do about either. With no time to change inside the venue— I looked both ways and tore off my shirt and jeans and, naked in the ally, I shoved arms and legs into my chosen outfit. A red light shone down on me as I covered myself in my red scarlet letter of a costume and rushed back inside and directly onto the stage.

Sign of Rain was the first song, and in my confusion and sadness, I forgot to capo (I’m definitely drinking the Skunked Beer this tour). The whole show felt like one blunder after the next. We were all so distracted. I was ashamed of myself, Kenny was tired, Brian was thinking about the time he could be having on stage with The Freddy Jones band, and Soucy was defensive thinking my tears were about him. We weren’t playing together. We were each alone in our own little spotlights.

Chris, Brian, and Kenny, exhausted after the show, be-lined it for the hotel. I thought I’d dance some of my sadness and worry away to Entrain. But, not three songs later the guys reappeared. “We’re going to have to drive to New Jersey,” they said “The hotel here can’t take us tonight.” And suddenly we were clumped together like barnacles, rocking in our cradle-like van, through the night ’til we got to New Jersey. There, Delucchi found us a cheap hotel we could pay by the hour until our rooms at The Fairfield Inn were ready. I fell asleep on a moaning bed with a flatness even the horizon would’ve been envious of.

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2 Replies to “Philadelphia PA – “Infidelity on the Road” – The Painted Bride Art Center – September 12, 1999”

  1. Love thw backstory on songs but that sound really painful.

    1. Hey Andrew,
      Yeah, it was a painful one. I still really like that song though.

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