News from Michelle Shocked - May 2011

Freight & Salvage

Adrenaline is, I believe, a highly overrated drug. Highly. Like it's chemical cousin, caffeine, the buzz ain't worth the jitters. So when it came time to base jump from my Los Angeles perch into a spring tour that the agent was still booking on the ground far below, what could I do but leap and fall? But, fear? No way. I've been here before. The definition of touring goes something like this: The Place Where Something Always Goes Wrong While You Are Far From the Comforts of Home. Or I could quote Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz, "Sixteen years on the road…the numbers start to scare ya…I couldn’t live with 20 years on the road, I don’t think I could even discuss it."

Pickup and Trailer

So, to celebrate 25 years on the road, I bought a teardrop trailer and leased a pickup truck less than 24 hours before driving another 24 to arrive 10 minutes before a scheduled radio appearance in Portland (thanks, KINK!). A Prevost it ain't, but cute as a bug and I was selling merch out of it in Seattle the very next night. Leaving it behind a few days later in Denver, I made a quick trip to Madison to see what democracy looks like, then back to LA to kiss David goodbye before jumping on a plane to New Zealand.

Madison Protesters

Next thing I knew, I was watching people actually base jump from a tower directly outside my hotel window. (Google ‘Skyjump Auckland,’ see what I’m talking about.) Anyhoo, it was kicks with the Kiwis and Aussies, and I had good fun rocking the Bluesfest. One quirk of the tour was the Royal Wedding on a giant screen onstage broadcast right before the Castlemaine show. Ok, that was Spinal Tap. A poster from the gig makes me look like Wills and Kate’s opening act.

Back home to LA long enough to kiss David before boarding a flight to New Orleans. JazzFest, just like I remembered it, except with a corporate sponsor and no rain. The highlights? Backstage with Willy Nelson, Mickey Rafael and Charlie Sexton; hanging out with my former N’awlins running pardner, James Andrews and his spectacular wife, Karen. Oh yeah, and catching the premier of Paul Sanchez's new Nine Lives Project; an admittedly weird and wonderful gig at Chickie Wah Wah; a jaunt to Dallas with my dad for Daniel & Sanju’s Indian wedding; then taking Moms to dim sum for a Mothers Day brunch.

Remember the aforementioned adrenaline? Never missed it. It’s all good; Trust God, He will temper the tempest. Ok, it helped that I could Skype David on my iPad. That definitely helped.

Now, here's the tricky part. Pay attention. After JazzFest, I did three shows in New Mexico, three shows in Arizona. Six shows. But I just got paid for three shows. The other three, I got promoters wanting to keep my money. Call my agent, right? I'm thinking, ‘The agent will straighten this out.’ Wrong. When austerity comes calling and ‘shared sacrifice’ is the call, take notice. It’ll be your share they sacrifice.

So I’ve been home in LA for, what?, a week and a half catching my breath before the US East Coast leg begins. But what’s this? The agent is calling promoters, pulling the plug on east coast tour dates. So off I go, base jumping again tonight; flying Jet Blue on a red eye toward the sun, which rises on a very uncertain tomorrow.

It’s my life. I love it. Check my website and Facebook pages, maybe Twitter. I’ll update, up-to-the-minute, as best I can. Keep on rocking, y’all. I promise I will if you will..