Nashville, TN, late April, 2012

At work I caught wind of an upcoming house show at a place called “The Other Basement,” a reference to the record store and venue “The Basement.” None other than Dave Cloud would be playing there with his band Dave Cloud and the Gospel of Power, as well as another group manned by two guys from the coffee shop.

Lewis and I had some beers in our living room while we waited for Abe to come pick us up. I had that very Freudian feeling where I wanted to get ripped and plunge into the shit just for the fun of seeing what could happen—a drive that manifests itself less and less as I grow older and more sage, I note with some nostalgia. It seems to me that a great deal of what constitutes maturity is a realization that our impulses are misguided, certainly the way we follow them is misguided. But what should one do? And as we “grow,” do new, more reasonable impulses replace the old ones, or rather do we just become more internally conflicted, our desires contradicting each other more than they did before, our natures at odds with themselves? That’s what I wonder about from time to time.

Anyway, it was clear that a little dis-inhibition was what I wanted; I had been plugging along efficiently and living, if not equanimously, at least more so than I had been before, in New York. But is any of this true? That’s what I thought, then, but now I’m not sure.

When Abe came we had a couple of more beers and then set out. We had trouble finding the place because all the houses looked as if normal families lived in them, they didn’t have that “house show” look to them, but eventually Julie just came out and found us in the car.

We went around to the backyard and found a big group of people standing around a small fire. The house had a garage in the back that served as a basement—hence, The Other Basement—and I peered in and saw a drum set and some amplifiers. Many of the major characters from work were there, as well as some of the minor ones, customers and employees alike.

Dave Cloud was there of course, along with another middle-aged man who I assumed was his band mate. In the youthful, hip crowd, these two middle-aged men certainly stood out. Dave was dressed in a black, striped suit, looking rather solemn and serious, though nothing could have been farther from the truth. He was spinning his usual yarns about fund-raising projects and movie script ideas to a group of young girls, all coffee shop regulars. I caught him make a remark about using drugs and then one of the girls, a German exchange student, took out a pill bottle. I got excited but it was only weed, kid’s stuff. Dave rolled a joint with it, making remarks in a German accent. “Next time you’re all invited to Tora Bora to burn up a big fat nugget of marijuana. You won’t know what hit you,” he said to all of us. Julie explained that Tora Bora was the name for his house down the street from the coffee shop. The German exchange student was gossiping about another girl who wasn’t there, some relationship drama I gleaned. “Women,” Dave’s band mate said, caustically, then he mumbled something else. “What’s that?” I said. “I’m just so bitter, I don’t even care anymore.” Decidedly, he was not as genial as Dave.

In order to dis-inhibit myself, I needed a beer. Abe wasn’t drinking that night but offered that I follow a few of his philosophy friends who were headed to the gas station. Among them was Stan, whom I’d met before at Café Coco. “So you’re all in the philosophy department?” I said as we walked through an alley to the main street. “Yes, we are sad, crying clowns,” Stan said.

The performance was entertaining, but I’m not going to get into so-called music journalism. Some of it I videotaped with my phone, it’s a shame that phone doesn’t work anymore. In between acts a young girl in Abe’s department showed up with a few of her friends. They had all been on a day-long bender to celebrate her birthday. Abe looked at me and said, “She’d—”

No, I can’t go on, this is starting to feel tedious.

The following morning I woke up feeling—not surprisingly—out of sorts: hung-over, nauseous, in pain. Spiritually, I was okay, but not great. I reflected that it was strange—yet somehow, a basic truth—that debauching myself, and of course creating all this discomfort, was a form of necessary maintenance, a reorientation if you will towards whatever is self-destruction’s opposite.