NPR - 9/30/98
National Public Radio
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recorded September 30, 1998 in Washington D.C.
We know that Matt Hammon on drums is a singer-songwriter, Jim Wilson on bass has
engineered your past couple records and that leaves Michael Cerveris on guitar, who you
say is sort of learning this feet-first yes. Michael, stand up and come to the microphone
Don't be afraid.
It's only a microphone - it won't hurt you.
Michael Cerveris has been on Broadway as Tommy in the musical by Pete Townshend based on
the classic Who record and also appeared in a show that I saw a few weeks back that I
loved -- I didn't see him in it but -- a show called Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is
an Off-Broadway show - can you take a stab at describing Hedwig because I have a hard time
describing it to people.
Well, Hedwig, herself is an East Berlin transsexual, glam-rock cabaret singer and that's
where you start and what you get basically when you go down to the Jane Street Theater in
NY, you are seeing Hedwig's act that night and in the course of her act with her band and
her back-up singer of indeterminate East European origin. She tells the story of her life
and how she came to be who she is and where she is. And it starts out as what seems like a
really funny, campy drag rock show and very soon suddenly catches you off guard and
becomes this really deep, moving and really entertaining and really rockin' kinda evening
in the theater.
You basically, you go and you see a rock show with a lot of monologue in between.
Yeah, that's the bare bones what it is.
But it has a lot to say about sort of reconciliation in terms of gender identity, East and
West, ying and yang, all those sorts of things.
Yes, it's one of the few theatrical rock pieces that you know takes Plato as a starting
point for a song...so.(laughs)...That doesn't happen too often these days.
Yeah, I've -- we've all seen the show. I've seen it like seven or eight times and it's a
pretty impressive thing I would suggest that people take a look at it.
Bob was hinting before that this was kind of your first rock and roll road show that you
are doing now.
Yeah. I've kind of...I've always had these parallel lives. I was either doing straight
legit theater things or acting things anyway and had bands for myself on the side. And
then along the way I started to combine the things a little bit. Sometimes playing a
guitar student on television and sometimes getting to do something like Tommy where I was
getting closer to merging the two things together and in a strange convoluted, complicated
way it was Tommy and acting that kind of led me to getting to know Bob. I'd known his
music for years but this is the first time I've been able to walk into a venue and have my
amp set up for me. And that is really really exciting thing. I've got to tell you.
Bob, Rick, Michael laugh
That is a rubicund to cross yeah.
Yup, that's it.
If I had to guess, if I would venture a guess - the connection is actually through Pete
Townshend -- is that how you got to know Bob? Because Bob you had sort of not performed
for a while and then Pete Townshend asked you to open a couple shows.
What happened in the Spring of '95, was as Sugar had broken up and the world hadn't been
told yet I was doing a handful of acoustic shows, one of which was at the Academy in New
York and I remember doing the show, couple thousand people, beautiful half standing half
seated theater. I walk off at the end of the show and one of the stage hands grabs me and
says you've got somebody here who wants to see you. And I'm like 'so what?". And he
says "no it's Pete Townshend". And I said "Well, that's all well and good
but I'm trying to figure out my encore right now. Could you please have him wait in the
dressing room? And I think Michael was with Pete that evening and maybe one or two other
folks as well and some cellular phones and stuff.
Yeah. So that was the first time that any of the three of us-- or that I met either Pete
or Michael. And everybody hit it off. And I didn't embarrass myself -- I only asked one
Who question. And just spent the rest of the time listening, which is usually a good thing
to do when you're with somebody like Pete Townshend. Then I went into my little way and
made my record and began May '96 when the Hubcap record came out. I had sort of resigned
myself to not performing. Basically making myself invisible I had no interest in talking
about the record or promoting the record. I had no interest in playing particularly. And I
got a call from Pete's American management regarding four shows he was doing to promote an
Atlantic retrospective, LA, San Francisco and two shows in NY. I was going to NY on
business at the time. I said I'd love to do the two shows in NY and I thought about it for
a few minutes thinking - I've got myself in this mindset I don't want to do anything but
how many times will something like this come up? Went out and did it -- that was nice and
subsequently I guess Pete had some rather incredible things to say about me that made me
leave the room during his show. And I've seen him once or twice since then. Soo...laughs...They
were good things....just some things you know you just need to leave the room.. you know
it's ok I'm gonna go now...
It was all about the bottle of water and the stool..
Yeah, that I sit on...
Yes, yes, clarify that.
Well, I'd like to thank everyone for coming in. Matt Hammon on drums, Jim Wilson on bass,
Michael Cerveris on guitar and vocals and Bob Mould on guitar and vocals. This has been a
real pleasure for me and I hope you have had some fun too.
Thanks, would you like one more song?
I was going to say -- would you do one more tune?
Would you like a parting gift folks?
Here's your lovely parting gift. Bob Mould tell us about it..
Today's parting gift comes directly from the Dog and Pony show cd. It is track number 4
for those of you who are too lazy to follow along at home. It is called "First Drag
of the Day" and if anybody's wondering, yes I have almost made it to the one year
mark of not smoking.
cheers and applause
Thank you very much. Matt please start the song off...
First Drag of the Day