Backstage is still alive.
Many of my musician friends who play in famous bands no longer drink. Or smoke. Or hook up with random girls. They eat kale and do yoga. Not all. But some bordering on many.
So it feels kinda, well, good when I find myself in the backstage of a concert where some good ole rock 'n roll attitude is happening. No, I've never seen anybody throw a couch out of a fith floor hotel window, nor am I hoping to. And watching exhausted, road-weary musicians plow their face with powdered energy doesn't exactly make me pump my fists.
Somewhere in between kale and coke is the backstage at Newport Blues during the annual three-day Deer Tick run at Newport Folk. It's the place all the stars end up, many gracing the stage in stellar collaborations. But for sure, you'll find a bevy of badasses having a truly good time in the back room. Jackson Brown, Jim James, Connor Oberst...
I was standing with JP Harris, the man with the beard and badass bent, who really is the sweetest dude who always laughs first and truly loves PBR and cigarettes. He offered me a swig of $1.99 Ginger Flavored Brandy, which I found it funny he was holding considering there was free Patron 5 feet behind him. But that's JP, and this image to me captures the American Gothic of Newport backstage.
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