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Was Back on Tour, Late in Life

DAVID WAS: My rock and roll life with the band Was (Not Was) is about to go into hyper drive.


David Was, a Day to Day contributing writer on contemporary music. Get this, his 80's absurdo-disco band, Was (Not Was), has a new record out. David is going touring with the band when he should be trying to figure out how to stretch is social security check. Here's Dave.

WAS: Flights to London, a Conan O'Brian appearance, and then a three week highway odyssey with a dozen grown men on a ship of aging fools. This is a tour that will test the metal, if not the very sanity, of those aboard. Thank God for noise canceling headphones.

(Soundbite of music)

WAS: Vainglory aside, touring with a rock band is very much like being a piece of frozen chicken on a Kentucky Fried Chicken delivery truck. You're carted from the icy safety of the vehicle to a vat of bubbling grease. That would be the nightclub, where you are promptly consumed by a gaggle of hungry music lovers. Barbecue sauce is optional, and no, fries do not come with the shake, rattle, and roll.

(Soundbite of music)

WAS: The tragic wrinkle in this metaphor is that, while a humble chicken wing, once eaten, can call it a day, we eternal troubadours must haul our skeletal remains back on to the truck, sleep off our brief bath in boiling oil, and arrive by the next day at yet another KFC franchise. After a sound check and a tepid Holiday Inn shower, one appears miraculously in flesh that same evening and desperate to be devoured yet again. Sisyphus didn't know how good he had it, rolling his rock up and down that hill.

(Soundbite of music)

WAS: But what, I ask, you is the choice? The price of a bottle of Lipitor is 10 times higher than a dime bag of the herbal remedy, that used to cure the 1,000 natural shocks that rock and roll flesh is air to. To sleep, perchance to dream, ha! Little Willie Shakespeare never had to try to nod off on a four-inch mattress with three inches of headroom. A tour bus bed is no less than a test run in a coffin to see what it would be like moldering in the grave.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified Man: Back when I ate cactus pie they called me needle tooth. Eye needles, the cops would say, you're tops, pal. Thanks, boys.

Mr. WAS: There are a few thrills here and there. A well played and received show does wonders to restore the spirit. And there's the sense of camaraderie that fellow prisoners of war must feel. But, with war, there's at least the promise of death and eternal glory. For we of the guitar strings and funky beats, there is only tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow...

(Soundbite of music)

WAS (NOT WAS): (Singing) Motown Sally got a brand new car, 82 Chevy with a back seat bar. You can have suitor for tank of gas, but you better work fast, cause your luck won't last.

CHADWICK: Day to Day contributor David Was. The new Was (Not Was) album is called "BOO," this cut from it with lyrics by David, "Your Luck Wont Last"

(Soundbite of Was (Not Was)'s "Your Luck Wont Last")

WAS (NOT WAS): (Singing) Going to marry Sally on the 10th of June...

CHADWICK: Day to Day is a production of NPR News with contributions from I'm Alex Chadwick.

BRAND: And I'm Madeleine Brand. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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