Friday, April 15, 2005

Greetings from Dean Wareham

Luna, final show, after party
Photos: Franck.

I emailed Dean and asked if he could say a few words about the last days of Luna (and the first days of no Luna) - Here's his reply...

Greetings Luna fans!

Britta and I have just returned from a trip to New Zealand, for the occasion of my grandfather's 90th birthday, which was celebrated in Wellington (the beautiful city where I was born). We flew into Auckland at 5 a.m. and were met at the airport by a bleary-eyed Justin Harwood. We spent a few days with Justin and his family (he now has two children, Coco and Sonny Bill). Justin lives on a hill overlooking Piha beach and the Tasman Sea. We saw a couple of magnificent sunsets, and
Justin made us excellent coffee, and took us for a nice trek up over the hills to the beach where they filmed those scenes from The Piano. Justin and I told a lot of old Luna stories, and Britta told some too. It was great to see Justin again.

Now I am back in New York City and trying to figure out how to live without Luna, which is a strange sensation, both liberating and a little scary too. The night of our last show at the Bowery Ballroom seems a long time ago already, and I can't quite remember what all the fuss was about, though I do remember it being an emotionally draining few days.

Thanks to all of you who supported us over the years (especially Andy Aldridge). And those of you who brought us chocolate and cupcakes and champagne and Aquavit.

Thank you Britta, Justin, Lee, Sean and Stanley.

DW

emailed by Dean 2:44 PM

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Great picture...


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Originally uploaded by humblebipedhiker.
...anyone care to have a shot at a caption for this one.

Monday, March 07, 2005

One week on

20050117_21203445
20050117_21203445
Originally uploaded by grange85.
So here we are - a week into a world without Luna. Sure they were only a band - and despite everything there are still load and loads and loads and loads of great bands around making great music to fill our ears and hearts. But it doesn't mean that I can't miss them.

I started the web page over 10 years ago (can't be sure exactly when) - and the mailing list kicked off on the 4th or 5th July 1995. That's a great chunk of my life spent following Luna's every move. That's a great number of friends I've met (both in Lunaspace and in the "real" world). That's 10 years of being in the company of people whose recommendations I trust enough that I needed to follow up on every one.

The first list member I met in the flesh was a guy by the name of Trenton (I think) at a Luna show in December 1995 and since then I have met people who I'd like to think were my friends (or at least my imagination allows me to think of them as friends). Hopefully with the common ground we've established over the years I'll be able to keep these relationships going. [I've long since lost touch with Trenton although in my head he looks exactly like Vinny from Joy Zipper].

Not sure where this post is going but I think it may have arrived...

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Cha cha 2000


Cha Cha 2000 - Photo taken Monday afternoon in NYC by Paul

A telegram from Justin

During the last shows Dean read out a telegram that Justin had sent - below is the text of the telegram

TO THE BAND LUNA STOP GOOD LUCK TONIGHT STOP WISH I WERE THERE STOP TEAR IN EYE STOP BEEN A GOOD RUN STOP CANT WAIT FOR THE BOX SET STOP COUPLE OF TIPS FOR THE LAST SHOW STOP SEAN, HAVE YOU LEARNT THE MEANING OF THE WORD ENSEMBLE YET? STOP BY THE WAY, I SAW YOU MOUTH THE WORDS I LOVE YOU TO VANESSA ACROSS THE STAGE IN NEW HAVEN STOP I FELT UNEASY IF NOT A LITTLE SOILED STOP ALWAYS FUN STOP LEE, REMEMBER DONT SPEED UP IN THE MIDDLE OF FRIENDLY ADVICE ITS NOT A POLKA STOP TRY AND KEEP THE TOUR TAN GOING AGAINST ALL ODDS STOP DEAN PLAY ONE FOR STANLEY AND TERRY STOP AND ITS OK TO CRY JUST MAKE SURE YOUR OLD MANS NOT AROUND STOP BRITTA, ALL MY SECRET SPIES TELL ME YOU DO A GREAT JOB STOP BASTARDS STOP THINKING OF YOU GUYS TONIGHT STOP ILL GET MY BASS OUT OF THE CLOSET AND PUT IT ON MY STAND STOP
    LOVE JUSTIN STOP

Thursday, March 03, 2005

New Haven Comet all the Way to California

Reading all these lovely tales makes me want to just puke with regret about not flying the 10,000 miles back to NYC for my rightful share in the experience. All moot now, so I shan't simper. I have often been geographically challenged when it comes to bands' tours, especially in the lengthy stints I've done in Santa Fe and Missoula. I'm fine with that. But, I remember Mark Sandman (Morphine) being so flabberghasted on stage that their first (and sadly last) ever show in Albuquerque was sold out. Got me to thinking though ...there's 19 states (well, I'm 95% sure of that figure) in which LUNA never played a single show (only a handful which are justifiable):

Alaska
Hawaii
Nevada
Idaho
Montana
Utah
Wyoming
NoDak
SoDak
Oklahoma
Iowa
Arkansas
Mississippi
Alabama
South Carolina
West Virginia
Delaware
New Hampshire
Maine

Of this list, I'd say only 6 or 7 states are excusably missed (even though in NE, it's easy to go interstate for shows). Sure, bands like LUNA (whom never were 'ye olde flavour of the monthe') must go where the fanbases are - but if you can play a gig in Indianapolis, Burlington, VT, Tallahassee, or Cloumbia, MO - you can be certain a turn out in Oxford, MS, Salt Lake City or Boise would be in equal or greater numbers. Yes, yes - nobody's going to get wealthy playing rock shows in Birmingham, AL ...and all bands need a paycheck. Just a pity LUNA was saddled with unenthusiastic label support for 3/4 of their existence. I think everybody would agree that LUNA's appeal could have reached a far wider audience had they some better luck on the biz end of things.

Here's looking forward to the documentary....

I'm telling you that I'll miss you

thought after I bought tickets to the Sunday matinee that it mightbe overkill. I knew I wanted to be at all the shows and Luna always leaves me craving more, I never could get enough. I ended up gladthat I did.

Kathy and I got into New York on Saturday afternoon and went out to dinner with our friends Tim and Stephanie. We were all excited about the show and couldn't wait to get to the Magician bar to see the other Luna fans who would be there. When we arrived, there were Jen, Patrick and RJ and a host of others. Jen was proudly showing off her limited edition final shows poster and telling tales of attending the soundcheck...yes I think we were all jealous but that's cool. Todd Barry was at the bar and my wife said hello to him and that we are huge fans of his. She asked what he was up to, she meant career wise,he thought she meant at the moment. He replied with great enthusiasm that he was going to the Luna show. My favorite comedian shares one of my favorite bands, nice to know he has great taste.

After a couple of Guinnesses, we gathered in a pack with Luna's documantarian Matt. We walked the few blocks to the Bowery Ballroom while I talked Yankee baseball with Patrick and wished that that was really what was on my mind. What was really on my mind was that the end of an era of my life was looming; the Luna crowd was a social scene in which I had become immersed and it was on the verge ofending. While I know that I'll see the other Luna fans at certain shows, a Dean and Britta show, a Sean show or other assorted bands, I know that it will become fractured with the split and some people won't be interested in it all. I will miss the gang as much as I miss the music.

Before we got in line for the door, Matt interviewed us. First was Jen, who really put a lot of thought into her interview and I thought did a great job. Jen spoke about Sean's pantless romp on the stage at Maxwell's, which is what I wanted to talk about. I also added a thing or two about the horror of Sean's blue briefs. I don't have much of a memory as far as what else I spoke about. I think that if you could put subtitles under me speaking, it would just say something like 'sob, sob, no more Luna. sob, sob', at least that was my emotion ifnot my verbal expression. I do know that I said that Luna's music was soothing; I regret that because it sounds like faint praise. What I really meant was that it gives me a pleasant feeling, almost like adrug or a good drink takes the edge off ('Luna: File under brain lubricant'). Their music always sounded so mellow, but if you listen closely, there is so much going on in it... they make it sound so easy.

When we got into the Bowery Ballroom, I felt uneasy but happy to be there. Although I was sad about the breakup, I was also really looking forward to the shows. I have been down about a seriously ill friend and was happy to be celebrating Luna during their final shows. I was also looking psyched to see The Hong Kong, whom I first saw opening for Luna the day after the pantless show.

As The Hong Kong rocked the Bowery with their new wave-tinged pop, I got even more amped up for Luna. I couldn't help but think that this show was a paradox, with Luna retiring, they're going down, and TheHong Kong, with their first full length, on their way up.

After the stage setup, it was now it was time for Luna. Entry music was The Big Ship by Brian Eno, a personal favorite of mine. The crowd roared with approval when Luna took the stage, it just all felt so warm. I thought Luna looked a little sad or perhaps tired when they started. Sadness was understandable and Dean explained that they had had a long van ride home from the Midwest, so perhaps tiredness played into it as well. They opened with Fuzzy Wuzzy, which is usually a song they play late in shows. After a few songs they seemed to perk up.Their playing belied their demeanor from the start, they were on like I had never seen them. The playing was crisp and energetic, and the vocals were just perfect. I am used to a high standard with this band and my high expectations were exceeded. It was also great to see Lara playing with the band again. I left the show that night thrilled with what I had seen and anxious about going to two shows the following day.

The next day Kathy and I went to the show without our hosts. When weg ot there, we saw Jen and East Coast Andy. We all thought it felt really odd seeing the band play in the afternoon, I don't think I have ever been to an afternoon show by any band. The Joy Zipper opened andto tell the truth I wasn't all that impressed. Jen said she thought perhaps it was the odd daytime vibe that was throwing it off. I was concerned that the same weird vibe would throw Luna off. After Luna took the stage we found out, it didn't affect them one iota. Just as the night before, they fired on all cylinders. They had Jane Scarpantoni playing cello on a few songs, it really sounded sharp.All the songs fell into place like some perfect musical jigsaw puzzle.Kathy had to leave at 5:00 PM to catch a bus home (she had jury duty the next day). Kathy's favorite Luna song is 23 Minutes in Brussels;what Luna song ended at 5:00 sharp? You guessed it, 23 Minutes, could this weekend go any better? I missed having Kathy there, but the rest of the show just chugged along so well, I was floating on air. As Britta left the stage, she lit a lighter and held it up, now that was funny.

In between shows, I went to the 12" Bar, which was the chosen spot for hanging out. It took a while for others to show up, but they did eventually. It was a nice place with a really cool bartender. After awhile, it was time to head back to the Bowery and we gathered up the troops and hit the sidewalk.

The evening show picked up where the afternoon left off. The Joy Zipper really did come off better in the nightime, Jen called it right on. Luna? They held up the standard of the previous two shows. Theydidn't repeat more than a handful of songs between these three shows,and that was nice for those of us going to all four. I was hopeful for a greatest hits-type show for the upcoming final show; the more obscure songs are cool, but who would not want to see Luna go out with their strongest material? I left the Bowery that night thrilled but with also with an impending sense of loss.

The night of the final show, I was with Tim and our mutual friend Ken.We hit the Magician to check in with the rest of the 'Lunatics' and then went off for some Mexican food before the show. We talked about all sorts of stuff but again I think my subtitles were 'sob, sob, no more Luna.' We then left the restaurant and trudged through the snow on our way to the show; the snow was a nice distraction. The final show is kind of a blur to me; Dean asking Jen not to cry, Andy hugging Jen to comfort her, Daisy bopping in a wild fashion creation, Britta standing between Sean and Dean to soak up that sublime chemistry,Franck snapping away in front of Britta at the edge of the stage, and Sean wiping sweat off his brow with some rather large I Love You Sean panties. The crowd looked elated yet simultaneously stunned at everything, soaking it in, loving it and yet dreading that the end was near. Dean fittingly brought out some champagne at the encore and poured it out for the band. It did indeed feel like a bittersweet celebration of a great era, I think we could all almost taste it as they drank it. It was the greatest hits show I had hoped for. They closed with 23 Minutes in Brussels and the words "Say a prayer for me,tell me will you miss me?"; in a word, yes. I want to thank Luna for giving me and their other fans so much joy and for telling us this was the end. The knowledge it was the last tour let us have the opportunity to share our love of their music with them and to tell them we were all so grateful for having had them, we are all the richer for it and they will be missed.

I'll miss them when they hit that groove


Photos: Franck
I was walking home this afternoon listening to Luna Live (again!) and 23 minutes came on and I suddenly felt really sad that I (probably) will never see Dean and Sean get into that groove the way they do during that song. Britta mentioned that she had stood between them at the last show just to get the best out of it.

It reminded me that I took a couple of minutes of video at the London show. When I got home and showed it to Hazel she said "it's a shame you didn't get any singing" - I didn't want singing! There'll be lots of video of Dean singing - and he isn't going to stop singing yet either. But I may never be able to experience this again...and while 150 seconds of crappy video isn't going to satisfy me it'lll do to remind me just how flipping great it was when these two got into that groove...

Seventeen dreams for you...

Here's a file to add some happiness to these hollow days. A lovely rendition of a song which marked one of the most memorable moments from Monday night. As an added bonus, we get a sincere smile from Dean (which we were lucky to get lots of on Monday, also):

Moon Palace on Midnight Minute

Makes me tingle. I have to watch it at least twice each time.

Someone posted elsewhere that this past weekend was like the end of a really good book. That really sums up my experience perfectly. So excited to get to the last page, so satisfied in the final moments by how wonderfully it ended, and so empty in the days following... only to be filled in spurts by brief happy memories of something you now know completely.

-Dorian

Sunday night as we listened to The Big Ship by Brian Eno

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

A lovely Sunday afternoon with Luna

My wife and I drove from Rhode Island to see the early show, so that we could go home earlies (to our kids). It was a beautiful show.
It brought back memories of the first time we saw (and met) the Luna folks in a dinky club in Providence, RI called Baby Head. This was in 1992. That concert, and subsequent ones marked the start of an era for us, to borrow a term that many have used here; it began the Luna soundtrack-to-our-lives. A period that I look back at very fondly.
I will most definitely miss seeing Luna play as they came by these parts almost every time they released an album. I look forward to hearing what each and everyone of these talented individuals will come up with next, as I am sure they all will.
Best of luck, thanks for all the good melodies and memories.
(Funny, as I am writing this I am listening to the first album, and track 10 just came on, aptly called Time to quit).
I will try to post an image and short QuickTime later on.
Rafael.

The best things about not being there...

<clutching object="straws">
  • People can actually imagine how charismatic and urbane I would have been if I'd managed to make it over.
  • I would have cried in front of too many new friends
  • I would have moaned too much about lack of sleep
  • I'd have probably been stranded at JFK airport for six hours on the way home (again!)
So it's probably for the best!
</clutching>

some bloggers who love Luna

I rarely go a day without reading the always excellent Chromewaves - I guess I first went there because Frank is a Luna fan - but I keep going back because it's one of the best blogs out there...

Other blogs with bits about the end of Luna...
Savage Distortion: Alas poor Luna...
Rags' Soapbox: More on Luna's Last Show
Scott Heiferman`s Daily Fotolog