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  • Forget about the five star penthouses, the long dark limos, the private jets, the fifth home in Malibu. Forget about another mega concert in a stadium. Forget about the camera, the groupies, the hangers on always angling for a piece of their skin.

    For one night, the original core of the band had slipped away from their entourage, the agents, the gadflies. There was a sanctuary, a grungy practice room. They took cabs down River Street, and converged on a place they could just get back to the place they started, just the music the sweat, the sound so loud it moved their bones in that small, overheated, poorly lit studio space.

    The guitars were sub par, the drum kit had a broke petal. The bass amp would short out every 4o minutes. There wer no monitors. The conditions could not be worse for professionals.

    And it could not be better for one night to be free. Cut off.

    But.

    The first hour there was mostly sideways glares. You've got too much volume. The sound here sucks. There's no drinks. What the f*** are we doing in this hole.

    They stopped, went out and smoked. A group of three kids strutted by, torn leather, metal all over their face, snickering at these lame old farts.

    They returned to the studio, renewed, not to show the kids (who were thrashing it at a frenetic pace at the next room), but to show themselves.

    They went back to the raw sound, the basics, stripped down. Two guitars, one bass, one drum kit.

    Rock would live, even beyond them. Rock would live.

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    I am using Cowbird to share the story of a 15,000 mile road odyssey I took in 2011, which started with me quitting my job in March and setting out in June for a loop around the US and Canada. It's less of a day by day narrative and more of an attempt to tell a story of the story, with some amounts of imagined bits that emerge on looking at the media from the trip, including the more than 1400 images, videos, and audio files collected in my digital time capsule, the Storybox.
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