I’m on the Great American Music Hall/Slim’s email list, and every week there’s some show they can’t sell enough tickets to, so they give away a block of free tickets to mailing list members that can answer a trivia question. Last week’s was, “The actor Michael Pitt is also a musician. In which Gus Van Sant movie did he play a brilliant but troubled musician?” I love Michael Pitt the actor, I think mainly because of Hedwig, and since I knew the answer (Last Days), I sent it in. I won, and went to the show. Michael Pitt is in a band called Pagoda, but Friday he played a solo set consisting of brooding, acoustic, one-man grunge peppered with lots of yelps and groans.
Halfway into the opening number: technical difficulties, feedback. An effects pedal is on the fritz. Pitt says, “I just came from New York. They’re doing this thing at the airport now where they take apart your pedals.” Bummer! He fiddled with it a bit, and we got a sampling of some kind of eerie sound collage that presumably would’ve accompanied one or more of his songs. But the pedal proved unfixable, so it was tossed aside and the show went on, sans accompaniment.
As mentioned in the post just prior to this one, I can’t do anything without thinking about how to blog it, so when Pitt finished up I asked him if I could ask him a few questions about the airport experience. He said, “Oh yeah sure,” and then disappeared backstage never to be seen again. As an actor trying to make a go of being a musician too, he’s apparently shy about interviews when on tour, so I was sure to emphasize that I just want to talk about the airport security thing.
In any case, I never got him to elaborate, but I wonder if other working musicians have had similar experiences. Particularly with the whole industry headed down to SXSW, I hope the TSA isn’t fucking up everyone’s gear.
Link to Beautifully Scarred, a helpful Michael Pitt fan site.