Chris Collingwood ONE OAR IN THE WATER

May 31 – June 2: Syd, Freedy, The Shinolas and Me

Let’s Revue, they’re calling this thing. Jim from The Shinolas had been talking about taking it on the road for a couple years now, and I’m glad it’s finally happening.

Three nights in three different theaters in Connecticut and Massachusetts, with Freedy JohnstonSyd Straw and myself. The Shinolas will hold the stage throughout, punishing your unworthy headholes with grisly, bone-vaporizing, gory riffs.

Shinolas Tour

I’ve mentioned here before how exciting it is to play with Freedy. He’s been a big influence on me and pretty much everyone else I play music with, and he’s a decent chap to boot.

I’ve known Syd for years as well. Many will know her in her role as a vocalist for the Golden Palominos, a supergroup of sorts whose other rotating personnel included Michael Stipe, Richard Thompson, and Matthew Sweet. Syd has a powerful voice and her songs range from rootsy pop to beautiful, lonesome, occasionally autobiographical ballads.

And the Shinolas, everyone knows by now, are the tightest band in New England.

We’ll be playing our own sets, some duets, probably whatever else feels right. Hope to see you there.


May 31: Katharine Hepburn Theater, Old Saybrook, CT

June 1: The Narrows Center, Fall River, MA

June 2: Summerwind, Windsor, CT

Big Dipper Shows This Week

I’m doing three shows with Boston’s legendary Big Dipper, who were the kings of the local music scene when I lived in Boston in the early 1990s, back when I still liked music and went to see bands almost every night. These guys are quirky and literate and give off a strange infectious energy that makes you sing along before you know the words. Here’s a track from their new record, about Guided By Voices frontman Robert Pollard:

See what I mean?

I got to know their drummer Jeff and his wife Tracy after they turned up at a couple Fountains of Wayne shows and we got to talking about pop music and sunshine and cancer, yup, cancer. Tracy told me they were spending her “cancerversary” at a FOW show, which is a happy thing and not the Cannibal Corpse song it sounds like.

JeffTracyMeJeff, Satan, Tracy

I’m really excited not only to see Big Dipper after all these years, but also because I’m doing the Northampton gig with the tightest band I know, the Shinolas, about whom I wrote on here before. I’ll have more to say about them soon.

Show info:

1/31, 7pm, The Iron Horse, Northampton, MA

2/2, 9pm, The Middle East, Cambridge, MA

2/9, 7:30pm,  The Mercury Lounge, NYC

October 27: Stageit.com, Live from South & Brewster in Northampton, MA, 10PM EDT

I’ll be doing a solo set next Saturday at South & Brewster salon in Northampton, MA. The place is brand spankin new and co-owned by friend of FOW Brad Thayer. Some of you may remember Brad because he was a roadie for the band when we toured with Matchbox 20 in what may or may not have been 2003. Here are Brad, Julia, and Sara in their posh new digs:

Anyway, this shit was Brad’s idea and it seemed like a good one to me. What’s more, it’ll be streaming on Stageit.com. I’ve never done one of these things before, and truth be told, I’m not a very good self-promoter. I hope some of you drop by the website and check it out while it’s happening. My friend Mike Viola does these things all the time, and apparently it’s a great way to interact with a (virtual) audience. In a way, it’s kind of like being in the same very small room with a sickly looking dude playing songs and making jokes that aren’t funny.

A word or two about Stageit.com:

Some people have been confused because the site has a big “50” in the corner when you click that you want to attend. This doesn’t mean $50. Because it’s set up for international access, Stageit uses “notes” instead of dollars, or euros, or yen. Each note is 10 cents, meaning the suggested contribution is $5.00 US.

There will be a live audience of about 30 people, I think.

I’m hoping to do more Stageit shows, right here in my home studio, once my topless rollerskating housekeepers come in and clean up all the boxes and assorted pieces of percussion all over the floor.


August 15: The Beachcomber in Wellfleet, MA

The Beachcomber is a legendary bar in scenic Wellfleet, MA, on the farther reaches of Cape Cod. My band has played there twice before – friendly staff, colorful locals, vacationers, and a picture-perfect backdrop make it a favorite venue for all kinds of acts.

This Wednesday I’m going to play there with Philip Price of Northampton’s Winterpills, who opened for us when we played there in June. I imagine it will be lower-key than the last time we played there, when I’m pretty sure I lost what was left of the hearing in my right ear.

The beachfront is protected land thanks to President Kennedy, and it’s worth the drive out there even if you can’t stand my shitty songs, just so you can sit on that peaceful beach and ponder your place in the universe.

Tickets and info

August 22: Johnny D’s in Somerville, MA

I’m going to do an opening slot for some hilarious nerds called Paul and Storm. I met these guys last year, after this bit of tomfoolery:


I had heard of Paul and Storm, but I had no idea they 1. read my tweets, and 2. had both a cruise ship and an island. Two months later I was here:

This was JoCo Cruise Crazy, and on board the ms Westerdam were not only Paul and Storm, but Jonathan Coulton, John Roderick, John Flansburgh, Paul F. Tompkins, John Hodgman, Molly Lewis, David Rees, Marian Call, Vi Hart, MC Frontalot, Wil Wheaton, a particularly huge guy called StepTo, and about a hundred million others who had signed on for a week-long orgy of all things geek, with lectures, song, dance, wine, gaming, gambling, and stops in the Bahamas, Aruba, and Curaçao. It was a floating, pulsating Nerdi Gras™ teeming with the kind of boundless positive energy that comes from a shared passion, in this case something to do with wizards, dice, and ukuleles. I had a great time, made some great friends, and learned quite a bit about this vibrant subculture that had previously eluded me.

More recently, Paul and Storm had an internet smash with “Write Like The Wind:”

I said something like that video is pretty great but I bet more people would watch it if this person was in it:

Maybe she was too busy?

I’m excited to share the stage with them at Johnny D’s, which is right down the road from where I used to live in Somerville, MA about fifty or sixty years ago.


August 5: Summer Wind in Windsor, CT with The Shinolas and Freedy Johnston

I met Jim Chapdelaine a few years ago when a friend of mine was recording in his studio. Like Wallace Stevens before him, Jim is a legend in Hartford, CT. Producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist and engineer, Jim has worked on many, many recordings you already know, and is probably mixing something right now that you’ll hear on TV next week, maybe “Shark Eating Tourist” or “Delicious Yogurt in E Flat.”  When he’s not doing that, he also kicks ass as the frontman of the Shinolas, an unbelievably tight and energetic band that draws big crowds weekly.

I’ve sat in with the Shinolas a couple times. I did some of my songs and a couple Ricky Nelson songs and had a blast. This show will feature sets by the Shinolas, then the Shinolas backing both me and Freedy Johnston. Many will know Freedy from this:


It’s a shame if that’s the only one you know, though, because Freedy has an amazing catalog of effortless, breezy pop songs. Robert Christgau called his 1992 record “Can You Fly” a “PERFECT ALBUM,” which is a downright weird thing to say about any album.

I don’t know anything about this venue other than what I can see on the website here. Looks like a very cool miniature Tanglewood, with a big lawn to hang out and a canopied stage. And if my hunch is correct, probably some sort of free topless massage area and an endless hot dog buffet.

In closing, here is a picture of Kansas, a band I can only assume is from Freedy’s home state of Kansas:

And here is a picture of the poster for this event:

I hope you can make it.