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Enfant terrible

"You guys play in New York all the time. Is New York kind of a second, spiritual home to you guys?"

"I don't know," said the rock star with a sneer. He turned to his bandmate. "Is New York a second spiritual home to us?"

I don't remember what the bandmate said.

As far as polite, icebreaking, opening questions go, it was on the dumb side, I admit. Any ascendant buzz band will play New York several times a year during the start of their career until they finally get a toehold. New York is every rock band's spiritual home, if you want to be hacky about it.

But it's always tough to establish rapport. Most bands just let it go when you initiate conversation with a clunker or a lame, "So how is your day going?" I wouldn’t be getting off so easy that day.

I had no one to blame but myself. I'd pushed for the assignment, telling my boss and the handful of people who hadn't quit the magazine by that point that this was a very important, groundbreaking band, and we needed to cover them. It was true then, and it's true now, but I was awfully serious about it.

So I was awarded my first cover story for a for real music magazine. Not one of those flimsy, granular things you can find for free in a bar—I’d done that already—but a real one that you could buy at a Barnes and Noble.  

I would get to hang out with them for a few hours in early October. The publicist warned me ahead of time, "Please note, this band is wonderful but chaotic."

The singer tried to get us to do the photo shoot at a tattoo parlor. He wanted us to all get ink. Or maybe at the sex shop—you know, the one right by IFC Center with the Ukrainian woman that follows you around intimately as soon as you walk in. The singer wanted dildos and furry handcuffs to figure into the photos. So many dildos. He looked me in the face as he relished the word. I like to imagine him slowly, lustily drawing out the “d,” but that's probably not the way it really happened.