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Uneasy Rider 

On the road with the Silver Jews

Wednesday, Sep 6 2006
For most bands, touring is the lifeblood that sustains the art. Besides providing the creative outlet and vibrant energy of performing songs you've spent weeks crafting in a studio, the road is often home to the real money. David Berman and his Silver Jews have chosen a different path, however, mostly avoiding the tour van for the length of their almost 15-year career. So when this year's live dates were announced, fans went into fits of ecstatic expectation. Berman's wry, metaphorical lyrics and the messy, country-tinged indie rock that is their backdrop would finally be presented in a live setting! But the question remains: What's with the aversion to touring? SF Weekly caught up with Mr. Berman via e-mail before the Silver Jews embarked upon a short U.S. jaunt. Hopefully his answers will put this mystery to bed forever — who knew how hard it was to buy weed on the road?

Touring Turn-ons:

1) "Bouncers being kind and even obsequious after 20 years of mutual indifference/enmity."

2) "Meeting Silver Jews fans, who by my own measurements are some of the best of humanity from around the world!"

3) "Meeting foreign dogs, who have their own distinct perspectives."

4) "Good Italian food everywhere you go."

5) "Fulfilling a wife's need to travel later in life, now."

Touring Turnoffs:

1) "A traveling band's constant and ongoing search for weed."

2) "Ice cube stinginess and never writing postcards."

3) "The painful, S-shaped contortions of air travel, ever shrinking the body into an aching coil."

4) "The hours between sound check and playing."

And things from home that are most missed:

1) "650 AM — WSM."

2) "The availability of pretzels and iced tea."

3) "Miles the dog, aka Woodchilde."

4) "Waking up in Middle Tennessee."

About The Author

Jonah Flicker


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