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Letter from Japan
The following letter was written by Janna Tewksbury, who was the tutor for Walter and Elinor Becker's children during the Japanese tour, to her husband Michael back in Oregon. She evidently typed the thing on Walter's Powerbook and left a copy on his hard disk after she printed it out. Although he is no longer in contact with Janna, Walter feels certain that she would be proud to have her letter published here, seeing as how it is such a splendid contemporaneous account of the Japanese tour and t of the personal dynamic within the band and travelling party.
My Dearest Michael,I am writing to tell you that I have been having the most incredible trip of my life!!! I want to thank you for giving me the freedom to go and have this awesomely great experience, I LOVE YOU SO VERY VERY MUCH!!! Thanks.
We have been to a couple of different cities so far but Tokyo is by far the coolest. There are great shops, there is a bitchin Hard Rock Cafe (2,000,000 times cooler than one in Portland), there are all kinds of way out trips going down, Girlie bars etc., how come I went to a girlie bar I will be explaining later, you're gonna laugh and laugh, just like I did. Anyway, today was supposed to be the last day, but I think Elinor & co. is gonna camp out in Tokyo for an extra day or two, me also, if you can spare me for extra 24r hours or so...please, please?
At first i was taking care of the Becker Brats like about 36 hours a day. Quelle bummer! Then, right at the point I was ready to blow my cork, I decided to assert myself a tiny bit, you know, have a little fun and, if possible, take care of whatever miscellaneous jobs needed to be taken care of for the band guys, who really end up doing all the hard work, sounding great every night, while Donald and Walter make all the money...but that's the way it is in show business, or so I am told. Actually it's Elinor and Libby that end up handling all the bucks, that's the way it's done in show biz marriages, or so I am told. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it - because the man is out there earning all the money, working his buns off for it, so when he gets it, how the hell is he supposed to be able to handle it sensibly, being so emotionally attached to it and all?
Think it over and I'm sure you'll see what I mean. At any rate, when I figured out what the hell was going on in this organization, I could see that they were doing a lot of things the long way around, and that I could help in many small ways,the cumulative effect of which would make a big fucking difference in the quality of the shows and in everybody's mood. Everybody except Libby, who is so preternaturally serene and graceful that you can't ever tell whether she's coming or going, although she's dressed more like someone who's coming rather than going, if you know what I mean. But as far as the band goes, Jack and I just figure that it's the little things that count, that make the difference between a good tour and a great tour. That's why we're thinking of calling our little company Details R Us Tour Support. Catchy, yeah?
The shows have been going fantastic, generally speaking, although there were a few rough spots at first, which we have been working hard to straighten out, and with pretty good results. Even Donald has begun to notice the little touches and how much better everybody is playing since I got involved...for instance, we found out what kind of beer the sax players really like, Mickey's Big Mouth, now they get the brand they really like, instead of whatever happens to left over after "Big Sid" pulls his two six packs out of the cooler. This is a major improvement over the over the old way, because Shep farts like crazy when he drinks certain brands, and the band has to share a single dressing room...Likewise, helping the sax players out by finding the boiler room and a couple of nice stairways, so's they can blow their brains out before the show without driving the younger musicians crazy, that is a big big help to all concerned.
Anyway, the band guys are a super bunch, although they all have their little quirks. Bill Ware is about my favorite, although he has run up quite a nasty little gambling debt with Kawai. This is partially because of the way Kawai plays, that is, his wacky way of calling the game and so on - after all, who's gonna know what "maids in the hole and suicide jacks are wild" is supposed to mean? Kawai knows, and that's why he wins...but I figure Bill lost a little extra on purpose, to make sure he'd be hired back for the summer so Kawai would have a chance of collecting. Drew seems okay but I kind of feel like he's wrapped a little too tight for the road, know what I mean? Warren is nice, maybe a little pervie but nice anyhow. Kind of like Walter. The sax players are zombies, all they talk about is their horns, and they are always together. Except for Cornelius, who's always on his way somewhere, alone. Tom Barney is a sweetheart, he's probably the most normal one in the lot, which I gather is typically the case for the bass player. He wants me to try this special drink, it's called an Allegheny Sacral Slammer. The girls are great but of course none of them will talk to me. Donald , a crazed uncle, is of course my idol, and Walter you already know - always with the little jokes. Peter is in charge of the band and he doesn't care who knows it, and the Japanese fans treat him like he was a living god.
One kind of weird thing that happened the other night: we were out at this swanky restaurant in Tokyo, Libby, Donald, Walter, Elinor and I, and it was kind of late and everybody had had a few drinks. I'm sitting next to Libby and we're talking about the usual stuff, that is the usual strange stuff that Libby talks about - Oscar Ichazo (he's a Mexican coutourier), antique airplanes, and some club called Bungalow Joe's or something like that. She asks me to go to the powder room with her, and I do. Then out of the blue, she asks me if I would consider having Donald's baby! Shit, I thought she was joking, and I went along with the joke by saying, "Of course! No problem!". She tells me she's gonna give me $50,000 for the baby and pay all the bills, and before I realize what's happening she slips me over five thousand bucks in Donald's Japanese travelers' checks, all signed and ready to go, as a down payment...i was completely flabbergasted. I put the money away and a few minutes later I excused myself and went back to the payfone in the restroom. I called Jubilee and she asked Ebert what I should do. He said I should keep the money and forget the whole thing. This didn't seem quite right to me at the time, so I called up Jack, who said to give back the money and forget the whole thing. This still doesn't seem quite right. I hung out and brooded about the whole deal for a minute or two - then when I came back to the table everyone was pointing at me and laughing like crazy, especially Donald and Walter. It was all a big joke, the travelers checks were really Osaka supermarket coupons, not worth a penny.
Anyway, while we're on the subject, let me tell you that it was Jack who took me to the girlie bar in Tokyo, which would have been a little bit insulting if it wasn't for the fact that, as I realized later, he had a sort of crush on me and this was his weird way of flirting. Jack's an old guy, anyway, he's completely bald, wears a gold earring and he's got a shit job but he does it with style and love. Walter and Donald treat him like he was their fucking valet or something. At first I thought this sucked - then I found out that that's what he was, their valet. Their stage clothes are almost as ratty as their regular everyday clothes which are as you have noticed are pretty weak. Anyway the point is that although Jack is much older and much balder than I am, we have a weird kind of rapport in the show business area, which as you may have guessed I have always been interested in. It's very similar to the fashion business, the main difference being that the people wearing the nice clothes are talented sensitive artists instead of bulimic sluts with beestung lips and boyfriends who like to beat them up. And Jack and I feel like our weird rapport might be the basis of...
Gotta sign off quick now- Kawai just puked $200 worth of sushi all over the elevator in the hotel - guess who's gotta go help clean up!
Hugs & etc. Janna
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