June 28, 2010

Return of Reports From the Road by Bryan Devendorf (Glastonbury, Part 1)

Two years ago, The National toured the United States and Canada with REM and Modest Mouse. Drummer Bryan Devendorf documented the band's travels with words and pictures, bringing tales of the road to Brasslanders everywhere.

Now that the band is again touring - this time through Europe in support of their Billboard-charting new album, High Violet - Bryan opened up his word processor and cranked out some prose for your reading pleasure. Without further ado, we bring you "Reports from the Road by Bryan Devendorf, Volume 2." Enjoy!


Brooklyn, New York
June 24, 2010

It’s morning in America, again.

I study the ceiling. Atrium white. A suffused brightness floods the room; radio voices drone. The walls are stark, tremulous and beautifully pink, all glowing in the summer light and for no reason at all I’m thinking of ancient Egypt, the sun-obsessed mystics there, the mummies, before I’m lulled back to sleep; a deep, pleasing NPR-induced snooze.

"Newshour" from the BBC World Service bleeds into the "Brian Lehrer Show" and I'm up in a cold sweat. The air-conditioner hums its accusing, one-note mantra. I'm having one of those "shit . . . Saigon" moments like in Apocalypse Now. Starring the young Martin Sheen, all Caribbean tan and burned out on coke. Method acting. The voiceover is clear: When I was here, I wanted to be there; when I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle. I'm here a week now . . . waiting for a mission . . . getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker.

Which resonates with the self-styled itinerant musical operative I am. Or the one I wish to be. It's been one week since we played Radio City, so my fantasy takes root, expands, mixes its own metaphors, grows legs, takes flight. This is me then. Projecting. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Fantasizing about going up The River to kill my personal Marlon Brando: the Glastonbury festival.

Now picture Harrison Ford wearing those army-issue glasses in the mobile home with the shag carpeting (so incongruous in the jungle!) - the oversized, insectoid river prawns set out on the table, their dead eyes lending an air of menace to the proceedings – he's handing you a folder containing the details of your mission, your life: the tearful goodbyes; the unlicensed car service to Kennedy; the 120 kph thrill ride down Linden Blvd; boarding most-esteemed Boeing aircraft 747 to LHR, seat 29K, best seat in house; the ensuing twenty hours of R&R in London; the lobby call next day at 0800 hours for the bus that will transport you to the festival site: Worthy Farm, Pilton, UK. Glastonbury.


For those that are curious, Glastonbury went well, as this review from the Guardian will attest. To see where Bryan and the band will be next, check out our Shows page.

And if you can't catch them in the flesh, there are always recordings - the Brassland Store is your one-stop shop for the band's back catalog. With various CDs, EPs, and LPs in stock, we've got you covered. And don't forget the free shipping for all US orders.

More about Bryan Devendorf | More news stories for Bryan Devendorf