Thursday, February 19, 2009

Damn You, Social Vampires

Posted By on Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 10:00 AM

I am a Neko Case fan. Never kept it to myself. When I left Washington state to come home, I didn't even know Case had moved here. I thought she probably still lived in the Northwest. I didn't really care where she lived--I just cared that she kept making music, because I like it, and I like her shows. In fact, I once went to the Gorge in George (George, Wash.) to see her perform. I stood at the edge of the stage and waited with other fans. Then a hail storm came down, and Case started playing, probably hoping like all of us that it would end. But it didn't, and the show was canceled. And I went home officially entered in some unofficial fan-caught-in-a-hail-storm-fan-club club

When I moved to Tucson, I caught a couple of her shows, and when I found out she lived here, I remember thinking it was pretty cool that she ended up in my hometown.

Then this weekend I read the NYT Sunday Magazine. Inside is a huge feature on none other than Ms. Case.

First problem, the reporter identifies a restaurant location as downtown Tucson. It's Zinburger... the high-end burger place on River Road. Funny, but no big deal.

But the real issue is that Case is getting ready to leave Tucson. She's moving on to a farm in Vermont because, evidently, we have a problem here with social vampires. I don't know who you are, but with all our problems, I am betting we can blame Rio Nuevo on you, too, you, you social vampires you.

"I want to get away from the social vampires in Tucson,” she says. “The people who have no lives of their own and meet me and know who I am and feel entitled to say negative things. I have good friends here, especially in the bands” like Calexico and Giant Sand. Members of these bands and others have often appeared on her CDs. “But a lot of it is just like high school. And I like forests and all the wildlife up in Vermont.” It’s hard to imagine what these acts of social vampirism might consist of, but she prefers to leave them unspecified. She also asks that the Vermont town’s name not be mentioned. “I’ve had stalkers,” she says. Alexandria, Tacoma, Vancouver, Chicago, Tucson and, next, Vermont. Case hopes that her new community will prove to be her permanent home. You wonder.

I remember talking to a Grant Road project critic last year. He told me that Case lived in his neighborhood and was part of the road project ripped right behind Case's backyard. And that she happened to be the biggest donor to the anti-RTA campaign. I don't know if this is true, but interesting. At that point, I guess I could have figured out where she lived, paid a visit and joined the other group - fans-who-turn-into-social-vampires-club club.

It's OK that Case is leaving. I don't think of her as Tucson's--what I take from her music is that she belongs to a lot places. It's nice she was part of the community during her tenure here--advocating for the dogs, and her neighborhood. But I do wonder if she got Tucson.

The clip above shows her farmhouse in Vermont where part of her new record was recorded--comes out in early March. But the tone in the NYT piece doesn't feel like she got living down here. And that's what's disappointing.

I thought the person who wrote a song like "Maybe Sparrow," would get all the sadness and beauty and desire and ugliness that is Tucson. I guess Vermont just has more of the beauty. We all know it's greener, but I bet it has just as many social vampires.