And so after writing an enormous number of songs—sometimes I claim 350, 400, but it’s probably more like 200 if you don’t count the snippets and re-recordings, the experiments and the foolishness—Thunderegg finally hit the road in November 2011. In a van, as I’d always dreamed. Driving from town to town, bringing all those tunes to the people. Well, not all the tunes: That would be impossible! Actually not too many tunes at all, because the tour was for my cousin Fletcher’s band. Thunderegg joined at the last minute, and Fletcher was kind enough to insert us at the front of his already short set. So really there was only time for three or two or, really, one song. One song, we’d play, although “we” might be a little misleading because I was touring solo, no Jake, no Ken. That one song, though, it was going to be a good one, the best one I ever wrote. I was going to pick one with sophisticated lyrics, an intricate chord progression, subtle modulations. I was going to make all these strangers in far-off cities, some of them twenty years younger than me—a new generation of Egg fans there for the taking—run to their computers that night to find out who Thunderegg was. Where had they been? What had they missed? How do they download ALL OF IT?
The song I chose was going to make me look smart, cool, and pro.
I selected “Retarty.” Every night I would play “Retarty,” “Retarty” from Chapel Hill to Atlanta to New Orleans to Houston to Nashville, until at tour’s end, after we all awakened in Harrisonburg, Virginia, the boys dropped me off at my father’s house in New Jersey just after dark. For a few minutes we all stood awkwardly in the brightly lit kitchen, my father holding a piece of cheese that I knew he desperately wanted to set out for them. But they were eager to get home, so he settled for giving them some fruit for the road, and then I watched the Econoline’s tail lights disappear in the distance of the quiet street. I came inside and a little later sat down to dinner with my father. He was wearing his pink golf shirt and I explained as best as I could how my life had changed.
Did you hear about their party, the one they told no one to tell me of—as if that even should alarm me, or send me crying to the telephone, that they were throwing this big soiree, inviting everybody else on earth, and they conveniently forgot me, so they can chuckle to themselves.
Don't give a fuck about their party, pushing nerds into the pool, mixing mojitos at the barbecue like it's still 2002. I'm not going to their party: Too many asses just like you, with telescopes aimed at the sorority, with dopey 'staches to outdo one another.
They should call it a retarty. Some place where they can take their helmets and listen to the Arctic Monkeys, and shoot their shooters and their Jell-O. Yeah, they should call it a retarty. Bacardi floaters get ignited—tomorrow morning they'll be sorry. I'm glad that I wasn't invited to their dumb retarty, their stupid fun retarty. I'm not going to their party because their sorry party sucks.