PORTLAND, Ore. — Classically trained multi-instrumentalist and road-weary touring musician Joanna Newsom is hoping one of the openers for her show tonight has a Prince William concert grand harp she can borrow, as she left hers at home in order to “save a couple bucks this tour.”
“I can’t believe no one in this podunk town has one measly concert harp with a solid spruce soundboard I can borrow,” said Newsom loud enough for everyone backstage to hear. “At this point, I don’t give a good goddamn what I play. But I need to get paid tonight — otherwise I’m coasting on fumes all the way to Tacoma.”
Jade Nelson, the lead singer of opening band Crystal Peeple, was admittedly shocked by the contrast between Newsom on tour versus on her albums.
“It’s really cool that she takes a DIY approach to touring… but I had no idea she was like, ‘putting her own stickers in the men’s room urinals’ DIY,” said Nelson. “When she couldn’t find a harp, apparently she tried to fashion one out of her boot strings and some found plywood. But the most shocking thing was her request for a six-foot party sub and case of Rolling Rock… and she even managed to consume most of it before the show. Based on her music, I would have figured she mostly nibbled on pine nuts and drank rainwater out of acorn caps.”
Newsom’s tour manager David Zabel expanded on her unusual approach to touring.
“Everyone thinks that with Joanna, they’re getting a Lisa Simpson-voiced, whimsical, elfin sprite. And they’re understandably shocked when a hardscrabble longshoreman of a woman arrives and insists on being paid in cash before the show,” said Zabel. “It might not come across in her sound, but Joanna is just as hardened as any touring indie musician. And she only gives a fuck about one thing: as she puts it, ‘making fat fucking stacks.’”
At press time, Newsom stumbled on stage sans-harp before asking, ‘How the fuck we feeling tonight?’ and announcing she will freestyle rap for the evening’s show.