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During the next year, Bachmann and Durrett will have to make several crucial decisions about their future together. This summer, she'll begin her clinical work in a Georgia hospital, the final step in obtaining her nurse license. That will keep the couple in the state at least another year. The long-term goal, says Bachmann, is for Durrett to become a traveling nurse, meaning they can move among different towns across the country every two months.
And after a few short tours as part of Neko Case's band this fall, Bachmann will quit that rather lucrative long-term post. He needs to be home more—or at least to be around Durrett and Lupe without adhering to someone else's schedule.
"What I'm doing is gathering some moss, and what I'm doing in my mind is navigating how to deal with it," he says. "I'm not going to stop being restless."
There's also the question of Archers of Loaf, which reunited for several strings of good-paying gigs earlier this decade after a thirteen-year break. But that may be over, too. Bachmann has attempted to eke out new material with his old, oddly tuned electric, but it just hasn't worked.
- Photo by Jeremy M. Lange
- Eric Bachmann
"It ain't coming out, man. I'm trying, but it's not happening. It would be good for my pocketbook," he confesses. "But I actually feel good about that. It's just you being honest, you being in tune with what you want. The new record is what happened when I tried to write Archers songs. I didn't want to fake it."
That acceptance seems to be Bachmann's new mantra. After a lifetime of rejecting one town for the next, one band for the other, one stalled career for a failed one, he seems to have found, if not complete satisfaction, a certain situational serenity.
During the chorus of "Mercy," he bellows, "Don't you dare believe them when they try to tell you, 'Everything happens for a reason.'" It's a glimpse of that old antagonistic spirit. But standing in the late-afternoon sunlight of the Hi-Lo Tavern, a few hours before the conversation and the sky alike go dark, he leans against a wall, squints, smiles, and offers up his own reassuring cliché.
"You end up wherever you end up," he says, beer glass in hand. "Well, whatever the fuck that means."
This article appeared in print with the headline "Saving Eric Bachmann"