Wednesday, July 09, 2008

West Coast Part Four: Pain...

Next day to the uncharted territory of Victoria, British Columbia. The ferry ride was a welcome change from slogging transcontinental Canadian highways.

A sunny day on the island was quite enjoyable. A few record stores were worth the trip…picked up a 4xCD John Lee Hooker set that was cheap and exhaustive. Also got baseball-style, 3/4 sleeve shirt that says "Detroit: the Home of Punk Polka" accompanied by an illustration by Guindon. I doubt I'll ever wear it, but I couldn't in good-faith leave such a nugget in Victoria.

Mick and I shared a meal at a local Chinese place, not particularly good, but appreciated in the fact that it ended my hunger. First band was the Laundronauts, a concept-band if you will, whose shtick was garage rock songs all about laundry. They wore all white suits and I didn't watch them play.

Nothing of note to relay about either the Sartain or Dirtbombs' sets.

Lobby call next morning was marred by the fact that our intended ferry departure of 1pm was fully-booked and we wouldn't be able to get on another until 3pm. Bummed to say the least, I made the most of my time in Victoria, decided against re-purchasing all the 8-bit Nintendo cartridges of my youth from a well-stocked pawn shop, wandered aimlessly, purchased a mini plate of meat from a miniatures store and generally enjoyed the unexpected free time in what's actually a pretty cool town for Canada. I recommend.

Ferry trip found us with a parking spot completely unencumbered by any obstructions of view. The van was essentially in open air with no one in front of us, a complete 180-degree vista of the dazzling seascapes a fanciful treat to view from behind the wheel of a Dodge van. After digging that for awhile I made to the poop deck for some grub. At some point the captain announced a pod of Orca's visible on the starboard side. Quickly recalling my time spent rowing in the Detroit River, I headed over to what seemed to be the correct side, but alas saw no orcas.
It was a minor letdown.

Once back on land we give the van a thorough once-over with a gas station vacuum, empty out what we'd collected from Canadian catering (well over a case of beer to just be left for anyone brave enough to take it) and through the border where the attending officer ordered the side-door opened just so he could get a peek at Ko, to which he smiled and waved us on our way.

Once in Seattle and settled, we ventured to Linda's for drinks and conversation. Spent the night playing "JOURNEY ESCAPE", messing around with an air cannon, discussing the peculiarity and non-canonical attributes of "SUPER MARIO BROTHERS 2" (seriously, even if your Nintendo interest is minimal, you MUST view the Angry Nintedo Nerd's explanation video online) and then sleeping in the basement of an old mansion apportioned into neat little apartments.

Next morning for our KEXP session. The staff was courteous and professional, later explained to us by the fact that they do at least one live session A DAY there. Mick's amp crapped out while we were getting levels, they brought in a suitable replacement and just before broadcast, his Pignose began working again.

It was all quick and painless and fairly rote. I felt no need to speak during the interview portion as times where each member is given a microphone can often feel like the in-between song banter from the Kick Out the Jams album. Luckily it seems Mick handled most of the queries and in next to no time our four songs were done. A photo shoot in the rain afterwards and then off to Guitar Center.

I'd been to the GC in downtown Seattle before. I've been to them all before. That's not a fact I offer up with pride, but rather with a level of self-hatred usually reserved for familial shame-causing Japanese business men. I purchased a 20" Paiste PST medium ride, some sticks, a set of maracas and a tambourine. I'm sure the salesperson called me dude.

From there to sushi lunch. On the waterfront. Tasty. As the only one at the meal who didn't drink, I was entrusted with the keys to the vehicle. So that made it all the more ironic that I would happen to cause an accident while driving. Pulled out into traffic, didn't see the other car coming (I think it was a Prius, so maybe I just didn't HEAR it) and managed to hit 'em pretty good. Everyone in both cars was fine, I was a bit embarrassed so much so that I didn't even have the heart to approach the other driver and say, "ARE YOU GOING TO FUCKING APOLOGIZE!"

Post soundcheck we embark to record a vid session for the Takeaway show. I have no idea what this thing actually is, but the guy who runs our website said it was a pretty big deal. We search desperately for somewhere to record the thing (I suggest in one of the dumpsters outside Neumo's, but no one else seems interested) and instead we start off with "Leopardman" in the bathroom of the bar across the street. We ended with "Devil Inside" by a reflecting pool in a park across the street. The overall experience was fun and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Show was smooth…Terrible Twos were on in front of a crowd for once and we all dug that. Dan and I brought some damage and the Dirtbombs portion was well-smooth. Had fun on the encore and most of the time, that's all that matters to me. Post-show was a quick breakdown where we had to jet off for our hotel rooms in Portland.

The Jupiter Hotel was cool, but I'll reserve a full review for whenever the hell we actually get to play the Doug Fir Lounge. All I know is that ever since I first set foot in the place (on what just happened to be it's opening night) I've wanted to play there badly. And ever since then it seems like we've played Dante's a minimum of 47 times.

Day tramping around Portland with Malissa was enjoyable. Lunch at Kenny and Zuke's was particularly amazing…their vast selection of exotic sodas from across the globe warmed my heart. Where else outside of New England can you find Moxie and in a glass bottle to boot? 'Twas well worth the wait for a table and the sandwiches were glorious in all of their meat-stacking magnificence.

Time at Powell's was glorious as always. While a recent interest has had me desperately wanting to buy oversized art books, I ultimately had to pass on the $100 and upwards collections of Panter, Schnabel, Ryden ($500?) Hirst and instead bought the new Sonic Youth book by Stevie Chick, Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon, a collection of Black Panther Party papers and ephemera, the BOMP magazine book, the Onion's Our Dumb Planet and a Borat book, along with some Gorey stuff, a used copy of Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, a Coltrane bio and What Music Means to Girls for Malissa. I got out for under $300, but still spent more dough there than anyone else in the band.

I honestly feel no qualms about spending money (and lots of it) on books. I feel that it is all in the spirit of the scholarly pursuit, no? Really what price could you put on the information…whether it be raw facts, philosophical insight, bellyaching laughter, contained within the volumes purchased? How many rhetorical questions can I ask in a row?

Was thrilled to rock some Voodoo Donuts. Tiny yet comfortable, this 24-hour donut dispensary is the kind of place that makes me feel good about America. Petite in size and with walls covered in metaphorical shit, the proprietors of this mighty establishment have managed to take the boring, bland breakfast to coppers the world over and give it an ingenious Gen-X twist and open it up for munching at all hours.

The best donuts all seem to be ones topped with sugary breakfast cereals…Captain Crunch, Froot Loops and thank god NOT Raisin Bran all make a delicious hand-held dessert to die for. The maple log with a topping of strips of bacon is for more adventurous gormandizers but a treat nonetheless. Apparently they used to have a donut filled with cough syrup (or some other medicinal equivalent) but it's since been removed from the menu. Either way, Voodoo Donuts is, at this point, the only eatery that I make a conscious effort to visit every time I visit when I'm in its town. HIGEST OF RECOMMENDATIONS.

Show could have gone better…busted through my bass drum head in the middle of Sartain's set, so just hopped on over to Pantano's kit and finished from behind there. With the spare drum heads I'd bought mistakenly thrown out by an as-yet-undetermined member of the touring party sometime after Fargo, I had nothing to replace it with and instead had to borrow Jeff from Terrible Twos white-with-red-marker-flourishes bass drum.

First mistake.

Second mistake was trying to do a headstand on that bass drum at the conclusion of our set. I don’t' know…maybe I sized it up all wrong, came at it too hard, didn't bail when I should've and instead spilled upside-down towards my rack tom/snare and wrenched my right knee HARD on some metal stands. Fucking hell it was instantly painful. I limped offstage, hoping nothing was royally fucked.

Enough adrenalin was flowing to come back for an encore and to even dip into the crowd to dance a mess around. But upon return to downstairs sanctuary, I was anticipating for the worst. A bag of ice was scared up, I dropped my pants and left the thing on there for at least a half-hour, my mind left to wander and contemplate how I'd got there.

Most periods of my childhood are punctuated with memories of my dad icing his leg, and usually, more specifically, his knee. He was (and still is) a consummate athlete and nary was there a time where the freezer wasn't stocked with those paper Gatorade cups…all green and waxy and flimsy. Once frozen, the offending paper would be peeled away delicately like a rind, exposing the glacial interior goodness for maximum icing capabilities. He would sit on the floor of the living room, his back up against the couch, legs splayed, and almost always unleashed an exhausted sigh as he exhaled followed by a wincing breath inward as the ice was applied.

My dad spent lots of time playing sports. My mom would probably say it was too much time and that he wasn't around as much as he should've been. I can't really agree or disagree with that…I played lots of sports that he coached which most likely afforded me more time with him. My parents divorced when I was 19-years-old and I like to think it had no affect on me.

So as I sat alone, away from my family, in the midst of a tour that would span at LEAST 5 months, contemplating the havoc it was wreaking on all of my personal relationships, with a knee in absolute pain and the ice acting merely as a distracting panacea, I couldn't help but think that no matter how hard I tried to do otherwise that I was destined to repeat the actions of my father.

I already had the moustache.


Anonymous said...

great. fucking. post.

CH said...

takeaway shows and phoning it in are BFFs.

also, frozen gatorade cups are the only way to go for icing... it's a massage and it's anti-inflammatory at the same time. unless you are battling tendinitis, in which case it's the worst thing. i am another who has straddled the line between sports and rock.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't go as far as to say 'I live for this blog' but I do really enjoy reading it and check every day looking forward to every new entry.

it's always worthwhile.

keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The wistful turn was a pleasant surprise. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I'd like a "mere-a-mere" with your mom.

If your words are near truth or sincerity, you are a complex man with an intact soul.

As a mom of two tots, I need a few tricks of the trade.

Can't relate to obsessive record collecting and destroying musical instruments, but I read for rare tidbit...the words that are so raw, I dare myself to read again.

Keep it up...your words matter.

Paul C. said...

Your father was the greatest basketball coach I ever had. He even gave me $5 for taking a charge.

Anonymous said...

It was a CHARLIE PARKER BIO, not Coltrane