Wednesday, July 23, 2008

West Coast Part Six: Sweat, tatoos, sex tapes...

Drive to Phoenix would seriously blow monstrous monkey balls. As previously mentioned, we have no air-conditioning in the van. With the only climate control being the ability to roll down windows (and that leaving everyone's wig completely busted) the thermometer-shattering temps we'd encounter this day would leave everyone a little bit stir crazy.

In Yuma we stop at a gas station and Dorien starts talking to a girl no more than 8-years-old who's holding a tiny kitten. As she pulls out her camera to forever burn the moment into eternal digital pixels, Sartain shouts "Hey! Are you trying to win a 'World's Cutest Photo' competition or something?"


From there we make way to Target, someone needed to buy something or other. I asked if anyone had seen one of those bank signs that displays the temperature. No one had, but the temp is pulled up on an iPhone and we're flabbergasted to find the current temp in Yuma to be 115 degrees.

The common saying seems to dictate that heat will not cause discomfort, rather it's the humidity to blame. To that dictum I say fuck you. 115 would make you eat dog shit for a momentary release from the vicious grip of the stifling heat.

Somehow a three-pack of Hanes wife-beaters was procured from Target and soon enough Pat, Troy and I were doing our best imitation of the Drive-By Truckers. Troy really got into the part though…he began to take on the persona of an abusive husband, shouting expletives, watching football, asking "Where's my dinner, bitch?" and just overall letting all of us in on his softer, more feminine side.

I think I drank four 32oz Gatorades that drive, not to mention a bunch of water and at least one Slurpee. By the end of it, my skin had taken a beating from the open windows and began to resemble a sheet of fly-paper. It was sticky and gross with a thin layer of grime on the top that wasn't going anywhere. We arrived to the club to have a little "We Love You!" art project on the wall left for us by the Hard Lessons who'd played there earlier in the week. What a nice bunch of kids.

Sartain tosses "Metropolis" at me (possibly a crowd request) and we work it alright. The unprepared tunes have quickly become what I look forward to in his set. Crowd was alive and percolating by the times the Dirtbombs hit our stride. For a town we'd never been to before, we were all very, very happy and the crowd was equally as pleased. Mutually beneficial, no?

Aftershow Italian sandwich was killer. We drove all the way to Tucson to stay at the Hotel Congress. I could go on forever about this place…rock venue is part of the building, John Dillinger stayed there, National Historic Landmark, rooms as they would have been roughly 50 years ago…it's a nice place. Pat and I were given the exact same room (#33?) that we'd stayed in over two years ago. Eerie.

With daytime to kill in Tucson, I ambulate down the street to Grill for some grub. Another establishment, along with Voodoo Donuts, that I must hit-up every time I'm in its town. Started brunching alone and Pantano joined a little later. I live for a butterscotch malt and they never disappoint in this hipsterfied throwback diner.

I've wondered on numerous occasions if I lived in Tucson, what would my opinion of this establishment be? Would I eat there all the time like it was the Max and I was one of the ancillary background Bayside Tigers like Moose? Or would I shun it with an unparalleled ennui? What do the locals think? It's hard to turn up much anywhere else in that wasteland that has the vaguest sign of life or atmosphere…but do they know that? Do they view it as a necessary evil? Or just a damn fine place to eat? Tucsonians…please chime in if you will.

My post meal trip to the color photo booth was classy. Me sucking down a malt like a wholesome 1950's Lichtenstein depiction. Upon exit and waiting for my strip to vend, I walk upon two women talking to each other and hear a sentence end with something like

"…I'll be slutty or skanky or whatever."

To which I made eye contact with the speaking woman, afforded an appropriate pause and, surprising myself, said "Good luck with that."

She laughed and wanted my opinion. She wanted to know what I thought of her tattoos (I believe this was what she was talking about when I walked into the convo). She showed me her calf which read, in a sort-of classic-style unfurling scroll, the phrase "Absolutely Bullshit."

I said "I, as a whole, cannot stand tattoos, especially on women…But I genuinely like yours." To which she replied "Thank you" and I was on my way to walk around bewildered and lost underneath the oppressive blanket of heat and sunshine bearing down on the city.

After check Campbell and I traipse to Grill and have some pre-show grub. Dude was selling CD's as he DJ'd choice jams and I picked up a Beach Boys "SMILE" boot CD and the Bent Mustache disc as I'd liked the 7" they'd put out. At the show I picked up a copy of the Okmoniks LP straight from the band without having to mention anything about Terminal Boredom Forum.

All three bands played music. A crowd watched.

We made way out of town with hopes of getting Albequerque'd at a decent hour the next day. We ran into the Twos at a trading post and Sartain figured he'd ride with them for a spell. We bid him farewell, watched him wince from across the parking lot as he realized their van has only two seats and sped off before he could change his mind.

While we were on schedule, an unforeseen interstate closure and dust storm put us on a detour. Down time at Dairy Queen with the Twos convoy afforded us the chance to learn how the shake machine really works while waiting for roads to open and storms to settle ultimately added at least two hours to our trek. I thought my skin resembled fly paper the previous day, but the dust storm with van windows open would take it to another level.

By the time we check-in at the Albe hotel, the overall feeling of the troops is one of defeat. We reconvene and venture out for what is supposed to be exceptional Mexican food at a restaurant with a tree growing through the roof. That place was closed so we ate next door where the food is far from exceptional. But a big group meal, all of us sitting at a table together, enjoying each other's company and building the camaraderie…that far surpassed the middling meal we munched.

From there Pantano and I hosted movie night in our room. First was the properly entertaining "Semi-Pro," Will Ferrell delivering as we've all come to expect from him. Following that, we bit the bait and paid to $10 to watch "The Jimi Hendrix Sex Tape."

We totally got ripped off. While the actual footage runs less than ten minutes, they pad the thing out to an hour with banal commentary from Cynthia Plaster Caster and Pamela Des Barres…you know, two broads who can totally carry-on a compelling discourse. And they didn't even have enough dialogue to sufficiently pad with…some snippets and soundbytes being used upwards of three times.

Come on Vivid Video…I'm expecting a little more quality control in regards to dubious sex tapes featuring 1960's guitar icons. As for the actual clip itself…I guess the best way to describe it would be the complete antithesis of erotic. Nevermind that the only way they're identifying the video as featuring Jimi Hendrix is that there's a black guy with a headband and Afro in it whose extreme lack of movement the entire film speaks to possible chemical paralyzation. Otherwise…it's a D+ stag film at best.

Campbell from the Twos sat on my bed while we were watching both movies. He made me feel slightly uncomfortable. Maybe it was the spooning?

The Larimer Lounge in Denver is neither particularly offensive nor pleasant. It just is. The crowd was exceptionally tuned-in for the Dirtbombs jams and it felt good to scream "WHY DON'T YOU DANCE WITH ME?" to get them all loose and danceable. I even threw some Tyvek "Honda" into the mix to see if the Twos were listening. They were.

Seemed to be a strong Detroit contingent representing (even without Mark Norton or my cousin Gary attending) and it's always fun when someone says "Hey, I'm from Detroit" to ask "Oh really, what part?" to which they almost exclusively reply "Flint", "Bad Axe" or in some extreme cases "Delray."

It seems that expatriation from the region finds anyone from Grand Rapids southward claiming to be "from Detroit" whereas when actually in the Metro Detroit area people utilize electron microscopes to determine whether or not one lies within the city limits and can thus claim all of the requisite "cred" (?) that comes with.

Doesn't it all sound like a bunch of overzealous pieces of toilet paper fighting over who gets to wipe an ass? Even if you win the argument, you're still covered in shit.


Dillon said...

hey...great show tonight at city hall! didn't get to say hello to you, but had a nice conversation with ko about fuzz pedals. oh well. as always, it's a pleasure to read your blog entries.

Cousin Gary said...

I suck for not making the Denver show, but then again, if I told you how long it had been since I've been to ANY show at all, you'd probably verbally berate me.

not cousin gary said...

I didn't make the show as it was in a different country than me but I did enjoy reading the blog entry, as always.

c said...

that last paragraph just made me laugh our loud in the library. i am hyper aware of the phenomenon, but have never heard so accurate a metaphor for it.

Anonymous said...

So true on the "I'm from Detroit" shit. I've seen it more often from expat folks from Bloomfield Hills or Birmingham than cities outside of Metro Detroit. Which is funny, since they then proceed to trash the city and talk about how glad they were to get out of Michigan.

Jess said...

Brian Vander Ark: Brian Vander Ark

Former Verve Pipe Frontman Set to Release New Record (produced by Bill Szymczyk) and Solo Catalog on Second Motion Records/Red Eye September 30th

“Brian Vander Ark wields a mighty pen as well as guitar.” _Washington Post

“One of the most underrated songwriters in music.” _ All Music Guide

Brian Vander Ark was the literal and figurative voice of one of the highest grossing bands of the mid 90’s. His distinctive vocals and haunting lyrics will forever be part of the collective soundtrack of that time. Ten years later and we still know all the words to the “The Freshman.”

Massive success and its aftermath have sent many artists into oblivion, forever trying to recapture the exhilaration and adulation of superstardom. But rather than blindly attempting to reclaim a throne that was fleeting at best, Brian Vander Ark struck out on his own, sold all his possessions, and hit the road playing house concerts, and making records supported by his fans.

Brian is a gifted storyteller and musician whose lyrics are intensely personal and entirely gripping. He possesses the essence of one man’s experiences being shared through the medium of his guitar…his honesty is liberating and unrivaled. His new self-titled record was produced by legendary producer Bill Szymczyk (Eagles, The Who, James Gang) and completely funded by his fans.

His previous solo records, Resurrection, (2005), Angel, Put Your Face On (2006), in addition to his newest album, Brian Vander Ark, will be released on October 30th on Second Motion Records, distributed by Red Eye distribution.

“...this guy may be one of the most creative songwriters on the planet.” _ This Is Modern

Preview Tracks From his three albums:

Brian Vander Ark


Angel, Put Your Face On

To request advances or interview requests, contact:

Jess Haviland
PAI Media
609 Greenwich Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10014

Anonymous said...

Alright! More unsolicited random artist pimping! Thanks Jess!