Sunday off in Providence was ripe with possibilities. We stopped at Whole Foods for lunch and not only did I revel in the serve yourself food bar with all kinds of tasty shit (macrobiotic pad thai?) but I was scared of the possibility that my biodegradable cardboard carry-out container would explode because I happened to mix vegan tofu and fried chicken together. Luckily no one was hurt. I took the opportunity to buy a box of chocolate chip peanut Clif Bars. I had my breakfast for the next twelve days.
From there, picked up some of the TVOTR crew and then made way to Armageddon Shop and spent a chunk of time going through the racks there. I bought a used Lee Ranaldo solo CD on SST that I imagine is out of print, along with a set of post cards and two 7"s I can't remember.
From there, we went to the more "collegiate" area of town and I bought a button-down plaid dress shirt from a vintage store. It seems I will forever be trying to buy up these shirts that remind me of what I wore to high school every day for four years. A brand that always seems to have good patterns is Wedgefield and I realize I may be bordering on compulsive with this quest.
After tramping around that hood for a bit we drove closer to the site of the previous night's show. Hungry, we found ourselves at Ta'Zaa, a "restaurant" apparently. We showed up just as open mic night was beginning and Tunde was trying to start a drinking game where any mention of the words "flying", "mountains" or "dreaming" warranted a slug of alcohol and needless to say, it would have made for a table of even more drunken fools.
Waitress informed us they were out of the crab cakes, my first choice, so I ordered the calamari, which Fritz had informed the night before is an exquisite delicacy in Rhode Island. Being informed that they too were out of that, I found myself standing on the bottom rung of the seafood ladder and threw my better sense of reason out the window and ordered the linguine vongole with baby clams.
Let me just say that if you like wet pasta with no sauce, then this is the dish for you. I found myself (and everyone else) eagerly grabbing at the leftover french fries Ko offered up to the table as our entire party seemed equally as unimpressed with their food. Dave and Mick did polish off the Scorpion Bowl (an impressive cauldron of Gosling’s dark rum, brandy, orange juice, fresh lime juice & orgeat syrup) in one fell sip, and despite his threats to do so, we did not get Sitek to freestyle rap as part of the open mic.
Back to the TVOTR bus to chill. Mick, anxious, enters the bathroom. When he's in there for a bit longer than the requisite 30 seconds one needs to take a leak, I begin to question everyone else "Is he taking a shit?" to which they replied "No, he wouldn't do that."
And now a brief explanation: toilets on a tour bus are, without exception, meant for urination and nothing else. Pat put it best when he said this was something he learned in kindergarten…it just seems so ingrained and general knowledge that it usually goes without saying. But apparently Mick was completely unaware.
If an absolute emergency, one can line the interior of the toilet bowl with a standard plastic shopping bag and once the bowel has been moved, tie up the bag and properly dispose of it at the next rest stop. This process, heading toward a garbage can with a CVS bag of your own fecal matter in hand, has been brilliantly dubbed "the walk of shame" by no less than No Doubt.
So upon his exit, Mick informs us that yes, he did shit in the bus. I went in after him and there was still toilet paper in the bowl, which is another no-no. He said it was an emergency and it couldn't wait, but this "emergency" could quite possibly cost TVOTR an additional $700 in charges from their bus driver. Egad. I merely write about it here in hopes to educate others from making the same mistake. In short, DON'T SHIT ON THE BUS.
Back to our hotel and we're all still a bit hungry so we find a gas station where I stock up on four 32oz bottles of Vitamin Water and then across the street to Rite Aid and get nine Nissin Cup of Noodles. My meals for the next few days were taken care of. Zack wanted his vegan fulfillment so we drive-thru some Taco Bell and him not content with Pat in the driver's seat to give his order instead climbs on top of Pat to stick his entire torso out the window to make sure that the order goes through smoothly.
Spend a good portion of the evening in gentlemanly debate with Zack about the intricacies of booking shows in the morass of the Detroit music scene. He made some good points about being a band working hard to make strides in their hometown (Lee Marvin Computer Arm) while I countered with the previously unseen (to him) circumstances that come into play for an out-of-town band relying on a solid hometown openers when on tour. I think we both left the conversation a little smarter and with more understanding for how the other side operates. Cue the instrumental track to "We Are the World."
With a brief drive the next day to Boston, we stopped at a nearby strip mall for an oil change. I tried to kill time at what felt like an awkwardly small Wal-Mart (aren't their ceilings all supposed to be 25 feet?) and after overcoming the complete boredom that comes with trying to remain conscious in a Kohl's, I made my way to Chuck E. Cheese.
I didn't imagine the establishment would even be open, but seeing as kids get Columbus Day off from school (and when did THAT start?) the place was respectably occupied by surly rugrats screaming at the top of their lungs. Upon entrance into said zoo I was met by an authoritative Cheese employee standing at a podium. There was, I shit you not, a velvet rope.
"Are you meeting a party here?" she asked.
I was confused but really wanted to play pinball. Contemplated saying "I'm here to start a party...YEA-UH!" but instead replied with a simple lie, "Yes"
She opened the velvet rope, I exchanged a dollar for four tokens, played Elvis pinball, felt a little creepy going to the bathroom and downright scared when exiting. I was for certain that the bouncer at the velvet rope would question why such a quick exit and then I'd have to quickly think of a clever line like "Wrong Chuck E. Cheese" or "The party was lame" but luckily I exited with none of the expected drama.
(And while I'm on topic…what the fuck happened to all the Major Magic's? Is there really only one left and it's in Ohio? And why don't these places have regulation size ski-ball lanes? Is this good riddance?)
Seriously, the oil change seemed like it took forever. Walking around the abandoned mall in Warwick was desperately challenging my will to live. Luckily the oil change finished before Wal-Mart would sell me a shot gun (I was reading a Ripley's Believe it or Not book).
In Boston with time to kill and I finally get to see the historic side of the city. While most of my time in town has been spent in Cambridge, the Wilbur Theater was smack-dab in the middle of history. I finally got to walk through Boston Common and loved breathing in the scenery that quartered British troops over two-hundred years ago. The fact that the Red Sox were playing a playoff game that eve and that all the kids were out of school provided an even more festive environ than I expected.
Further up the road is the Granary Burying Ground, so steeped in revolutionary history that I wish someone there was giving a pop quiz just so I could ace that shit. US History, along with English, was the subject that I totally ruled at in high school. Anyway, garage rock visionary Paul Revere, future beer magnate Sam Adams, oversized penmanship advocate John Hancock and ALL the victims of the Boston Massacre are buried here.
There was a guy standing at the entrance of the cemetery handing out binders with all kinds of info/facts/tidbits about the place and those interred there. All he asked was to return the binder upon exit, but inside the binder was a little pocket for donations if you felt so inclined. There's nothing that makes me want to tip someone more than having the air about them that tipping is not mandatory, so I happily left him $1. There were a lot of people walking around there and it makes me wonder how much he can pull in on a good day. Anyone?
I traipsed around even more…the site of Ben Franklin's birth, the first public schoolhouse in North America, Barnes and Noble, the Old South Meeting House, Designer Shoe Warehouse…all wonderful and stimulating in their own ways. I would later find out that I inadvertently was following a significant portion of Boston's Freedom Trail. Interesting, as I've always had a nose for freedom.
Hightlight of the day: in front of Old South Meeting House, two hipsters (a male and female) in their late twenties, the dude wearing some art-damaged neon t-shirt, both wearing sunglasses and emitting an overpowering sense of disenchantment. As they stood looking at OSMH with nary a wisp of respect detectable, the male said, bluntly
I loved it, but probably for none of the same reasons he said it.
Our show was solid, I pulled the drums down onto the main floor and then realized that I couldn't hear shit down there. I had to recalibrate my tempo a couple of times, but luckily the audience was forgiving.