Monday, November 17, 2008

TVOTR Part Eight: A Police Situation...

Wake-up in post-election happiness. Breakfast at Auntie Em's in Eagle Rock and owner/operator/former Red Aunt Terri Wahl comps the meal. Mick and I then did a solid interview for the Sound of Young America radio show, a nationally syndicated program that we've actually listened to in the van before. With downtime after that we hit Amoeba Records in Hollywood. I feel equally ashamed and proud in saying that I bought nothing there.

Headlining the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa ain't too shabby. After soundcheck we ate at the Mexican place next door. It was decent. From there, we ventured to the Borders up the road. When touring, a Borders or Barnes and Noble is the equivalent of "goal" in a game of tag. It's somewhere you can go and relax without fear of reprisals or persecution. Each and every one of these chain locations feels the same as the others and thus, in the grand scheme of things, vaguely familiar. We easily kill an hour there without even noticing.

Opening band Pistolero wasn't to my liking. But with Starlite Desperation as the middle band I was quite geeked. I hadn't seen them in about four years and their newest material on both Don't Do Time and Take It Personally stacks up to their best work in my opinion.

They opened with "Spirit Army" and I dug it, slinky bassline and all. They'd play one old tune, "Our Product" off their first 7" and dedicated it to me. Watching them play makes me feel like I'm still a senior in high school and Go Kill Mice was played to death/witnessed live that year more than you'd care to believe. Someday, maybe even here, I'll recall the days of hanging out at their crib on Commonwealth. What strange, strange days.

With a small hole in my floor tom head I asked Jeff from Starlite if I could borrow his floor tom. He said he was planning to leave during our set, that he had to be up early the next morning…and then just offered me his floor tom head. Dude literally gave me the head off his tom. It doesn't get any deeper than that for drummers.

Any detractive comments about our performance clearly stemmed from confusion between bandmates about doing our "headliner" set or our "opener" set. We'd agreed on an amended "opener" set beforehand but certain band members fell into "headliner" actions. This was, for all intents and purposes, completely unnoticeable to the audience.

Trying to get myself into "Start the Party" I'd accidentally biffed myself in the corner of my right eye with my drumstick. So hard that I managed to throw myself off the beat and have to play most of the song with my both my eyes closed…equal parts coping mechanism for the excruciating pain and hope that my eyeball would stay inside my ocular cavity. I was surprised there was no blood.

Drive back to LA to crash at the label HQ in Eagle Rock. I grab the couch, as I always do there, and it becomes a vague point of contention in the band. Pat asks why I always get the couch and I don't have a reason, just that I do. Never mind the fact that I claimed it first that night. It would not have been an issue had there been anything more than floor space available that night. Tired, I kinda snapped at him…told him he was free to find a hotel or someone else's place to stay that night, that no one was making him sleep on the floor. He responded acquiesced with "I'm just tired" to which I countered "I know Pat. We all are."

We were able to take the next day lazy…doing laundry, showering, loading mp3's into our laptops, enjoying the unfailing California sunshine and just generally relaxing before heading to the Wiltern around 6pm.

We were excited because catering was still up AND we got our $10 buy-outs. This never happens. We loaded up on the "make-your-own-fajitas" and cookies and ice cream as if we hadn't seen food in days. The thing with a catered club is that you have to view it that way…like you'll never see food again.

Our set, by all accounts, killed. With Larry from In the Red and Dale from the Melvins as the two people who've seen 100% of our Los Angeles area shows in our career in agreement, we clearly won over many people in the crowd. I feel confident in saying we could not have played a better show.

Afterwards we hung backstage and chatted with friends from Liars and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Rainn Wilson was there and Ko apparently thinks he's kinda weird.

Back to Larry's and to a comfortable night on the couch outside of Detroit that I've spent the most time on. Woke in the morning with and extreme lack of plans and responsibilities. Ate lunch at the Oinkster…chocolate malt and pastrami sandwich was delightful. Relented and finally did some laundry, having lasted just about a month without having to. Made plans for dinner with my buddy Josh. Larry, also with plans for dinner, put on the new Beefheart reissue It Comes to You in a Brown Paper Bag and we sat in his living room chatting leisurely.

I see what appears to be a spotlight searching around Larry's street. We then realize we've been hearing a helicopter overheard for a bit of time. It then becomes clear there is some sort of situation. Out in his backyard we hear from the chopper "Please surrender and give up your weapons."

I was half-hoping to hear them say "We have you surrounded."

Larry lives right at a "T" of two streets, with one end marked off with police tape and the other two blocked by police cars with their flashing lights. Despite all of this, he figured he'd be able to leave without a hitch. As he walked to his car he was informed that not only was he not able to leave, but that he wasn't even supposed to be outside his house.

According to the police officer, there were people in the neighborhood with weapons and the police couldn't find them.

We sat, metaphorical prisoners. Larry finally told his date to just come and pick him up and while they didn't let her past the police line, they did let Larry walk up the street toward the safe zone, but only if he would walk on the opposite side of the street.

We'd later find out that there was a car chase in the neighborhood and that the perps crashed the vehicle and scattered. The cops nabbed one of the suspects but the other was loose, so they blocked off the neighborhood and slowly combed through each block searching for him. I do not know if he was apprehended or not.

I managed to sneak out of the abode the same way Larry did and Josh and I hit up Local (the name of the restaurant and not an indicator of it's caloric content) in Echo Park for grub. I'm told the premise of the restaurant is that everything is made from fresh, local ingredients. I had the braised lamb tips and it was alright, but mainly had me wondering who in the hell is raising lamb in the city? The lemonade was clearly fresh, but too tart for my taste. I did find myself completely floored by their apple-cream chesse-caramel-sea salt hot desert…that dish totally made the meal.

From there we went back to Josh's crib and shot the shit, connecting over the fact that we both owned the same weird Mudhoney t-shirt when we were teenagers (with the band depicted on a TV set on the front and fake TV Guide listings on the reverse). Josh showed me the missing chord to "Cold Brains" that'd been bugging me for a couple of years, all while a video of him backing Beck back in 2003 played on the television.

Our buddy Steve came over and 3/4's of the band Kore Krew was in full-effect. There's unreleased recordings of us that, if Steve ever gets off his ass, might even be worth releasing. Called it a night and searching for Steve's car on the street for about 20 minutes was kinda hilarious.

Steve dropped me off back at Larry's, but not before taking me to the 7-11 in Eagle Rock, where for the third night in a row, I bought a pink-frosted donut with sprinkles. I think said donuts contain crack, as I was fucking hooked on these things like schadenfreude enthusiasts to Amy Winehouse.

We left from Larry's the next afternoon, but not before I worked out a trade for his out-of-print Cotton Museum 10" that was high atop my want list. Drive to San Diego seemed quicker and easier than usual.

The show that eve was a birthday party for a local radio station with two more bands on the bill than we're used to on the TVOTR/DBOMBS chuckwagon. We would be the second band. Noticing that TVOTR's soundcheck ran a little late, I figured there was no way we'd even get a chance to soundcheck, so I walked up the street to the mall.

The only store I'd visit was Levi's. While still never having bought a new pair of them in my life, I still always give them a chance. They had Orange Tab reissues that were absent when I visited my sister's store in Chicago, so I took the bait and took a pair of skinny fit and a pair of flares, both 36x32, to the dressing room.

The skinny fit was almost a joke on my end…with the circumference of one of my thighs hovering around that of a moderate-sized oak tree, there's hardly a "cut" that can diminish their impact. But after I found the flares were GASP, baggy and I contemplated the benefits of diversifying my blue jean reserves, no doubt inspired by an article I'd just read in GQ. $80 later and I'm the proud/confused owner of a new pair of Levis slim fit Orange Tab jeans. Weird.

While in line at Levis I got a call that it was time to soundcheck. Unexpectedly, TVOTR's tour manager had thrown some weight to get us the luxury so I hoofed it quickly back to the club and marveled at the monitor engineer walking around barefoot with the most vile, gouted, purple, misshapen feet I'd ever seen. Gross.

Zack and I walked up the street to Pokez for burritos that were offensively large. It is my hope with the new administration in Washington that someone steps up and puts and end to burrito inflation. I don't think, with our economy in the state that it is, that we can afford to keep making these things the size of one of Jupiter's more substantial moons. Zack wants me to mention that I could not even finish mine and that it should be a source of pride for Pokez. If he has any other input he can start his own blog.

Opening band was made up of DJ's from the sponsoring radio station, including John "Speedo" Reis of Rocket From the Crypt/Swami Records notoriety. They did all covers and I didn't quite know what to make of it…song selection was good with VU, the Who, Elvis Costello and other hip choices. Mick came out and sang "I Wanna Be Your Dog" as their final number and the rest of us D'bombs commented on how easy it is to forget what a commanding frontman the guy is.

Being in the unfavorable 2nd of four bands slot, we came at it with a bit of spite, not at any particular person, but just the situation. Thankfully, it translated, the crowd dug it and when I threw my floor tom from the audience back onto the stage and it unpredictably landed perfectly balanced on top of my bass drum (a feat of skill that could not be matched if I tried to replicate it a thousand times) I knew that the gods were on our side that night.

The third band (the generally inoffensive Delta Spirit) was clearly daunted by their spot on the bill. The fun thing was with us having to make it to San Fran for the show the next night, we didn't even stick around to watch them flail. We loaded up and hit I-5 for about four hours before we'd get our slumber that night, knowing full well that we'd rocked to the fullest of our capabilities.

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