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The Zookeepers Road Stories

The Zookeepers Rock Switzerland (sort of)
May 26, 2000

We woke up to knocking at the door. Holy shit! It's 1:15 in the afternoon. Disoriented. Where are we? What country is this! We had to hustle out of the room to meet our driver downstairs. No shower. We still had Los Angeles smog in our hair, and airplane funk. This was Friday. We left L.A. Wednesday.

Downtown Thun The hurry was to meet Frauline Stella for a walking tour of Thun, the small town in Switzerland where we were performing. We were a few minutes late, and a little stinky, but Frauline Stella took it in stride and off we went. Thun is a beautiful town at the edge of a lake (Lake Thunersee, as in Nashville, Thunersee). The lake becomes a river, which splits into two rivers that divide the town.

River thru Thun

The Long, Winding Stairs The walking tour ended at the top of the big hill at the castle (schloss). We looked around for Franz (our driver), who was supposed to be there with "ze instruments" (aka equipment). We discovered that the load-in was going to be the load-in from hell. Up a very, very long flight of medieval stairs. We concluded that we didn't want to be around for that, hell we're just musician, right? So we headed off to get our first meal of the day, this being about 3:30 p.m. Schloss Thun

We trekked from the castle into town, down the big hill, trying to find a place to eat at this off-hour, but almost all of the restaurants were closed between 2 and 6. We ended up at the "Coop" which had a cafeteria-style thing upstairs. Food finally! Moods began to elevate. Trekking back up to the castle, we noticed all of the "instruments" were at the bottom of the stairs. This frightened us, but we soon discovered that someone (Jared) had organized a lift up some scaffolding to get the stuff upstairs. For this Jared was very pissed. "Not at you, at your chief. I will kill your chief."

We spent a pretty long time "installing the instruments" (that's what Franz kept calling what we call "setting up"). It was looking bleak. We had no tech crew, much to our chagrin, so we had to set up the PA ourselves. We got all the funky European sound equipment working, but the acoustics were just awful. Like an indoor swimming pool, or a racquetball court. This castle was built in 1190! Stone floor, stone walls, stone ceiling. We got it sounding as good as we could, then headed back to the rooms for much needed showers. It was about 7 p.m.

The stage in the room of stone.

After showering and changing, we returned to the schloss, as we were scheduled to start at 9:15, but Jared had warned us there would be nobody there until 10, so we didn't rush it. Further, Jared had made it clear that he "wasn't our chief," and nobody else had come along to play the part. Nobody seemed to know what the heck to do with us.

backstag.jpg (5372 bytes)
Notice the piano onstage.

Back at the stage at 9 p.m., we met the piano player who was scheduled to play from 10 to 11. He was threatening to walk off the gig because the stage had all our stuff on it. He wanted the stage cleared, but there was no way we were going to do it. Hell, we had already gone beyond the call of duty to put together the sound system. We realized that everything regarding us was pretty disorganized, so we decided to do what was best for us, which was to go get dinner. We told Jared that we were going, and he looked at us indifferently and said, "I'm not your chief." We laughed at length about this, because all along nobody knew what the fuck was going on with us. Franz was not our chief, Jared was not our chief. We were chiefless.
We decided to have a quick beer at the beer tent before leaving the schloss and hiking back into town for food. We ordered and figured we'd have to pay for them, when a guy walked up and asked if we were musicians. When we said yes, he told us that all we had to do to get free beers was identify ourselves as musicians. He then asked if we were hungry and brought us ham sandwiches. We loved this guy! We called him "the Chief" from then on. Poor guy probably didn't know what we were saying, but anytime we'd see him we'd holler enthusiastically, "Chief!"

Havin' a Beer
Patrick, Doug & Mike loading up
on free beers.

Mike and The Chief
Mike and "The Chief."

Several hours later, Mike (drummer) drunkenly put his arm around the guy and explained to him, "Hey Chief, you don't understand. I mean, we were on our way to walk all the way down into town and try and find some food. Plus, we were going to pay for those beers. And boom, you showed up, just in time. You're the Chief!"

Back at the stage, it's 10 p.m. The piano player convinced Jared (or someone) to clear much of the stage for him. He finally started his performance around 10:30. We busied ourselves with drinking free beer and roaming between our stage (up all those stairs in the castle) and the beer tent (down at the bottom of the castle).

The Zookeepers rock Schloss Thun! This was perhaps our worst gig ever. It was sooo disappointing. We knew the sound would suck -- it was an all-stone room. And we knew the crowd was an older, conservative looking bunch. And hell, we were following a classical concert pianist. But we were still hopeful. Please! Please! No such luck. We played for about 45 minutes, clearing the room from perhaps 200 people down to maybe 30. Maybe 15. It was a total drag. We played well, but the acoustics were just awful, and it was too loud for the conservative, older crowd. Down in the beer garden you could hear us and we sounded great. But in our room of stone it was rather depressing.

stage3.jpg (12283 bytes)

The Stage
The crowd that we cleared.

Thank god for free beer! Let the drinking in earnest begin. We were scheduled to play another set at 12:15, but that wasn't going to happen. Why should it? With no more playing necessary, we loaded up on more free beers and enjoyed the other entertainment. There was a "dance of the ghouls" which had gothically dressed up folks dancing around the room (that we had just cleared). Then there was a drum show. Four guys all dressed in Grim Reaper outfits (black robes, masks) ran around the room doing the type of thing you hear from high school band drum units. It worked great. Very surreal, taking place in this 12th century castle. The room filled back up and the drum band received enthusiastic ovations. Ouch!
We roamed around the castle and continued drinking beers until they ran out. One of the event's organizers, Thomas, wanted Mike to play drums at a gathering the following morning. Mike was to do drum rolls and fills while they announced winners like "the Best Entrepreneur in Switzerland." Mike said to the guy, "You're a lawyer. If someone asked you at one in the morning to be a lawyer tomorrow for free, would you do it?" Mike ended up with 200 francs (about $125) out of the deal.

Mike and Thomas
Mike & Thomas after
closing "the deal."

chief2.jpg (11656 bytes)
The Chief pours the punch while we giggle.

We gathered up our guitars and left all of the equipment -- fuck 'em we thought, let our "chief" worry about it - except for the drums Mike would need the next morning. As we were leaving, we ran into "The Chief" (the guy with the ham sandwiches earlier) and he loaded us up with some booze for the road. They were out of beer, but he gave us a couple of 2-liter bottles full of some punch they'd been serving. We were very grateful, and took a bunch of photos. Hail to the Chief!

We loaded into a truck and headed down the hill from the castle with a couple of burley guys up front. We rode in the back and had a fucking hoot. I don't know what the hell was so funny to us, but we laughed our asses off on that ride. We were hanging over the tailgate hollering stuff at the motorcycle and other cars behind us. Man we laughed.

Big Conga Drum
The huge conga at Cafe Bar Mocca. Where were the cops?

We decided we'd unload our stuff and then go walk around drunk downtown like the stupid Americans we are. We ran into some youngsters who told us to go to Café Bar Mocca, and now we had a mission. We started walking, then waved down a cab that took us to some bar where we were able to buy beers, even though it was after three. That bar soon closed and people pointed us towards Café Bar Mocca, which somehow we were able to find. It was just closing, and we ended up making friends with people outside. We still had a bunch of the punch the Chief had given us. We sat out there for over an hour. At the end, a bunch of people started banging on this oversized conga drum that was out there. I have no idea why the cops didn't come.
We began stumbling back towards our rooms when we noticed people in a restaurant drinking beers. Was it daylight yet? Almost. Maybe 6 a.m. We went in and had another beer or two before we finally made it back to our rooms. It was 7 a.m. Mike had to get up at 10 to go do his gig. He must have looked like pure hell.

Anyone got a buzz?
Mike, Doug, PV

Saturday, March 24, 2000

It's been a helluva week. Starting with Monday night. I got a call from our drummer Erik, and found out that he was bailing on the trip (for which we were scheduled to leave in 48 hours). Well shit. The chances of finding a replacement in 48 hours were not very good. So I began to accept the fact that I may have to cancel shows for the first time in the Zookeepers' 8 year history (not including the one we missed because Obie Van broke down - overheating with a bad thermostat).

I hit the phones and started calling the other 10 drummers who have ever been in this band. Yes, Erik was drummer #11, for those of you keeping score at home. Drummer #9, Charlie, couldn't do it. Drummer #8, Doug, no go. I jokingly called drummer #6, Chris Schoop, knowing that he doesn't even own drums any more. At drummer #10, Shannon, I had a score, a maybe. Hey, maybe is better than no way. He had to find someone to cover him for work, but chances were pretty good. Noon the next day he called, it was a go. We had a drummer. But no time to rehearse. And he hadn't played the songs in 5 months (which was pretty recent compared to the other drummers I called).

We left L.A. Wednesday night around 7:30, figuring on getting somewhere past Vegas before pulling over to sleep in Zoo Casa (our new/old RV). As we pulled in to get gas at the Flying J on the north side of Vegas, I remarked to Shannon that the engine was making a new noise that I didn't like. Reminded me of Obie right before she broke down. We filled up with 87, loaded back in Zoo Casa and cranked the engine. Ever heard a belt wail? Not a pleasant tone. Not a pleasant pitch. Not a pleasant timbre. Not a pleasant implication. Nothing pleasant about a screaming belt.

"Hello, Triple A? We need a tow. We're at the Flying J on the Cheyenne exit just north of downtown Vegas." We identified the belt that was getting ready to fly off, but we couldn't tell for sure what the hell it did. We were hopeful that it would be the smog belt. That's what went out on Obie Van Canobie. You can cut the smog belt off and hit the road. You only need it really to pass smog inspection.

The tow guy arrived, and confirmed it was the smog belt. We cut it off and Zoo Casa started just fine, no whining. But our alternator belt was looking damn frazzled, and the guy fed us a story about how if we don't replace the smog pump, our catalytic converter might get gunked up and start a fire. Since we had about 2500 miles ahead of us over the weekend, and the time to get it fixed, we figured we'd spend the night and let this guy's shop fix it in the morning. It was presently about 2 a.m.

At 8 a.m., the guy at the shop told us we could have just hit the road. No danger with the smog pump, but it was a good idea to replace the alternator belt. So we told him to fix it all. This shop was way the hell out in the middle of NOWHERE. The only 2 things nearby were a 7-11 and the Sin City Adult Superstore. We perused every single video, blow up doll and vibrator at the superstore. And we're talking SUPERstore. Gazillions of everything, which all started looking the same. I mean, how many variations on that theme can there be? Not enough for a superstore, I can tell you that. We were hanging out so long, we met the owners, Ed & Troy. We talked for a while with.them about the music business and the adult industry. We gave them a couple CDs and they set us up with a t-shirt and some erotic love oils.

Back at the shop, our 10 o'clock departure time turned into a noon departure due to a wrong part delivery. Well, now we were fighting the clock. We were scheduled to be onstage at the Dead Goat Saloon in Salt Lake City (about 6-8 hours from Vegas, depending on whether you're driving a car or an RV) at 9:30. And Zoo Casa doesn't exactly haul ass.

We arrived out front of the Dead Goat Saloon at about 8:45 p.m. Just enough time to find parking (no easy feat) and load into the club. We started around 10 p.m. and played to 2 people for the better part of 2 hours. It was fun playing with Shannon again. Our game was, "Remember this one?" And considering he hadn't played the tunes in months, he did great, and we had fun with it. And both people there seemed to enjoy it.

Now the bad news: to bed at the Super 8 in Salt Lake at 1:30 a.m. -- wake-up call at 6:30. We had to get to Golden, CO, a distance anywhere from 6 to 10 hours, depending on who you ask. Everybody had a different idea about how to get there, too. "Take the 80 if there's any weather." "Go down to Park City and follow the signs. I don't know what highway number it is." This was Friday now, and another game of "Can We Make it by Downbeat?" Quick answer: no. Downbeat was 5 p.m. at the Colorado School of Mines. We pulled up at 5:05. With a hasty load-in with student help, we started just before 5:30.

This gig was the silliest gig I can remember ever doing.We were goofing off and joking around the whole time. To start with, we only had 30 minutes to play because we were late, so we were rearranging songs on the fly to get more songs in. Then we were joking with the audience, and telling them what we were doing with the songs. Then, the silliest moment ever for us on-stage. There was a super-funk smell on stage and I was wondering if anyone else was getting it. I turned around and looked at Shannon, who was laughing with tears in his eyes. He tried to fan it away by grabbing one side of a cymbal and moving it up and down. That cracked me up big time. Then I asked Shannon if it was him (as in, did he create the smell), and he said no, it was YOU. I couldn't believe it. Then Ablie got in on it, because he thought we'd been laughing at a bass note he had hit. Before long the three of us were laughing so hard we stopped the song.

We kept stopping and restarting. The song was "Turn to Gray" and we just couldn't get through it. Every time I got to the lyric, "...and you left your happy note" we'd all start laughing again. Someone would say, "That wasn't a very happy note." Or Albie would hit a fart-like bass note. Oh, jeez, I thought we'd never get out of that one. We were laughing so hard, and the audience was cracking up, too. It was hysterical.

We ended up playing until 6:15 or so. Then loaded back up and went to dinner with the guys that booked us. They had a blank check, and took us to the nicest restaurant in Golden. Too bad there was an hour waiting list, and we couldn't stick around because we had to be in Kansas City the next day. So we ended up grubbing at a buffet at a pizza joint. Then we hit a grocery store to re-stock the fridge in Zoo Casa. The next couple of days are going to be some intense driving.

Sat, Oct. 30, 1999
Klamath Falls, OR

Halloween Party at Waldo's

What a party! We've heard over the years the stories about Waldo's Halloween Parties. And this year, we finally got to participate. The story starts a few weeks back when we got a call from Scott, the club owner. We first met Scott back in Spring of '95, just after he opened the place, and we played with one of the bigger bands in Oregon at the time, The Strangers. Since then, the Zookeepers have played Waldo's a dozen times easily. It's a love-love relationship.

A few weeks ago Scott called and asked if we could do the Halloween Party. Damn! I'd love to! But we had just hired a new drummer, and he only knew about one hour of material. Plus, we were supposed to be in Tacoma that night. Scott and I brainstormed a bit and concluded we'd work something out. I immediately called our new drummer Shannon and asked if he thought he could learn another hour of material before our trip. Then I called Albie with the good news. "We're going to K. Falls baby! For the Halloween Partaaay!"

Our Friday night show in Tacoma showcasing for the National Assoc. for Campus Activities (NACA) conference rocked. So we rolled into K. Falls all a buzz, with a great show under our belts, and the knowledge that a great night was ahead. Our only concern was that we had a shortage of material, and some of that material we were really fresh on, by which I mean we had hardly rehearsed with the new drummer. Usually when we play Waldo's, we go 3 or 4 hours. And this night, we only had 2 hours ready, and the bar was going to be open an extra hour due to the clocks being turned back from daylight savings time.

We started a little late, probably 10:30'ish. And the night rocked from the start. Everyone was dressed up and ready to dance and party. I don't think any song was shorter than 10 minutes. It was just impossible to stop! Everybody was grooving and moving. I was running around like a madman. Albie & I were dressed up in surgical scrubs, and I was sweating like I've never sweated on stage before. Running around like crazy. I spent more time on the dance floor than on the stage. Shannon was dressed up in a funky 70's-type outfit. If I was away from the mic for awhile, Shannon would start working the crowd from behind the drums. Within the first few songs we had already thrown in a "Brick House" jam, which we rarely ever do, and when we do do, it's always at the END of the night.

After well over an hour, we took a break, and the club did a costume fashion show. I think everyone had a blast at that, but I really couldn't tell you because I was in the other room, the one with the bar! Back onstage before too long and it was more of the same. Non-stop grooves. We didn't even play ONE slow song. I looked over at Albie and yelled, "Can we do the Cow Song?" He looked at me, his eyes saying, "HELL no! Nothing slow!!!" The jams just kept coming on. We ended the night with TOO much material! Our worry of having too little was blown out of the water by the enthusiasm of the K. Falls crowd. The only downfall was we missed RON! Our host was out of town. Ron, we'll make it up to you. And thank you Lan and Trang!

Klamath Falls never lets us down!

Sun, 4/19/99, 7 p.m., mileage: 124,041
I-10 West, 50 miles from L.A.

We're pulling into L.A. after an eventful 10 day trip that took us through 5 states. Over 3,000 miles driven. We averaged $43 a day in gas. Gas prices ranged from $1.19 in Utah & Montana to $1.63 in Northern California. The recent gas price hikes screwed us over big time!

One of the big highlights of the trip was stopping at a Wild Horses monument in eastern Washington, overlooking the Columbia River. We hiked up to the statues of the horses and took a bunch of photos. It was a great day for a quick hike.

Another highlight was visiting with the owner of Patsy Clark's Restaurant in Spokane, WA. The restaurant is located in a 100 year old mansion, built by Irishman Patsy Clark. What a beautiful place. We met the owner (Steve) and his new wife (Sue) in Las Vegas last month. They happened across our Fremont St. gig, liked us, and invited us to join them the next time we were coming to Spokane. We took them up on it, and it was a blast. They gave us a tour of the mansion. We had cocktails and hoeur d'oevres, then sat at the grand piana while the resident pianist, Doug, serenaded us. Albie brought in a bass, and I got a guitar and amp in, and we sang a few songs. After that, we had a wonderful dinner and sang a few songs before we had to hit the road. As usual, we had another couple of hundred miles to drive before going to bed.

In Butte, MT, we made some new friends. We played a very uneventful and poorly attended show at the Irish Times Pub. Sadly, there were several other big events happening simultaneously (how unusual), including a battle of the bands across town. So our show pretty much sucked. But afterwards we were invited back to the day bartender's apartment. Jemma was her name. I have no idea how to spell it. She's Irish, and so were several of her friends there. One young, inebriated Irish woman punched me in the face for sitting in her chair. It was pretty funny. She later told me she would shag me so hard I wouldn't know what hit me (sort of reminds me of "Jodie Called Me Jesus").

Charlie and I hung out for a couple of hours. An impromptu jam session ensued, which was pretty fun except for this one guy who had really awful timing. I mean, like Reagan timing. At one point, everybody stopped and Charlie was just playing quarter notes. This poor guy was trying to match him, and wasn't succeeding. His face was distorted with concentration. Then he looked at me and said, "You're right, he does speed up." It took immense amounts of self control for Charlie and me not to burst out laughing. Not because we're cruel, but because we had endured this guy's awful timing for the better part of an hour, and he didn't have a clue. And then he tried to pin it on Charlie! Oh god, that was funny. The night bartender, Joy, was nice enough to give me and Charlie a ride back to the Holiday Inn, where we crawled into bed around 5 a.m.

We're on the Hollywood Freeway now. I'd better log off and prepare to see my own home again for the first time in 10 days. Fresh clothes!

Sun, 2/21/99, 6 p.m., mileage: 118,873
I-5 South, 2 hrs from L.A.

Headed home after a week's trip. We started last Monday, when we left L.A. and spent the night near Sacramento at my mom's. Tuesday we drove the 10 remaining hours to Portland to do an early show at Dublin Pub. Unfortunately, they changed their schedule, so our gig went from 7 to 8:30 instead of 7 to 10. Nobody gets there until 9, so we missed the crowd. Ending early had the perk of giving us time to hang out with our friends Amy and Jill, and also to listen to Kerosene Dream unplugged. They sounded great, and we enjoyed several beers before going to Charlie's aunt & uncle's house to retire.

Who the hell is Charlie, you wonder? Charlie is our new drummer. 1998 was a tough year for drummers for the Zookeepers. From year-beginning to year-end we had 4 drummers. Hopefully, 1999 will be the year of Charlie and no others. So far so good. He's young, talented and hungry, which sort of makes me wonder what the hell he's doing in this band. With old burned out guys like Albie and me. (Just kidding Albie. Please don't hit me.)

After Tuesday night's show in Portland we had a day off. We lolly-gagged around Charlie's aunt's house, where she fed us some good old fashion grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Oh yeah, and chocolate milk. It felt like being a kid again. By early evening we were driving the 21/2 hours up to Olympia, where we were crashing with my old folkie friend Andras Jones.

Andras taught us a cool board game that a friend of his in San Francisco invented. I'm not sure if the name has a title yet, but the object of the game is to put together a band and get a record deal. The game is separated into 3 levels. On the first level, you audition players and go to open mikes. To audition players, you draw a card from the appropriate pile (depending on if you landed on "audition a guitar player," or "audition a drummer"). On the card will be a player with ratings points for talent and image as well as two lists: plusses and minuses. For example, Sting was a bass player with a 9-8 rating (9 talent, 8 image). His +'s were vocals and songwriting. His -'s were ego and sex. Chelsea Clinton was a drummer with a 0-2 rating. It was hilarious drawing players and getting their ratings. Quite a few debates erupted. Albie was pissed of that Schroeder (keyboard player) was only a 4 talent. What the hell's that all about?

Once you get enough players together, you go to the second level where you basically are on the road playing gigs. In some clubs you have to have a lot of talent to play, others you need good image. The gigs pay well, but you've got to watch out for motels, van breakdowns and catching herpes from groupies. At this level you also get A&R interest (A&R folks are the ones that sign talent to record labels, in case you didn't know). Each A&R card represents an A&R guy that's interested in you. And each one has one or more hang-ups. For example, some want you to have a lot of talent; others won't sign a band with any drug addicts. Others can't stand too much ego. Some don't want a band with more than 4 members, some no less than 4 members. Many insist that you have good reviews.

Once you've collected a handful of A&R cards, you're ready to advance to level 3. This level is high profile, and includes one square where you can meet with "Mr. Big." If you land on this square, and you meet the minimum requirement of having at least 3 A&R cards that match your band, you can role for a record deal. Here's the problem: level 3 is very expensive, and you start running out of money fast. Also, there's only 1 Mr. Big square out of 12 or so. Lastly, even if you land on Mr. Big and meet the requirements, you only have a 1 in 6 chance of getting the deal, determined entirely by luck.

I've left out a couple of very funny aspects of the game. The first being the "Snake" squares. If you land on one of these, you get to steal a player from someone else's band. For example, Sting got snaked several times, because of his high ratings and low minuses. Keith Moon had similar ratings, but his minuses included drugs, alcohol, sex, ethics and dead. Yes, you could have dead people in the band. Some A&R guys didn't care at all.

Another funny aspect of the game was that once you got through level two, you really didn't need talent any more. You just needed enough money to keep in the game until you could meet Mr. Big. If you ran out of money, you'd have to go back down a level, and you'd need talent down there. In my case, I had to fire Sting from my band, because of the ego. He clashed with Buddy Rich, who was also in my band, and also had a bad ego. But Buddy Rich, though dead, didn't have sex as a minus. And I had an A&R guy that wouldn't put up with sex (apparently he didn't mind a dead guy).

I won the game. I knew I would win. Once I fired Sting, it was obvious. My band consisted of Buddy Rich (dead drummer), Chelsea Clinton (talentless drummer) and some mandolin player I'd never heard of. I didn't have a singer or anything. I had such a pathetic band that I knew I'd win. Albie's band included: Paul McCartney, Stanley Clark, Paul Simon, John Bonham and Bruce Springsteen. Andras had Keith Richards and Keith Moon, but he fired them after they got herpes (we called them the herpes twins). Charlie's band included Karen Carpenter, Tom Waits, Prince and Mick Jagger. Can't you just tell that Chelsea's band is going to win? It was serendipity, baby.

So that was Wednesday night, playing that game with Andras. Thursday morning we had an early wake-up to do a nooner at Tacoma Community College. The show went without a hitch. Afterwards we stopped at the Tacoma Mall to buy a PlayStation game at Toys'R'Us. That night we played a fun gig with Andras at the Tequila Bar in Olympia. After the gig we went over to KAOS, the college station at the Evergreen State College, and hung out for Andras' radio show, called Radio Eightball. It's a cool show, where a caller asks a question, then Andras randomly picks a CD and hits random play. The song that plays is supposed to lead you to the answer, like shaking an eightball. We hit the hay around 3 in the morning.

Friday! Good morning! It's 8 a.m.! Didn't get enough sleep? We were up to do another nooner, this time at Highline Community College near the Seattle airport. We were a little sleep deprived, but managed to deliver a pretty decent show. The only snag occurred when some smart-alecky kid pulled out his little laser pointer and zapped my eye. I stopped and quickly berated him from stage. It was very uncharacteristic of me, but he zapped my one good eye, and I was irritable from lack of sleep. After we played we had lunch with the folks that booked us, Erin and Amy. They offerred to help us load out, which was funny because their last names are Burley and Studley.

We drove from Sea-Tac down to Eugene, Oregon, which took about 5 hours, with some traffic around Portland. We were pretty ragged loading into Taylor's. Fortunately, the local band Taken was opening for us again, which lightened our load for the evening. So we had that going for us (said with Bill Murray accent a la Caddyshack). Taylor's never quite took off though, in terms of the crowd coming in. It was a pretty good crowd, but not the packed house per usual. Which may be a good thing, because somehow or another, we all got the wild hair to get drunk. I think it was caused by Pete the bartender giving us shots of Southern Comfort before our first set. Perhaps that gave us the bug. In any case, by the end of the night, all 3 of us were hammered. We haven't listened to the tape of the show yet, but I'm sure it doesn't sound good. At one point, Alb was on drums, I was on bass, and Pete the bartender was on guitar. Actually, Pete's a great player, and Alb's a good drummer, but I was totally sucking on bass.

The funniest party about Friday night was how incredibly hungover we all were on Saturday morning. We were some severely hurting pups. (So we had that going for us.) And ahead of us was a 5+ hour drive through mountains and a 3+ hour gig at the Jambalaya in Arcata, CA. Let's just say the drive and the gig went off without a hitch, and without much fanfare. It's sort of a blur. We all feel great today, though we got up pretty early this morning to get a jump on the 11 hour drive from Arcata to L.A. Looks like we'll be home by 8; we just hit the Grapevine. Thanks to Siena and Dan for letting us crash at your pad. And sorry to the Joyride guys for putting a damper on your party. When we got back to Siena and Dan's, there was a late-night impromptu jam going on. Well, we were dead to the world, and apparently somebody else in the house had to get up early, too. So it got broken up. We felt like old, bitter musicians. Or at least, extremely tired ones.

Sun, 2/21/99, 7 p.m., mileage: 118,982
I-5 South, almost in L.A.

Two things that will remain a mystery to me about this week: One (and most important duh that's why it's first) how is it that Schroeder is a 5 talent and 4 image! The guy could 3 different versions of Jingle bells and that real cool Linus and Lucy theme. And image? Never drank no drugs and Lucy was always hanging waiting to get the digits. Two: why is it that when ever it would be in our worst interest to do so we get ourselves completely wasted. For those of you who own stock in Southern Comfort and see a positive trend in the near furture, please send a little thank you card.

More Road Stories - 1998 - Late 1997 - Early 1997

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