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sun 11/10, 6:30 p.m.
I-5 170 miles north of LA
albie and i are heading toward LA. we left klamath falls around 10:30 this morning. chris flew home. he had a 4:30 wake up call this morning. albie and i got a quick macdonald's breakfast and a couple of caramel mochas before leaving klamath falls. just outside city limits, we opened an envelope chris had left for us. this was his last trip with the zookeepers, so he left a good-bye gift. in the envelope we found a great letter basically saying good-bye and thanks and other mushy stuff. also in the envelope was a cassette on which he had recorded a bunch of songs that were all significantly connected to our times together in the van. the first 8 or so songs were the ones we played on the way to bend in september when we played CD roulette. the rules of the game were that we each would play one song that was significant to us, then pass the CD player to the next.
chris' compilation cassette gift lasted us almost all the way to weed. along the way we were spellbound by mt. shasta. we've driven by mt. shasta perhaps a dozen times this fall. what a magnificent mountain. the sun was sparkling off the snow. we're thinking about maybe using a photograph we took from the van on the next album cover. we'll see.
this last trip of 1996 has been a terrific sending off. starting off with santa clara, all the shows have been at least good, and a couple great. wednesday night we were back at wosc (western oregon state univ). we had a good show, and sold some stuff. plus, the school gave us 2 motel rooms, so we were able to spread out a bit.
thursday we drove into salem to spend the day. albie and i played lots of video games at wunderland arcade, where you pay $1.95 to get in, then play games for a nickel a shot (sometimes 2 nickels). we checked into the motel 6 around 5 and relaxed for a while before making the half hour trek to corvalis. we don't have the best impression of corvallis. we play there at the peacock, which is a big ugly, sticky, smokey, stinky beer hall. no offense, but we gotta call it like we see it. it's a big place, and they really pack 'em in on thursday nights. that's apparently college night, or something. unfortunately, it isn't exactly our crowd. oregon state university is the more technical school, i guess. the students are mostly greek or agricultural (nice way to say hick?). i'm a hick from north carolina, so again, no offense, just calling it. another drawback for us in corvallis is the lack of decent food or lodgings. the motel there sucks and is expensive. and we haven't found a decent restaurant yet. this time we returned to the pizza hut for spaghetti. when you chose to return to pizza hut to have spaghetti again, something's wrong. on the bright side, a lot of people see us play. and though they are mostly concentrating on getting drunk and laid, they seem to enjoy us. plus we get paid pretty well for a thursday night.
friday was a great day. for that matter, everyday was a great day, weather-wise. a surprisingly sunny november weekend in oregon. friday we arose and drove down to eugene (about an hour). we hit the pizza hut buffet, and felt kinda bad to be patronizing pizza hut again. none of us are exactly big fans. but cheap lunch was the order. after lunch, we went to the eugene wunderland arcade for a couple hours. more pinball. more busta-move. we then loaded into the club before checking into the 66 motel (not motel 6). we watched tv and occasionally turned on the radio trying to catch one of the commercials the club was running for us. we had actually recorded the commercial in LA and sent it up. it used our music, albie's voice, and advertised the club (taylor's) and our show. we did finally here it on the air, and were pretty pumped. then on the way to the club later, the dj was giving out tickets to our show. coool.
the show went great. lots of people knew the words and were requesting songs, including trang & sarah (thanks for hanging the posters!), jen, amy, patrick, and little tyler & kimberly (the owner's kids). we first played eugene 2 years ago to nobody. it was very nice to see how far we've come.
wed 11/6, noon
in tupie, I-5 near ashland, or
last night we rocked santa clara. i like starting these entries with "we rocked...." we've been off for a couple weeks. albie went home for a wedding. i went to tacoma for a college talent buyers conference (called naca). chris worked a lot. yesterday we left LA around 1pm and headed to santa clara, just outside san jose. actually, just inside san jose, it seems. anyway, we found the school almost on time at 7pm and loaded into the "brass rail," where we've played twice before. this time, our lovely hostess yasmin had prepared a cool party. she had cake, party hats, and the capper.... bean bag chairs with jungle animals on them. we got the lights down low and fogged the place pretty good while we played for a couple hours. a pretty good crowd hung out, and we sold a bunch of cd's. this put us in good spirits as we loaded back into the van around midnight to drive a couple more hours towards oregon. we stopped in williams, ca. we've stopped there 3 times this fall as we've headed back to oregon. there's nothing there but a chevron, a denny's and a motel 6. it's about an hour north of sacramento on the 5.
now we're 8 hours above sacramento. approaching eugene. listening to classic rock radio. albie just rejected "born to be wild" and is scanning. 10 to 1 we end up back on "born to be wild."
tonight we return to wosc (western oregon state college). we've played there a couple times. (we just scanned by "born to be wild" and ended up on a mccartney song.) last time at wosc we sold 30 cd's, so we're curious if we'll have a receptive knowledgable crowd tonight. it's very cool when folks are singing along. and if they don't sing along, we'll fog their asses! just kidding. we'll fog no matter.
we started recording our next album a couple weeks ago. we have a small 16 track studio in my basement. we recorded both earlier albums on that equipment. the first in a garage. the second in my basement. this week is our last trip before we take the next couple of months off. the rest of november and december, even much of january, we'll only do local LA shows and work on recording. and also work on getting a new drummer. auditions start next week. it's sad to see chris go. he's been in the band almost 2 years. now maybe we'll find a drummer who can actually play! (just kidding chris!)
thur 10/17, 8 p.m.
in tupie (the van), Hwy 101 headed toward eureka
we just had dinner in "what you talking 'bout" willits. a classic american meal. burgers. fries. milkshakes. a diner called inez'. we have passed the diner over a dozen times, mostly when inez was still in the band. tonight, we paid tribute to inez' diner. and we received a fine american meal.
we played a couple of uninspired shows today at sonoma state university. first, we did a nooner, from 12 to 1, at "the duckpond." the duckpond was off to the side of campus. predictably, very few people went out of there way to walk on the wet lawn and check us out. i guess it's a catch 22 for them: can't have bands in the quad because it'll interrupt classes. but put bands off to the side and nobody'll see them.
at 3pm, we started our second show in "the pub," an equally out of the way place. we played 2 sets to a few people. did a pretty good job. but as we near the 90th show of this year, it is not so easy to play inspired when there is almost no audience.
tonight we're driving on up to eureka. tomorrow we return to the humboldt brewery in arcata for the first time in over 6 months. the brewery had been one of our staple venues, but better paying shows have made it difficult to reserve a friday night to return. arcata is so off the beaten track. probably takes about 3 hours to get over to the 5. 5 hours back down to san fran. but it's a beautiful area. and everyone is always stoned, which makes for a pretty agreable audience.
tues 10/15, 1:40 a.m.
in tupie (the van), Hwy 108 near sonora, ca, oops, just turned onto county road J59
on our way to LA. played a very fun show at coyote creek just a bit ago. a nice end to a pretty good trip. started in davis last thursday. then bend for the weekend. then coyote creek in sonora. we'll get home this morning sometime. maybe 7:00. maybe 10 a.m. depends on how much we have tjo pull over to sleep. we used to make it straight with 4 people. but with 3, i'm not sure we can. can't drive in teams this way. generally need someone to talk to you to keep you awake at 4:30 in the morming when you're driving by bakersfield.
i'm on sleep duty right now. that is, i should be sleeping so that i'll be ready to drive the next shift. an REM compilation tape is playing. i'll try to get some shut eye.
sun 10/13, 6:30 p.m. (pv)
in tupie (the van), I-5 10m north of sacramento
we're having a scary moment in the van right now. chris & albie are singing styx's "too much time on my hands." and they seem to know all the words. too much time in the van, i think.
fri 10/11/96, 3pm (pv)
in tupie (the van), Hwy 97 just north of Klamath Falls
we played a pretty fun show in davis last night. we've played sudwerk a bunch of times. we were able to get the lights way down, and had a good time with the couple dozen folks who came to see us. it has been slow getting going in davis for us. but it feels like perhaps their warming up to us there.
we again had dinner at lori's (thanks lori!). great vegetarian cuisine. and fun folks. we usually get really serious gas after eating at lori's, but not so much this time. we didn't have to use the fog hog to cover our flatulents at the show. fortunate for everyone.
we're on the road to bend now. we're there tonight & tomorrow night. the luxury of a cool band house awaits us. and good free food. and a very pretty town. we just had lunch at waldo's in k falls. k falls continues to treat us very well. we surprised scott & kim at waldo's. they looked pretty panicked when they saw us. but we let them know quickly that we were just on our way through town. their new mongolian grill kicks butt (good idea joe). on the way out of town we went through an espresso drive-thru. we ordered mocha's all around (tall for me, tall with caramel for albie, grande with caramel for chris). i chugged mine as usual, and am currently running pretty high. chris tells me my routine is to go up fast, and crash in about a half hour. so i'm typing fast before the crash hits. chris sips his. he's still got half of his left. albie and i are done. though i was by far the first.
the girl at the espresso drive-thru saw one of the zookeepers refrigerator magnets that we have all over the van. she said she has heard us on the radio. that's a first. then chris, the consumate wise-ass said, "then you can comp these mocha's, right?" niiiiice mouth.
we're listening to "foggy notion." a band out of DC that is the brain child of chris' friend mark goodman. great guy. i really like this album, "mission." "there's a tickle in my brain...."
today is absolutely gorgeous. we've taken lots of pictures. while driving. mostly with one or two of us making goofy faces in the van, while some awesome mountain or lake or river is displayed in the background. the drive from weed (CA) to bend is really awesome. first there's mt. shasta. then klamath lake. we've got blue skies and big puffy white clouds. just passed a sign, bend 110 miles. passing a white pickup. i'm definitely peaking on this coffee. be crashing sooooooon......
sun 10/6, 9:00 p.m. (pv)
in van (tupie), I-5 90 miles north of LA
albie and I are night driving. close to home. listening to sheryl crow. i'm thinking about recording our next album. been in the van a little over 12 hours today. got my brain working overtime. sitting. thinking. all those productive things that could be getting done.... but a big part of our job is getting to places. it seems it will always be a big part of our jobs.
this is the reason chris will be leaving the band. he's been flying to &/or from several of our recent destinations so that he could get back to LA and work. like most normal people, chris hasn't engineered his life to be in a position to pick up and leave town 2-3 weeks of the month for not enough money to pay rent. the problem has graduated beyond inconvenience as the band has stepped up the traveling schedule. so chris will play the rest of 1996 with us, while we continue to travel, and begin to hold auditions. come january 1, we'll look a little different.
travel has proven to be quite the obstacle for the zookeepers. the drummer before chris, scott connor, quit the band after our first tour in 1994 because he wasn't interested in the touring lifestyle, i.e., he had a life he was unwilling to part with. then last year was the very difficult parting with patti and inez. though each of their situations was different, traveling was definitely a big issue.
of course, travel is also our best friend. without travel, we'd be playing 2-3 times a month in the LA area, like 100's of other bands. playing to jaded, judgemental LA audiences. we'd have lots of boxes full of CDs in our closet. and no way to afford to do another one.
which brings me back to the new CD. we released "set me free" just over a year ago. the prior CD, our debut, was released a year and half prior to that. we seem to be on the year and a half time schedule. assuming we can get one done by march. sounds do-able. start recording in december. we're on the road too much to do anything before that.
now we're listening to morphine. albie says hi. we're within an hour of home. should be in bed by 11pm. then off to work in the morning. heading back to bend, oregon, by way of sudwerk in davis thursday. another oregon weekend. hope it goes as well as the last few days.
oh yeah, we named the van today. after putting 47,000 miles on her since we got her march '95, we today named her "tupie". that's short for tupelo honey. that's a song by van. van morrison. tupie van. she did us right this weekend. all 30 hours we spent driving her. atta-girl tupie!
sat 10/5, 5:00 p.m. (pv)
in van, I-5 headed from eugene to corvallis
we're 3 for 4 on this trip. done 3 shows. have 1 more tonight. the peacock thursday night was interesting. very large crowd. very intent on getting loaded. not so intent on frolicking with the band. then, an annoying but all too regular phenomenon occurred. after 4 hours of playing with relatively little attention from the masses, the dance floor totally filled up with about 2 songs left to play in the evening. so we got in about 15 minutes of great rocking dancing and jamming. then we had to stop. they were yelling for more. almost made us want to yell back - where were you the last 4 hours?!
a bad photo of a pretty nice day in portland. performing at portland stat univ.
friday's nooner at portland state was a really nice show. it threatened rain, but enough sun was showing that the decision was made to do the show outside. it's generally much better to play outside for these nooner shows, partly because it's nice being outside. it's sort of novel to be playing outdoors. plus more people see and hear you. plus, the alternative is usually the cafeteria. not exactly a dream venue. so we felt lucky to get to play outside. we'd played psu twice before, both indoors. as a bonus, my brother fox showed up and played a few songs with us. that was fun. then we all went out to lunch before the band had to head down to eugene.
anytime we've been near eugene this trip, we've been listening to a classic rock station that was supposedly playing commercials for our eugene show. we're really sick of classic rock, so we'd change the station unless it was at commercial. sort of the opposite of most folks. turns out our commercials were running on the new alternative station. damn. we never got to hear them. but they worked. we had a nice crowd at taylor's. and the bonus was that we did not have to tear down and load out, because we didn't have to get up and leave town at the crack of dawn. so we slept in late today, went to lunch, and then went back to the club this afternoon to load out. nice and casual like.
we're on an easy 1 hour drive up to corvallis to play at oregon state university. should be a pretty cushy gig. probably only one and a half, maybe 2 hours of playing. they have a sound system; so load in and out will be pretty easy. it is an interesting perspective we have on performing. most people think we just love to play, as much as we can. like at the peacock when they were yelling for more. but i tell you, after 4 hours, you've had enough for an evening. it's downright tiring. you really have to pace yourself for those really long shows. that's why tonight should be pretty fun. only 2 hours tops. no need to pace. just go deliver. then if they yell for more. hell yeah, we'll play another half hour or so.
we're listening to talking heads stop making sense. talk about delivering a show!
thurs 10/3, 2:30 p.m. (pv)
in van, I-5 headed north toward eugene
albie and i are headed to pick up chris in eugene. he's once again flying around. we've got 4 shows this weekend in oregon (corvallis, portland, eugene & corvallis again) before returning to work in LA monday morning. then back to bend, OR, next weekend. lots of driving to get home to work in between weekends. ah, but the bills must be paid.
we just ate at a wendy's in medford. albie got the super bar, and i got the 1-trip salad bar. i learned the last time i ate at wendy's that 1 trip is enough. just really load up. on the downside, i left my iced tea in the parking lot. there's something about driving down the highway on a hot day with a full belly, the a/c on, and a large iced tea resting on the dash. albie is enjoying that combo right now. i'm lamenting.
last weekend's trip to vegas was pretty cool, and different. after a great show friday afternoon on the UNLV campus, the three of us went out for a night af debauchary (sp?). anyway, albie and i settled down at a blackjack table around 8:30pm. chris watched for a few hours, then headed back to room around midnight. albie had a "tower of power" of chips at one point. i was down to $3 very early, but fought back to go up a few bucks. eventually the booze got us (bourbon & coke for me, rum & coke for albie). we wimpered away from the casino with enough money to get a cab back to the six (that's motel six for those who don't know).
photo - chris and albie in the mid-day vegas sun next to tupie. we're gonna burn for this gig! also, albie w/hangover, zookeepers shirt & hat, and plenty of sunshine.
on the surface, we had a good night out, and really didn't spend any more than the booze cost. that would be overlooking the fact that we had an 8:30 wake up call. then a noon-time show in the middle of a parking lot in the middle of the desert. then drive 5 hours back to LA and do another show. were we tired when all was said and done saturday night. yes. albie and i spoke few words as we wheeled the van (go girl) back to my house for a brief respite.
speaking of our girl, she's the proud mother of a baby alternator. that's right, our electrical problems were diagnosed and fixed (knock on wood paneling). she got a new alternator monday morning, and we haven't had a problem since. it's really nice to hear music in the van again. we still have 2 extra batteries in case anything weird happens.
tonight we wheel into corvallis to return to the cock. peacock's, that is. we played the top of the cock last spring (that's upstairs at peacock's). then we have an early wake up call to get to portland state university for a nooner. my brother fox should be there to meet us for lunch. he's there at some psychological conference. (speaking of family, happy birthday el!). after psu nooner and lunch with fox, we head down for a friday night at taylor's in eugene. we're excited about this one because there are some zookeepers radio commercials running for that (boo yeah, it's a party!), so we're expecting a crowd that will put out of our memory the last time we played taylor's. finally we get to sleep in saturday, before a leisurely drive back to corvallis to play oregon state university's memorial union ballroom. sunday, 14 hours back to LA. rock on.....
fri 9/27, 6:20 p.m. (pv)
motel 6, las vegas
we're watching "mad about you." quietly. sort of tired. had a really cool show this morning and afternoon (11am to 1pm). a beautiful warm (almost hot) day. last spring we played here and it was so windy it blew over one of our speakers; as well as most of the audience. this year the wind behaved, and the crowd hung out. sold enough cd's to make up for the 2 batteries (as in car batteries) we bought last night to get here.
we left LA a little after 7pm. arrived in el monte about 7:30. el monte is the "taint" of southern california. taint here. taint there. (that's the clean definition of taint.) anyway, we had no lights. no signals. very little engine left. finally found a pep boys. they were closing. we were able to buy a battery & install it. then we decided to go ahead and buy a backup battery. that way, however far we got out into the middle of the desert, we'd at least be able to get back.
by barstow, we were getting cocky. talking about returning the backup battery to a pep boys when we returned to LA. we, or course, were not using any extra electricity. no interior lights, no radio, no fan. we drove 200 miles before our dream was shattered. in state line we pulled over and installed the back up battery. only 40 miles to go to vegas. at least we were going to make it.
today we still have our backup battery in the van. our old battery and new dead battery are at a shop being charged. we're hoping the three batteries will get us home tomorrow. then into the shop monday morning for our trip to oregon on wednesday. tomorrow should be interesting. we have a tailgate party show here at UNLV that ends at 1pm. then we "punk band" (see below for reference) and head to LA for a 7pm downbeat (that means start time) in santa monica. that's 6 hours betweeen sets. hopefully the drive will take under 5 hours, including battery changes.
albie now has gone out to smoke, and chris is hopping a shower. i get to turn on the mcneil/lehrer news hour for a while. i'm not sure why all the bullshit hot wind interests me. but it does, so i'm off.
sun 9/21 8:15 p.m. (pv & albie)
I-5, near buttonwillow, 2hrs out of LA
(pv) woah, what a day. what a day! we left klamath falls at 6 a.m. sharp. so early to get chris to the sacramento airport by 11 a.m. chris woke me up at 5:40, after about 3 hours of sleep at the famous maverick motel in k. falls. we had a great night at waldo's the night before. the gang was all out, and then some, which was a surprise since school is not yet in there at OIT (oregon institute of technology). we wrapped up our last set not long after 1 a.m., and then did our "punk band" fast breakdown and load out. the term "punk band" was derrived from a show we did in las vegas last march, when there was an angry punk band wanting us to get the hell out of the way. anytime we want to break down quickly, we holler, "punk band," and get right to it. so we were back in our room by 2, and filtered off ot sleep after 20 minutes of idle after-the-gig chit chat. next thing i know, it's 5:40, and chris is rounding us up.
(albie) this morning was pretty easy for me. i rolled out of bed, into a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, and into the van, back to bed - in the back seat. but i would pay for it later.
(pv) the morning drive to sacramento was relatively uneventful........until..... chris got really sleepy, and i took over driving. about 45 minutes from the airport, the cruise control stopped working. strange. but no real biggy.......we hoped. then i noticed if i used the turn signal while i accellerated, the engine would cut out briefly. by the time we got to the airport (10:45 - right on time), the engine was cutting out enough that albie and i were deliberating exactly what we should do on this sunday (not a great day of the week to have mechanical problems).
(albie) you can say that again. sunday is for football, sleeping, and an optional shower.
(pv) we concluded we should take a busy looking offramp while in sacramento, lest we get stuck in the middle of nowhere with a serious problem. well, by the time we found our offramp, we knew we had a serious problem. the interior clocks were both blinking, and the fasten seatbelt light was strangely illuminated. before long we could hardly accellerate at all. we felt pretty lucky to putt-putt to a nearby pep boys, only to discover that manny, moe & jack don't do electrical work.
(albie) bauuwk, baaauuuuwk, baaauuuuwwkkk (like a chicken).
(pv) at the pep boys i called AAA and got some numbers to about 8 potentially open shops. i got no positive answers. several people indicated that we would probably have to spend the night in sacramento (great - miss a day of work, pay for a hotel, pay to fix the van - sleep with albie instead of my wife - puuurrrrffffekt). we left pep boys headed to a possibly open shop a few blocks away. we were averaging about 3 mph when we arrived at the closed shop and concluded to park in the shade and turn the damn van off. i was afraid we might be screwing something up by continuing to let it run. we shut off the engine, and for kicks tried to restart it. nothing. not even a click.
(albie) i'm hot, i'm tired, i'm missing football, and i want to go home.
(pv) in the mall i kept calling shops from my AAA list. i finally got one that told me they could fix it no problem today. wooo wooo! i might not have to sleep with albie after all.
real time update - we are at the bottom of the grapevine - the mountains in between the central valley and LA. as you will find out below, there is no guarantee that this van is going to make it over. our fingers are crossed.
(pv) i called AAA to get a tow truck to get us to the shop. seemed like all systems were on go. the AAA guy (john) arrived, and concluded that our problem was probably just our battery connection (corroded terminals). he cleaned our terminals and gave us a jump. we were elated. everything seemed to work fine (except that we had pulled out all of the fuses earlier in a vain attempt to keep the van running).we replaced the fuses while john charged us up for a few minutes, and we were off. we were stoked that we weren't going to have to wait around at some shop and spend a couple hundred dollars to fix the damn thing. just the battery! so simple!
two miles down the freeway, and we conked out again.
(albie) now i'm really, really hot; i'm really, really tired; missed all the early football games; this is not really, really cool; and i don't care how you want to look at it, it's all chris' fault. the whole day is chris' fault. it's all about chris.
real time update - our volt meter indicates that our battery is still charged and we're near the top of the first mountain. looking good.
(pv) there we were, maybe 3 miles from where that damn john sent us on our merry way. except this time we were on an offramp with no sign of a payphone anywhere. it looked like at least a mile hike to the nearest possible phone to call AAA again. we concluded to hang out on the offramp with jumper cables in hand and pray someone would be able to jump us and we could putt a mile or so to a phone. we got lucky and a very kind man not only jumped us, but also let us call AAA on his cellular. we got thru and requested they send john so we could kick his butt.
eventually our new tow guy, patrick (nice name), showed up. he began towing us very slowly toward our shop. apparently our van was actually too big for his truck. so again, we were putting. along the way, he concluded it must be our alternator that was malfunctioning. he mentioned that he may know someone who could put one in for us cheap. as we were mulling over that prospect, patrick waved down an oncoming car with a buddy of his in it. we pulled over, "dropped the van," and the buddy inspected the situation and concluded it was more of a pain than he was willing to deal with. in the meantime, albie and i were feeling like we were in the middle of some drug deal or something, and were pretty happy that patrick decided to go ahead and tow us to the shop.
(ablie) patrick seemed like a nice guy. a couple fries short of a happy meal. he had an incredible ability to not only ignore what you were saying, but also to not stop talking long enough for you to get a word in. i still think it's all chris' fault.
(pv) we listened to patrick complain about his work schedule for the 30 minutes it took to drive 5 miles to the shop. aaahhhh, the shop! our saviours! at last! or not? after an hour and half of diagnostics, the shop was unable to find a problem, other than our dead battery, which they charged. but why did it die in the first place? nobody knows.
(albie) it's all chris' fault.
(pv) this left albie & i in the less than desirable situation of driving the van thru the middle of nowhere on a sunday night with a mysterious electrical problem. we left sacramento at 4 pm (5 hours after arriving). it is now 9:10, and we're within an hour of home. we have used as little electricity as possible. rarely turn signaling. no lights until well after sunset. no air. no radio. no cruise control. no cd player. we did turn on everything when we hit the 580 (near tracy). we figured if the engine faltered at all at that point, we'd give up on the LA run and go to my mom's in livermore. but there was no engine hesitation. so albie and i nodded to each other, gently massaged the dash board (atta-girl!), and turned everything off for our trek home. as soon as we get into LA city limits, we'll turn on everything again. this will be our crude test to find out whether or not the van needs servicing before we leave for vegas thursday night.
(albie) and if we break down, you know who's coming to pick us up, because after all, it IS his fault.
fri 9/20 (albie)
hangin at the band house in bend, cool town with alot to see. i have ignored my duties to let you all know what been going on the last couple of days so here goes. euguene was very wet and with school not in yet the gig went great. for the next couple of days it was just pv and myself chris flew back to la to do some day jobbing. i got a chance to to witness one of the best displays of a pinball i have ever seen. many of you might not know this but pv is a regular tommy when it comes to the silver ball but he can't even come close to me at bust a move. shameless plug on my part but hey it's six hours to gig time so what can i say. after the return of chris schoop boop be doop (i know your thinki.ng,"how does he do it or more to the point why does he do it,") we headed to lewis and clark state college. that gig was alot of fun. this was our second time playing at this school, we played their last spring so it was cool to see some of the same faces at the gig what blew me away most was the way alot of the students would sing along with us. i don't think i know all the words to the songs yet and i've been with the band since march. i would just like to thank the people of lcsc by saying you rock!
one day along time ago i looked at all the stuff we jam into the van and thought, " i wonder what would happen if we ever got a flat?" well that thought quickly became reality when on our way from idaho to oregon on interstate 84 west at 70 mph the right rear tire decided that the musical differences between him and the other tires were just too much to take and said see ya! after a few tense moments and some great driving by yours truly we made to the side of the road and thats when the fun really began. we had no crowbar to work the jack so. we had to use the bolt that holds the spare tire on. spare tire is little too strong of a word to describe this tire, but it held none the less it held together for about 35 miles to the town of biggs. bad espresso and a long wait to get 2 new tires. so we roled into bend about 25 min late.
fri 9/20 (pv)
i'm sitting on the front steps of the band house here in bend. we've only had the good fortune to have a band house once before. that was in hanford, california. if you don't know where that is, you're not alone. hell, you probably don't know where bend is either. hanford is about an hour southwest of fresno (there's an exit for it off the 5, so maybe it sounds familiar). bend is about 2 or so hours due east of eugene, oregon. i think you have to go over mountains between the two. i don't know because we approached bend from the north, coming from lewiston, idaho (the location of which, in all likelihood, you also don't know - it's a couple hours south of coeur d'alene; did that help?).
yesterday was very exciting. we had our first blowout. i had often marveled that we've been doing this so long and haven't even gotten a flat tire yet (though we have had fan clutch, fuel, and starter problems). we've put over 40,000 miles on the dodge van we bought about a year and a half ago. i wasn't even sure we had the technology on board to change a tire. it took some ingenuity, but we did it. our biggest stumbling block was lack of a crow bar, or other long handle for our mammoth bumper jack. so we used a screwdriver until it became impossible (that van is pretty darn heavy when fully loaded, and it was a rear tire). we finally found a 6 inch bolt that seemed strong enough to endure a grown man jumping on it in an attempt to lift a van a quarter inch at a time. the bolt bent, but it worked.
changing the tire was the beginning of our anxiety. I-84 between la grande and portland is pretty isolated. and very windy. when the tire first blew we though it was a big gust of wind. changing the tire gave us a close up look at exactly how bad the other tire was (the brother of the blown tire). and it was bad. serious metal showing on the inside. i figured the chances of two tires blowing within 100 miles of each other was pretty minimal, considering we'd probably been driving 100's of miles in awful condition 9mental note - check tires when getting gas!). so, as bad as the other rear tire was, i figured the odds were against it blowing out. but what about the spare?!
the spare was, and continues to be, a monument of exactly how awful the tires were when we bought the van (and then drove 1000 miles before replacing them). those tires were rotten. cracks everywhere. bald. our current spare is the only remaining survivor of that batch. that's not exactly reassuring. in fact, we were downright nervous about the whole thing.
a couple of other factors to add to our anxiety were: 1) it was already 4:30 p.m. and we were clearly not within 30 minutes of anything; 2) we were still 3 hours from bend, where we needed to set up and perform by 9:30. lastly, there weren't exactly any big towns between us and bend.
well, long story short, we found a texaco in biggs, oregon, that could service our needs. and as it turned out, biggs was at the intersection of I-84 and Hwy 97, the road to bend. it was a harrowing 45 minute drive on the crappy tires to get to biggs; every gust had us holding our breaths. a slight loss of control could have meant a 100 foot plummet down into the beautiful, turbulent, cold columbia river. but we made it.
we hung out in biggs at the texaco for about an hour. albie and chris got caramel espresso (sort of like a mocha, but with caramel). i got some cashews. then we hit the road with our big new macho tires; no sissy car tires; we got light truck tires. (insert gorilla grunt here)
about a half hour out of bend, chris devised a music selection plan to break the monotony of listening to each others cd's over and over again. one of us would chose a song from a cd that inspired him, play only that song, then pass the baton. we went around 4 or 5 times. it would have made a great compilation tape. let's see if i can remember the tunes:
pv - the cars - i need you tonight
albie - dave matthews - ants marching
chris - thin lizzy - dancing in the moonlight
pv - spin doctors - little miss can't be wrong
albie - four tops - i'll be there
chris - joe jackson - don't want to be like that
pv - beatles - good morning
albie - tower of power - come on with with it
chris - finn brothers - only talking sense
pv - supertramp - take the long way home
albie - pink floyd - the show must go on
thur 9/19 (pv)
hwy 12 between lewiston & walla walla
we rocked lewiston, again. lewis & clark state college once again hosted a fine party. we saw lots of folks mouthing the words to our tunes. you can tell who has the 1st album and who has the 2nd by what songs they sing along to. it's a neat feeling.
we have twice in the last day passed the infamous scary rest area porta-potty not far from lewiston. i'll try to remember to put a link to the porta-potty entry below. it's probably on page 3 or so. it's where albie and chris got spooked in the middle of the night (early april '96).
breakfast today was at "waffles 'n more" which served .. .. .. waffles. very good. we're doing very well for food in the lewiston area. last time we were referred to a great italian restaurant, which we were bummed we couldn't get back to this time. this time.....waffles.
we just passed a silo that looked like it was out of LA. covered with graffiti.
considering albie and i had about 10 cups of coffee at the waffle shop, we're surprisingly calm right now. except albie is now singing the cow song with alternate, crude lyrics. and a funky voice. at breakfast we all sang through our reperatoires of 80's songs. now chris & albie are vacillating between their keith richards accents and irish accents. we've realized that we have another 5 hours to go to get to bend, and we're desperately trying to entertain each other. now they're singing blondie (which we've heard a couple of times this trip so far - it's been our theme disc this trip). current debate - beatles or dire straits? mmm - the straits.
highlights from last night include: after an unusually long jam during knocking 'round the zoo, chris said, "if any of you ever spent any time going to concerts in the 70's, this is sort of what it was like." to which i responded, "that was when you were in college wasn't it?" then he stopped the song in protest, waited a few moments, and started it again. it was an adventure.
while playing a lead during "main st. usa" out in the audience, i began to realize that my guitar was sounding like the sound effects on the old video show "frogger." it was quite disorienting. i almost fell of the table.
albie just did his excellent "hey lady" jerry lewis impression. if you get a chance, ask him to do it. it seems we're lost in walla walla. Hey lady!
when someone cusses, we say, "niiice mouououth."
tue 9/17 (pv)
albie and i are sitting here in the 66 motel on franklin here in eugene. we've had a couple days off since our saturday night show in taylor's. youch did it rain! and youch did nobody come out. we'll be back in a few weeks when school starts. should be funner.
in the meantime, we've been killing time in eugene. we've been to the arcade, the mall, a couple pizza joints, and pretty much walked all over town. now we're watching valerie bartinelli (sp?) talk about eddie on the tube. woo woo. one of the criteria for our motel was cable tv with a remote. we've taken full advantage of this luxury. been surfing in eugene if you will.
today's plans include not eating at a pizza buffet (unless i can talk albie into it), and driving up to portland to check out clubs and cheap motels. and maybe an arcade or two.
sat 9/14 (albie)
395 between richland and portland
hey everybody! started this 7 times and each time i erased it so maybe this time all will go well. zooing it up to spokane to play show number 3 of this trip. pv and chris are listening to the tape of last nights show. this a small van so it is safe to to say if sombody is listening to somthing we all are. i spy with my little eye a farmhouse 2 horses and a sign to elect sombody to do somthing that they probably won't do. i think typers block has set in, i can't think of anthing to say so see ya!
fri 9/13 (pv)
US 395 between richland & spokane
this is some flat country. amber waves of ... weeds? it sort of looks like marsh grass, but we're nowhere near the sea. yesterday's drive up the columbia river was awesome (portland to richland).
albie and chris are currently discussing what the van would do if chris knocked the transmission into neutral with cruise control on. this is the level we've been reduced to after 21 hours in the car in the last 3 days. meanwhile, i can't formulate my own sentences and keep asking a & c for verbs and whatnot. "what's the word for..... when you're chewing and swallowing and stuff...... oh yeah, eating!..."
we're listening to a tape of last night's show at killarney's in richland. great place. the nicest of folks. thanks don for recommending the awesome bean soup. talk about ham hocks! thanks page for the great limmericks (sandwiches) - with killer tomatoes. (for those of you bored with food talk, let me relate to you the importance of a good meal after days of road food). soon we'll be discussing our bowel movements on the web. . . . . uh . . . . no...
youch, just listened to my lead in "beautiful world" from last night. getting closer.
9/1/97 or thereabouts
pv here. albie is finally going to dictate to me his "summer vacation assignment." this is the assignment he gave us weeks ago, and he's the last to get on board.
Hi, Patrick here. Albie decided we should all do "what we did on our summer break" entries, since we haven't been updating this section as we should. The reason we haven't been updating our road commentary is because we were borrowing a laptop from my work (see below about my work). Back in June, somebody stole the laptop. Fortunately it was at work, so I didn't get into major trouble. I continue to scour the Recycler (LA classifieds) for a cheap laptop. Well here goes....
so i thought, "hey guys, let's do a spot on the web on what we did for our summer vacations." here goes mine...
my summer vacation i guess started off with a zookeepers gig at brennen's (marina del rey) on june 22. that was our first gig with pv's brother fox. he's a great singer/songwriter, not to mention he can play the shit out of a guitar. 2 days later i flew home to pennsylvania for a little r&r. little did i know that r&r meant runaround & runaround. first pittsburg, then virginia, then easton, then back to pittsburg. it's hard to believe i flew 3,000 miles to go on vacation,then drove 1400 miles once i was there. but nothing beats going home. my family owns a restaurant in easton that has the best food, not to mention the zookeepers "set me free" on the jukebox. this visit was really cool because i got to see friends and family that i hadn't seen in a long time. i also got to spend some time at our summer house to get a little skiing in.
came back to LA just in time to go out with the zookies for the 4th of july weekend, which rocked because we spent the 4th with pv's family in livermore. then we played 2 nights in nevada city. and that ended the fox era of the zookeepers (good luck with school fox).
so now deane enters the picture. we get him up to speed with the songs and start gigging again. meanwhile, it's time for me to take another trip. this time to washingon (state) to visit my best friend, mike. we spent a couple of days sightseeing in portland, seattle and mt. st. helen's. i get back from washington to learn that not only is deane leaving the band, but we're not going to look for a new guitar player. it's just going to be the three of us.
so my summer ended with me house sitting for chris, and watching his dogs allie and duke. then 2 wks later house sitting for patrick watching sid the psycho cat. i believe i am the world's greatest house sitter. i think it's because i have a little house and no life (just kidding - - i think??). but it was a good summer. i did a lot of gigs with my friend shannon, also subbed some other blues gigs. now my favorite time of the year is here. the fall. college football season and my penn state nittany lions make their run towards the roses on january 1 in pasadena. (yeah, i'm a penn state fan!! gotta problem with that???) just kidding. don't want to get beat up by any of you pac 10 folks we are coming to see.
hope to see y'all at the shows. hope you enjoyed my life in a nutshell. yup yup, it's a party.
I haven't had an assignment like this since 5th grade. This should be fun. Well, I guess I'll start at the beginning. June 23rd--I woke up at 6:30 and had a bowl of cheerios, no wait it was golden grahams, no it was--oh I know, I mixed the two cereals. Then I made coffee, or was it tea.......
All kidding aside ... . .. . . . . . . . .. .. .. .. . .kidding
this summer has been a busy one. The Zookies didn't play as much as the spring and fall but I was busy nonetheless. I played a tennis tournament with my father(the National Senior Father & Son Hardcourt Championships). We won the tournament on Father's Day which was very cool. I went to San Francisco with my wife for a mini vacation. Sometimes it seems ludicrous after all the traveling we do with the band, to pack up and go out of town to vacation, but this was cool because we were able to stay in Livermore at the Grossman Chateau(Patrick's parent's house) where we were treated like royalty.
My wife Noelle went out of town for three weeks and I got a taste of what she goes through when I leave town. She comes back tomorrow, only to have me leave in a week for another tennis tournament and more Zookie touring.
We have been practicing the "trio thing" and it seems to be going real well. I'm looking forward to playing the tunes in this formation. The new vocals sound great, and the songs "breathe" a bit more. I first saw Patrick play these tunes in the trio format and never missed the extra guy, so I'm confident we'll sound great. Or in the words of our late guitarist Deane--"we'll rule."
I know it doesn't really sound like I was that busy. Maybe I wasn't and I'm just trying to put across this false image of "musician on-the-go." I did, however, see "the Cable Guy", read "The Fountainhead", ate lots of Mexican food, saw "Morphine", "Dada", and "Barenaked Ladies", and sent my food back to be re-heated. I think Beck said it best......."I'm a loser baby,so why don't you kill me".
Uh... I worked. As much as I would love to be a full-time Zookeeper, it don't pay the bills. In Los Angeles, wait a minute, screw that capitalization bullshit.... in los angeles i work for the los angeles county department of mental health. i type. in fact, i'm at work typing right now. i've been working here for almost 7 years (aaaarggh!). i got this job when i first moved to LA in 1989. my official title is a staff assistant II, acting out of class as a research analyst II. but i digress....
on my summer break, mostly i worked. also, the zookeepers did a handful of shows, all in california. by june, we concluded that our "musical differences" with our lead guitarist, pat, meant it was time for a change (see pat's entry down below). my brother fox filled in for the next few shows. he's a great guitarist, singer and songwriter, but not long ago he returned to school to get a Ph.D. in psychology. we've attempted to talk him into quitting school and being a zookeeper, but it's just not his bag (for now. perhaps we'll try again next summer). fox played with us locally for a couple shows, and for a couple shows up in nevada city. the big bonus up there was that our folks were able to come out and see the show, seeing both of us brothers in the same band for the first, and perhaps last, time.
while fox (yes, that's his real name. in fact, to learn more about him follow this link)... while fox was filling in temporarily, we were auditioning, and auditioning, and auditioning. eventually we found our man in a fella named deane. deane joined sort of tentatively for the summer, sort of testing the waters, if you will. we did 4 or 5 shows, both locally and up north, before deane was offered a full-time day job in LA that he felt he could not pass up.
well, that was about a week ago. chris, albie and I began brainstorming on what we should do. it seems like we're back pedaling having to teach the new person our 35 songs every couple of months (it takes a long time to learn 35 songs). we've had 4 different lead guitarists in the last 9 months (patti, pat, fox, deane). also, the band originated as a 3-piece band (back in '91), and did very well in that format. lastly, all 3 of us sing. if you see where i'm heading.... we decided to make a go at it as a 3-piece band. we began rehearsing just a few days ago and concluded that it was a really good idea. ballsy!
in conclusion, i spent the summer working, gigging, teaching guitarists our tunes, and deciding not to teach another guitarist our tunes. i'll spend the rest of the summer improving my guitar chops, my vocal chops, and my harmonica while playing guitar chops. we've also begun dabbling with recording for our next cd. hopefully we'll be able to pull it together for release in late winter.
oh yeah, and booking. i've been booking this summer. i book the band, so at lunch almost every day i drive home and make about 50 phone calls, usually get about 48 machines. then i go back to work. then come home for rehearsal. then load the van and drive 4-8 hours for a show. then play for 4 hours. then load the van and drive home until dawn...then call in sick and sleep all day. ROCK AND ROLL!!!@!! MEEEOOOOWWWW!!!!
ADDENDUM: well a month has past since i did my report and so much has happened. we did our last shows with deane, during which we also played a few sets as 3-piece and really dug it. then i went back home to north carolina for a vacation. just in time for fran! hurricane fran, that is. i spend the week at nag's head (a beach in northeastern north carolina) mostly watching the weather channel. we actually didn't even get any rain where i was. but the town i grew up in, wrightsville beach, got pummelled. the house i grew up in lost it's roof and a side. lots of trees down everywhere. wow. i flew back to LA in time to work a couple of days before hopping back in the van for the first zookie 3-piece tour. woo woo.
wed 6/19 (pv)
we recently sent email to a bunch of actual zoo keepers telling them a little about us. we got some pretty funny responses. here are a few:
Take me off your mailing list. I am not interested in "folk/party/rock", "rap" so-called music, country music, or any other type of childish noise.
I don't know why you think wild animal care specialists would want to hear about a rock-and-roll band just because the name is similar. I think you must have been using too many of those funny-smelling cigarettes that rock music fans like to abuse themselves with.
Well, I am not a zookeeper. And I'm a bit too busy changing jobs to hear about your band via email updates, so please drop me from your lists. Thanks.
Actually, I like music a great deal, understand its importance on our culture and have even written about it in my book on suicide clusters. Good luck to you.
appears that i'm the only zookeeper that didn't take offense at you sending me mail. :)
listened to some of the sound bytes, and they sound pretty good. let me know if you're ever in texas, and i'll round up a rowdy group of animal zookeepers to come hear you guys.
mon 6/10 (pat wilson)
well, timothy leary couldn't sync-up his exit to the web. i'll see if mine will...
once again the "musical-differences" ogre has snatched a small child and dragged it beneath his bridge.
the shows i had a chance to play were a great opportunity that pales only in comparison to the great people i met. of the "too many people" to mention, i will always remember the ones i spent easter weekend with, and the home-cooked food in ashland and davis, and thanks for the floors to sleep on.
p.s. - don't forget to look for me in the back of the bar dancing to "Bittersweet."
tue 6/4 (pv)
back in LA reminiscing about sacramento, folsom, auburn, and avilla beach
we've slowed down considerably since the april/may zookeepers blitz of the west coast. we're back in LA now working the day jobs, brown-nosing for more time off this summer. last week we were up in avilla beach at mr. ricks. a beautiful drive up the PCH, the moon almost full. mr. ricks is right on the beach there. we played a thursday night. pretty dead the week after memorial day.
memorial day weekend was great for us, though. we started in sacramento doing an in-store at "the beat." they were extremely nice to us. most in-stores are pretty lame by nature (i mean, you're playing in a store). so it really depends on how nice the people that work there are. they gave us free coffee and t-shirts and mugs and stuff. it was pretty cool.
then we loaded into the van to head back to folsom where we had already set up our equipment and were set to play all night. we got to yager's in time to quickly finish setting up, chow fast, and i changed in the bathroom after a satisfying #2. one of the biggest challenges of road life is eating and shitting. you are never near food or a toilet when you need to be. if you're driving in a van all day, what are the chances you'll have to dump exactly when you need to get gas? i can tell you... not good.
happily, yager's has 2 men's rooms, and i got one to myself before getting on stage. someday we'll have dressing rooms and rv's and we'll get to shit and eat when we want. eating minutes before singing is pretty tough too. i have gotten really creative about burping and coughing and swallowing between lyrics, and often thru lyrics. you do what ya gotta do. drinking beer is one of the most difficult things to do while singing, as you inevitably have to burp several times thru the following song.
the show at yager's was really good. check out their web site if you get a chance at http://www.yagers.com.
the next night we were in auburn at the smoke shop. the co-owner that booked us had found an opening act (i forget their name) that played at about 115 db's. fucking loud. entertaining though. chris, albie and pat all liked them. i didn't listen much because i didn't have earplugs, so i stayed away.
we started playing in the 85 db range, and i think people's ears were still ringing a bit. we had a pretty good first set, augmented by a great light show by monkey glue lighting. if you're in a band playing near sacramento, give these guys a call. they're very reasonable and do a great job. email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
just as we started our second set, a large wedding party came in. they rocked. we played for almost an hour and a half straight. the bride flashed the band her matrimonial panties, and everyone had a good time.
and then i learned a very big lesson.......
the first big lesson i learned on our first tour was never to tell anyone where we are staying. this lesson was learned at the humboldt brewery, where i told several folks, then smoked some famous humboldt pot and ended up staying up all night watching the van because i was so paranoid someone was going to rip us off. whew.
the next big lesson i learned last week: DON'T FUCK WITH THE COWBOY HAT, JUNIOR! during our last set, chris, patw and albie were doing a few covers while i danced around like and idiot on the dance floor. at one point i made the nearly fatal mistake of pulling off a guy's cowboy hat, and exchanging mine for it. cowboys aren't too hip on little blue caps! that guy very nearly took my head off. but i bowed to him several times, and prayed, and the incident passed without bloodshed. later i wished i had gone to the microphone and announced:
"ladies and gentlemen: we have an announcement. for your safety we strongly encourage you NOT TO FUCK WITH THAT GUYS HAT. apparently he has a very small penis and is highly threatened by any cap aggression. once again: DON'T FUCK WITH THE COWBOY GUY!"
but then i might not be here to type this.
wed 5/8 (patw)
I-15 just south of cedar city, ut
and it is Utah,the last few miles of
till the top,edge, slide,
Arizona, I-15 south, south,
1:54 1:55 1:58 2:00
and so on
and 131 miles to Las Vegas
and everybody happier
Los Lobos,chess, the six,Albie
giant Wal Mart distribution center
who say's we can't build attractive prisons?
who beleives that what you get at
Denney's,Wendy's,Arbby's, or any restarant that ends in y's for that matter.
who believes that what you get bares any relationship what so ever
to real cheese ?
Chris ? Off to Arizona,back in time for Morphine
and Los Lobos
Pat W. ? Mission Inn,Elvis Costello,also Morphine and Los Lobos
P.V. ? time at home time,time, time, yes!
Albie ? hangin'(ever the mystery).
No Sedona,this time
thank you Mount San Jacinto College and Southern Utah University
Get Well Lisa,Love Pat
thank you Van Morrison.
I-15 just south of cedar city, ut
the battery on the laptop pooped out on me yesterday as i was talking about the hot van. driving thru the desert in 90 degrees doesn't help.
we just rocked cedar city. southern utah university to be exact. a very receptive crowd in the "living room" in the student center. we slept in a cushy holiday inn. not our usual motel 6 fare. and we had 2 rooms! woke up pretty early and had a quick cheap breakfast at denny's. pat and chris had already gotten up and eaten by the time albie and i made our way out of the rooms.
we set up our sound system in the student center only to discover the power cable to the p.a. was missing. some scrambling, then a guy at the school found one. meanwhile, pat was doing a new setlist. we'd been working off the same setlists since the beginning of april. yesterday in san jacinto we went without a setlist, calling out songs as they came along. it's harder that way, because you have to think very quickly when a song's done, or be thinking during a song to start the next. it's easier to have alist, then deviate if you want to.
i'm going to hand off the laptop to patw....
tues 5/7 (pv)
I-15 just north of vegas
we played today in what really did seem like the middle of nowhere. mt. san jacinto college. in the middle of the desert. maybe 45 minutes from san bernardino. wow. dusty. hot. recluded. they had a really good lunch crowd when we arrived around 12:30, but the quad emptied out pretty much by the time we started. a cool place to play, but a bit hot today.
now we're headed to southern utah state university in cedar city, utah. we stopped in state line (is that an actual town name?). albie lost $10, chris won $10, i won $1, and pat abstained. we ate at the buffet at buffalo bill's casino. the roller coaster wasn't running, or we would have done it, so we say.
the van is running hotter and hotter. good thing we have a couple of weeks off to get it fixed..... uh oh, the battery is dying.....
sat 4/27 (pv)
hwy 120 en route to arnold, ca
we're winding our way between oakdale and sonora headed towrad our show tonight at the snowshoe brewing company in arnold. the last few shows, since the break, have left something to be desired. we started thurs doing a nooner at the univ. of san fran. the stage was 30 yards from the nearest stretch of grass, where everybody was hanging out. they liked us fine, but seemed really apathetic from that distance. we were picking up kusf (the campus radio station) on our sound system, which was a bit distracting. between our songs we were listening to their broadcast. (photo of nooner at usf)
then thurs night we were at sudwerk in davis. we've played there 6-8 times now. the last couple of times went very well, but this show was pretty lame. midterms, maybe. we recognized almost everyone as folks we've seen before there. we had dinner with lori and her roomies and friends. they are folks we've met there who have been kind enough to take us in and feed us when we're around in davis. after a year and a half of touring (though we didn't travel much the first year), we are now starting to get a corps of friends in most areas we return to. people we hang out with when we come to town: sometimes dine with, sometimes crash at their place. it beats the hell out of sitting in motel rooms and staring at each other all the time. (we do enough of that in the van.)
friday morning we headed into berkeley to do an "in-store" at rasputin's records. we played a quick acoustic set in the huge store. pretty unrewarding performance circumstance, but my mom came out, and our old friend and x-roadie warren also showed up. we hadn't seen warren in quite a while. it was good to see him.
then we packed up and fought traffic to get out of the bay northbound to laytonville, which is just north of ukiah, outside of willits (we had never heard of these places before, either). we've played laytonville before, too, and saw some familiar faces, but it was an unusually small crowd at crossroads (the bar we played). we had a very light dinner before the show because we couldn't figure out how to work our new rice cooker/veggie steamer. we bought fresh vegetables and whatnot, and were able to saute some in the skillet, but steaming efforts were in vain. the rice just sat there. fortunately, at the club it was somebody's birthday and they had a cold cuts plate out. i believe i took advantage more than my bandmates -- free supper!
today we got up pretty early and headed to my mom's in livermore. her moving there last year has been a godsend to this band. good hot food. comfortable place to stay. we had lunch and lounged around the pool, happy to have only 1 show today. we took naps, too, from which i'm still recovering.
thur 4/25 (albie)
en route from livermore to san fran
after 4 days off we're back on the trek. i think we all needed the break after the last 3 shows. ashland was great because all of the klamath falls gang came and did the hang with us. the only problem was patw, pv, and myself had little too much to drink. ok it was alot to drink. pv and i hung out until 3:30 in the morning. chris set up a 6:30 wake up call that was finally answered by the rest of us at 7:30am. we arrived at the university of oregon at 11:30. i knew this show was going to be hard. i felt like a bus had just ran over me backed up and did it again. by looks of pv and patw i think that they were standing on the same stretch of road. the gig went off without a hitch. i just wonder who's voice cracked more pv's or mine. thank god for trang, sarah, lesile, maureen, they invited us to spend the afternoon at their place. so we loaded in at taylors and went to their place to relax and hang out before we rock taylors load-out then drive the 14 hours to l.a.
tues 4/23 (pv)
at my day job desk in L.A., reflecting
we rocked ashland, then eugene, then LA. 3 great shows in a row. we arrived in ashland mid-day, and loaded into the hotel lounge at the mark antony. we all split up, some walking around town, some napping in rooms for the afternoon. we met up with our friends ron & lan from klamath falls and went to dinner early evening, where the mood of the night was set with a couple beers and wine over an excellent italian dinner. good food is a rarity, and we hadn't drunk anything since the klamath falls show almost 2 weeks prior.
the show was a lot of fun, with too much drinking, and plenty of gaeity (sp?) with new ashland fans and quite a few klamath falls fans. afterward, we broke down the equipment and loaded the van, then hit a couple of closing bars, unable to find a nightcap. then from one bar, i began jogging eastbound in search of a circle k that was supposedly only 1/2 mile away. after a couple blocks i gave up and started heading back, when a guy named jay whom i'd met in klamath falls and also seen earlier in the evening (though he wasn't at the show because he was working). anyway, this guy happens to be driving by and gives me a ride get a 12-pack that nobody needed. back at the hotel, we had a beer and soon after i passed out.
friday was hairy. we had to leave ashland by 7:30, and having stayed up after 3 didn't help. i was last to rise, too late to shower. i rushed down to the van, and we headed toward eugene, toward a nooner on campus. we arrived, eventually found the venue, set up and performed the set. albie and i felt like shit. i'm sure pat was hurting, too. chris was a bit tired, but he had gone to bed after the load out in ashland. time was crawling. my voice eventually almost warmed up toward the end of the hour. lots of cracking.
we had no plan for the time between the nooner on campus and our show 9 hours later just off campus. we weren't going to get a motel room because we would be driving to LA after the show. so we were probably going to nap in the van. but we were saved! our friend lan's sister, trang, met us at the nooner and offered to have us over for the afternoon. we were able to load into taylors, the club we were playing that night, and then go sack out at trang's for the day. i even got a shower (one of the best i can remember - a "surprise, you get to wash off that hangover after all" shower). we watched tv with trang, sarah, leslie and maureen (see photo); chris and pat went and worked out; albie and i napped. trang cooked a delicious dinner, then we all piled into the van and went to the club.
the show at taylors was simply great. we had played in eugene twice before. both on cold rainy nights in front of nobody. this time it was a cold rainy night in front of a bunch of really excited people. one of the first good signs - the owner loves us, listens to the cd all the time. everyone who worked there was really nice. the crowd was pretty nuts. we were all pumped. great show. then.......
load the van at 1:30 a.m. and start heading toward LA. albie took first shift driving, with chris on "keep awake" duty. pat & i crashed in the back. albie made it almost to dawn, about 5:30, not too far from yreka, when i took over, pat on keep awake duty. time was a blur. i passed the keys to chris around 11:00 on the edge of stockton, south of sacramento. chris drove a couple hours before stopping for gas. i was crashed in the back and didn't get up....at first. but after gassing up, the van would not start; barely turned over. we drove all night after a show to get within 4 hours of LA for this?
we tried to jump it to no avail. we called AAA and started waiting. i walked around trying to find where the nearest garage was, and even ran into a mobile mechanic, who said he'd return in 45 minutes. we checked the yellow pages for the nearest U-haul, about 30 miles away in merced (we were in santa nella?, at the 33 and the 5). finally AAA showed up, and mysteriously when they jumped us it worked.
we hit LA city limits around 4:30, dropped albie off in studio city and went to my place in hollywood. the plan was to keep the van running - drop me off then pat would drive it the club in santa monica and get a ride home. we'd all meet there at 7:30 for our 8:00 show.
we all had just about enough time to shower, eat and get to the club. where we set up and then waited an hour for the soundman to show up. he finally got there at 8:45. we started at 9 and played until 10:30. a really great show, by LA standards, but i must say, i have lost any objectivity about shows in LA. we had a great crowd, and everyone seemed really pleased with the new band (we hadn't had a show in LA since the women left the band). it was hot and loud, and, we rocked! it was a fitting end to our 17 day journey around the west coast.
but the fun is by no means over yet. tomorrow night we head back up to northern california. we play in san fran, davis, laytonville, arnold, sonora and riverside before getting home next tuesday night. 6 shows in 6 days before we are finished with april. we can really feel the ball rolling. we need to figure out a time when we can take some time off and record our next CD. keep that ball going, baby...!!!!!
thur 4/18 (pat w)
en route to ashland, or
Thursday afternoon and we're about an hour outside of Ashland.An integral part of our time spent in the van is music!Sometimes discussions of our own and once in a while Chris,Pat V.,and Albie will go over vocal parts,but the main musical source is the tape player and the cd player.
Four people,Four chances,and usualy one choice per round.Traditionally the driver will make the first choice,today that was me(P.W>).I thought to myself on a rainy Oreogon day like today what could be better than my Ramones live 1978 tape backed with misc. Sex Pistols songs.This tape came and went without comment, a true rarity.We listened to the Sex Pistols side once before,on the way to Sacramento,Pat V. mockingly sang along with parts of it while Chris occasionally derided it,Albie made his opinion clear with his stoic silence(a rare emotion for the usualy vocal Albie).
Next up with a choice was P.V.who selected his Paul McCartney & Wings "Band on the Run" cd.Obviously a happy choice for P.V. and also a"record" I like very much.This time albie voiced his approval by singing along with many of the songs.Chris only commented on the short length of the disc before going straight for his copy of Oasis' "(What's the Story)Morning Glory?".A move that I can only take as a positive nod to the former Beatle.The Oasis record was/is new to P.V.who only said he thought "She's Electric" sounded out of place on the record " almost like Sqeeze." I don't have this record but I like it alot,even if many of the songs sound the same.Who doesn't love a good idea.Albie has let this record pass so far without commment.
This brings us to,of course, Albie's choices.Though he hasn't had the chance to make his so far today,in past days his tastes lean toward either Motown or jazz-fusion.The Mowtown is always a big hit! but the fusion tends to be ridiculed and mocked relentlessly.It's too bad because Albie tends to be the only one of us who listens to or takes anything anybody says personaly.
P.S. As i sign off Chris has added the commment that he's not that wild about the Oasis cd.
P.S.S. Albie's choice is now upon us and in mid-motion of un-zipping his cd case, P.V. has said "we're almost in Ashland" causing Albie to zip it back up.
thur 4/18 (chris)
en route to ashland, or
I won't be redundant and go over the same show info that Patrick did earlier. I won't be redundant and go over the same info that Patrick...My impressions of Oregon...(I'm sure you are all dying to know)I think Oregon is an Indian word for "rain, rain, and more rain". I normally like the rain at home because it means no tennis teaching, but on the road it means loading in and out, getting soaked, and low attendance...Inside jokes are rarely funny to outsiders"oh DEFINITELY!"...Oregon phone books are much thinner than L.A. phone books...Laundromats in Oregon confirmed for me that, even if I am living in a carboard box, I will not be without a washer and dryer...I'm glad I like turkey...I wonder if it will be hard to adjust to sleeping in my queen size feather bed with my wife from sleeping in a twin with Albie...I will like L.A. on April 20th. Bye!
wed 4/17 (pv)
monmouth, or 11:15 p.m.
we rocked monmouth. we played levi's on the campus of w.o.s.c. (western oregon state college), which we misspelled as wosu on our t-shirts and tour schedules. the show was a 2 setter, from 7:30 to 9:30. another dinner time show with lots of chewing going on.
we had played in that same room on our first tour a year and a half ago. i remember that show as miserable. i'm the only one in the band now who was in the band then (that was a surprisingly difficult sentence to word). sort of strange. tonight's show was much better, though it started with a glich. the monitors (those are the speakers we listen to on stage, for those who don't know) the monitors died for no apparent reason right at the beginning of the 1st set. we spent about 8 minutes trying to figure it out before giving in and just doing without. that was a bit awkward, because the sound on stage was so bad, it was hard to imagine that it could sound decent out front. but the chewing crowd was surprisingly enthusiastic from the get-go.
between sets we were able to fix the mysterious problem (i.e., we futzed around with it and it starting working). also, we sold lots of cd's and t-shirts, also a few hats. our policy of charging half price (actually, 2 items for $10) at colleges has resulted in very large sales (we sold 28 cd's). of course, we hardly make any money (in fact lose money on t-shirts), but the colleges pay pretty well, and we figure it's the chewing students' tuition paying us. plus, the point is to get as much stuff out there as possible at this point.
we took a long break because we were selling stuff the whole time (and fixing the monitors), and we don't have any body with us to sell stuff. so, we have to do it ourselves. and we're not inclined to stop selling to play, given the choice (i can't ever remember having the choice before). so our break was closer to 20 minutes than 15, but we extended the 2nd set a bit to make up for it.
afterward we were all a bit gleeful, if you will. being on the road is infinitely easier to put up with when shows go well (and the last few left something to be desired). to celebrate the good show, we went looking for coffee and pie - not easy to find in monmouth on a wednesday night at 10:30. we ended up in a supermarket in independent and bought some ice cream (drumsticks). pat got a beer. chris got nothing, though it was his idea to get pie in the first place. he couldn't find a dessert with a low enough fat content.
back at the motel (we are very excited to have 2 rooms, which only happens when the schools are paying) albie and i tore into our drumsticks and pat cracked his beer. chris munched on caramel flavored rice cakes which we bought a couple days ago, and which suck. eventually i was able to entice chris into eating part of one of the drumsticks.
now pat and i are alone and chris and albie have returned to their room. pat is talking to his fiance meg, and chris is probably talking to his wife noelle. we're all gearing up to return home on saturday. tomorrow we have our first "real" drive in almost a week. we drive 3+ hours down to ashland to play at the mark antony hotel, where we will again have 2 rooms - woo woo. the biggest redeeming factor in ashland, behond the 2 rooms, is that some folks from klamath falls will probably come over. hopefully they'll help us begin cultivating a little scene in ashland, too.
then friday, a.k.a. hell day. drive 3 hours to eugene, do 2 gigs, then drive to l.a. big show in l.a. then return to our real lives for a few days before spending a week in northern california.
tues 4/16 (pv)
still in salem. tonight will be 4 in a row inthis motel 6. when you find one with queen size beds, you stick with it. tonight we have off after last night's "what do you expect for a rainy monday night" show back at the peacock in corvallis. better than sitting around a motel room...but not much. at least they pittied us enough that they did not charge us for dinner.
i feel human again today. the cold that struck over the weekend seemed to climax yesterday afternoon. feeling feverish, i slept most of the day before last night's show. today, human again. everybody else has been in good health all along. i hope nobody gets hit at the end of this week, which will be tough enough as is.
today, chris and pat were up early and off to breakfast and back before albie and i rose around 11 am. he and i went to denny's and ate shit for cheap. then spent most of the afternoon at a video arcade between the denny's and the motel 6. albie is the king at "bust-a-move." now we're all back in the motel room. chris & pat reading, albie walking around with energy to burn after a shower. we're going to go get some taco makings soon to fix dinner in the room tonight.
mon 4/15 (pv)
we're still here in salem. our saturday night show went pretty well. we were very worried that it would go poorly, since there was almost nobody there as of about 9pm. but business picked up by the time we started, thanks in part to our good friend lan's sister trang, who brought a handful of folks up from eugene. thanks guys; see you friday in eugene. there was dancing and whatnot - a pretty good scene for the first time in salem for us.
i have been struck with a cold since then. a small sore throat crawled up into my head and is knocking my ass out today. chris is making calls to booking agents. we figure one of the next obvious steps for us is to have someone else taking care of the booking, taking a load off our shoulders and getting us into better venues. it is a lot of work attempting to find the right people. chris' phone calls will lead to press kit mailings and follow-up phone calls. there are hundreds of booking agents (not to mention managers, record companies and publishers - all of whom we'll need soon enough). it's a bit overwhelming.
tonight we're back at the peacock in corvallis. not much to look forward to on a rainy monday night in central oregon. better than a night off? with this cold, i'm not sure.
sat 4/13 (pv)
finally a few days with little driving. the van passed the century mark (100,000 miles) not far outside of ellensburg on the way to lewiston (wednesday). then we drove almost all night to get to portland early friday morning to find the motel 6 there full. we continued on to salem, where we finally hit pillows at about 4:30 am. we were putting big miles on for the first week. averaging 5 jor so hours of driving a day. now we're in central oregon for the next several days. averaging about 20 minutes a day.
last night the last minute show in corvallis was mediocre. we deserved a mediocre show, having had a handful of really good ones. we played upstairs at the peacock (at the "top of the cock" according to the sign there). of course, nobody in town knew we were coming. so anybody there was surprised. most of the small crowd was apathetic, but we did win a few new fans, and i think the staff dug us ok. we'll play there again monday night. hopefully the word'll get out a little better and we'll have a better crowd. also, we'll be in the main club area (the bottom of the cock?), instead of the upstairs annex.
tonight we're in salem, at boon's treasury. we dropped by the club this afternoon and picked up the hats marylyn fed ex'd us. hopefully some cd's will arrive today, too.
mmmm. i'm eating a pb&j sandwich here in the motel room. i'm hoping to keep my blood sugar level up for load in. last night we loaded in around 6:30 pm after very little lunch. man were we in shitty moods. the band is developing a group blood sugar sensitivity. our moods go up and down together. it was a tough load in last night (upstairs, remember?), and we finally finished at 8:30, only to have to rush off to find dinner before our "downbeat" (that means start-time, for the uninitiated) of 9:30. we started a little late, and struggled to keep our energy up through 4 sets while digesting our pizza. 4 sets while digesting to a mostly apathetic crowd is a tough gig.
we are all mentally beginning to prepare for the hellish end of this week that we have planned. after our few days of little travel here in oregon (playing salem, corvallis, monmouth, ashland and eugene), we'll be pulling an all nighter to get back to santa monica for next saturday's show. we play friday night in eugene, load up and leave eugene by 2 am or so, drive straight to l.a. (approx. 14 hours), arrive late afternoon, go to dinner and then play our first local show in our home town in 6 months. first show with the new guys. should be a great show. then we'll all sleep apart for the first time in weeks. brings a tear to eye.
en route from lewiston, idaho to portland, or
well, we rocked idaho. did a dinner time show (5-7pm) in their ampitheatre. it sprinkled a bit, and threatened to pour the whole time, but no significant rain fell. at one point, it seemed that preschool had just been let out, as almost half of our audience was 3 to 9 yrs old. but the little kids rocked, as well as the college folks. the little kids really dug havingtheir shirts signed. between sets we showed them what the different foot pedals and buttons did. they dug us. one kid in particular was totally digging pat w's scene. (photo - patw teaching me a D chord)
we finally confirmed that we will indeed play in corvalis tomorrow night. it has taken weeks of phone tag to pull together a last minute show so that we won't be sitting idly on a friday night. the down side is that we have a big drive coming up. it's 9:45pm now and we're 6 hours out of portland. we think we'll go all the way to portland, but it's a bit rainy and ugly. i imagine we'll run out of gas (not literally) in a few hours. albie and chris are sitting up front talking about great r&b players and performances. i don't have a clue what their talking about most of the time. pat's got his eyes closed on the middle bench. i'm sitting up in the back. we just pulled into a rest area that only has outhouses. chris just got back from the outhouse, a little spooked, he thought john wayne gacy was coming after him. albie is now admitting he peed with the door open.
this morning was the first van ride of total silence. we drove form coeur d'alene to lewiston (100 windy miles) and nobody said a word. we're officially all sick of each other, until we've had lunch. yesterday we were all in great moods mid morning after a huge breakfast and tons of coffee. our blook sugar and caffeine levels seem to by in synch.
albie and chris' conversation has changed since the rest stop from musical debate to a discussion of how to rearrange their "packages" after several hours in the van. this has proven to be a most entertaining subject for the 2 of them any time they are both in the front seats.
wed 4/10 (pat w)
The six most interesting questions asked this past day,in which we traveled from Tacoma,Wash. to Coeur d'Alene,Idaho
6.Is the van getting smaller or are we getting larger?(Pat W.)
5.Albie,are you sure your stomach ache is from the rancid turkey and not the 14 beer's you had last night at Waldo's?(Pat V.)
4.Who is this?,Are they still together?no.good.(asked by numerous people regarding other's choices of music to listen to in "the van")
2.How much to get up in the Needle?(yelled by all of us to the guy who valets cars at the Space Needle.)($8 was the answer)
1.Can you smell ***?(just asked by chris at 12:20 .Thus giving me an end to this entry)
wed 4/10 (albie)
this is albie just wanted to say hey. headed to idaho via spokane personally i'm in good spirits i've got these guys listening to jaco or should i say suffering to jaco. anyway thank you carolyn for putting us up while we were in tacoma our offer still stands to grade any papers you need done. thejade monkey walks slowly while the spotted dog speaks to the brown cow . that code we will need later this evening in spokane. if anyone cares we stopped off in seattle to watch people throw fish. who said this trip was'nt going to be educational. a big hey to everybody back home hope all is well. now i will type for chris since he is driving and it would not be a good idea for him to do it himself.
this is chris's words and albie' fingers. i can't think of anything interesting to say. i wish i was as creative as i always am behind the drumset, where the new ideas flow out of me in wonderful and exciting ways every night. i will try in the next few days to hold on to a little of that magic to share with you, the reader. the shows seem to be getting better due, to the fact that i'm singing more. albie and patw would agree is asked, i'm sure of it. pv's vocals are coming along quite nicely. it's amazing to me how much he has improved. since i joined the band last february. if only i played guitar and harmonica we would get a record deal. all kidding aside the band is sounding better and better (hey chris could you wrap this up anytime soon my hands are starting to hurt) the gigs have been great fun and and we are all keeping our fingers crossed for bigger and better shows and success. love you noel, allie and duke.
wed 4/10 (pv)
patrick v. here. well, we're on day 7 of this 17 day venture. we're headed to the farthest point from l.a., lewiston, idaho. we do a show there tomorrow evening before heading back toward oregon for the weekend. yesterday was a show in tacoma, at univ of puget sound. great show. it was an evening cafeteria thing, so people were chewing the whole time. but they really enjoyed it, and bought lots of cd's, shirts and hats. everyone was very nice. thanks heidi for booking us, and carolyn for putting us up for a couple of nights. it's always great to have a friend in town to crash with.
we've had 4 great shows in a row: humboldt brewery in arcata, waldo's in klamath falls, oregon inst. of tech in klamath falls, and univ of puget sound in tacoma. we deserved some good shows after a few bad ones. we had a really bad show the first night of this trip at the fox & goose in sacramento. nice place, but empty that night. youch!
the next day we got up at 6 am to drive to eureka/arcata where we did 3 shows: an acoustic set at a record store at 3p, then another acoustic set on kxgo, the classic rock station there at 5p, then did our show at the humboldt brewery from 10-1. lots of familiar faces, since we've played there 8 times now, i think. afterward, we crashed at our friends paul & justine's house in eureka. we played at their wedding last summer; so it was cool to get to hang out with them for a while. paul is a builder, and he has built a miniature golf course in their back yard. i stayed up late and drank a bloody mary with him as we putted around the back yard.
saturday we got up a little later and headed off to klamath falls. beautiful drive, though a little long. we stopped in crescent city and bought some luncheon meat (which i just threw away in ellensburg washington) and a fried chicken dinner. arrived leisurely late afternoon and set up at the club before checking into the maverick hotel (more on that below). the show that night at waldo's rocked. best show in a long time. packed house, everybody dancing. how could i not take my pants off?
sunday we had the day off and went hiking on the klamath river. awesome. the city boys got some fresh air. i contemplated my future and all that kind of stuff. it made me long to live in a more beautiful place, like my homeland of north carolina. not like l.a. if only there were enough money and time doing this band thing to plan some sort of normal future. we have chosen an interesting lifestyle.
i'm dragging on, where were we. oh yeah. sunday night an awesome dinner with our friends ron & lan. we played a party of theirs last fall. ron owns "cascade river runners" and we played their end of season party last sept. i also went down the klamath river with them before the party. awesome trip. if you're looking to go rafting call 'em up at 800-884-2113.
monday we did what we call a nooner, a noon-time show on a campus. like the puget sound show mentioned above, they are generally tamer (and some might say lamer) than normal club shows, but we had a good time at OIT nonetheless. we pulled out the acoustic and toned it down a little bit. we played outside and it was a beautiful view of snow-topped mountains as we cruised through our tunes. we sold a record amount of stuff at discount college half-price (we just broke that record at puget sound, again at discount 1/2 price for students). it is our "students are as broke as us so give 'em a break" new policy. we don't make any money, but lots of cd's and stuff get out there. if you read this and are broke and want some stuff for half price, drop us a line. we're always negotiable, and generally broke anyway, so what's the difference.
monday after the show, our friend jeff pickles replaced our thermastat for us. thanks jeff! we're still running a little hot, but it's definitely better. then we hit the road to tacoma. i already told you about u.p.s. today we woke up a little late and had a leisurely breakfast in tacoma. we drove up to seattle and meandered around pike's place market for a couple of hours. now we're in central washington heading toward spokane.
that's about all i can type for now.
mon 4/8 (albie)
howdy folks. with pv asleep, chris buried in a book, and pat wilson piloting our van of love, i figured now is my chance to make my way to the computer without getting caught. albie here, wanted to let y'all know what happened saturday night in klamath falls.
we pulled into town around 5 pm, running hot of course. after a setup and quick sound check at waldo's, we headed to the watergate of the west, the maverick hotel (we learned of a sex scandal involving a state senator and a guy he picked up at a bus station that had occurred at that hotel).
after a great prime rib dinner that tasted an awful lot like veggie burgers and clam strips, we took to the stage for the 1st of our 3 sets. this was by far my favorite show. we had several nice new rules for the band during this gig, including: 1) after you solo, you get a beer (handed off by a fellow bandmate); 2) if you're in the middle of the last song, and nobody wants to stop, feel free to switch to another song at any given moment; 3) if the crowd's really into it, pv'll take off his pants; and 4) if the crowd is really, really into it, the boxers come off, too. it was quite an educational experience.
saturday night i also learned a lesson in astronomy that later that evening, or early morning, the moon becomes whiter, brighter, with a purple tint in the middle (thanks kate for pointing this out to me).
i can't believe how much more room we have in the van now that chris figured out a grand packing sceem and patw made a diagram and instuctions now we will never forget the way it all fits. or will we? signing off now i here pv moving around in the seat behind me and if he catches me playing with the laptop i'm walking to tacoma.
a big thanks to lan & ron for a great easter sunday dinner.
hope all is well with all of you and c-ya when we c-ya
sat 4/6 (chris)
Hi people! This is Chris speaking to you en route to Klamath Falls from Arcata. We had busy day yesterday doing an in-store performance at a local record store, a radio performance/interview, and a show at the Brewery. The radio spot was pretty rough on poor Albie--I was forced to use him as a makeshift drumset because of space constraints. His right shoulder was my hi-hat, his left shoulder was my snare, and my crash cymbal was, unfortunately, his noggin. I have to say, though, I was quite impressed with his tone. Car trouble seems to be the main worry this trip. Our temperature gauge seems to want to inch toward simmer every couple of miles.
sat 4/6 (pat w)
Saturday the sixth of April finds us crossing the California Oreogon boarder.We've driven countless miles,played two shows,eaten 604 turkey sandwiches,and slept a combined total of 9 1/2 hours(7 of which were attributed to Pat V.)
The Sacramento show went really well, too bad we were the only ones there to here it. The club owner told us not to worry they're "always slow on the thursday before Good Friday."So, we look forward to going back, perhaps this summer, maybe the tuesday before 4th of July eve.
T.G.I.G.F.; Our show the next night in Arcata at the Humboldt Brewery was also great fun, Hightlighted by a Tequila influenced last set.Pat (V.), now the proud participant in a seven-year endorsement deal with the Gap, modeled his new signiture line of boxer shorts`on top of the bar for the final song of the night while Chris administered the largest dose from the FOG HOG to date.(for more information on the FOG HOG,a registered trademark,call Albie Dunbar at 1-213-963-5055)
Tonight's show? We're at Waldo's in Klamath Fall's.Stay tuned to this same zoo-page to read the re-cap of that show .
P.s. If this seemed like one long inside joke you've already missed too many shows, make sure your at the next one!
P.s.s. If this read like one long sentence,blame Pat W.
monday 3/25 (pv)
Well we did it. We played Vegas. We sold our souls. And we sold 'em cheap. We pulled into town late Thursday night and crashed out at the Tropicana Motel Six. That is, the Motel 6 on Tropicana Blvd. The room was approx 110 degrees farenheit, farinhight, ferrinheight, faranhite. We opened the window and curtain and stared droolingly (a good Mad-Lib adverb, by the way) at the monstrous MGM Hotel, with it's beautiful green lights, and the Luxor, pyramid and spotlight to the stars. I bet those are really nice rooms.
Eventually the room cooled to about 90. We kept Pat and Albie as separated as possible - opposite beds, wall duty (this was one of those Motel 6's with no space between the beds and the walls). They were separated because last trip, Albie's first, we discovered that he snores. We also discovered that Pat can't sleep in the presence of a snorer (and that he likes to cuddle, but that's a different story).
The next morning I (pv) wake up with the sound of the shower running. I check my watch, assuming Chris has woken up early as usual to shower and go get coffee. I'm appalled to find that it's only 6 a.m. By the end of April perhaps he'll stop going to bed at all. Everybody but me gets up and goes to breakfast.
11 a.m. - we're on stage at UNLV. It's a small concrete stage in what most campuses call the quad or courtyard - you get the picture. I'm not sure what UNLV called it. The stage was called the Alumni Ampitheatre. The smallest ampitheatre I've ever seen, but certainly pretty nice spot, nonetheless. The between classes crowd was pretty responsive, considering the wind was gusting up to about 60 mph. Across the quad the MTV "Choose or Lose" tour bus was signing up folks for voter registration. We debated between sets whether the red head behind the table 50 yds from us was Tabatha Sorenson (sp?). Albie and I investigated - definitely not Tabatha.
During the last song, a particularly big gust blew over one of our main speakers during a guitar lead. When I finally began singing the last verse, I was getting a very distinct "We can't hear a damn thing your saying" vibe from the audience. Some interesting hand signals to convey this message, I must say. We ended the song, and I yelled good-bye.
That night we played at Tom and Jerry's. A sort of dive-ish college bar type place. The stage was 5 feet high and about 4 feet deep. A little dangerous, but nobody fell off. It was nice to be so close to the ceiling so that we could breath the more potent cigarette smoke-laden air. Let me tell you - it was LADEN. (That's an uncommon sentence.)
It was sort of a weird crowd. Some underlying negative vibe that we could not quite put our fingers on. Fortunately, there were about a dozen L.A. friends there who definitely kept our spirits up.
During "Sweet Justine" near the end of the first set, while Pat was doing his guitar lead, I went and tongue-lashed some clown who had been heckling us for the last half hour. "Play some rock and roll. Speak English. Freebird." He was off to the side behind us, and when Pat's lead came up, I went walking off (still playing of course) with the sole intention of finding that asshole. I knew if I got near him he would yell. And he did. I told him we had come an awfully long way to do our job here, and that he was making it very difficult, and if he didn't like the music we were playing, he could go play pool or something. I didn't say it exactly like that, but it worked. He shut up.
Another weird element was that there was going to be a punk band playing after us. About 2 songs into our first set (we were going to play 2 long sets) they started bringing in their equipment and putting it on the dance floor. How unusual. Rude punks. Near the end of the 2nd set, the owner came up during a song and told Albie he wanted us to take a break and do another quick set. So we did. The punks really liked that. You know, when you get right down to it, we're basically a punk band, too. Except, we don't hate or fight or generally cause trouble. We KISS ASS. ROCK AND ROLL - KISS ASS. We should do a bumper sticker.
Between sets and after the show, we heard lots of very nice comments, which surprised us because other than our friends and a handful of very drunk people, nobody seemed to have much life in there. I guess it was more of a spectator night, or place.
monday 3/18 (pv)
Last night (St. Patrick's Day) we were in Riverside at UC Riverside. A surprisingly good turnout and good show for a Sunday night with finals coming up. We talked 'em in to turning the lights off and eventually set off the smoke alarms with our fog machine - causing an evacuation that cut into the music a bit. But we got back up and played for another hour'ish. Afterward we recorded an interview at the radio stations there (thanks Sputnik) KUCR. It took all of our concentration to speak in a way appropriate for airing (we spend to much time in the van).
Speaking of the van, as we were loading in Los Angeles for the Riverside show we realized we had a flat. That led to the discovery that we have been traveling hundreds of miles on really screwed up tires. Serious metal is showing on both front tires (only on the inside - the tires look great everywhere else). Our last drive was from Logan Utah to L.A. last week (14 hours). Apparently we're lucky to have made it. Not to mention getting to Logan from Prescott Arizona. Serious miles that weekend. Hopefully the gas tank problem that none of you knew about, but which has made getting over mountains with less than half a tank a big problem for us (no problem with a full tank - go figure). Anyway, that should be fixed now. And the fan clutch we put in on the way from Arcata to Arnold on a rainy Saturday has held out briliantly. Last night we gave up on the van and drove 3 cars from Hollywood to Riverside (only about an hour drive).
Friday we head to Vegas for our first shows there. We play UNLV at noon and a club next
to campus that night. Then we'll go double our money at the Flamingo (does that still
monday 3/4 (pv)
Man that was a long drive. We returned to LA from Logan Utah yesterday - with a quick stop in Vegas, where Chris was intent on running into a casino and laying down $20 on red. He lost. PV lost $10 on blackjack, as did Albie. Pat played it safe and made a phone call. Back on the road in the 11th hour, we got a little punchy. We played a couple word games - if anybody out there has a game for in the car, let us know. We've probably already exhausted it, but you never know. Finally we hit shitty coming home from the weekend LA traffic, and bumper-to-bumpered back to Hollywood not long after dinnertime. We weren't starving because we had stopped in San Bernardino and picked up fried chicken and girl scout cookies at some grocery store. The health food experience continues....
The show in Logan was a great surprise. We arrived mid-day Saturday, went to our rooms and cooked up some spaghetti and rolls. A nice break from the endless turkey sandwiches we were eating on that trip. After lunch and some quality tv time, we went exploring around campus. Unfortunately, we found very little sign of our upcoming performance. Then we discovered there was also a casino night somewhere else on campus, and also an MTV dance party in the gym. That's rough competition considering ain't that many people hanging out on campus on a Saturday night.
But our worries were for naught. The room was a good one and our hostess (hello Heather) had mustered up a great crowd. The lights were dim and everybody swarmed the dance floor just as we were about to end the first set. So we launched into an extented (and confused) improv dance number that included some BeeGees and some P-Funk before we finally made our way back to the original song. The 2nd set was good exercise with everybody dancing (the disco light earned its money). Then the sweat froze to our foreheads as we loaded the van in sub-freezing temperatures. PV wrote his name in the snow. Back in the hotel rooms we looked forward to 4 hours of sleep before our big drive.
Road Stories - 1998 - Late 1997 - Early 1997
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